The 2017 MLB non-waiver trade deadline is closing in fast. If teams are looking to make moves, they’re going to have to do so before 4 p.m. ET on July 31.
Of course, there is no shortage of teams looking to make moves. There are plenty of teams still in the postseason mix who would love to bolster their rosters before the trade deadline. Plenty of other teams are outside the playoff race and looking to take advantage as sellers. All of this should add up to quite a bit of trade-market action in the coming days.
We’re here to examine some of the latest trade rumors as we count down the days to the MLB deadline.
Dodgers Confident They Can Land Verlander or Other Pitching Target
The Los Angeles Dodgers are already poised to make the postseason and make a serious run once the team gets there. The team has already surpassed the 70-win mark and has a major lead in the NL West. However, this doesn’t mean L.A. isn’t interested in strengthening its roster even more.
The obvious move for the team to make right now is an addition to the starting pitching rotation. Star Clayton Kershaw was recently added to the disabled list—though the team does expect him back by September, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.
Adding a quality starting pitcher would help fill in the gap until Kershaw‘s return and would potentially help strengthen the rotation heading into the playoffs. Naturally, the Dodgers have shown interest in the big names on the trade market—Justin Verlander, Sonny Gray and Yu Darvish.
According to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network, the Dodgers are confident they can acquire one of those three:
There are obstacles to acquiring any of these pitchers. The Texas Rangers are still in the wild-card race and may decide to hang on to Darvish. The Dodgers may face competition from the New York Yankees in a market for Gray.
According to Bob Klapisch of USA Today, the Yankees are actually the front-runners for Gray:
The obstacle with Verlander is money. 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. Would the Dodgers be willing to pay that? If it nets them a championship, perhaps.
Verlander hasn’t been the dominating force this season he has in years past—5-7 with a 4.50 ERA—but he still carries a bit of an intimidation factor. Opposing teams probably wouldn’t be too keen about facing both Kershaw and Verlander in succession in a postseason series.
Rockies Interested in Lucroy
Like the Rangers, the Colorado Rockies are in position to make a run at a wild-card slot. Instead of considering selling off capital, the Rockies are looking to add pieces and make a run. They recently acquired reliever Pat Neshek from the Philadelphia Phillies and could be looking to make more moves.
According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, the Rockies are eying Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy:
Lucroy has had a down season as a hitter, with just four home runs and a batting average of .245. However, he could make sense for the Rockies, who haven’t had much power from the catcher position this year. If a change of scenery helps Lucroy return to form—he knocked 24 homers last season—then Colorado wins. If it doesn’t, the Rockies aren’t really missing out on much.
Lucroy has braced himself for a potential move.
“This is the third time dealing with it,” Lucroy said, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “One time I wasn’t traded and one time I was. And I knew it could be a possibility again if we didn’t play well.”
Lucroy is more expendable than a player like Darvish even if the Rangers are looking to make a push at the postseason. Don’t be surprised if he’s in a Colorado uniform by next week.
Marlins Open to Moving Straily
Darvish, Gray and Verlander might be the biggest names on the pitching trade market, but they aren’t the only ones.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Miami Marlins are interested in moving starting pitcher Dan Straily:
The right-handed Straily has a record of 7-6 this season to go with 107 strikeouts and a 3.84 ERA. For teams that can’t or aren’t willing to obtain a guy like Darvish or Verlander, Straily should be an enticing option.
One team that appears to be interested in him is the Kansas City Royals, per Nightengale:
Kansas City is only a couple games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, so it makes sense for the team to be in a buying mood before the deadline. Miami, meanwhile, is 14 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East race. While the Marlins are not likely to part with any core players, moving a guy like Straily makes sense.
Straily was acquired earlier this season from the Cincinnati Reds.
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