With the first half of the season already in the books, Major League Baseball heads towards the All-Star break this weekend. And with the August 1 trade deadline looming, the number of trade rumors has picked up.
First, let’s get a quick rumor out of the way. It would appear that Derek Jeter and Hannah Davis did NOT get married this past weekend. Not only was Jeter the captain of the Yankees, but he’s the captain of his boat, too. Apparently, Captain Jeter was in the waters near his Tampa home on July 4th, when he got too close to MacDill Air Force Base. Jeter got ticketed for his indiscretion and received a little extra bonus scrawled on the ticket: “On behalf of the Boston Red Sox, here is your ticket Derek Jeter.” An active member of the Air Force posted it on Facebook and is probably on KP duty about now. The Air Force officially apologized to Jeter for the wording on the ticket, as well as for making a private situation public.
As for the Yankees’ actual trade rumors, not much has changed, though it sounds like they will listen to offers on just about anyone, including Andrew Miller. It was reported that Miller had been informed that he would not be dealt away, but Miller has since qualified that. He was told by GM Brian Cashman that his name, “had not been discussed in our front office yet”. The Yankees continue to get calls from every team that needs bullpen help, which is just about every team in the playoff hunt. Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Miller have been the subject of the majority of those calls to the Yankees. As previously discussed, the Yankees would be better off keeping Miller (and Betances), and dealing Chapman. Of course, if a team offers an overwhelming deal for Miller, the Yankees would be hard-pressed to ignore it.
Though he’s struggled in his last pair of starts, the Yankees should see if there is a market for CC Sabathia, and if so, whether he would he be willing to waive his no-trade clause. When Sabathia signed his new five-year deal in 2011, he told the media, “I just want to end my career here. I want to make sure I end my career as a Yankee and, hopefully, I’ve done that.” While it’s great that he wants to retire as a Yankee, the Yankees might be much better off if he finishes his career elsewhere.
The Yankees would be wise to move outfielder/DH Carlos Beltran as well. Recently named to his eighth All-Star team, the rejuvenated 39-year old has produced 19 HR and 54 RBI in 78 games. An AL team would be the best spot for Beltran, a player whose best knees are behind him. The White Sox, Astros, and possibly the Royals, could be good landing spots if Beltran were to remain in the AL. (He’s already played well for the Astros when they were in the NL, and a homecoming to his original team in KC could be enticing.) A number of NL teams could use a solid bat like Beltran’s, but they would have to bench him occasionally since there is no DH to take a day or two off from the outfield. The idea in both cases, would be to get young, highly rated starting pitching back for Beltran and Sabathia. Pitchers that are close to Major League ready would be ideal.
The AL West-leading Texas Rangers are among the teams looking for starting pitching are. Texas has lost Colby Lewis for two months with a strained lat, and lefty Derek Holland (shoulder inflammation), and right-hander Yu Darvish (setback from Tommy John surgery) are lost for at least 15 days. That leaves a rotation that is the Gladys Knight and the Pips of baseball. In the role of (lead singer) Ms. Knight is ace Cole Hamels, while the (back up singing) Pips are made up of Chi Chi Gonzalez, Nick Martinez, A.J. Griffin, and Martin Perez. Veteran Kyle Lohse may be recalled soon from Triple-A Round Rock and added to the rotation. Not exactly an intimidating rotation.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden has heard rumblings that the Rangers have discussed sending a bat to Tampa Bay for Odorizzi. It’s a deal that makes sense, since the Rays are always long on pitching and short on offense. As of this writing, Odorizzi was 3-4, 4.33 in an AL-leading 18 starts, and had struck out batters at a rate of 8.5/9 IP. The right-hander won’t come cheap though, he’s first-year arbitration eligible in 2017 and can’t be a free agent until 2020. The Rays have had a habit over the years of asking for too much in return for their players, and that too could hamper the process. The Rays certainly will want some combination of slugging prospect Joey Gallo, infielder Jurickson Profar, and Lewis Brinson.
Profar has bounced back from two years worth of injuries to perform well at a number of positions for the big club. Gallo continues to bash home runs and strike out at Triple-A, while Brinson, a top-20 prospect, looks to need more seasoning at Double-A Frisco. Minnesota Twins’ beat writer LaVelle E. Neal reported that the Rangers took a “hard look” at Santana last Friday. The Twins asking price may have gone up on Wednesday after Santana tossed a complete game two-hit shutout against Oakland. The big drawback is the guaranteed two years and $27MM that remain on Santana’s contract.
The Oakland A’s Rich Hill has been asked about by a number of teams, including Boston, who he played for from 2010-2012 and again last season. His 1.55 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 29 innings last September propelled him to a one-year, $6MM free agent contract with Oakland this season. Hill’s success continued this year. Through 12 starts he was 8-3, 2.31, with 80 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched, and he allowed only 52 hits and two home runs. The Cubs and Royals are also interested in the 6’5″ lefty.
KC also has an interest in Hill’s teammate, Josh Reddick. The outfielder has a .308/.388/.442 split in 48 games and just returned from the DL. The Royals could use a boost to their rotation and lineup as a result of the high number of injuries they have suffered all season. Outfielder Alex Gordon recently returned from a month-long stint on the DL. Third baseman Mike Moustakas‘ season ended in May when he tore his right ACL. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain was DL’ed last week due to a strained hamstring injury, and closer Wade Davis was added to the list this week with a forearm strain. Starter Kris Medlen was set to return after being out since May, but strained his shoulder in a rehab start.