August 17, 2022

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Astros notch MLB record-tying 20 Ok’s, prime Angels

7:00 AM ET Welcome to commerce deadline day. We lastly received a rush of motion...

7:00 AM ET

Welcome to commerce deadline day. We lastly received a rush of motion on Monday, so let’s have a look at if the momentum holds into what needs to be a busy day. The deadline comes at 6 p.m. ET, so that provides Padres GM A.J. Preller just a few additional afternoon hours to swing a deal … or three.

In fact, a lot of the drama surrounds Juan Soto, the 23-year-old star for the Washington Nationals — the crew with the worst report within the majors. Soto stays on the commerce block, and San Diego is without doubt one of the favorites to land him, however the strain is on Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to make the appropriate deal, a commerce which will decide the fortunes of the franchise over the subsequent six or seven years if he can hit a house run.

As at all times, do not underestimate the impression of the commerce deadline. Take a look at the offers the previous World Collection champions made going again to 2015:

2015 Royals: Acquired Johnny Cueto (pitched eight innings to win Sport 5 of the ALDS and threw a complete-game victory within the World Collection) and Ben Zobrist (hit .303/.365/.515 within the postseason)

2016 Cubs: Acquired Aroldis Chapman (2-Zero with 4 saves within the postseason, though he did blow that lead in Sport 7 of the World Collection)

2017 Astros: Acquired Justin Verlander (4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in six postseason appearances)

2018 Purple Sox: Acquired Nathan Eovaldi (2-1 with a 1.61 ERA over 22 1/Three playoff innings, his one loss coming in a six-inning aid look in that 18-inning World Collection recreation)

2019 Nationals: Acquired Daniel Hudson (1-Zero with 4 saves and received the ultimate three outs in Sport 7 of the World Collection)

2021 Braves: Acquired Eddie Rosario (NLCS MVP), Jorge Soler (World Collection MVP), Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall

Solely the 2020 Dodgers did not should make an impression deal, so there may be the sturdy probability that one in every of offers made Monday or right now will assist decide your 2022 World Collection champion. Additionally, watch out for these minor trades. Again on the 2016 commerce deadline, the Astros traded reliever Josh Fields to the Dodgers and purchased a younger minor leaguer who had but to play an expert recreation for the Dodgers — a guy named Yordan Alvarez.

Beginning with Soto, listed below are 10 gamers who might be traded:

1. Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals

The San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are considered because the favorites, however do not overlook the Texas Rangers as a sleeper crew to accumulate Soto, although they don’t seem to be within the playoff chase this season. MacKenzie Gore’s elbow damage hurts Preller’s potential commerce bundle, however there’s nonetheless shortstop C.J. Abrams and outfielder Robert Hassell to headline a commerce if Gore’s damage scares off the Nationals.

Not solely is Preller at all times hyper-aggressive on the commerce market, as we noticed together with his acquisition of Josh Hader on Monday, preserve this in thoughts: Since he took over as GM earlier than the 2015 season, the Padres have but to make the playoffs in a full season. The strain is on, particularly for the reason that Padres ran the second-highest payroll final season and are within the high six this season. Even with the upcoming return of Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres will nonetheless be trying so as to add offense. Heading into August, their outfielders have been hitting .219/.299/.345 — solely the Reds, A’s, Marlins and Tigers had a decrease OPS from their outfielders.

As for the Rangers, no, they don’t seem to be going wherever in 2022, however the signings final offseason of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien counsel they cannot wait any longer to finish their rebuild and begin successful, not when these two will likely be making $61 million subsequent season. They’ve constructed a deep farm system, though with no high guy that’s the equal of Abrams or Hassell (or Diego Cartaya of the Dodgers or Jordan Walker of the Cardinals). Most of their high performers have been a number of the youthful guys in Class A ball, so the Rangers would possible should overwhelm Rizzo with an extended record of prospects to strike a deal.

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Prediction: Dodgers. They beat the Padres out for Max Scherzer final 12 months. With Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy each struggling, Andrew Friedman needs extra offense, even when the Dodgers do lead the Nationwide League in runs. And you must marvel: Was Preller’s acquisition of the left-handed Hader a sit up for the postseason, when the Padres may need to navigate a Dodgers lineup that includes Freddie Freeman and Soto?

The underside 5 groups in catcher OPS are the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Cleveland Guardians, Cardinals and New York Mets — all playoff contenders. On Monday, the Astros acquired Christian Vazquez, a greater defensive catcher than Contreras, and you understand the Cardinals aren’t going to bench Yadier Molina. The Mets, regardless of a serious league-worst .523 OPS from their backstops, additionally just like the protection that James McCann and Tomas Nido present.

Possibly the Rays take advantage of sense. Mike Zunino is out for the season after thoracic outlet surgical procedure, and now backup Francisco Mejia is on the injured record and out for at the least a pair weeks with a shoulder subject. They’re all the way down to Christian Bethancourt (acquired from the A’s) and Rene Pinto as their catchers. Sure, there are considerations about how nicely Contreras handles a pitching workers, however the Rays additionally want offense, and Contreras is hitting a strong .252/.365/.453.

It is also attainable {that a} crew will purchase Contreras extra with the concept of utilizing him as a DH and part-time catcher. The Padres are a risk right here, as are Seattle Mariners (their DHs are hitting .153/.249/.275 coming into Monday, worst within the majors).

Prediction: Mariners. Luis Castillo was an important pickup at an especially excessive value, signaling the Mariners are all-in in making an attempt to make the playoffs in 2022. Nonetheless, Julio Rodriguez simply landed on the IL after getting hit on the wrist, and Ty France is not 100% with a sore elbow. So a below-average offense is all of the sudden much more hobbled. Oh, in addition they want a backup catcher. Contreras may DH and catch a pair occasions per week.

3. Josh Bell, 1B, Washington Nationals

Bell has quietly had a pleasant season for the Nationals. In actual fact, coming into Monday …

Bell: .302/.385/.493, 142 wRC+

Soto: .243/.403/475, 147 wRC+

Now, that does not imply each gamers will hit this manner the remainder of the best way — Soto is coming off a giant July when he hit .315/.495/.616 with six residence runs. However there’s a probability that with Bell you are getting 90% of Soto on the plate for the ultimate two months with out ripping aside your whole farm system.

Amongst playoff contenders, the groups with the worst manufacturing at first base are the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Astros and Padres. The Astros added Trey Mancini on Monday, and the Giants presumably will run with Brandon Belt. The Mariners ought to contemplate Bell as a possible DH, as may the Guardians, in the event that they’ve uninterested in Franmil Reyes’ .254 OBP.

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Prediction: Padres. Bell’s state of affairs is fairly clearly tied to Soto’s, that means Rizzo is likely to be in dialogue with the Padres about each gamers. The decision right here is that if Soto lands with the Dodgers, then Bell results in San Diego.

The highest rental reliever obtainable, Robertson, 37, hadn’t pitched a full season since 2018, however he’s 3-Zero with a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves, holding batters to a .162 common and the Statcast metrics to again it up (he’s within the 89th percentile in swing-and-miss fee). Batters are 4-for-65 towards his curveball and slider.

There’s discuss of the Cubs doubtlessly packaging Contreras and Robertson collectively so as to get a greater prospect — with the Mets making a whole lot of sense in that situation, as they might use a reliever after buying and selling Colin Holderman within the Dan Vogelbach deal. The Philadelphia Phillies are at all times on the lookout for bullpen assist. The Mariners have labored their high relievers fairly laborious of late, and Diego Castillo simply landed on the IL with shoulder irritation.

Prediction: Mets. The Mets should do one thing, proper? Their bullpen actually does not run a lot deeper than Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo and Adam Ottavino, so Robertson may slot in because the eighth-inning guy in entrance of Diaz. Plus, he has loads of postseason expertise.

5. Ian Happ, OF, Chicago Cubs

He isn’t a free agent till after 2023, so there isn’t any assure he will get traded. He is hitting a strong .279/.360/.436, and whereas he’s performed left subject this 12 months for all however 12 innings, he does have expertise up to now in heart subject — for a crew prepared to stretch him defensively. The Dodgers and Padres may each additionally have a look at Happ because the backup plan to Soto.

Prediction: Phillies. When Bryce Harper returns, which may arrange an outfield of Kyle Schwarber in left, Happ in heart and Nick Castellanos in proper with Harper at DH. Sure, that is a foul thought, however that hasn’t stopped the Phillies earlier than.

He is on a one-year deal, so there isn’t any motive for the Angels to maintain him. However he’s additionally making $21 million, or about $7 million over the ultimate two months, and hasn’t been notably nice. He is had 64 strikeouts in 80 innings and averages simply 5.Three innings per begin regardless of pitching on 5 or extra days of relaxation all season. He is now a 94-mph-sinkerballer when he used to throw triple digits, and his general swing-and-miss fee on all his pitches is in simply the 30th percentile. He is mainly a pitch-to-contact guy now. The Angels will in all probability have to choose up a number of the cash so as to get an honest prospect in return.

Prediction: Phillies. Hey, the cash may not matter to the Phillies, and Syndergaard may conceivably line up as their No. Three starter in a playoff rotation behind Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

7. Nathan Eovaldi, SP, Boston Purple Sox

The Purple Sox try to play it each methods — buying and selling away Vazquez on Monday, however then acquiring Tommy Pham — so it isn’t clear what they will find yourself doing with Eovaldi, who heads into free company after the season. He is been homer-prone this 12 months (18 in 81 1/Three innings), and in 4 begins since lacking greater than a month with decrease again irritation, he’s allowed 19 runs in 19 1/Three innings (however allowed simply two unearned runs over 6 1/Three innings on Monday towards the Astros). In different phrases, it is also not precisely clear what Eovaldi may carry if the Purple Sox do commerce him, though his postseason expertise is likely to be of curiosity to some groups.

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Prediction: He stays in Boston. Are the Purple Sox going to make the playoffs? Most likely not; they’re 12-29 throughout the division with 35 extra video games to go towards AL East opponents. However they’re additionally not to date out of the wild-card race that they need to give up the season. If Eovaldi was assured to carry a pleasant return, a commerce may make extra sense, however his current string of begins has harm his worth.

The identical idea applies to Martinez, besides he’s having a strong season on the plate. As a DH-only participant, nevertheless, his commerce worth is considerably restricted. These groups we talked about earlier than — Padres, Mariners — are prospects. Heck, even the Dodgers have been operating out Jake Lamb as their DH currently.

Prediction: He additionally stays in Boston. After the Vazquez commerce, Purple Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom informed reporters, “Transferring him goes to impression the membership. We’re conscious of that. We’re making an attempt to assist the membership. We nonetheless need to make the postseason.” Sure, he additionally stated the “image is incomplete.” So trades may occur … or they won’t.

Mahle has a 4.40 ERA, however a lot better peripherals, with a 3.61 FIP and simply 12 residence runs allowed in 104 1/Three innings. He is also below crew management by way of 2023. After depleting their roster of Castillo, Pham, Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez since spring coaching, it is easy to imagine Mahle is subsequent. However, you understand, they want any individual to start out subsequent 12 months. They might even be making an attempt to bundle Mahle with Mike Moustakas’ contract — he’s owed $18 million subsequent 12 months with a $Four million buyout of his 2024 contract. (Man, how unhealthy was that deal?)

Prediction: Minnesota Twins. After the Cardinals acquired Jose Quintana on Monday evening, that leaves the Twins because the contender with the obvious want of a starter. They’re 18th within the majors in rotation ERA and 26th in innings.

10. Carlos Rodon, SP, San Francisco Giants

After dropping their first seven video games popping out of the All-Star break, the Giants have fallen to fourth place within the wild-card race behind the Padres, Phillies and Cardinals — however not out of it. Rodon began the season on fireplace, went 1-Four with a 5.67 ERA in Could, had a 1.25 ERA in June, and went 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA in July. When he’s on, he’s as dominant as any pitcher within the recreation. However the consistency hasn’t fairly been there, and groups are cautious of what occurred within the second half final season with the White Sox — when he barely pitched attributable to arm fatigue.

To additional complicate issues, he could make $22.5 million subsequent 12 months within the second season of his two-year deal, however he additionally has an opt-out clause. If he stays wholesome the remainder of the best way, he in all probability opts out; if not, he’ll let that $22.5 million kick in.

Prediction: He stays with the Giants. Just like the Purple Sox, this should not be a franchise punting on its playoff hopes. Plus, with Logan Webb and Rodon fronting a playoff rotation, the Giants may shock in October … in the event that they get there.