While plenty of MLB fans enjoy watching the All-Star Game, most know that the real excitement comes after the break, when the trade market begins to pick up. Teams with a shot at the postseason are looking to bolster their rosters with additional talent, while poorly performing teams are looking to unload contracts and add future assets.
With a little over a week until the official MLB trade deadline—4 p.m. ET on July 31—we’re entering a frenzied stretch of the trade season. Naturally, rumors and speculations are flying like pre-Derby Aaron Judge homers.
We’re here to examine the latest storylines and rumors surrounding baseball’s trade market as the deadline approaches.
Twins Might Not Be Close to Adding Jaime Garcia
The Minnesota Twins are jockeying for position with the Cleveland Indians atop the AL Central. A few key moves could be enough to get Minnesota past the defending National League champs and into the postseason with a division title.
Obviously, the Twins are in a buying mood. One player they’re looking to add is Atlanta Braves left-hander Jaime Garcia. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that a deal was close to completion:
However, the Twins might not actually be that close to acquiring Garcia. According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, talks are still ongoing:
“The Braves and Twins have had extensive discussions about a trade that would send left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia to Minnesota. But a Major League source said the two sides had not reached an agreement as of early Friday morning. There is still a chance the teams could complete a trade, but it appears ongoing talks will be necessary to reach an agreement on the players and money that would be exchanged.”
There is still a chance that trade talks break down and that Garcia ends up in a different uniform. It certainly doesn’t appear that he’ll finish the season in Atlanta. Bowman also reported that if a deal with Minnesota falls through, the Braves will look to trade Garcia elsewhere:
Teams Interested in Bautista
The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t in position to compete for a postseason berth, so we can consider them sellers. They’re apparently looking to move some pieces that might not be around in the future anyway.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Blue Jays are looking to trade impending free agents Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Smith:
However, Crasnick also reports that Estrada, Liriano and Smith aren’t the players Toronto has been getting calls about. Instead, the Jays are getting “feelers” about 13-year veteran Jose Bautista:
Crasnick’s wording suggests that teams are interested in Bautista but are looking to gauge the asking price before the trade deadline. If a team can acquire him for the right price—and can convince Bautista to join up—then a deal would make sense for a contending team.
Bautista had 16 homers and 43 RBI heading into Friday, and he’d add a strong right-handed bat to a team looking for power help. The problem is that a team would have to convince Bautista to leave Toronto, where he’s played since 2008.
Bautista has the ability to veto any trade because he’s played at least 10 years in the league and five with his current club. If he doesn’t want to leave Toronto in the middle of the season, he doesn’t have to.
If the Blue Jays don’t want Bautista to stick around, though, he could be gone after the season. There’s a $17 million mutual option in his contract that Toronto doesn’t have to pick up next season. This could play a factor in any decision Bautista makes.
Joining a contender now could make sense if he believes he’s going to be looking for a new home in the offseason anyway.
Rangers Looking into Darvish Deal
The Texas Rangers find themselves in an unenviable position. They’re not quite out of the wild-card race, but some recent losing has the team on a downswing. More losses could put Texas out of the playoff picture.
Right now, the Rangers appear to be weighing their options before the trade deadline. Trading away significant pieces now would essentially be giving up on the year, but the team isn’t going to have the opportunity to do so after the end of the month.
With this in mind, the Rangers are looking into the possibility of dealing pitcher Yu Darvish. They aren’t committed to moving Darvish, but they do appear interested in gauging his value.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports recently explained:
“The Rangers are not committed to dealing Darvish, the 30-year-old right-hander who immediately would become the market’s most coveted asset.
At the same time, rival executives believe the Rangers are nearing the point where their struggles could force them to strongly consider doing so. Even if Darvish’s impending free agency would prevent the Rangers from receiving a blockbuster return, rental players of his ilk carry enormous value, and Texas is taking the proper step gauging just how valuable he is.”
It would make sense to move Darvish if the Rangers believe they don’t have a shot at the postseason. As Passan points out, Darvish is in the final year of his current contract. If Texas doesn’t move him before the deadline, they could lose him and get nothing in return.
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