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Trade Talk: Archer, Britton, Familia, Iglesias

The latest news and rumors leading up to July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline
MLB.com

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Keep or deal: What should Rays do with Archer?
July 20: Is Chris Archer on the trade market … or not? That could be one of the key questions as we hurtle toward the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And it's not necessarily easy to answer.

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Keep or deal: What should Rays do with Archer?
July 20: Is Chris Archer on the trade market … or not? That could be one of the key questions as we hurtle toward the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And it's not necessarily easy to answer.

The case for holding Archer: The Rays open the second half with a winning record thanks to a promising young core, and Archer -- in the middle of a somewhat disappointing 2018 due in part to an abdominal injury that cost him more than a month and also undercut his value as a trade chip -- is inked to a contract that allows the cost-conscious club to keep him around.

The case for trading Archer: That team-friendly contract -- which pays him $7.5 million next year and includes club options for 2020 ($9 million) and '21 ($11 million) -- is extremely appealing, and the Rays could take advantage of a market that lacks much in the way of impact starting pitching.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times suggests that the Rays should consider dealing Archer, who turns 30 in September, but notes: "The Rays aren't going to get as much for Archer as they would have a couple of years ago, but that always has been the risk as they operate with a sliding scale. And he's probably going to have to pitch well in the couple of starts he makes before the July 31 trade deadline just to generate a return the Rays would even consider."

If that happens and Archer is dangled, a number of teams -- both contenders and even some on-the-upswing rebuilding organizations -- would be interested, including the Yankees, Mariners, A's, Brewers, Cubs, Phillies, Braves and Padres.

Britton's market is starting to move
July 20: The Manny Machado trade? That's so 48 hours ago. The Orioles have shifted their focus to their next big trade piece -- closer Zach Britton. And plenty of contending clubs are interested, as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick points out.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Orioles are barreling ahead with Zach Britton trade talks now that they���ve moved Machado and officially declared a rebuild. #Cubs, #Yankees, #Redsox, #SfGiants, #Astros and #Phillies are among the teams in the mix.

The Cubs -- who placed injury-prone closer Brandon Morrow on the DL Thursday with right biceps inflammation -- reportedly are at the front of the line as a "main player," Bruce Levine of 670 The Score notes.

Britton, who is a free agent this offseason, has made 15 appearances since returning from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles. Though he got off to a rough start, the 30-year-old has not given up a run over his past seven outings (seven innings) while showing a dramatic increase in velocity.

As many as eight teams have been connected to Britton, an industry source recently told Levine.

Familia's trade stock is on the way up
July 20: Among Mets trade chips, Jeurys Familia doesn't hold the same cache as Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but he's much more likely to be moved by the end of this month.

A free agent this offseason, the 28-year-old closer is having a strong season with a 2.88 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and a 9.5 K/9 rate. Familia has been even better in July, though, as he's bounced back from a shaky June (8.22 ERA) by allowing just one hit and one walk over seven scoreless frames.

That puts Familia, who could be a good fit for the Cubs, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Mariners and Astros, among MLB.com's Mark Feinsand's latest list of trade candidates improving their stock.

Could Hand trade lead to Reds dealing Iglesias?
July 20: With left-hander Brad Hand now a member of the Indians after being dealt by the Padres on Thursday, the Reds' Raisel Iglesias is arguably the best reliever on the trade market. And as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand writes, the Hand trade reaffirmed the lofty return the Reds might be able to get by moving the right-hander.

In exchange for Hand and righty reliever Adam Cimber, the Padres landed catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia, MLB Pipeline's No. 15 overall prospect.

Iglesias, 28, has been one of the best relievers in the National League since he moved to the bullpen on a full-time basis in 2016, and he has posted a 2.36 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 rate this season.

But if another team, such as the Astros or the Braves, offers a prospect on the same level as Mejia, the Reds could be tempted to deal the closer, who is owed slightly over $11 million across '19-20 (though he can opt into arbitration this offseason).

Realmuto's price remains lofty
July 20: As one of the best catchers in baseball, J.T. Realmuto also is one of the most desirable trade chips around -- that is, if he's even available. It's no secret the Marlins are looking toward the future in their first year under new ownership. What is less certain, however, is whether they actually would consider dealing Realmuto, who makes it onto MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi's list of top hitters on the market.

"The Marlins have maintained they will listen on all players, but they also have made it clear the asking price for their All-Star catcher is extremely high," MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes. "The club also has internally discussed exploring a contract extension with him in the offseason."

Just how valuable is Realmuto, a 27-year-old who leads all catchers in both wOBA (.384) and wRC+ (145) and is an elite defender? On FanGraphs' 2018 Trade Value rankings, Realmuto checks in at No. 24 in all of baseball. In other words, he's indeed an extremely valuable commodity -- and one the Marlins don't have to trade anytime soon, considering he's under club control through 2020.

The Astros, Brewers and Nationals are among the clubs in the market for catching help, as Morosi notes, with Washington most often and most closely linked to Realmuto. More >

Tigers' plan for Fulmer, Castellanos
July 20: The rebuilding Tigers have a handful of players they could consider swapping, but it seems their biggest names aren't at the forefront for now.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer (under club control through 2022) and slugging outfielder Nicholas Castellanos (through 2019) have been mentioned often as trade candidates, but Detroit appears more likely to focus on moving others first, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Tigers are focusing their efforts on trying to move Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers and Leonys Martin at the deadline. Fulmer and Castellanos are more on the back burner. Al Avila will listen, but a team will have to make a big push to land one of those guys.

None of southpaw Francisco Liriano (.088/.200/.193 vs. lefty batters), righty Mike Fiers (3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) nor outfielder Leonys Martin (.281/.356/.452 vs. righty pitchers) are premium pieces, but each has the ability to help a contender down the stretch. Detroit could consider packaging two or more to provide depth and utility in specific situations, which would come in handy in September and October.

If the Tigers can get the market moving soon on that trio, perhaps then Castellanos or even Fulmer would be put in play. But as Cranick notes, the price for those two is steep.

Cardinals unlikely to move Carlos Martinez, but Jose Martinez could go
July 20: The Cardinals are unlikely to trade right-hander Carlos Martinez, or any of their high-end pitchers, as the Trade Deadline draws near, according to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.

"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."

As far as what St. Louis might do before the Deadline, Mozeliak, for the second time this week, responded with the succinct answer of "TBD."

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests the Cardinals could look to trade first baseman Jose Martinez, who is set to move to a bench role as the club puts more emphasis on defense.

"Yeah, at some point," Mozeliak said about considering trading the slugger. "Right now, that asset could be a great bat off the bench. Obviously, long term, that is something we need to think through."

While Martinez is a poor defender, he has posted a 130 wRC+ this season and could be of particular interest to an American League team.

Rangers deal Chavez, other relievers could follow
July 19: The Rangers traded righty reliever Jesse Chavez to the Cubs in exchange for Minor League southpaw Tyler Thomas on Thursday night.

The 34-year-old Chavez owns a lifetime 4.61 ERA, but he has posted a 3.51 mark along with a career-best 4.2 K/BB ratio across 56 1/3 innings in 2018. Chavez, who has started 68 times in his past 192 appearances, provides the Cubs with some versatility, though he has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen this year.

The 22-year-old Thomas -- a seventh-round pick in last year's June Draft -- has posted a combined 2.77 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings between Class A Short-Season Eugene and Class A South Bend since his 2017 professional debut.

After Chavez, closer Keone Kela and lefty Jake Diekman could be on the move next, according to MLB.com's TR Sullivan.

Tweet from @Sullivan_Ranger: Rangers are getting more interest in their relievers than anything else. Closer Keone Kela and left-hander Jake Diekman are intriguing to clubs

Kela would be a valuable addition to any club looking to shore up the bullpen now and for the future, considering he is under team control until 2022. Kela has thrived in the ninth-inning role, going 23-for-23 in save tries with a 3.27 ERA (2.51 FIP) and a 10.9 K/9 rate in 33 innings. The 25-year-old righty has established himself as a top-notch reliever across the past two seasons, posting a 3.01 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings since the beginning of '17.

Diekman, meanwhile, could provide short-term help, as he is set to be a free agent this offseason. The 31-year-old southpaw missed most of last year while recovering from colon surgery, but he's fared well with a 3.21 ERA and an 11.0 K/9 rate in 33 2/3 innings this season.

As evidenced by Thursday's trade, the Rangers are seeking young pitching as the Deadline approaches, given their starting rotation ranks second-to-last in baseball with a combined 5.31 ERA.

Hand deal could spark flurry of moves for Padres
July 19: By now, you're aware the Padres made a big move by trading closer Brad Hand and righty reliever Adam Cimber to the Indians for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia on Thursday morning. It looks like that could set off a flurry of deals for San Diego, who has a number of available arms, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand points out.

Tweet from @Feinsand: The Hand deal could be just the first of many for the Padres. A source says San Diego has drawn significant interest in RHP Kirby Yates, and to a lesser degree, RHP Tyson Ross.

After years of injuries, the 31-year-old Kirby Yates started to emerge after arriving in San Diego last season, and he has come into his own this season with a 1.43 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9 rate. His lack of track record (just 192 MLB innings in his career) raises some questions, but Yates' stuff and years of club control (through 2020) are appealing.

Similarly, Tyson Ross is 31 and has a laundry list of injuries in his nine-year career, so suitors rightly could be somewhat skeptical. While his ERA is 4.32 this year, Ross has shown flashes of his former All-Star self with 10 starts (of 19 total) in which he's allowed two or fewer runs, plus he's struck out 97 batters over 108 1/3 frames.

Beyond those two, fellow righty Craig Stammen -- who has a 2.91 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 mark and is due just $2.25 million in 2019 -- has been mentioned as another reliever the Padres could dangle.

Mets not budging on trade demands for deGrom, Syndergaard
July 19: As they continue to receive calls regarding Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets aren't backing off from their lofty asking price for either hurler, James Wagner of The New York Times reports via Twitter.

Tweet from @ByJamesWagner: Hearing more of the same re: Mets at the trade deadline. Teams have called on Jacob deGrom & Noah Syndergaard, but Mets most interested in elite prospects (close to the majors) and/or MLB players.

Per Wagner, the Mets want elite prospects and/or MLB players for each of their two aces, but contenders either lack high-level prospects (D-backs, Giants), are unwilling to move them (Yankees, Braves) or don't have a pressing need for a starting pitcher (Astros).

deGrom (controllable through 2020) and Syndergaard (controllable through '21) aren't close to free agency, and the Mets haven't shown any sense of urgency in shopping them.

The club could revisit trade discussions for deGrom and Syndergaard in the offseason, when a new general manager is expected to be in place in the Mets' front office and more teams (such as the Padres) are likely to be interested, according to Wagner.

At this point, impending free agents Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera are the most likely Mets to be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Wagner notes that Zack Wheeler (controllable through 2019) is drawing "strong outside interest" as well.

Video: deGrom on his future with the Mets, trade rumors

Daniels: Rangers won't consider Beltre trade unless it benefits 'all parties involved'
July 19: Adrian Beltre can become a free agent after this season, but that doesn't mean the Rangers are actively shopping him.

In a Q&A session with Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels said the club will need to be "motivated to even have the conversation" about dealing the veteran.

"If someone has real interest and wants us to consider it and talk to ownership and talk to Adrian, we will based on their level of interest," Daniels said. "But if it's more of tire kick, that doesn't appeal to us. For us to consider anything, it's got to be beneficial for all parties involved."

Although Beltre is one of the best remaining players available for clubs looking to boost the left side of their infield after the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado on Wednesday, contenders may not be lining up to trade for him.

For one, Beltre can veto any trade due to his 10-and-5 rights, and he reportedly wants to play with the Rangers next season. Furthermore, he has been spending more time at designated hitter due to injury concerns, and he's produced just four homers with a .739 OPS over 261 plate appearances in 2018.

Machado in tow, Dodgers not done dealing
July 19: Yes, the Dodgers landed the biggest name on the trade market in Manny Machado on Wednesday. No, they're not done dealing.

"The Dodgers are still buyers on Thursday," as MLB.com's Ken Gurnick writes. "The firepower of a deep system allows management to pivot and address the bullpen." That remains true even after Los Angeles sent outfielder Yusniel Diaz (their former No. 4 prospect) and four other young players to the Orioles for Machado.

While Kenley Jansen has overcome his early season hiccup to regain his status as one of the best closers in the business, the Dodgers don't have much in the way of reliable depth in their bullpen. Even after lefty relief weapon Brad Hand and righty Adam Cimber went from the Padres to the Indians on Thursday morning, there's no shortage of quality late-inning arms for the Dodgers to make a play for, including: Raisel Iglesias of the Reds, Jeurys Familia of the Mets, Zach Britton of the O's and Keone Kela of the Rangers.

One factor to consider with the Dodgers, however, is that they are bumping up against the $197 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold after acquiring Machado. That doesn't mean the front office can't add more salary to the club's payroll, but it might make Dodgers execs more mindful of targeting cost-efficient options. More >

Indians put other AL contenders on notice
July 19: Having missed out on landing Manny Machado, the Indians reacted quickly by pulling off their own blockbuster to acquire Padres relievers Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, arguably the best bullpen piece on the trade market. The deal cost them their top prospect -- and MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall catching prospect -- in Francisco Mejia, but it also put other American League contenders on notice, as MLB Network Radio host Jim Duquette discusses.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: The #Indians addition of Brad Hand puts the onus on other AL contenders to answer according to @Jim_Duquette #RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/U5IxPBFXW0

The Astros and Red Sox, specifically, were in play for Hand because of their need for an elite lefty reliever. With that no longer an option, perhaps those clubs will turn their attention to the next-best candidate in O's southpaw Zach Britton, whose market is gaining momentum now that Machado has been moved.

While the Yankees weren't linked closely to Hand, they are still very much looking to upgrade their rotation. Plus, the Indians' bullpen -- with Hand and Cimber joining Cody Allen and Andrew Miller (once healthy) -- could rival the Yankees' collection of relievers, which might give New York something else to think about as it battles Boston for the AL East down the stretch.

Video: Antonetti on acquiring Hand, Cimber for Mejia

Could Brewers land Dozier?
July 18: After falling short in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, the Brewers could turn their pre-Deadline attention to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Among the players the #Brewers are expected to target now that they have lost Machado: #Twins 2B Brian Dozier. Team also will explore pitching upgrades as well.

With Machado no longer available after the Orioles traded him to the Dodgers on Wednesday night, Dozier would be a quality consolation prize for the contending Crew. The 31-year-old Dozier has struggled in 2018 -- batting just .230 -- but he's still notched 16 homers, 60 runs and five steals in 93 games. Dozier ranked among the baseball's top keystone men over the previous two seasons, batting .269/.349/.522 with 76 homers, 210 runs and 34 steals in 307 contests.

If acquired, Dozier would be a significant upgrade over Hernan Perez, who has reached base at just a .282 clip in 2018, and Jonathan Villar, who has struggled when healthy (.315 OBP) and is currently on the DL with a sprained right thumb. Dozier would likely only serve as a half-season rental for Milwaukee, though, as he is set to be a free agent after this year.

The Brewers could also look to bolster their pitching staff, which currently ranks fourth in the National League with a combined 3.65 ERA. Despite the strong numbers, Milwaukee could use an ace to shore up a rotation that currently consists of Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley and Brent Suter.

Ramos may not return by Trade Deadline
July 18: A strained left hamstring already cost Wilson Ramos a chance to start the All-Star Game. Now it could impact the Rays' chances to trade the backstop.

Ramos, who was voted in at catcher but missed the Midsummer Classic due to the injury, is having a strong season with a .297/.346/.488 line to go with 14 home runs. The 30-year-old, however, was placed on the 10-day DL Wednesday and appears likely to be out beyond the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Tweet from @TBTimes_Rays: #Rays officially put Ramos on DL with left hamstring strain, as expected. He is likely to miss extended time, past July 31 trade deadline. Also reinstated LHP Jose Alvarado from family medical emergency list.

While Ramos' trade value already had taken a hit, it's now even lower, which is a tough outcome for the Rays. Not only could Ramos have brought back a nice return in a depleted catching market, but he also is a free agent at season's end, thus limiting the Rays' opportunity to get anything of real value for him. Perhaps they'll revisit shopping him in August, before the waiver Trade Deadline at the end of next month.

Phillies turn attention elsewhere after missing out on Machado
July 18: After heavy pursuit, the Phillies missed out on Manny Machado -- who is heading to the Dodgers -- but that doesn't mean they're going to sit still. As they exit the All-Star break with a half-game lead over the Braves in the National League East, the Phils are aiming to add ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Among their top targets now? Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Eduardo Escobar of the Twins, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes. The Phillies are looking for an upgrade on the left side of their infield, where youngsters Maikel Franco, Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford have struggled with injuries and inconsistency. Although both Moustakas and Escobar primarily play third base, Escobar has experience at shortstop.

Both Moustakas, who has 19 homers and a .772 OPS, and Escobar, who owns an .834 OPS and an MLB-high 35 doubles, can be free agents at season's end. As rental players, they could help the Phillies' quest to make it back to the postseason for the first time since 2011 -- and may not require a huge return that would dent their promising future. More >

Video: Slugger Moustakas delivering at the plate, in field

Cardinals among clubs on buy-or-sell bubble
July 18: The second half is about to start and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away, but there still are a handful of teams who can't clearly be labeled as buyers or sellers … yet.

The Cardinals -- sitting four games out of a National League Wild Card spot at 48-46 and coming off the dismissal of longtime skipper Mike Matheny just before the break -- are one such club. St. Louis has a few intriguing trade chips, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi points to versatile infielder Jedd Gyorko (signed through next season with a club option for 2020) and 2017 breakout outfielder Tommy Pham (under club control through 2021).

The 29-year-old Gyorko's power is down this season -- he's slugging .411 after posting .495 and .472 marks in 2016 and '17, respectively -- but his ability to play all four infield positions could prove useful to a contender.

Pham is an especially interesting name to float, given that he came from nowhere to slash .306/.411/.520 while compiling 23 homers and 25 steals last year. He is, however, already 30 years old and has slumped to a .243/.326/.396 line so far in a streaky 2018 campaign. Morosi notes that the Cardinals' outfield depth, including rookie Harrison Bader's emergence, could make Pham worth dangling for a sizable return. More >

Dodgers complete deal for Machado
July 18: While the expectation since late Tuesday night has been that the Dodgers will be the winners of the Manny Machado sweepstakes, nothing had been finalized as of Wednesday afternoon. However, the blockbuster deal is now complete.

In exchange for Machado, Baltimore will receive outfielder Yusniel Diaz, third baseman Rylan Bannon, right-hander Dean Kremer, righty Zach Pop and second baseman Breyvic Valera . Ranked as Los Angeles' No. 4 prospect and the No. 84 prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline, Diaz is the most talented player in the group, with Bannon (No. 27) and Kremer (No. 28) also ranked among the club's Top 30.

The 21-year-old Diaz is slashing .314/.428/.477 at Double-A this season, and he showed off his power by homering twice in Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, joining Alfonso Soriano (in 1999) as the only players to pull off that feat in the showcase's 20-year history.

Video: WLD@USA: Diaz clobbers 2-run jack, game-tying HR

Though there was a reported snag involving an issue with the physical of one (or more) of the prospects headed to Baltimore, according to MLB Network Radio host and former Mets GM Steve Phillips, the Orioles and Dodgers have worked past any medical issues.

Will teams wheel and deal well before Trade Deadline?
July 18: Conventional wisdom says front offices tend to wait until the last week -- or even the last day -- before making massive moves at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But that no longer appears to be the case, as activity has picked up sooner over the past several years, including during the All-Star break on occasion.

With Manny Machado on his way to the Dodgers, this could be the latest in a recent run of blockbuster-caliber trades to happen well ahead of the Deadline. In fact, we could see a big-name player change teams before the second half resumes for the third straight season, after Jose Quintana (to the Cubs) and Drew Pomeranz (to the Red Sox) did so in 2017 and '16, respectively. More >

Happ picks up save in Midsummer Classic
July 18: J.A. Happ had never made an appearance in the All-Star Game or a notched a save in his 12-year MLB career, but both of those changed Tuesday night.

The Blue Jays lefty, who hadn't pitched in relief since one outing in 2015 with the Mariners, came into the game in the bottom of the 10th with the American League ahead of the National League, 8-5. After giving up a home run to Joey Votto on his first pitch, the first-time All-Star settled down to register his first career save by striking out Christian Yelich, then getting Charlie Blackmon to ground out and Lorenzo Cain to fly out.

Although Happ has hit a bit of a rough patch with a 9.75 ERA in his past three starts, the 35-year-old free-agent-to-be remains one of the bigger trade targets for teams seeking mid-rotation help, including the Phillies, who have "definite interest" in Happ, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies have also been connected to the Rangers' Cole Hamels, another lefty who began his career with Philadelphia, but Salisbury notes "there has been no evidence to date that the Phils are pursuing Hamels." The 34-year-old has a $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout for 2019.

Blockbuster trade 'definitely a boost' to club

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Cody Allen knows this could be his final shot at winning a World Series with the Indians. The franchise's recently crowned all-time saves leader is one of a handful of Cleveland's upcoming free agents, creating a sense of urgency for many of the players inside the Tribe's clubhouse.

On Thursday afternoon, when Allen learned that the Indians acquired closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber from San Diego in exchange for catching prospect Francisco Mejia, it was like a shot of adrenaline. For the third year in a row, the Indians' front office pulled off an impact trade with a deep October run in mind.

ARLINGTON -- Cody Allen knows this could be his final shot at winning a World Series with the Indians. The franchise's recently crowned all-time saves leader is one of a handful of Cleveland's upcoming free agents, creating a sense of urgency for many of the players inside the Tribe's clubhouse.

On Thursday afternoon, when Allen learned that the Indians acquired closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber from San Diego in exchange for catching prospect Francisco Mejia, it was like a shot of adrenaline. For the third year in a row, the Indians' front office pulled off an impact trade with a deep October run in mind.

"It's definitely a boost," Allen said at Thursday's team workout. "It's like, 'Holy cow, we already have a really good team and we just got a lot better.' It kind of jacks everybody up going into the last few months of the season. You want to see just how good this team can be and where we can go."

Cimber was scheduled to fly to Texas on Thursday night, while Hand was slated to travel to join his new team on Friday. Both pitchers are expected to be with Cleveland and available for the second-half opener against the Rangers on Friday. Manager Terry Francona has already discussed their potential roles with pitching coach Carl Willis, but he will sit down with the pitchers on Friday to get their thoughts.

"I want to talk to those guys when they get here," Francona said. "I want to get to know them and get them involved as quickly as we can."

Tweet from @MLBastian: Here's a look at the lefty-righty splits (using opponents' OPS) for the Indians' current bullpen (including Hand and Cimber). Gives a glance of how Francona might try to handle matchups until Andrew Miller's return. pic.twitter.com/qSzntusL8L

Hand comes with closing experience (2.66 ERA and 46 saves over the past three years) and might be utilized as a leverage weapon until Andrew Miller returns from the 10-day disabled list. Cimber -- a standout rookie -- has been exceptional against right-handed batters (.482 opponents' OPS), giving Francona a weapon that should enable the Indians to be flexible in how and when to use Dan Otero, Zach McAllister and Neil Ramirez.

Allen was excited to see how it all comes together, especially once Miller rejoins the fold.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Allen said, "because I think [Francona's] got quite a few guys down there that are very interchangeable. Tito's going to be in a spot where he can really put guys in certain situations to face certain parts of the lineup to have a lot of success."

Moves coming

Yandy Diaz and Melky Cabrera were up from Triple-A Columbus and in the visitors' clubhouse at Globe Life Park on Thursday night, providing a glimpse into Cleveland's upcoming roster plans. Francona noted that both players will be officially added to the Indians' active roster prior to Friday's game, along with Hand and Cimber.

In order to clear room on the roster, the Indians will option right-hander Adam Plutko, left-hander Tyler Olson and outfielder Greg Allen to Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland optioned Mejia after Sunday's game, accounting for the fourth roster opening.

Quotable
"It's unbelievable. Kudos to our front office. For the last few years, they've given us every opportunity to win. After the first half, there was an obvious need down there, but I think every team in baseball -- regardless of how your bullpen is -- that's an area of your team that you can always probably improve. And our organization has done an unbelievable job of not just going and getting a guy, but going and getting the guy." --Allen, on Thursday's trade

Worth noting

• Miller (10-day DL, right knee) worked one inning in his latest rehab outing with Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. The left-hander struck out one, allowed a solo home run and threw 17 pitches. Francona noted that the reliever will continue to log rehab appearances in the Minors.

"He's doing OK. We're going to let him pitch a little bit more, but he's on the right road," Francona said. "The biggest thing is just getting him feeling like he's ready to go out there and fire it, and not have to think about anything but getting hitters out."

• Indians starter Trevor Bauer (Friday's starter vs. Texas) wanted to pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday badly enough that he jokingly asked American League bullpen coach Doug White if he could take the mound for the National League. The NL was running low on arms as the game entered extras and Bauer was only deemed available for the AL if the game reached the 12th.

"He was like, 'Yeah right. You're an American League pitcher. You're staying right here,'" Bauer said with a laugh on Thursday. "I was like, 'Come on Dougie. We've known each other too long for you to limit me like this!'"

• Righty Shane Bieber worked three innings for Columbus on Thursday, allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and one walk. The starter threw 50 pitches in the outing, which kept him on a routine over the All-Star break. Cleveland plans on recalling Bieber on Tuesday to start against the Pirates.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Adam Cimber, Brad Hand

10 players whose trade stock is rising

MLB.com

It finally happened. Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers on Wednesday, ending the months-long saga that was destined to end with the All-Star shortstop playing for an organization other than the Orioles for the remainder of 2018.

While the Machado deal was hardly a surprise, the trade market was busy again Thursday, when the Padres dealt All-Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Indians for top prospect Francisco Mejia. Hand had been a rumored trade target for weeks, though given his contract status (he's under control through 2021), it was far from a lock that he was going to be moved.

It finally happened. Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers on Wednesday, ending the months-long saga that was destined to end with the All-Star shortstop playing for an organization other than the Orioles for the remainder of 2018.

While the Machado deal was hardly a surprise, the trade market was busy again Thursday, when the Padres dealt All-Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Indians for top prospect Francisco Mejia. Hand had been a rumored trade target for weeks, though given his contract status (he's under control through 2021), it was far from a lock that he was going to be moved.

With only less than two weeks until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, whose stock is on the rise? Here's a look at some players who have seen their value increase:

Jeurys Familia, Mets
The Mets' closer is nearly perfect this month, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out six in seven scoreless July innings. The Mets seem unlikely to trade either of their big-name starters (Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard), but Familia is headed for free agency, making him a near-lock to get moved. He's the best rental reliever on the market.
Potential fits: Astros, Red Sox

Video: NYM@TOR: Familia retires Granderson to earn the save

Brian Dozier, Twins
Dozier had a monster game last Sunday, homering and driving in five runs to end his first half on a high note. Dozier has a 1.001 OPS with five homers and 17 RBIs in 15 July games, looking like a player headed for a big second half. With Machado off the market, Dozier -- who is owed about $4 million for the rest of 2018 -- could be a popular target for teams seeking middle infield help and are OK taking on a half-season rental.
Potential fits: Brewers, Red Sox

Video: MIN@CWS: Dozier opens the scoring with a solo homer

Zach Britton, Orioles
Britton started out slowly after returning last month from right Achilles surgery, but Baltimore's closer has been effective in July, posting six scoreless innings with a sub-1.000 WHIP and a strikeout per inning. Britton is holding hitters to a .158 average and a .449 OPS during the stretch, thrusting himself back into the conversation for best rental reliever. With the Machado deal done, the Orioles can now turn their attention to moving Britton, who is owed about $5 million for the remainder of the season.
Potential fits: Astros, Braves

Video: Zach Britton among best left-handed relievers?

Kirby Yates, Padres
The Padres dealing Hand opened the door for Yates to become San Diego's new closer. Of course, the Padres have been getting plenty of calls about the 31-year-old, making him the odds-on favorite to be the next San Diego player traded. Yates has allowed a run in only one of his past 17 outings dating back to the beginning of June, and with only about $500,000 owed to him for the rest of 2018 season and two more years of arbitration-eligibility, he's a valuable trade chip.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Braves

Video: Kirby Yates is having a career year for the Padres

Tyson Ross, Padres
In a relatively weak starting pitching market, Ross remains an intriguing option -- especially since the free-agent-to-be is owed less than $1 million for the rest of the season. Ross had a solid outing against the Dodgers (two runs in 6 1/3 innings) before the break, but scouts will surely be watching him closely in his starts leading up to July 31.
Potential fits: Mariners, Red Sox

Video: Tyson Ross putting up solid numbers this season

Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets
Cabrera has been on fire in July, slashing .293/.420/.634 with four home runs in 14 games this month. The teams that lost out in the Machado sweepstakes will turn to other infield options, and given that the versatile 32-year-old can play either middle infield spot, Cabrera figures to be attractive. He's also owed a little less than $4 million this season before becoming a free agent, giving the Mets reasons to move him.
Potential fits: Brewers, D-backs

Video: NYM@TOR: Cabrera belts a 2-run home run to right

Mike Moustakas, Royals
The Royals have been trying to stir up interest in Moustakas for a couple weeks, though Machado was holding up the infield market. He's quietly putting up a solid season (19 home runs, .772 OPS), though his July has been relatively quiet. With only about $3 million owed for the rest of the season, Moustakas -- who can't be given a qualifying offer this offseason -- should be a relatively inexpensive rental in terms of prospects it will take to deal for him. (His deal has a mutual option for 2019, but at this point, it's a near certainty he'll test the market, especially with the qualifying offer out of the way.)
Potential fits: Phillies, Indians

Video: Slugger Moustakas delivering at the plate, in field

Raisel Iglesias, Reds
Thursday's Padres-Indians trade shows the value teams put into controllable relievers. It's still unclear whether the Reds will move Iglesias, but it will be awfully tempting if another team offers a prospect on the same level as Mejia. The closer is owed about $13 million total through 2020.
Potential fits: Astros, Braves

Video: CIN@CHC: Iglesias retires Heyward to notch 5-out save

J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
The Marlins don't appear motivated to move the All-Star catcher, but with Wilson Ramos and Francisco Cervelli on the disabled list, a catcher-desperate team might try to pry Realmuto away from Miami this month. The catcher market is pretty dry beyond those three, and while Ramos is headed for free agency and Cervelli is signed for one more year, Realmuto is under control through 2020.
Potential fits: Astros, Nationals

Video: MIA@WSH: Realmuto tallies 5 singles and 3 RBIs

Joakim Soria, White Sox
The 34-year-old overcame an early-May stumble, posting a 0.83 ERA in 22 appearances since May 21. Soria is owed about $4 million for the rest of this season and has a mutual $10 million option (with a $1 million buyout) for 2019, but the White Sox are focusing on youth and would surely move the reliever for the right price.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Cubs

Video: Soria has proven to be a solid option at closer

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Zach Britton, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brian Dozier, Jeurys Familia, Raisel Iglesias, Mike Moustakas, J.T. Realmuto, Tyson Ross, Joakim Soria, Kirby Yates

Cubs acquire righty Chavez from Rangers

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes versatile players, and he picked up one for his bullpen on Thursday with the addition of right-hander Jesse Chavez.

The Cubs acquired Chavez from the Rangers for Minor League left-hander Tyler Thomas, who was the team's seventh-round Draft pick in 2017.

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes versatile players, and he picked up one for his bullpen on Thursday with the addition of right-hander Jesse Chavez.

The Cubs acquired Chavez from the Rangers for Minor League left-hander Tyler Thomas, who was the team's seventh-round Draft pick in 2017.

"Good arm, versatile," Maddon said of Chavez, 34. "He can start and relieve. I've watched him and I know he's had some great runs with different teams. The word that comes to mind is 'versatility,' that you can either start him or put him in the bullpen and he's very good in both arenas."

Chavez is 3-1 with three holds, one save and a 3.51 ERA in 30 relief appearances with the Rangers, striking out 50 over 56 1/3 innings while walking 12.

He has spent all or part of 11 seasons in the Majors, making 70 starts. The Cubs are his ninth team, as he's had stints with the Pirates (2008-09), Braves ('10), Royals ('10-11), Blue Jays ('12, '16), Athletics ('12-15), Dodgers ('16), Angels ('17) and Rangers ('18).

"He's a great guy, low-key, good pitcher and I know that's why we picked him up," Cubs closer Brandon Morrow said of Chavez, who was his teammate on the Blue Jays. "He's got a rubber arm out of the bullpen and a swing guy and can do a lot of things well. He's really versatile."

Chavez has pitched exclusively in relief this year after making 21 starts with the Angels last season. He pitched solely in relief for the Blue Jays and Dodgers in 2016, combining to make 62 outings.

The Cubs' bullpen has been one of the team's strengths in the first half, getting contributions from players on the Opening Day roster as well as those promoted from the Minors to fill in, such as Randy Rosario, Justin Hancock, Luke Farrell and James Norwood.

Maddon doesn't think the Cubs' front office is finished tinkering with the roster.

"I don't think that's going to be the end of it," Maddon said. "They enjoy it too much."

In 2016, the Cubs acquired closer Aroldis Chapman, who helped lead the team to the World Series. Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks said the players like to see the moves.

"We get excited about it for sure," Hendricks said. "It shows the position we're in. We're in a spot where we have a chance to go really far this year. Those are the things that happen. We know we're going to get guys and that's part of it."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Jesse Chavez

Rangers trade Chavez, could deal more arms

Club receives Minor League left-hander Thomas from Cubs
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been getting trade interest in their relievers, and that was reinforced on Thursday night when they dealt veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Cubs in exchange for Minor League left-hander Tyler Thomas.

Thomas was a seventh-round pick by the Cubs out of Fresno State in the 2017 MLB Draft. He was 3-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) at Class A South Bend in the Midwest League. He had a 0.96 WHIP with 81 strikeouts and 14 walks in 75 innings.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been getting trade interest in their relievers, and that was reinforced on Thursday night when they dealt veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Cubs in exchange for Minor League left-hander Tyler Thomas.

Thomas was a seventh-round pick by the Cubs out of Fresno State in the 2017 MLB Draft. He was 3-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) at Class A South Bend in the Midwest League. He had a 0.96 WHIP with 81 strikeouts and 14 walks in 75 innings.

Thomas has a fastball that averages 89-90 mph with good deception and excellent control. He supplements it with a curveball and changeup. Thomas was assigned to Class A Hickory.

"Tyler can command three pitches, including a very good changeup," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's competitive, knows how to pitch and has had success at every stop. We liked him as an amateur and are happy to add him to our system now."

The bullpen has been a strength for the Rangers through the first half, led by closer Keone Kela and left-handed reliever Jake Diekman, and both could be of interest to clubs looking for relief help.

Chavez was also a major contributor, going 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He started out the season as a long reliever, but has been used in late-inning situations over the past month.

Most contending clubs figure to be seeking bullpen help during the current trade cycle. The Indians made the first move on Thursday, when they acquired left-hander Brad Hand and right-hander Adam Cimber from the Padres.

"I expect, industry-wise, more relievers will be traded," Daniels said. "The way the game is played today, everybody is looking for bullpen help all the time."

Daniels has immersed himself in the task of looking at all possibilities in improving the team.

"It's the same as every year, a lot of conversations, a lot of dialogues with clubs," Daniels said. "We're going through some different possibilities. You never know, we'll have a lot of conversations that ultimately won't lead to deals, but our goal is to flush a lot of things out and see what makes sense internally."

Left-handed starter Cole Hamels remains the Rangers' highest-profile trade candidate, and there are clubs actively looking to upgrade their rotation, including the Yankees, Mariners, Brewers and Phillies, among others.

There are multiple ways for clubs to view Hamels. He is a 13-year veteran with a long track record of success and a strong postseason resume. But he is also 5-8 with a 4.36 ERA in 19 starts this season, allowing 21 home runs in 109 1/3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 9.53 ERA over his last four starts.

Hamels' contract is also a factor. The lefty is making $23.5 million this year, which means a club could have to assume approximately $8 million in a trade. The Rangers would likely be willing to pick up part of that, depending on the quality of players in return, as they are more interested in acquiring talent than worrying about money.

The Rangers showed that earlier this month when they acquired outfielder Austin Jackson in a trade with the Giants, along with reliever Cory Gearrin and Minor League pitcher Jason Bahr. The Rangers released Jackson and assumed approximately $4 million in salary obligations so they could acquire the two pitchers.

The Rangers aren't getting much interest in veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon, who likely has three starts left before the Deadline. That could change before the end of the month, but Colon is 3-6 with a 6.31 ERA over his last 10 starts. He pitches on Saturday against the Indians.

Daniels said there are different types of trade discussions going on right now. Some involve the traditional buyer/seller deals that take place this time of the year. Other discussions are non-traditional and creative, such as the deal earlier this month with the Giants. The other area involves clubs who are strong in one area looking to shore up weaknesses in other spots.

That could mean the Rangers are looking to move relievers, and it also could involve infielder Jurickson Profar. Profar played well for two months at shortstop while Elvis Andrus was on the disabled list, but he is back to a utility role and could be attractive to clubs with a need at that position. The Orioles have shown interest in Profar in the past, and they just traded All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Dodgers.

"We have had the conversations you would expect," Daniels said. "There are conversations with clubs that make a lot of sense. You can line up the clubs that have needs that fit. But there are smaller trades, clubs not looking for front-line stars, but just looking to fill out their roster."

The Rangers aren't expected to trade veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre unless circumstances change drastically. They would prefer to keep Beltre for his leadership qualities and try to re-sign him for next season. Beltre has also indicated a willingness to return, and Daniels made it clear that the future Hall of Famer's value to the Rangers is above what they normally would consider in a trade situation.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Jesse Chavez

Mozeliak: Cards 'don't envision' trading pitchers

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- As others speculate about Carlos Martinez's potential availability at the Trade Deadline, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood that the team would deal Martinez or any of the other high-end pitchers they hope to build around.

"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."

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CHICAGO -- As others speculate about Carlos Martinez's potential availability at the Trade Deadline, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood that the team would deal Martinez or any of the other high-end pitchers they hope to build around.

"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."

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To move Martinez, in particular, would require the Cardinals to be overwhelmed by the return. Including the two option years on Martinez's contract, the Cardinals have the 26-year-old locked up for another five seasons at $69.5 million. It's a reasonable cost for a player who, since becoming a permanent member of the rotation in 2014, has posted a 3.22 ERA and .600 winning percentage.

As far as what the Cardinals might do before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Mozeliak, for the second time this week, responded with the succinct answer of "TBD."

"I think we're going to take that day by day," Mozeliak continued. "You can't just make a knee-jerk reaction to say we did something. I definitely think how we play over the next 10, 11 days could definitely move the needle in how we think about it."

The Cardinals' schedule has something to do with that. Though they opened the second half 7.5 games behind the Cubs in the National League Central, the Cards have an opportunity to make a serious dent in that deficit. Eight of their first 11 games out of the break come against the Cubs.

St. Louis is also bunched up among eight clubs in the Wild Card race. Only 6.5 games separate the top and bottom of that group.

Mozeliak is open to being nudged in one direction or another should the Cardinals open this second half with a statement under interim manager Mike Shildt. They'll never succumb to being a seller, but there would be a different calculus depending upon whether the Cardinals decide to buy for this year or for the future.

"I think we feel like we've been kind of straddling the fence a little bit, if you will, looking at what a pursuit might look like versus also what it might look like to move a player," Mozeliak said. "Again, [we] haven't made any concrete decisions on what it's going to look like, but we're going to remain open-minded."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Martinez

Keeping track of prospects who have been traded

MLB.com

The Trade Deadline season kicked off with a doozy, as the highly anticipated deal sending All-Star Manny Machado to the Dodgers officially became a reality on Wednesday, the day after the All-Star Game. Deals, or at least rumors of them, will continue right up until the Deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 31.

The Trade Deadline season kicked off with a doozy, as the highly anticipated deal sending All-Star Manny Machado to the Dodgers officially became a reality on Wednesday, the day after the All-Star Game. Deals, or at least rumors of them, will continue right up until the Deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 31.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

This will be the MLB Pipeline clearinghouse, if you will, of all prospects involved in these trades. Contending teams will be acquiring Major League talent for a postseason run, while teams looking to the future will be hoping to amass Minor League talent that might be the key to reversed fortunes down the road.

July 18
Dodgers trade OF Yusniel Diaz, RHP Dean Kremer, RHP Zach Pop, 3B Rylan Bannon, INF Breyvic Valera
Orioles trade Manny Machado

Diaz, now No. 2 on the O's Top 30, is fresh off his two-homer Futures Game performance, and he is the prize prospect in this deal. Kremer (No. 13), Bannon (No. 17) and Pop (No. 29) all slotted into their new system's rankings at the time of the trade.
Trade analysis | Orioles Top 30 | Dodgers Top 30

July 19
Indians trade C/OF Francisco Mejia
Padres trade LHP Brad Hand, RHP Adam Cimber

Mejia is still considered one of the best hitting prospects in baseball, a reason why he's currently No. 15 on the Top 100. There's less consensus about whether he can stick behind the plate, and he's seen time in both outfield corners this season. San Diego managed to land Mejia for Hand, who was a 2016 waiver claim from the Marlins, and Cimber, a 2013 ninth-round pick and submariner who is a 27-year-old rookie.
Padres Top 30 | Indians Top 30

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Preller likely not done dealing before Deadline

Yates, Ross reportedly drawing interest on trade market
MLB.com

The Padres have already landed MLB Pipeline's top-ranked catching prospect ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And they might not be done dealing.

Moments after San Diego sent relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to Cleveland for Triple-A catcher Francisco Mejia, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that the Padres have drawn serious interest on two other pitchers: righty reliever Kirby Yates (the presumed closer in Hand's absence) and righty starter Tyson Ross.

The Padres have already landed MLB Pipeline's top-ranked catching prospect ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And they might not be done dealing.

Moments after San Diego sent relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to Cleveland for Triple-A catcher Francisco Mejia, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that the Padres have drawn serious interest on two other pitchers: righty reliever Kirby Yates (the presumed closer in Hand's absence) and righty starter Tyson Ross.

Padres land prized prospect Mejia for Hand

Hand was unquestionably the most coveted Padres trade candidate. But he certainly wasn't the only one, and general manager A.J. Preller could be very active over the next 12 days.

"There will be conversations up until the Deadline," Preller said. "Honestly, sometimes you have a lot of discussions and nothing lines up. Sometimes something comes through in a few hours. ... We'll continue to be active. We've got to get our big league club in a better position here at the Major League level. So we'll keep looking for deals that we feel like will get us better."

Video: Preller on acquiring Mejia for Hand, Cimber

Yates has been outstanding this season, with a 1.43 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. But he's under team control through 2020, and the Padres clearly value him highly.

"Brad went to the All-Star Game in D.C. -- I think Kirby was equally deserving," Preller said. "He's performed, the last two years, like arguably a top 10 reliever in the game."

Yates' success story is similar to Hand's. Yates, too, was an April waiver claim. After arriving in San Diego, he developed a new pitch -- a splitter -- and has used it to astounding success. In 93 1/3 frames since joining the Padres, Yates has struck out 135 hitters.

If teams aren't willing to meet the high price tag on Yates, Ross is a likelier trade option. He owns a 4.32 ERA in 19 starts and is a free agent after the season.

Video: Tyson Ross putting up solid numbers this season

Ross has been the Padres' most reliable starter during the first half of the season, though two poor starts at the beginning of July saw his ERA jump by more than a run. It's been a triumphant return for Ross, who missed the 2016 season with a shoulder injury and struggled in '17 after surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ross and Yates aren't the only two players with apparent trade value. Right-hander Craig Stammen, outfielder Travis Jankowski and perhaps others could draw interest in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the Padres -- coming off a 40-59 first half -- will turn their on-field focus toward the future.

"Where we're at in the standings, the second part of the year will be [about] looking at improvement from our club, looking at improvement from individuals and giving opportunities to guys that have some talent," Preller said. "We'll see if we can find the next Brad Hand or the next Adam Cimber."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Tyson Ross, Kirby Yates

Padres land prized prospect Mejia for Hand

San Diego also sends reliever Cimber to Cleveland as part of trade
MLB.com

The Padres' most coveted trade chip in recent memory is no longer a trade chip. Brad Hand is headed to Cleveland. So is Adam Cimber. The return: baseball's top-ranked catching prospect.

On Thursday morning, the Padres finalized a trade sending relievers Hand and Cimber to the Indians for MLB Pipeline's No. 15 prospect Francisco Mejia. Add Mejia to the treasure trove of youngsters in San Diego's top-ranked farm system. He gives the club 10 prospects in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.

The Padres' most coveted trade chip in recent memory is no longer a trade chip. Brad Hand is headed to Cleveland. So is Adam Cimber. The return: baseball's top-ranked catching prospect.

On Thursday morning, the Padres finalized a trade sending relievers Hand and Cimber to the Indians for MLB Pipeline's No. 15 prospect Francisco Mejia. Add Mejia to the treasure trove of youngsters in San Diego's top-ranked farm system. He gives the club 10 prospects in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.

A 22-year-old catcher, Mejia has posted a .279/.328/.426 slash line with Triple-A Columbus this season. He will report to Triple-A El Paso, but Padres general manager A.J. Preller noted that he's "on the doorstep of the big leagues."

"You're losing two quality relievers, but ultimately getting a 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher who … has a huge arm, has got some hitting accolades, can swing the bat," Preller said. "We continue to build -- getting that type of asset vs. a couple of 'pen pieces on a team that's struggled in the standings in the first half of the season. We just felt like that was quality value to go ahead and unlock one of the better prospects in the game."

Mejia, whose receiving skills have been questioned, is viewed by some as an outfielder in the long term. But he's expressed a reluctance to switch positions, and the Padres plan to continue to develop him behind the plate.

That, of course, leaves questions regarding Austin Hedges' standing. Hedges has been the club's presumed catcher of the future for the past half-decade, and he's been outstanding defensively. But his bat has lagged well behind, with a .232/.289/.376 slash line this season.

It's easy to envision both having an impact in the long term. The Padres certainly do. Mejia could still ultimately move to the outfield. For now, he brings serious high-level catching depth.

"To have two of the most talented and best catchers 25-and-under in your organization, it's a really good position to be in," Preller said. "[Catcher] is also a position where the traditional 130-, 140-game guy, you don't see as much anymore. We've talked about what this means for us down the road. At least in the short-term, we have two of the top catching talents in the game in the organization."

Video: Preller on acquiring Mejia for Hand, Cimber

It's quite the trade haul considering the way Hand and Cimber blossomed from out of nowhere into top-tier relief pitchers with San Diego. Hand was a waiver claim from Miami at the start of the 2016 season. The left-hander became one of the best relievers in baseball, largely due to the implementation of a slider that ranks among the nastiest pitches in the sport. In 41 appearances this season, Hand owns a 3.05 ERA and 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

"Probably the best part of the job the last few years has been watching Brad come in and work in all different roles, different situations, growing from a guy that was a talent as a waiver claim that we took a shot with, to a two-time All-Star," Preller said.

Hand has been rumored as a trade piece for the better part of the past two seasons. But the Padres held firm that they wouldn't move him unless they were blown away by the return. During the offseason, Hand signed a team-friendly three-year extension through 2021. That seemingly made him even more attractive as trade bait.

Still, the Padres wouldn't have landed Mejia unless they included Cimber in the package. A surprise addition to the roster out of Spring Training, Cimber has been one of the Majors' top rookie relievers this season.

The sidearming right-hander owns a 3.17 ERA and a 2.32 FIP in 48 1/3 innings.

"Francisco's going to be a really good player," said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. "But in order to be able to get back what we view are really high-leverage, high-impact relievers, we knew we were going to have to give up a lot of value."

In the absence of Hand, it's likeliest that Kirby Yates will slot into the Padres' closer role. San Diego has yet to announce any corresponding roster moves, but it's expected to add bullpen help before opening the second half on Friday in Philadelphia.

"Where we're at in the standings, the second part of the year will be [about] looking at improvement from our club, looking at improvement from individuals and giving opportunities to guys that have some talent," Preller said. "We'll see if we can find the next Brad Hand or the next Adam Cimber."

The Padres might not be done dealing either. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that Yates and, to a lesser extent, starter Tyson Ross have drawn serious trade interest.

For now, Hand and Cimber are difficult pieces to replace. But the Indians saw both as useful long-term additions to their bullpen. As a result, they were willing to part with their best prospect.

San Diego isn't going to rush Mejia. In two separate Major League stints, he's notched two hits in 15 at-bats, but he's going to get further seasoning in the Minors before he dons a Padres uniform.

"We'll take the next few weeks at the Triple-A level to evaluate, see where things are with him, see where things are with our big league club," Preller said. "We'll make a call from there. … He's a guy that's right there on the doorstep of the big leagues.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Brad Hand, Francisco Mejia

What's next for 3B/SS market after Machado trade?

Contenders seeking help on left side of infield still have options
MLB.com

While the Manny Machado saga may be over for now -- it will resume in the offseason, when Machado is set to become a free agent -- the search for a difference-making player on the left side of the infield is ongoing for a number of clubs, including the Phillies and Brewers.

Though there aren't any Machado-level bats left on the trade market, contenders still have several viable options who can handle the hot corner. But for teams specifically seeking a shortstop, the choices are less inspiring.

While the Manny Machado saga may be over for now -- it will resume in the offseason, when Machado is set to become a free agent -- the search for a difference-making player on the left side of the infield is ongoing for a number of clubs, including the Phillies and Brewers.

Though there aren't any Machado-level bats left on the trade market, contenders still have several viable options who can handle the hot corner. But for teams specifically seeking a shortstop, the choices are less inspiring.

Catch up on the latest Trade Talk

Here's how the third base/shortstop market breaks down after the Dodgers' blockbuster trade for Machado on Wednesday.

Next-biggest names
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays

This group would have been far more alluring prior to this season, but Beltre has battled injuries and displayed diminished power this year and Donaldson hasn't played since late May due to a left calf ailment. With Beltre owning veto power over any trade due to his 10-and-5 rights and Donaldson potentially having just a handful of games to show he's healthy before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Moustakas may be the only one of these impending free agents who is actually dealt. The Phillies reportedly are honing in on the Royals third baseman after missing out on Machado, and the Cardinals, Braves, Red Sox and Yankees have also been linked to him. Meanwhile, Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the club won't consider a Beltre deal unless it is "beneficial for all parties involved."

Video: KC@MIN: Moustakas crushes two solo homers

Versatile vets
Eduardo Escobar, 3B/SS, Twins
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/3B, Mets
Derek Dietrich, 3B/OF, Marlins
Yangervis Solarte, 3B/2B, Blue Jays
Josh Harrison, 2B/3B, Pirates

There could be some good value here, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Escobar, Cabrera and Dietrich have each posted a wRC+ of at least 120 this season, and Solarte has solid contact skills (14.4 percent strikeout rate in 2018) and power (16 homers). Harrison has struggled (71 wRC+ in '18), but he was an All-Star as recently as last year.

Video: BAL@MIN: Escobar drives a 2-run homer to right field

All five of these players can handle multiple positions, so they could be targets for teams in need of a second baseman, third baseman or even an outfielder (in the case of Dietrich). However, Escobar is the only one who is likely to draw any interest as a shortstop, and even he isn't a great option there due to his defensive limitations. The Phillies, Brewers and Indians are the teams that are most likely to pursue one of the players in this group, and the Red Sox could also jump into the mix with second baseman Dustin Pedroia (left knee) possibly out for the year. That said, teams looking for a second baseman may prefer to trade for someone such as Brian Dozier, DJ LeMahieu or Whit Merrifield instead.

Best-available shortstops
Freddy Galvis, SS, Padres
Jose Iglesias, SS, Tigers
Jordy Mercer, SS, Pirates
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Rays
Alcides Escobar, SS, Royals

Video: LAD@SD: Galvis flashes brilliant defense at shortstop

Among the teams that were reportedly involved in Machado trade discussions, the Phillies, Brewers and D-backs each still has a glaring hole to address at shortstop. The problem is, the remaining crop at the position is filled with light-hitting players, and none represents a significant upgrade over what those three clubs have there now. Among the five, Mercer has the best wRC+ with 86. As a result, the trade interest in these players may be minimal.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.