News broke Tuesday night that the Yankees have acquired closer Zach Britton from the Orioles in perhaps the second-most anticipated trade before this year’s deadline. In return for Britton, the Bronx Bombers received three minor league pitchers, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Britton, who was the top available reliever on the market this year, will join a Yankees bullpen that features an MLB-leading 2.75 ERA and 448 strikeouts. Upon joining the team, Britton will reportedly be the setup man for closer Aroldis Chapman.
The Red Sox, Cubs, and Astros were also reportedly in talks with Britton.
Photo via NESN.com
It seems as though the common theme so far this trade deadline has been bolstering the bullpen. On July 21, Oakland acquired closer Jeurys Familia from the Mets, who are likely starting a rebuild, in exchange for a two-prospect package and $1 million in international bonus money, per CBS Sports.
On July 19, the Padres traded all-star reliever Brad Hand and right-handed reliever Adam Climber to the Indians in exchange for Cleveland’s No. 1 prospect (No. 15 overall) Francisco Mejia. Giving up Mejia for bullpen arms seemed to be a no-brainer for Cleveland, as their bullpen entered the All-Star break ranked 29th in the Majors in ERA with 5.28, according to MLB.com. The Cubs got a much-needed bullpen boost on July 19 when they traded for Rangers’ righty Jesse Chavez, who has already had a huge impact for the North Siders; and the Nationals got the bullpen moves rolling on June 18 when they traded for Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera.
However, the biggest move this season by far was the long-anticipated trade of superstar SS/3B Manny Machado from Baltimore to the Dodgers. L.A., whose GM has been hesitant in the past to give up prospects, sent a 5-prospect package to Baltimore which included OF Yusniel Diaz, who has been having an excellent season at the Double-A level. Other teams in talks for Machado included the Phillies, who many saw as the front-runners to land Machado, Brewers, Yankees, D-Backs, Indians, and Braves.
Wednesday morning’s move for Boston to land Rays’ right-handed starter Nathan Eovaldi was announced less than 12 hours after the rival Yankees announced their acquisition of Zach Britton. Eovaldi, a former Yankee, underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2016, and started this season on the disabled list before posting a 3-4 record in 10 starts, with a 4.45 ERA, according to ESPN.
And the most recent move, which was just announced as I’m finishing up editing this post, involved the defending champion Astros trading a prospect to the Angels for catcher Martin Maldonado. Houston has a solid 5-game lead in the competitive AL West, but Seattle and Oakland have been hot this season, especially the A’s as of late. Houston will likely make another move before the deadline as they push to repeat in 2018.
So where does that leave us? The trade deadline is 11:59 PM on Tuesday, and it looks as though the biggest names on the market have already been moved. Who else will spend the rest of 2018 with a new team? Let’s jump into the rumor mill!
Cincinnati is reportedly looking to trade veteran pitcher Matt Harvey. Harvey started the season with the Mets, but was designated for assignment in May after he refused to be sent to the minors. Earlier in the season, Harvey was moved to the bullpen, a move with which he was outspokenly unhappy. The relationship between Harvey and the Mets had been going downhill over the past couple of seasons, so I don’t think it came as a surprise when Harvey was dismissed from the team’s roster. In seventeen starts this season, Harvey carries a record of 5-6 with a 5.21 ERA, according to ESPN. At one time one of league leaders in pitching, Harvey’s talent, as well as his attitude, has seemed to go downhill. In my opinion, I don’t see any contenders making a move for him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a team on the outskirts brings him aboard. However, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick does report that Seattle and Milwaukee have shown interest in Harvey.
Speaking of the Miserable Mets, as I’ve started calling them this season, there were rumors that New York’s NL club might be looking to trade their two aces, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, with the Padres reportedly interested in one or the other. However, many experts think that the Mets will hang on to the duo until the end of the season. The two names that do appear on the Mets’ trade block are catcher Devin Mesoraco and veteran utility man Jose Bautista. Both will be free agents at the end of the season. Mesoraco will likely be easier for the Mets to unload, as he has garnered interest from teams who are looking for catching help, such as the Nationals and Brewers. However, It will probably be harder to find a buyer for Bautista, who has had a disappointing year and is clearly past his prime. It’s possible that someone picks him up for use in a platoon role, but I would not be surprised if Joey Bats’ final career bat flip comes relatively soon.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Blue Jays are wanting to trade pitchers J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada, as well as infielder Yangervis Solarte, but their asking price is “extremely high,” according to SI. I’m willing to bet that we’ll see a last-minute deal featuring one of these two pitchers in which the Jays settle for less than they wanted to get. Toronto is also reportedly in talks to acquire Curtis Granderson from the Phillies.
Texas is looking to trade veteran pitcher Cole Hamels, with the Braves and Nationals showing interest. Hamels is 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA through 20 starts in 2018. It would be interesting to see the potential bidding war from two division rivals both fighting to get to first place. However, Hamels’ value may have dropped a little after giving up seven runs in five innings in his last start, a loss against Oakland.
Perhaps the most interesting pitcher left on the market is Tampa’s Chris Archer. Archer has started 16 games for the Rays and is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA. The Yankees reportedly have a high interest in Archer, per Jerry Crasnick, but there is skepticism that Tampa will move Archer at all, much less to a division rival, since he’s under a reasonably-priced contract through 2021. There is also a rumor about San Diego pursuing Archer, but neither club has confirmed that they have been in contact.
So what can we take from all of this talking about trade rumors? First and foremost, it’s a lot of speculation. There have been many surprise blockbuster trades in the past, and as the old saying goes, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Secondly, the Mets are most definitely entering a rebuild (Blog post coming soon!). All we can do is wait until Tuesday and keep our eyes on our MLB.com and ESPN apps.
Comment below and let me know what trade you’d like to see happen before the deadline!