For three straight days this week, all 30 clubs dug in deep and added more than three dozen players to their system with the hopes of producing some of the sport's next stars.With the 2018 MLB Draft in the rearview mirror, executives around the league can now turn their focus
For three straight days this week, all 30 clubs dug in deep and added more than three dozen players to their system with the hopes of producing some of the sport's next stars.
With the 2018 MLB Draft in the rearview mirror, executives around the league can now turn their focus to a more immediate exercise that will impact the next few months rather than the next few years.
It's trade season.
"Every front office has been so locked in on the Draft, trades haven't even been a thought," one general manager said. "Things should start picking up soon."
How soon? The D-backs made a minor deal with the Royals for outfielder Jonathan Jay on Wednesday, the second trade of the season following last month's trade that sent Alex Colome and Denard Span from the Rays to the Mariners. A second GM believes we could see a number of June deals as teams try to separate themselves in the crowded postseason picture.
"My early sense is everyone is looking for relief help," the second GM said.
Two years ago, Andrew Miller and Albertin Chapman helped propel the Indians and Cubs to the World Series following midsummer trades, while the Nationals dealt for All-Star closer Mark Melancon.
Last summer, the Nats (Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler), Yankees (Player Page for David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle), Red Sox (Addison Reed) and Rockies (Pat Neshek) all made moves to upgrade their respective bullpens.
Colome was the first bullpen arm traded this season, but there are plenty of impact relievers who will likely become available -- assuming they're not already up for grabs.
Who could be the next reliever on the move between now and July 31? Let's take a look:
Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Darren O'Day
All eyes are on Baltimore and Manny Machado between now and the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but this trio of relievers could also fetch the Orioles some nice prospects this summer. Brach hasn't allowed an earned run since May 1, while Britton is closing in on a return after missing the first two-plus months of the season following a December Achilles injury.
Brach and Britton will both be free agents at the end of the season, while O'Day -- who is nearing a return from a month-long DL stint of his own -- is signed for $9 million in 2019.
Having traded Jay on Wednesday, the Royals could continue unloading players, which would likely mean a new home for Herrera. The two-time All-Star has been nothing short of brilliant this season, allowing two earned runs through the first two-plus months. His postseason experience makes him even more attractive to would-be contenders.
Hand is on his way to another fantastic season, and although San Diego is a likely seller, the left-hander is under contract through 2020 with an option for '21. The Padres would likely move him if a team overwhelmed them, but there's no urgency to trade the 2017 All-Star for anything less than a robust package of prospects.
The Reds' closer is proving that last year's performance was no fluke, providing Cincinnati with one of its few bright spots this season. Like Hand, Iglesias is signed through 2020, but his $5.7 million salary in each of the next two seasons makes him a treasured commodity. The Reds should be able to land a nice haul of prospects if they decide to move him.
Following a couple early-season hiccups, the 29-year-old has settled into a nice groove as the Tigers' closer. Detroit is within striking distance of the Indians in the American League Central, but given the rebuilding process the Tigers began last year with the trades of Justin Verlander, Justin Upton and others, dealing Greene -- who is arbitration-eligible for the next two years -- would appear to make sense.
The hard-throwing right-hander is under team control through 2021 at bargain-basement prices, so the White Sox could opt to keep him if they believe their young club will be ready to win. They could also deal Jones in an effort to continue building their impressive system, one that has seven players on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list.
Despite his occasional cameo as a starter -- er, "opener" -- this season for the Rays, the 35-year-old still falls into the reliever category. Romo has had some spotty moments through the first two months, but it should be noted that he's appeared in the postseason every other year since 2010, winning three World Series rings with the Giants in '10, '12 and '14. A trade to a contender could help him extend that even-year streak.
Clippard has bounced back from a subpar 2017 season, pitching well for the Blue Jays this year. The 33-year-old won't be a high-impact arm for a contender, but he should help solidify a mid-to-late-inning gap for most teams -- and he's only owed about $1 million for the remainder of this season
Ziegler's days as a reliable late-inning presence appear to be over, but a change of scenery could help the 38-year-old find a second wind down the stretch. After all, how much fun can it be for a pitcher his age to be playing for a last-place team in the beginning stages of a rebuild? One catch: Ziegler is owed about $6 million over the rest of 2018, so the Marlins would likely need to throw in a lot of cash if they hoped to get even a marginal prospect back.
Mark Feinsand, executive reporter for MLB.com, has covered the Yankees and MLB since 2001 for the New York Daily News and MLB.com.