Major League Baseball has its trade deadline coming up on July 31 and for the first time in this era, there won't be any August waiver trades after the deadline. It's a hard deadline. With this in mind, perhaps the deadline will prove to be crazier than in years past. Of course, the National League right now has 14 of its 15 teams either in playoff position or within six games of a playoff spot. Too many buyers and not enough sellers could really put a damper on the action.
Still, there will be deals and we'll be here each day to roundup the latest on the rumor mill. Let's get to it.
Cubs have interest in Castellanos
The Cubs are among the teams with interest in Tigers slugger Nicholas Castellanos, reports Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. McCosky adds this one "has some teeth." Chicago would presumably install Castellanos as its regular right fielder, with Jason Heyward sliding over to center field full-time. Castellanos is an impending free agent.
Outfield help has become a priority for the Cubs because Kyle Schwarber has underwhelmed -- Schwarber rarely plays against left-handed pitchers anyway -- and Albert Almora has struggled all year. Castellanos would, at worst, be a high-end platoon partner for Schwarber. More likely, he'd push Almora out of the lineup entirely and give the team another big righty bat.
Zaidi talks Bumgarner
It's been pretty widely accepted throughout the season that the Giants would trade Madison Bumgarner this month. He's a free agent after the year, club president Farhan Zaidi needs to restock the farm system and the team is old. Of course, the Giants have gotten hot at the worst possible time for a teardown and now there are rumors they might hold. Zaidi spoke to reporters on the matter Sunday and had this to say:
Whenever a savvy executive speaks like this, it's an exercise in semantics. Surely at some point when Zaidi was contacted by other teams, he let it be known that Bumgarner is available and has given ideas of what kinds of deals he'd make. He's the one with the players others might want, so he's letting them contact him and it gives him the opportunity to tell the truth in that he's not calling other teams to get them interested in his guy. No matter what is said, the likeliest outcome here is the Giants falling far enough back for Zaidi to justify trading Bumgarner (along with Will Smith and probably Tony Watson).
Mets still expect a good return for Wheeler
Despite being placed Mets still expect a "solid return" for right-hander Zack Wheeler, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. Wheeler played catch Thursday and threw a bullpen on Sunday. It's possible he will be activated in time to make two starts before the July 31 trade deadline.with a shoulder impingement, the
Undoubtedly, the injury will take a bite out of Wheeler's trade value. No matter how good he looks in his starts before the deadline, shoulder trouble is a red flag, and it's hard to imagine a team paying full price. That said, Wheeler would be a tempting buy-low option in a trade market short on true impact starters. The Mets shouldn't have trouble moving him. It's just unlikely their initial asking price will be met.
Tigers seeking establishing young star for Boyd
In some cases, the Tigers are seeking an establishing young star for lefty Matthew Boyd, reports MLB Network's Jon Heyman. , which fits Heyman's report. Boyd is under team control through 2022 and is breaking out as a strikeout machine this year. .
For what it's worth the Tigers have a recent history of setting a high asking price for their top trade chips and sticking to it. That's why Michael Fulmer was never moved. There is no bona fide ace on the trade market this summer, but there are enough high-end alternatives (Madison Bumgarner, Mike Minor, Marcus Stroman, etc.) that the asking price for Boyd could push teams in other directions.
Nationals interested in Greene, Dyson
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Nationals have interest in Tigers closer Shane Greene and Giants right-hander Sam Dyson. Washington GM Mike Rizzo recently said he would like to acquire players under control beyond 2019 at the deadline. Greene and Dyson will both remain under team control as arbitration-eligible players next season before qualifying for free agency.
The Nationals have won 33 of their last 47 games to climb into the top wild-card spot, and their bullpen, which was such a mess earlier this year, has a 4.16 ERA since June 1. That is the eighth best mark in baseball. That said, there is no such thing as too many good relievers, and Washington has a clear need for a top notch setup man to pair with closer Sean Doolittle. Greene and/or Dyson would fit very well.
Rays open to adding rental players
The Rays are open to adding rental players at the deadline, GM Erik Neander indicated to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Neander said it would be "more of a baseball decision than a pure budget constraint type of decision." Here's more from the GM:
"Probably the most visible thing that stands out is through the guys we have or potentially through upgrades, we have to find a way to either separate tight games offensively or lock them down on the pitching half of innings, certainly late," he said. "It's one of those two things."
The Rays have been seeking late-inning bullpen help for weeks now -- they were reportedly the runner-up for Craig Kimbrel -- and with Diego Castillo, Jose Alvarado, and Emilio Pagan hitting the skids recently, the need for bullpen help has only increased. Tampa has the prospect capital to get any player. Despite Neander's comments, finding a trade fit will be more about financials than anything. That is always the case with the Rays.