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Trade Talk: Yanks, McCutchen, Murphy, Harper

MLB.com

The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, but the transaction wire could stay hot ahead of Aug. 31. That date is important because clubs acquiring new players via trade must have those players on their 40-man roster by then in order for that player (or players) to be eligible for its postseason roster. Teams can acquire players after Sept. 1, but those players would not be eligible to play with that team in the playoffs. 

Throughout August, it's not uncommon for high-profile players to be placed on waivers. In fact, most clubs will place a sizable portion of their Major League roster on waivers to gauge interest for their talent ahead of the offseason. 

The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, but the transaction wire could stay hot ahead of Aug. 31. That date is important because clubs acquiring new players via trade must have those players on their 40-man roster by then in order for that player (or players) to be eligible for its postseason roster. Teams can acquire players after Sept. 1, but those players would not be eligible to play with that team in the playoffs. 

Throughout August, it's not uncommon for high-profile players to be placed on waivers. In fact, most clubs will place a sizable portion of their Major League roster on waivers to gauge interest for their talent ahead of the offseason. 

When a waiver claim is placed, the player's original club has three options:
• Work out a standard trade with the claiming club within 48 hours
• Allow the player -- and all money remaining on his contract -- to go to the claiming club with no return
• Pull the player back off waivers

A player who is pulled back off waivers can be placed on trade waivers a second time, but at that point the waiver request becomes irrevocable. If a player passes through waivers unclaimed, he can then be traded to any club, free of restriction (though all 40-man-roster players in the trade must clear waivers before being dealt).

Glossary: Trade Waivers & Aug. 31 'Deadline'

With that in mind, here is the latest trade buzz:

Will Yankees trade for bat with Judge, Sanchez, Didi on DL?
Aug. 21: MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted Thursday in an article for Fancred Sports that the Yankees sit just a few million dollars below the luxury-tax threshold and are reserving that money "in case there are any more rotation solutions that crop up." However, New York's offense might be a more pressing issue.

Right fielder Aaron Judge still hasn't started a hitting progression as he recovers from a fractured right wrist, and shortstop Didi Gregorius (bruised left heel) joined Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez (right groin strain) on the disabled list Tuesday. Sanchez is nearing his return, but it remains to be seen what type of impact he'll have, as he owns an underwhelming .188/.283/.416 slash line this season.

The problem for the Yankees is that there aren't many attractive trade options given the club's low waiver priority, as MLB Network insider Joel Sherman outlined in an article for the New York Post.

"We have claimed a lot of guys, but we have not been eligible on anybody," general manager Brian Cashman said.

The Nationals' Daniel Murphy would have been a great fit for the Yanks, but he was reportedly claimed off revocable waivers by another unknown team.

Sherman also notes that the Yankees aren't likely to pursue controllable players, as they will cost more to acquire than those on expiring contracts. Controllable players who have cleared waivers include Justin Smoak, C.J. Cron and Wilmer Flores.

That leaves the Yankees to choose from the likes of Adam Jones, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Logan Forsythe, who have all cleared waivers as well, but New York has shown no inclination that it is planning to zero in on any of them, according to Sherman.

McCutchen on the move by the end of the week?
Aug. 21: The Giants have placed right fielder Andrew McCutchen on revocable waivers, according to The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly. San Francisco had been hanging around in the NL West and NL Wild Card races into the second half of the season, but following a sweep at the hands of the Reds in Cincinnati over the weekend, the deficit within the division ballooned to eight games entering play Monday, and 7 1/2 games in the Wild Card standings. According to Baggarly, there is a "very good chance [McCutchen] is wearing another uniform by the end of the week."

McCutchen, 31, entered Monday hitting .257/.354/.417 with 14 home runs and 10 steals for the Giants this season. The five-time All-Star and 2013 NL Most Valuable Player is in his 10th Major League season, and since enduring a steep dropoff in performance in 2016 with the Pirates (104 OPS+), has posted a 117 OPS+ for Pittsburgh and San Francisco since.

Tweet from @extrabaggs: Not surprising given the way #sfgiants played in Cincinnati, but I���m hearing Andrew McCutchen has been placed on revocable waivers. Very good chance he is wearing another uniform by the end of the week.

Harper, Murphy, Adams reportedly claimed off revocable waivers
Aug. 21: The Nationals have placed Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams, Mark Reynolds, Matt Wieters and Gio Gonzalez on revocable waivers, and at least Harper, Murphy and Adams were claimed, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post.

Tweet from @jorgecastillo: Here's at least a partial list of the players the Nationals placed on revocable waivers, per source: Murphy, Harper, Adams, Reynolds, Wieters, and Gonzalez. At least Murphy, Harper, and Adams were claimed.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman initially reported Monday that Murphy had been claimed by an unknown team that wasn't the Yankees.

All of the aforementioned players can become free agents this offseason, and many saw the 2018 campaign as one of the last remaining years in the Nationals' current window for title contention.

General manager Mike Rizzo publicly declared at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline that Harper was "not going anywhere" and that he believed in his team, but the Nats have fallen further out of the postseason race since then. Still, a Harper trade remains a long shot, as the Nats will likely want to avoid doing anything that jeopardizes their chances of re-signing the superstar outfielder. 

On Friday, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman wrote in an article for Fancred Sports that at least one rival general manager believes Harper will end up with the NL East rival Phillies, though that move may need to wait for the offseason when Harper tests the free-agency waters.

Murphy, who has been red-hot in recent weeks as he regains full strength in his surgically repaired right knee, could be a more likely trade candidate -- particularly for an AL contender who could utilize his bat in a designated hitter role. More >

Donaldson getting closer to return?
Aug. 16: With just over two weeks to go before the end of August, Josh Donaldson is still rehabbing from a left calf injury that has kept him out since late May. But the Blue Jays third baseman could be nearing his return.

Donaldson posted a video of himself running the bases with the caption "Getting closer!!" on his Instagram account Wednesday.

Tweet from @AaronBenRose: #BlueJays Josh Donaldson back running the bases 👀 Says he's "getting closer" on his Instagram (tos_bor20)������������������ pic.twitter.com/eHOsedmnDw

If he can return from the disabled list and prove to be even a fraction of the player he was from 2015-17, the 32-year-old could be an attractive trade candidate before Aug. 31.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman broke down the market for Donaldson in an article for Fancred Sports earlier this month and listed the Indians, Cardinals, Braves, Cubs and Red Sox as potential landing spots for the impending free agent.

Heyman pegged the Indians -- who will have the first chance among those teams to claim Donaldson off waivers -- as the most likely of the five to acquire the third baseman.

While the Tribe has American League MVP candidate Jose Ramirez at the hot corner, it can shift him to second base and move Jason Kipnis to the outfield to help out a group that has been decimated by injuries and lost recent acquisition Leonys Martin to the disabled list with a bacterial infection last week.

Video: IT on Josh Donaldson's ability to help a playoff team

Jones reportedly clears revocable waivers, now eligible to be traded anywhere
Aug. 16: Adam Jones has passed through revocable waivers unclaimed, sources told MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, making the Orioles outfielder eligible to be traded to any of the other 29 teams.

Of course, a deal remains unlikely, as Jones used his 10-and-5 rights to veto a trade to the Phillies prior to the July 31 non-waiver Deadline, with family, friends and his community programs in Baltimore among the major reasons why, per Heyman.

Philadelphia's plan to have Jones platoon with lefty-swinging Nick Williams in right field may also have been a factor in Jones' refusal to approve a deal there, though the veteran hasn't indicated whether that is the case.

According to Heyman, the O's recently approached the Yankees to gauge their interest in Jones with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Clint Frazier on the disabled list, but New York is close to the luxury-tax threshold and would like to save that money in case any additional rotation solutions arise.

The Indians are another potential landing spot for Jones, as they are missing Leonys Martin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin, and have received lackluster production from Melky Cabrera (.695 OPS), Brandon Guyer (.663 OPS), Rajai Davis (.601 OPS) and Greg Allen (.580 OPS).

Video: BAL@NYY: Jones on invoking no-trade clause with O's