While it's not clear if a deal can be completed before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Rangers are "making a serious run" for White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported Friday, citing Major League sources.
Sale's appeal for Texas is obvious, as the All-Star Game starter is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA, and if two team options are picked up, he will cost a modest $38 million from 2017-19.
Even though the White Sox appear to be falling out of contention, that's no guarantee they will trade Sale rather than try to build around him for a future run. Still, the Rangers might be as well set up as anyone to land a player of that caliber, given their depth of young talent, which includes slugger Joey Gallo.
Here were some of the other rumors circulating on Friday, as the deadline approaches:
Chapman is Nationals' top target
A year ago the Nationals acquired a closer before the Trade Deadline, getting Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies. The club could be headed down the same road in 2016, with MLB.com's Bill Ladson reporting that Yankees flamethrowing left-hander Aroldis Chapman is currently Washington's No. 1 target.
A baseball source told Ladson that the Nats will not sacrifice their top prospects in such a deal, ruling out the likes of Trea Turner, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. However, they still could have enough to get the job done.
If he joins Washington, Chapman likely would supplant Papelbon as closer, as Papelbon did with Drew Storen last season. After picking up his 20th save on Friday against the Giants, throwing seven pitches at least 104 mph in the process, Chapman has a 2.15 ERA and 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Orioles, Padres discussing swap
Although a deal is not yet close, Baltimore is engaged in talks to acquire outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. from San Diego for pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
The Padres also would want a prospect in such a trade, Rosenthal reported, as they look to save money and create room in their outfield for one of their own prospects. While both players have one season remaining on their contracts, Upton is set to make about $3 million more in 2017.
Upton has enjoyed a resurgent season, batting .259/.307/.444 with 16 home runs and 20 steals. Jimenez, on the other hand, has posted a 7.38 ERA over 18 games (17 starts).
Royals could sell
Chicago's American League Central foes, the Royals, also are considering becoming sellers before the Deadline, according to Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball. Despite winning on Friday, the defending World Series champions are five games out of the second AL Wild Card spot, with four other clubs ahead of them.
If Kansas City does decide to subtract, rather than add, Heyman speculated that relievers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera, starter Edinson Vólquez and center fielder Lorenzo Cain could be among those moved.
Gray's stock drops
Sonny Gray's name has come up quite a bit in rumors, despite a subpar season. But the chances the A's will move the right-hander "dropped precipitously" when Gray surrendered seven earned runs on nine hits over five innings on Thursday against the Rays, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported.
At this point, it appears unlikely the A's demands would match up with what another team would surrender for a pitcher with a 5.49 ERA this season. Meanwhile, Oakland still could find a trade for lefty Rich Hill, but the pending free agent also has a complicated market right now, after a blister on his pitching hand forced him out of his last start in the first inning.
Rays could part with Pearce
While most Rays rumors have focused on the club's starting pitchers, Tampa Bay also is drawing interest in Steve Pearce, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Giants and Indians are among those who could have interest in the veteran right-handed batter, who has played first, second and third base this season while also serving as a DH.
Pearce has shown no ill effects since his recent return from a month-long stint on the disabled list. He owns an OPS well over .900 this season and has been particularly effective against lefties.