With the market being set for top-end starters and teams looking to add talent for the stretch run, the MLB hot stove is heating up big time.
In what will be a daily piece on Sportsnaut until Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, here are the biggest rumors and stories around the world of Major League Baseball.
Bounty for Johnny Cueto was pretty high
The package the Cincinnati Reds got for ace starter Johnny Cueto trumps what the Oakland Athletics received for Scott Kazmir. And in reality, it’s not that close.
Brandon Finnegan, a first-round pick last June, was one of the quickest players to go from draftee to the Majors when he joined the Royals big club less than three months after being selected. He’s also had a ton of success since his debut last September, posting a 2.59 ERA with a strikeout per inning in 21 career appearances. According to MLB.com, Finnegan was Kansas City’s fourth-ranked prospect heading into the season.
While Finnegan is the sure headliner here, Cincinnati also nabbed two solid pitching prospects in John Lamb and Cody Reed. Lamb, 25, was a fifth-round pick back in 2008. He’s tallied a 9-1 record with a 2.67 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 17 starts for Triple-A Omaha this year. Meanwhile, Reed was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He was pitching extremely well at Single-A Hillsboro at the time of the deal, posting a 1.37 ERA and well over a strikeout per inning in seven starts.
Market set for other top-end starters
Now that we know the bounty Kansas City gave up for Cueto, we can be sure that both David Price and Cole Hamels will bring a pretty lofty return for their respective teams. Interestingly, the Los Angeles Dodgers may not be willing to part with their two top prospects, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. That could make it difficult for them to land a starter. Though, ESPN’s Jayson Stark is reporting that Los Angeles has joined the Texas Rangers as the favorites to land Hamels. Pitchers Grant Holmes and Jose De Leon could be used as potential bait.
The interesting thing about Kansas City giving up such a prized prospect in Finnegan for Cueto is the fact that very few contending teams possess that type of A-plus prospect. The Dodgers do, but they might not be willing to part with a player of that ilk.
Among the other teams said to be interested in Hamels, only Joey Gallo (Rangers), Henry Owens (Red Sox) and Luis Severino (Yankees) rank among MLB.com’s top-20 prospects. This means a larger package would likely have to be offered to pry Hamels from Philadelphia.
Latest on David Price
It’s still possible that the Detroit Tigers ace could be moved before Friday’s deadline. Detroit has fallen out of contention in the American League Central and may very well be looking to expedite any rebuilding process. We’ve seen the Dodgers and Giants mentioned as possibilities. And while the former might have to part with one of their two top prospects to land Price, the latter doesn’t have a ton of resources here. According to the MLB.com list referenced above, Kyle Crick comes in as the Giants top prospect at No. 62 overall. He’s the only player in the team’s farm ranked in the top 100.
As we indicated on Saturday, the Tigers aren’t necessarily opposed to giving another team a 48-hour window to negotiate a long-term deal with Price. First and foremost, any potential extension would increase the value Detroit receives in a Price-related deal. It would also put the Giants in clear contention for the ace, especially considering general manager Brian Sabean’s reluctance to give up the farm for rentals.
The other thing to look at here is that Detroit may actually be looking to keep Price and add to the team for the stretch run:
If the Tigers keep David Price, they'll look to add before July 31 — and they are in the market now checking on upgrades.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 26, 2015
At 48-49 on the season, any possibility of Detroit contending is remote. It’s 11 games behind Kansas City in the American League Central and currently fifth in the AL wild card race.
Pittsburgh Pirates still looking to add
Sources: #pirates have looked into Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. Napoli scuffling at plate but has been decent defensively.
— RobBiertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) July 26, 2015
Even after acquiring Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers, the second-place Pirates are still looking to add before Friday. Making a move for either/both of these players would enable Pittsburgh to potentially remain in the division race with the St. Louis Cardinals while still being able to keep the top players in its system. For the Red Sox, there really isn’t much of a need to keep Napoli and Victorino on the roster, especially with them slated to combine for $29 million in salary next year.
Photo: USA Today Sports