The 2017 MLB season is chugging right along. While the regular-season drama isn’t likely to fully ramp up until after the All-Star break, there is plenty for the diehard fan to pay attention to right now. The 2017 MLB draft, for example, is set to begin on Monday, June 12.
While it can be a lot of fun to watch your favorite team pick up new prospects for the future, incoming rookies aren’t going to be carrying their respective teams to the World Series any time soon. However, players acquired via trade definitely have the potential to do exactly that.
This is the point in the season when player trading really begins heating up. We’re not too far off from the July 31 trade deadline, and there will be more young prospects to include in deals shortly after the draft takes place. The full onslaught of trades won’t take place until teams begin to learn who has a shot at the postseason and who doesn’t, but we should see plenty of movement in the coming weeks.
We’re here to examine the latest MLB trade rumors and what they could mean moving forward.
Red Sox Scouting Minor
The Boston Reds Sox are only a few games back from the New York Yankees in the American League East, and they’re almost certainly eyeing a postseason push. This is why we’ll probably see Boston as a buyer in the coming weeks.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, one player the Red Sox could be interested in acquiring is Kansas City Royals pitcher Mike Minor:
Minor is a quality lefty who would help bolster Boston’s bullpen. He’s appeared in 26 games this season, with 32 innings pitched and an ERA of 2.25. He has allowed 23 hits but just eight runs, eight earned runs and one home run.
In his 32 innings of work, Minor has struck out 33 batters.
While the Red Sox don’t necessarily need to add a talent like Minor to their bullpen, his addition would give the team another quality option. For a team that is hoping to make a strong playoff run, quality bullpen options have tremendous value. The question for Boston is whether or not the team views additional bullpen talent as worth the asking price.
Minor is under contract through the 2018 season, so he might not exactly come at a bargain.
Vargas and Gray Also Drawing Interest
Minor isn’t the only pitcher who is drawing trade interest from around the league. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Royals pitcher Jason Vargas and Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray are also inviting inquiries:
“Vargas has become the pitcher most asked about in trade discussions, according to a major league source. Right behind him is Oakland’s Sonny Gray. The Orioles need to come up with one of these two. Gray would be more costly in terms of prospects needed to acquire him. The feeling is that teams in need will have to step up well ahead of the trade deadline to land either.”
While Minor would help boost a bullpen, Vargas and Gray could aid a starting rotation. Right-hander Gray has started 10 games this season and has an ERA of 4.37. He’s 2-2 as a starter. Left-hander Vargas has started 12 games and has an ERA of just 2.18. He also boasts a strong 8-3 record.
Age is the reason teams may have to fork over more in order to acquire Gray. He won’t turn 28 until November and has just four seasons of wear and tear on his arm. Vargas, on the other hand, is 34 and has 11 seasons under his belt.
Of course, teams looking to bolster their pitching staff for a 2017 run are likely to gain more by acquiring Vargas. Keep an eye on both of these pitchers between now and the trade deadline.
Cain Could Also Be Moved
Another reason why Vargas could be relatively cheap to acquire is the fact that his current contract is up after the 2017 season. This is also one reason why the Royals could be willing to move him while they can still get value in return.
Outfielder Lorenzo Cain could also be placed on the trading block for this same reason. His contract is also up after this season. His value comes in defense, a batting average of over .260 and an on-base percentage just under .350.
Why would the Royals want to move players like Vargas, Minor and Cain? Well, it’s primarily because the team is sitting well below .500 and isn’t looking like it’s going to be a legitimate contender anytime soon. Cafardo explained the thought process last week:
“They will start listening to overtures for Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Vargas. There really is nothing else for them to do, and while they entered Friday only six games out of first place, they have a few teams to climb over and they can’t sign most of their free agents-to-be. The Royals’ window has come and gone. They got one World Series championship out of it.”
If Kansas City does indeed believe its window with the current roster is closing, then it makes sense to start selling ahead of the deadline. The team won’t have to completely rebuild, of course, but the focus moving forward is likely to involve adding some high-upside prospects to the young core players. Cain is 31 years old and won’t really fit that game plan.
Keep an eye on the Washington Nationals here. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Nationals were interested in acquiring Cain during the offseason
All contract information via Spotrac.com.
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