The Major League Baseball trade deadline is Aug. 2, so we’re heading toward the homestretch as teams sort out whether they are buyers, sellers or holders and inch toward some landscape-changing deals. Wednesday night, the Yankees swung a deal for All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi. It wasn’t really a “first domino to fall” type move that’ll untangle the rest of the market, but it was good to see things get moving here with the deadline less than a week away.
More will be coming soon. Let’s take a look at the latest from the MLB rumor mill.
Padres out front for Soto?
Obviously, the biggest name on the market is Nationals superstar Juan Soto. There’s smoke all over the place and as many as a dozen teams have reportedly inquired with the Nats. The favorite right now is debatable, but Buster Olney reports that “some rival executives perceive the Padres” as the “frontrunner” at this time.
It’s a juicy rumor, that’s for sure. Thinking about the Padres adding Soto and getting Fernando Tatis, Jr. back from injury to add to a lineup with Manny Machado is fun. They are 10 games over .500 and have survived the Tatis injury mostly with great pitching.
Now, it should be noted that last year, there was a perception the Padres were the leaders for Max Scherzer and it even got close enough that many thought the trade was happening. Then the Dodgers swooped in and grabbed Scherzer and Trea Turner — so let’s just remember to avoid overreaction.
Yankees have “strong” interest in Castillo
The Yankees have “expressed strong interest” and are “pushing hard” for Reds All-Star starting pitcher Luis Castillo, reports nj.com. The report further indicates the Reds aren’t necessarily ready to deal Castillo just yet, instead likely holding Castillo until much closer to the trade deadline. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Reds are ready to enjoy a bidding war on deadline day.
They are in a nice position to do so, too. Castillo, 29, has a 2.86 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 90 strikeouts in 85 innings this season. He’s a two-time All-Star who has shown the capability to throw like an ace for spurts and he’s not set to hit free agency until after next season. As such, if the bids aren’t to the Reds’ liking, they can simply hold him.
Pretty much every contender looking for starting pitching will be in on Castillo. In fact, some teams on the fringe of contention who are looking to make a push next season might also get involved, given Castillo’s contract status.
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Astros to move MLB SP for position player?
The Astros have one of the best teams in baseball as their window of World Series contention remains wide open. They also have a “good problem to have” with too much starting pitching. They are currently using a six-man rotation and Lance McCullers, Jr. looks to return soon from his forearm injury. Sure, they could boot Odorizzi from the rotation, but that would still mean six big-league-quality starters and they don’t really have to have that many.
Especially if they could shore up a weakness via trade. Ken Rosenthal reports that Jose Urquidy could be the man on the move, leaving Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier behind, among their talented and cost-controlled starters.
The report indicates the Astros would be looking for a quality big-league catcher or center fielder in return. A’s catcher Sean Murphy, Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds and Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins are mentioned. Rosenthal also reports it’s possible the Astros would ship out Urquidy to a third party for prospects and use those prospects to get Reynolds or Murphy.
Lots of interest in Bard; Rockies could hold him anyway
Rockies closer Daniel Bard is drawing interest from “multiple teams,” according to mlb.com.
Bard, 37, is having arguably the best year of his career and at the very least it’s the best since he was 25. He’s closed 21 of his 23 save chances with a 1.91 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 43 strikeouts against 18 unintentional walks in 37 2/3 innings. Moving to a contender would probably mean going to a setup role, but he thrived there for the Red Sox at the start of his MLB career.
Of course, the denver post reports that the Rockies and Bard could end up reaching a contract extension. Such a move at Bard’s age would be a bit of a surprise, but if the trade packages being offered aren’t up to snuff and the two sides want to continue the marriage, it’s possible it’ll work.