As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.
Trade candidate Syndergaard placed on DL
July 22: The Mets announced Sunday that Noah Syndergaard will be placed on the 10-day disabled list after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease. While the Mets don't expect Syndergaard to be out long, the ailment could reduce the already slim chances he had of being dealt. The right-hander won't be eligible to return from the DL until July 31 -- the same day as the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Listen: Morning Lineup Podcast discusses the trade market heating up
Syndergaard experienced a notable dip in velocity near the end of Friday's start against the Yankees, and he described having a "dead arm" feeling in his postgame comments. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco and manager Mickey Callaway both cited the illness as a possible underlying cause.
The right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 83 strikeouts and 15 walks this season, posting strikeout and walk rates roughly in line with his outstanding career marks. He was sidelined just over a month earlier this season with an injury to a finger on his pitching hand after missing much of last year with a torn right lat.
Per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Twitter, Zack Wheeler remains the most likely Mets starter to be traded before the non-waiver Deadline. Although the Mets will continue to engage teams on Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard, they see the offseason as a better time to deal both because they are seeking Major League talent in return, and contenders typically don't want to subtract from their MLB roster in the midst of a postseason race.
Hamels to start Monday amid swirling trade rumors
July 22: Cole Hamels has been the subject of intense trade speculation in recent weeks, but he doesn't appear close to changing teams just yet. According to a report from MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan on Sunday, Hamels will start for the Rangers against the Athletics in Texas on Monday.
With his future in question, Hamels has struggled recently, going 1-2 with a 9.53 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP over his last four starts. He's 5-8 with a 4.36 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 rate in 19 starts overall this season.
The 34-year-old southpaw is making $23.5 million this year and has a $20 million team option for next year along with a $6 million buyout. He also has a partial no-trade clause, although he'd likely waive it to join a contender. In a relatively thin market for pitchers this summer, Hamels is one of the more attractive arms for teams in need of starting pitching, including the Yankees, Mariners, Phillies and Red Sox.
Field of interested teams 'expanding' for Britton; trade to come this week?
July 22: According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman via Twitter, the field of teams pursuing Orioles closer Zach Britton is "expanding," with the Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, Braves, Rockies and Brewers among those in the mix. The Phillies and Red Sox have also been linked to Britton. A deal could come quickly, as a source told The Athletic (subscription required) that the O's would ideally like to conclude negotiations by the middle of this week.
Former MLB general manager Jim Bowden reports that the Astros are "all in" on Britton. Houston nearly acquired the southpaw at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last season, but Baltimore reportedly backed out of the deal due to medical concerns about some of the players it was receiving in return. Per Bowden, last year's situation will have "no impact" on the current discussions between the Astros and Orioles.
The Cubs have been mentioned as a contender for Britton in multiple reports, with sources telling The Athletic (subscription required) that the club remains "deeply involved" in trade discussions regarding Britton, and Bruce Levine of 670 The Score naming the Cubs as a "main player" for the O's closer.
Per a tweet from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Dodgers and Braves aren't quite as "engaged" in Britton trade discussions as other teams, as Los Angeles has luxury tax concerns and Atlanta is hesitant to trade high-end prospects for a rental player. In an earlier tweet, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal noted that the Dodgers will "almost certainly" need to purge salary to remain under the luxury-tax threshold if they trade for Britton, who is still owed more than $4.5 million this season. More >
Video: Zach Britton among best left-handed relievers?
A's interested in Fiers
July 22: The A's made a major statement about their status as American League contenders by acquiring reliever Jeurys Familia from the Mets. And they're not done yet. The club would like to upgrade its starting rotation, and is interested in Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers, although serious discussions have yet to begin, sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
The A's have used 12 different starting pitchers this year, and of the season-opening rotation -- Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Daniel Gossett and Andrew Triggs -- only Manaea is still on the active roster.
Fiers has a 3.00 ERA over his last 14 starts, while averaging exactly six innings per outing. He's become one of the most attractive starting pitchers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, along with J.A. Happ and Nathan Eovaldi.
Fiers is scheduled to have one more season of arbitration eligibility in 2019 before becoming a free agent. He signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Tigers before the season.
Despite struggles, Gray likely staying put
July 22: There has been some speculation that the Yankees might try to move Sonny Gray at the Trade Deadline, but Fancred's Jon Heyman reported Sunday that New York is more likely to hang on to the struggling right-hander. Per Heyman's report, the Yankees are interested in adding starting pitching rather than trading it away, as they've been linked to several available arms on the trade market, including Toronto's J.A. Happ.
Some believe Gray, who spent his first 4 1/2 seasons with Oakland before being dealt to New York last year, could use a change of scenery to a smaller market. The 28-year-old has struggled at Yankee Stadium this year, posting a 7.62 ERA with a 1.89 WHIP in nine home starts. The Yankees may be hopeful he can turn his season around, however, after winning his two most recent starts. Gray is also under contract through 2019, so New York might prefer to wait and see if he can adjust to pitching in the Big Apple with more experience.
Bundy, Gausman, Schoop drawing trade interest
July 22: Though Zach Britton is looking like the next Orioles player to go after Manny Machado was dealt to the Dodgers on Wednesday, Baltimore still has a number of attractive trade candidates beyond the southpaw, including right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, the O's have been receiving inquiries about all three, with the Brewers asking about Schoop and Gausman, the Yankees checking in on Gausman and the Braves expressing interest in Bundy, Gausman and Schoop.
Bundy, Gausman and Schoop are all under team control beyond this season, so the Orioles don't face the same urgency to trade them as they did with Machado and do with Britton, Brad Brach and Adam Jones. In fact, Gausman is controllable through 2020, and Bundy through '21.
Of course, the O's should be able to get significant returns for the two right-handers because of that control, and it may behoove the club to trade both now with its rebuilding period likely to last several years.
Schoop, meanwhile, can become a free agent after the '19 season. Baltimore would be selling low on him, as he is hitting just .229 with 11 homers and a .656 OPS in 78 games this year after making the American League All-Star team in '17.
Royals reportedly have lofty asking price for Merrifield
July 22: After missing out on Manny Machado, the Brewers are still exploring ways to improve their offense. Among the options they're considering? Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, according to Robert Murray of The Athletic (subscription required). But as was the case with Machado, the cost to acquire Merrifield won't be cheap.
"A lot," a rival executive said of what it would take to pry Merrifield (controllable through 2022, earning $569,500 this season) from Kansas City. "Under control and cheap for multiple years. Three higher-end prospects, at least."
"Top 10-15 prospect plus 1-2 younger, upside players," another exec said. "I think it takes an intriguing headliner."
The Brewers were believed to be one of the three finalists for Machado, along with the Dodgers and the Phillies, but they reportedly weren't willing to part with second baseman Keston Hiura (Milwaukee's No. 1 prospect, No. 30 overall, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect, No. 55 overall) or righty Freddy Peralta (Milwaukee's No. 9 prospect).
Per Murray, the "belief around baseball" is that Milwaukee won't trade Hiura. However, the club might be more open to including Burnes or Peralta in a deal for a non-rental player such as Merrifield than it was for Machado, who is set to become a free agent at the end of this season.
Second base has been a weak spot all year for the Brewers, who entered Sunday with a .642 OPS at the position. Merrifield, meanwhile, has recorded a .795 mark.
Marlins and Rays arms drawing trade interest
July 22: Teams in need of pitching help are looking to the Marlins and Rays, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported Sunday. According to Frisaro's report, at least a dozen scouts were spotted at this weekend's three-game series between the two clubs at Tropicana Field. Marlins closer Kyle Barraclough and lefty reliever Adam Conley have been getting the most attention, while Dan Straily -- who started Friday and has logged five straight quality starts -- could also be an option for teams in need of rotation help. Brad Ziegler, who opened the season as Miami's closer and will be a free agent this winter, is available as well.
Frisaro noted that the Marlins' asking price for Barraclough and Conley is high, as both have yet to reach arbitration. Straily, the team's most consistent starter over the past several seasons, has yet to reach arbitration as well. Miami is also seeking a large return for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, although the club may opt to keep him in the hopes of negotiating a contract extension this winter. Realmuto, 27, still has two seasons to go before reaching free agency.
The Rays, meanwhile, have been getting a lot of interest in starters Chris Archer and Nathan Eovaldi. Scouts were able to catch a glimpse of both this weekend, as Eovaldi tossed six innings of one-run ball Friday and Archer fanned 13 over six innings Sunday. Eovaldi has been solid in 10 starts since opening the season on the disabled list, registering a 4.26 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and a 6.6 K/BB ratio over 57 innings. Archer has also battled injuries this year, but has a 4.30 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 90 innings. On Saturday, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that Archer is drawing "significant interest" on the trade market.
Video: Chris Archer a steady source of strikeouts for Rays
Huntington: Pirates would 'love to add' at Trade Deadline
July 22: The Pirates were seemingly en route to be Trade Deadline sellers two weeks ago, but the club has ripped off an 11-1 stretch -- including nine wins in a row -- to potentially change its plans.
According to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington addressed the club's recent success and what it could mean for the July 31 non-waiver Deadline on his radio show Sunday.
"We would love to add," Huntington said. "If there's something out there that makes sense and makes us better, we're absolutely open to that."
With their recent winning streak, the Pirates have pulled to within eight games of the first-place Cubs (4 1/2 behind the Brewers) in the National League Central and are just four games out in the NL Wild Card race.
As a result, it's looking like potential trade candidates such as Corey Dickerson, Felipe Vazquez, Ivan Nova, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, David Freese and Francisco Cervelli could be staying with Pittsburgh beyond July 31. And they might just be joined by some reinforcements if the Pirates continue their winning ways.
Olney: Cabrera could be next Met to move
July 22: Though recently moved closer Jeurys Familia and the Mets' starting rotation have drawn much intrigue leading up to the Trade Deadline, the buzz around veteran infielder Asdrubal Cabrera has steadily grown among teams that could either use an upgrade in the infield or clubs that might value Cabrera's positional flexibility in the stretch run and into the postseason.
According to reports by ESPN's Buster Olney, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand and Matt Ehalt of The Record, the Brewers, Indians, Phillies, D-backs and Mariners are among the teams that are believed to have expressed interest in the 32-year-old, who has exclusively played second for the Mets this season but also saw time at third last year and spent several seasons as Cleveland's primary shortstop earlier in his career.
Teams like the Indians (Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez) and Mariners (Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, Kyle Seager) have established starters in the infield that wouldn't be displaced by Cabrera, but there's plenty of Ben Zobrist-like value that Cabrera could provide to such clubs with his veteran bat and positional versatility that could prove valuable in the postseason. The Brewers, D-backs and Phillies have clear needs in the infield.
The switch-hitting Cabrera is slashing .280/.332/.487 this season with 17 homers and 53 RBIs, and is on pace for his eighth consecutive season of at least 135 games played.
Tigers may look to move Iglesias
July 22: Five years after the Red Sox dealt him to the Tigers as part of a three-team trade for Jake Peavy, Jose Iglesias may be on the move at the Trade Deadline once again. Following a slow start to the season, Iglesias has enhanced his trade value over the past several months by batting .295/.325/.421 since April 13. The slick-fielding shortstop has also been more aggressive on the bases this year, nabbing a career-high 12 steals.
For teams that missed out on Manny Machado, Iglesias could provide an upgrade on the left side of the infield. Iglesias has logged time at third base and second base in the past as well, so he could have value as a utility infielder. The 28-year-old will be a free agent after this season, which might lead Detroit to shop Iglesias in the coming days.
Red Sox scouting Twins, Royals
July 21: Red Sox senior vice president of player personnel Frank Wren was in attendance at Friday's Twins-Royals game in Kansas City, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
It's unclear which players the Red Sox were scouting, but both teams are sellers leading up to the Trade Deadline. Minnesota's Brian Dozier and Kansas City's Whit Merrifield would both be fits in Boston with second baseman Dustin Pedroia possibly out for the rest of the season with left knee inflammation. The Red Sox are also pursuing bullpen help and could be interested in Twins relievers Fernando Rodney and Zach Duke.
Boston may be targeting Kansas City's Mike Moustakas as well after being linked to Manny Machado. In return, the Red Sox could offer 21-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers, who was activated from the disabled list on Saturday. Devers, who had been sidelined since July 11 with left shoulder inflammation, is hitting .241/.292/.424 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs in 89 games this year.
White Sox unlikely to deal Abreu
July 21: Despite some interest from the Astros, the White Sox appear unlikely to move All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, according to a report by USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
MLB.com's Richard Justice had previously reported that Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow was looking to add a big-name bat before the Trade Deadline, and that Abreu was among the players that Houston was exploring.
But the great value that the White Sox reportedly place in Abreu's clubhouse presence, his influence over many of the team's young players and the plethora of top talent in the upper levels of Chicago's Minor League system could have been factors in the organization's inclination to hold on to Abreu, who is under team control through 2019.
The Astros have also been connected to Orioles closer Zach Britton, and they were believed to be discussing Rays catcher Wilson Ramos before he went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain earlier this week.
Video: Justice on Astros' interest in Abreu, Archer rumors