As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.
Nationals could 'revisit' Realmuto
July 15: The Nationals were believed to have moved on from Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto due to Miami's lofty asking price, but league sources say that Washington could "revisit" its pursuit of the backstop, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for Fancred Sports.
Some think the Nats might consider including top prospect Victor Robles (No. 5 overall, per MLB Pipeline) in a package for Realmuto, who will start at catcher for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
Per Heyman, the Marlins have long sought Robles and/or infielder Carter Kieboom (Washington's No. 2 prospect, No. 62 overall) from the Nationals, who discussed Realmuto with Miami in the offseason and reached out again several weeks ago but have been unwilling to include the aforementioned prospects to this point.
The Nationals have also been connected to Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, who played in Washington from 2010-16, but Ramos suffered a left hamstring injury Saturday and will miss the All-Star Game.
Cardinals could sell if struggles continue after All-Star break
July 15: The Cardinals picked up a win in their final game before the All-Star break after dismissing manager Mike Matheny on Saturday, but if their recent struggles continue to begin the second half, the expectation is that St. Louis will "seriously consider selling," according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
And if that happens, the Cardinals could shake up the starting pitcher market in a big way by making right-hander Carlos Martinez available.
As Sherman notes, St. Louis' strength is young arms, so the club could use Martinez to address other problems on the roster. Per Sherman, outside executives believe the Cardinals can get peak value for Martinez in a market lacking an ace. The 26-year-old is in the second year of a five-year, $51 million contract with team options for 2022 ($17 million) and 2023 ($18 million).
The Cardinals will enter the All-Star break with a 48-46 record, 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs in the National League Central (five games behind the second-placed Brewers) and four games out in the NL Wild Card race. They'll open the second half with eight games on the road, including five at Wrigley Field.
Could Reds move Gennett?
July 15: Scooter Gennett has made it known that he wants to remain with the Reds -- and based on his conversations with the front office, shared in an MLB.com exclusive, he expects to remain with the club past the Deadline -- but the two sides haven't spoken much about a contract extension, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal for FOX Sports.
Gennett -- a first-time All-Star this season -- has emerged as a surprising force in Cincinnati's lineup after being claimed off waivers from the Brewers in March 2017, batting .309/.356/.529 with 43 homers and 159 RBIs in 232 games in a Reds uniform.
Gennett is in the midst of a career year, and the Reds could look to sell high on the 28-year-old, who is under team control for one more season. Entering Sunday, the left-handed slugger led the National League at his position in batting average and OPS while ranking second in RBIs and fourth in runs and homers.
Cincinnati has infielder Nick Senzel -- the No. 4 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline -- waiting in the wings, giving the team some incentive to move Gennett, especially if it meant upgrading a pitching staff that currently ranks 13th in the NL with a 4.67 ERA. However, Senzel would be unable to provide immediate help, considering he underwent season-ending surgery in late June to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger.
Video: Scooter Gennett continues to amaze in 2018
D-backs seeking starting pitcher
July 15: The D-backs are in the market for a starting pitcher, according to reporter Robert Murray, recently of FanRag sports. Arizona's starting rotation, which entered Sunday ranked ninth in the National League with a 4.09 ERA, currently consists of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Patrick Corbin and Zack Godley. The No. 5 slot is open for now, with Clay Buchholz (strained left oblique) and Shelby Miller (right elbow inflammation) on the disabled list.
Greinke and Corbin have provided the D-backs with an excellent one-two punch -- entering Sunday with a combined 3.14 ERA in 39 starts -- but both Godley (4.61 ERA) and Ray (5.03 ERA) have struggled in 2018 after strong '17 campaigns.
There are several viable starters likely to be available leading up to the Deadline, including the Rangers' Cole Hamels and the Blue Jays' J.A. Happ, or Arizona could choose to make a bigger splash by acquiring an ace like the Mets' Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard.
Olney: NL teams at 'forefront' of Familia trade talks
July 15: With all the talk surrounding Mets starters Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, closer Jeurys Familia has flown under the radar. But Familia remains one of the best relievers available, and ESPN's Buster Olney reports via Twitter that a number of National League teams "appear to be at the forefront" of trade discussions for the impending free agent.
Olney mentions the Phillies and Giants as two of the clubs that are interested, though he notes Philadelphia may wait until its talks with the Orioles regarding Manny Machado and Zach Britton are resolved before honing in on Familia. The Braves, Cubs and Dodgers are also among the NL contenders that could use help in the bullpen.
Familia is peaking at the right time, tossing seven straight scoreless appearances with one hit allowed to open July after posting a 6.94 ERA with a 2.31 WHIP from May 23 through the end of June.
Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers leading race for Machado
July 15: MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Saturday that the Dodgers and Phillies were in the lead when it came to the pursuit of Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado, and according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman via Twitter, the Brewers "appear" to have joined them in that category.
Heyman reports that Milwaukee has made "a good offer" for Machado, while noting that the Yankees and Indians are still in the mix "but perhaps behind" in a "fluid" situation. According to the New York Post, the Yankees are unwilling to part with the organization's top 10 prospects in a deal for Machado, and are more focused on fortifying the starting rotation.
The Baltimore Sun also reports that the Dodgers, Phillies and Brewers are in the lead for Machado, noting that "the gap between those teams is currently too close to call."
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported Saturday that the Phillies, who had previously viewed the O's asking price as too high, were ramping up their push for Machado as they look to build their lead in the National League East.
Per Morosi, the Phillies are believed to be more willing to include right-hander Adonis Medina (Philadelphia's No. 2 prospect, No. 74 overall) than the Dodgers are to give up righty Dustin May (Los Angeles' No. 10 prospect), which could make the difference as the Orioles weigh their offers. More >
While Philadelphia could use an upgrade on the left side of the infield, and Los Angeles is without star shortstop Corey Seager for the season due to Tommy John surgery, Milwaukee's injury issues -- Ryan Braun and Eric Thames are on the disabled list -- make a lineup upgrade a priority as they continue to jockey with the Cubs for the top spot in the National League Central.
Video: O'Dowd, Nelson discuss the Manny Machado sweepstakes
All eyes on Syndergaard in his return
July 14: Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard would be the prizes of the starting pitching market if the Mets decided to trade either of their two aces. So it's no surprise that Syndergaard was being heavily scouted on his return from the disabled list Friday at Citi Field.
On hand to watch the flamethrowing right-hander were the Yankees, Mariners and Cubs, among others, according to the New York Post's Ken Davidoff. All three are contending teams that could benefit greatly from adding a frontline starter to their rotation. One scout told Davidoff that Syndergaard flashed "a pretty good power selection" on Friday night.
Syndergaard was solid, if a little rusty, in his first start since late May after missing nearly two months with a strained ligament in his right index finger. He held the Nationals to a run in five innings, and his fastball reached as high as 99.7 mph. Thor now has a 2.97 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings this season.
If teams are convinced Syndergaard can stay healthy -- he's missed significant time in each of the last two years -- his dominant stuff would make him very highly sought-after as the Deadline nears. Syndergaard is also only 25 and controllable through 2021. But those same factors might convince the Mets to hold onto Syndergaard, and any deal to land him would likely have to blow the Mets away.
In fact, some contending teams continue to think the Mets will not move their top two arms -- especially deGrom, but maybe not Syndergaard, either. In a report from the New York Post's Joel Sherman on Saturday, one executive said that the Mets "are entering this trade market with the most valuable pieces and are opting to sit on the sideline," while another said that "the way they are saying they will only move their top starters [deGrom and Syndergaard] for a truckload is just another way of saying they are not trading them."
Could Yankees, Tigers come together on Fulmer?
July 14: The Yankees are in the market for a starting pitcher, and the Tigers have one of the better options available in Michael Fulmer. But will the two clubs be able to come together to strike a deal?
According to a report from The Athletic's Marc Carig on Friday, the Tigers' asking price for Fulmer has been high -- the right-hander is just 25 and controllable through 2022 -- and the Yankees haven't done anything more than inquire about his availability.
But they have at least been keeping their eye on Fulmer, and the Tigers have been doing the same with the Yankees. Detroit had a scout at Progressive Field for Thursday night's Yankees-Indians game, as the New York Post's George A. King III reported.
One player from the Yankees that might interest Detroit is highly touted young outfielder Clint Frazier. According to The Athletic's Katie Strang, "It is believed that the Tigers are looking for an impact bat to be a centerpiece of any deal for Fulmer." The 23-year-old Frazier has been floated as a potential trade candidate because of the Yankees' slew of outfielders; he's been squeezed out of playing time by Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks.
Video: Jon Morosi talks about Trade Deadline possibilities
Iglesias wants to stay in Cincinnati
July 14: Reds closer Raisel Iglesias could be one of the most in-demand relievers at the Trade Deadline. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 2.41 ERA, 19 saves and 45 strikeouts in 41 innings this season. He's on a team-friendly seven-year, $27 million contract that runs through 2020. Plus, he's controllable for an additional season after that, through 2021.
But if it were up to him, Iglesias wouldn't be going anywhere. Addressing trade rumors on Saturday, he said he wants to stay in Cincinnati.
"I'm not paying attention at all to that," Iglesias said via translator Julio Morillo. "I want to stay here. I don't want to go anywhere else, but I don't control that. If I could control it, I would stay here and play here for all of my career."
Multiple contending teams could be looking for bullpen help at the Deadline -- like the Indians, whose bullpen has struggled this year especially as Andrew Miller has missed extended time due to injury, or the Astros, who just sent Ken Giles to Triple-A this week. According to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, the Astros' front office is believed to think "very highly" of Iglesias. More >
Wheeler's trade stock continues to rise
July 14: While the Mets' asking price for Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard pushes interested teams away, Zack Wheeler is becoming a more attractive alternative with each start.
Although his outing vs. the Nationals on Saturday ended on a sour note as he allowed three runs in the eighth, Wheeler shut down Washington over the first seven frames and set a season high with 7 2/3 innings pitched to earn his first win since April.
Since the outset of June, Wheeler has recorded a 3.61 ERA in 57 1/3 innings spanning nine starts. He has bumped his average four-seam fastball velocity over 96 mph in that stretch after averaging 94.8 mph with the pitch in his first nine games this season.
But as his stock continues to rise, Wheeler may also be decreasing the Mets' interest in trading him. According to a tweet from Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets are "on the fence" about whether they will move the right-hander, who is under control through 2019.
Angels, Yanks might be Deadline partners
July 14: The Yankees are casting a wide net in their search for starting pitching upgrades. Sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Saturday that the Yankees have recently been scouting Angels games, in case the Halos decide to become sellers before the Deadline.
New York is eyeing two Angels starters in particular: left-handers Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney.
The Yankees and Angels could be a good match as trade partners. Angels general manager Billy Eppler was the Yankees' assistant GM prior to taking the Angels job, where he worked with Yankees GM Brian Cashman in the New York front office.
Skaggs and Heaney (Skaggs especially) have both had solid seasons. The 27-year-old Skaggs, who is controllable through 2020, has a 2.57 ERA in 17 starts, with 105 strikeouts in 98 innings. Heaney, also 27, is controllable through 2021. He has a 3.84 ERA in 16 starts, with 96 strikeouts in 96 innings.
As Morosi notes, the Angels will likely require multiple MLB-ready players to trade either pitcher, as the club has no interest in starting a rebuild with Mike Trout signed for only two more seasons after this one. More >
What are Phillies' options beyond Machado?
If the Phillies aren't able to land Manny Machado, what might they do? According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal for FOX Sports, Philadelphia will still look to upgrade the left side of its infield, and could make a bid for Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who could share the role with current third baseman Maikel Franco. The left side would then have Franco/Beltre at third, and rookies Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford (currently on the disabled list) at shortstop.
Though he went 0-for-3 with a walk in Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Marlins, Franco has been hitting well of late following a slow start to the season. Entering play Saturday, he was slashing .359/.419/.615 in July. Kingery went 2-for-4 on Saturday, and is hitting .236/.282/.339 with four homers and eight steals this season. Crawford, sidelined with a broken left hand from being hit by a pitch, is hitting .194/.312/.333 with two home runs in 34 games this season.
With All-Star backstops drawing trade interest, Ramos leaves with hamstring issue
July 14: With the catching market seemingly on the verge of heating up, one of the backstops drawing the most interest -- the Rays' Wilson Ramos -- left Saturday's game with left hamstring tightness. He won't be able to play in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
A number of contenders have shown interest in Ramos and NL All-Star J.T. Realmuto, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The Astros, Nationals, Red Sox and Phillies are among the teams who could be looking for help behind the plate.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Thursday that the Astros have been in contact with the Rays regarding Ramos, while MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted in an article for Fancred Sports that some believe Houston will ultimately make a play for Realmuto.
Realmuto will surely cost more than Ramos, as he is under control through 2020, while Ramos can become a free agent after this season. Per Feinsand, the Pirates' Francisco Cervelli, who is set to earn $11.5 million in 2019, could be another attractive trade target for catcher-needy clubs. More >
Will Braves trade for relief help with Vizcaino back on DL?
July 14: Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation again Saturday, less than two weeks after returning from his previous DL stint.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported earlier this month that Atlanta was targeting controllable relievers in a trade, and Vizcaino's latest setback may only hasten the club's pursuit of a bullpen arm.
The Braves' bullpen entered Saturday with a 4.29 ERA, ranking 19th in the Majors, and many of their key relievers are inexperienced. Meanwhile, Vizcaino has an extensive injury history, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012 and dealing with right shoulder inflammation in '16 and '18.
Britton's market picking up
July 14: The Orioles would prefer to trade Manny Machado and Zach Britton in separate deals, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal for FOX Sports. Rosenthal reports Baltimore feels the return for the pair would be greater if they weren't packaged together -- for example, the Astros have been interested in Britton, but are not in the market for a shortstop/third baseman.
There has been rejuvenated interest of late in the 30-year-old left-hander, who has made 14 appearances for the Orioles this season after returning from an Achilles injury. Though he got off to a rough start, Britton has not given up a run over his last six outings (six innings), while walking two and striking out six.
Britton has shown a dramatic increase in his velocity on his sinker-slider combo in the past week alone. His sinker velocity averaged at least 95 mph over his most recent three outings entering Saturday, according to Statcast™ -- well up from the 93 mph he was showing when he first returned.
"He's getting a lot more sink on his ball, and that's what makes him an elite pitcher," O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said on Buster Olney's Baseball Tonight podcast. "Not just the velocity, but the movement and the sink within the strike zone. He had back to back saves against the Yanks ... I think that's when teams recognized that Zach Britton is back, and he can be a force in a pennant race for somebody."
A free agent after this season, Britton has a 3.95 ERA over 14 outings, but that mark has been ballooned due to a four-run showing against the Braves on June 22. He's thrown a scoreless outing in 12 of his other 13 appearances. And it was only last summer that Britton set an American League record with 55 consecutive saves converted. In '16, he generated significant consideration for the AL Cy Young Award, posting a 0.54 ERA in 69 appearances.
The Phillies have been the club most notably linked to the left-hander of late, according to a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia. The Phils have a throng of promising arms in their bullpen, though many lack postseason experience. Adam Morgan, who sports a 5.18 ERA, is the club's only other left-handed reliever.