We are approximately 72 hours away from the 2016 Major League Baseball trade deadline, and up until now - with the exception of two major trades - it has been nothing but speculation on which teams will be buyers and sellers come 3 p.m. on August 1.
The two major moves so far this season have involved two National League teams looking to shore up their starting rotation and bullpen for the postseason run. The Chicago Cubs were the talk of the majors for about a week after acquiring highly-sought-after closer Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees. His acquisition, however, did not come at a cheap price. The Cubs had to part ways with starting pitcher Adam Warren and top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torress. Two other prospects were also included as well. It's too early to say who won this trade, but Chapman's first appearance went as smooth as possible. He hit 102.8 mph on the radar gun as he easily recorded a four-out save, his first as a Cub.
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The other major trade just officially went down earlier today. The Miami Marlins attempted to solidify their starting rotation by acquiring Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player deal. Heading to Southern California are top prospects Josh Naylor, Luis Castillo and right-handed starting pitcher Jarred Cosart. This trade gives the Marlins more depth behind phenom Jose Fernandez and should ease some of the responsibility of Tom Koehler and Adam Conley.
The trade deadline always has some sort of direct correlation with the future odds of teams who make the biggest moves. Thanks to our friends at 5Dimes, we can keep tabs on how the odds change after Aug. 1. The top-five favorites to win the World Series are the Cubs (+350), Giants (+600), Nationals (+750), Rangers (+850) and Indians (+850). We've already seen the Cubs' odds drop, so look for the Rangers' or Indians' odds to take a hit should they make a move before the deadline.
Let's take a look a some of the trade rumors that have been floating around the majors for the last couple weeks, starting in the American League.
Baltimore Orioles (+1250): The Orioles were apparently actively pursing Padres starting pitcher Cashner. Since he is no longer an option, they have been linked to Tampa Bay starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez. They need a starting pitcher in order to make up for trotting Ubaldo Jimenez out every fifth day. Entering Friday, they have the sixth-highest ERA at 4.91. Ramirez has pitched well this season out of the bullpen for Tampa. He has made 63 career starts and has a 4.11 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 342 total innings.
Texas Rangers (+850): According to sources, the Rangers might be in play to acquire All-Star starting pitcher Chris Sale from the White Sox. This would be a major move and cement themselves as favorites to come out of the AL with their great starting rotation. The rotation would feature Chris Sale, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, Lucas Harrell and Martin Perez. However, to acquire Sale, the Rangers would have to part ways with both of Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo. Profar is the catch for the White Sox as he is having a pretty good season in Arlington. At 23, he has spent time at all four infield positions and boasts a line of .294/.347/.411 in 49 games started. Definitely a high-ceiling type player.
Toronto Blue Jays (+1200): The Blue Jays are in desperate need of some relief pitching. It seems every year is the same deal with this team and every year they can't figure out a way to fix it. However, according to reports, the Jays are actively and aggressively pursuing Boone Logan - a relief pitcher who is posing the best numbers of his career. Logan has a 2.48 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP, with 34 strikeouts in 29 innings. He is a lefty specialist and has held lefties to .147/.183/.235 across the board. However, due to the Rockies current winning streak (five of seven games) they are only 5.5 games out of the wild-card race and could think twice about becoming sellers. This is why the Jays went out and acquired Joaquin Benoit from the Mariners earlier this week. The Jays won't be making another major splash at the deadline like last year,, but a few key pitching additions would bolster their chances at capturing their first World Series title since 1993.
Milwaukee Brewers (+300000): Yes, that's three-hundred-thousand-to-one. So why am I putting them in this list? Because they have a player that approximately six teams are legitimately interested in. That player is Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers have been fielding offers for the last little while now regarding the two-time All-Star, but there have been no deals worthy of the Brewers time. It is said that the New York Mets offered catcher Travis d'Arnaud for Lucroy straight up earlier this week. The Brewers quickly rejected that offer. Lucroy would be a great upgrade behind the plate for the Mets, but they might not have the players to pull this off. Waiting to pounce are teams like Texas, Boston, Houston and Cleveland. All teams in the AL who could use Lucroy's .300 average and 50 RBIs.
San Francisco Giants (+600): If anyone out there knows what is wrong with the Giants, please call Bruce Bochy and let him know. The struggle is real in the Bay Area after another loss last night dropped their NL West lead to just two games. However, management seems to be bringing in the cavalry to help right the ship. The Giants acquired Eduardo Nunez from Minnesota in exchange for left-hander Adalberto Mejia. Nunez is supposed to be a second option for second base, since Joe Panik just returned from the DL and third basemen Matt Duffy is out for season. Despite the move to bring in an infielder, the Giants remain adamant that pitching is their focus. They seem to be acquiring about every possible name they can think of, and the names that keep popping up are Kansas City starting pitchers Ian Kennedy, Edinson Volquez and Wade Davis.
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