MLB Trade Deadline 2017: Latest Rumors Surrounding Top Targets

We’re almost down to the wire, folks. The 2017 MLB trade deadline strikes at 4 p.m. ET on Monday. This means that teams looking to make deals before the non-waiver deadline have mere hours to get things finalized.

There is no shortage of teams looking to bolster their rosters for postseason runs. The question is whether they can get the deals they want done in time to make straight-up trades. Trades can still be made after the deadline, but there is a waiver system involved and things become a whole lot more complicated.

Players dealt after August 31, though, are not eligible to participate in the postseason.

We may see some notable trades this August, but most teams will be looking to trade now. With this in mind—and the clock ticking down its final hours—let’s dig into the latest pre-deadline buzz.

           

Yu Darvish

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish is one of the hottest names on the trade market, and for good reason. He’s a serviceable starter who is in the final year of his contract. The Texas Rangers have plenty of reason to deal him before the deadline while they can still get something in return.

No, Darvish hasn’t had the best season of his career, and he was shelled for 10 runs in his last start against the Miami Marlins. However, for a contending team looking for a short-term rental and little financial commitment, he’s a perfect candidate. 

Plus, as Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan recently pointed out, Darvish‘s latest struggles were the product of him accidentally tipping his pitches:

With a little focus, perhaps Darvish can get closer to his career 3.42 ERA than the 4.01 ERA he has presented this season.

One team that has shown interest in Darvish leading up to the deadline is the Los Angeles Dodgers. As Jon Morosi of the MLB Network pointed out, he isn’t the only pitcher on the team’s radar:

However, Darvish does perhaps make the most sense for the Dodgers. This is a team looking to temporarily replace Clayton Kershaw in the starting rotation. L.A. could use Darvish for a few starts, carry him into the postseason as depth and part ways with him in the offseason.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has even gone out of his way to praise Darvish, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

Here’s the problem, though. L.A. simply might not be willing to part with enough to get a deal for Darvish done. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Rangers haven’t been willing to make their top prospects available as part of trade offers:

Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reported the Rangers are unhappy with the offers they have received—presumably including those from L.A.:

“The Rangers are trying to up the ante for right-hander Yu Darvish. An official with another major-league club said on Sunday that the Rangers are disappointed in the quality of offers received so far. They have contacted smaller-market clubs such as Cleveland to tell them their best might be good enough.”

While Cleveland Indians fans might love to see Darvish enter the fold, there’s a catch. According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Cleveland is one of the teams on the player’s no-trade list:

If Texas cannot convince Darvish to waive his limited no-trade clause for a team such as the Indians, the Rangers may have to take what they can get on the market or play out the rest of the season with Darvish on board.

                 

Justin Verlander

Detroit Tigers mainstay Justin Verlander has also had his name floated around leading up to the trade deadline. There are obstacles for the team when it actually comes to moving him, though.

The most immediate is the fact Verlander possesses a no-trade clause in his contract.

“I have control over my own destiny,” Verlander said, per Evan Woodbery of Mlive.com.

The second obstacle is the hefty financial implications of his contract. He’s due to earn $28 million in each of the next two seasons, plus the remainder of this year’s $28 million salary and a $22 million vesting option in 2020. 

This is a pretty hefty commitment for a guy who isn’t having the best season of his career and is 34 years old. For a team like the Dodgers, who may not want to invest long term, Verlander doesn’t make sense.

In reality, Verlander might not make sense for a lot of teams, and the growing perception is that teams aren’t going to deal for him.

“Rival teams simply want no part of a contract that pays Verlander $28 million per year through 2019, people familiar with the situation say,” FanRag Sports baseball writer Jon Heyman recently noted.

A surprise deal could obviously come through, but it’s looking increasingly likely Verlander will stay put for at least the remainder of the season.

             

Sonny Gray

Like the Dodgers, the New York Yankees have been looking to buy heading into the deadline and are interested in adding to their pitching staff.

The Yankees recently acquired pitcher Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins and have been in talks with the Oakland A’s about Sonny Gray—one of the pitchers the Dodgers have also shown interest in.

The problem, though, is that the Yankees and the A’s have differing opinions on what should be given in compensation for Gray in a trade. The two sides have struggled to come together, as Rosenthal recently explained:

The Athletics view Sonny Gray one way. The Yankees view him another. But both teams need to complete this trade more than they care to admit, and the best guess is that it will happen.

“I’m not buying that the Athletics will hold Gray and carry him into the winter; Gray currently is healthy, and his value might never be higher.

Talks continued into Sunday night between the two teams but, as USA Today‘s Bob Klapisch reported, there was no real progress:

Talks between the Yankees and the A’s will likely go down to the wire, unless another team slips into the discussion and offers up more than New York is willing to. Considering the team’s reluctance to part with top prospects, that team probably won’t be the Dodgers, but ruling even them out would be foolish.

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