Yu Darvish – Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish, arguably the best pitcher available at the deadline, will become a free agent at the end of this season. This most likely makes him a rental for the rest of the season. So far this year, Darvish, holds a 3.44 ERA, with 143 SO, in 133 innings pitched.
Comparable moves in the past would be the Brewers trading for CC Sabathia, or Jon Lester being dealt to the A’s in 2014. Wherever Darvish goes, he will slot in as the number one or two starter. Potential landing spots where I can see Darvish flourishing are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, or Washington Nationals.
With the recent injury to Clayton Kershaw, Darvish could step in as a stop gap, then align himself to be the number two starter as LA gears up for a deep postseason run. The Astros have dealt with injuries to their pitching staff throughout the year, with Dallas Kuechel still on the DL. Recent struggles from Lance McCullers might also force the Astros to make a run for a starting pitcher. Pairing Darvish with the offensive juggernaut that Houston is could be a nice combination.
As for the Nationals, hearing Stephen Strasburg has a sore arm is a cause for concern. Building pitching depth is never a bad idea, and the Nationals could use a legitimate starter behind Max Scherzer.
Sonny Gray – Oakland A’s
Though an injury risk, Gray, if healthy, will make a great addition to a team in contention. Another bonus is he is under contract for all of 2018 as well, not making him a rental player, like Darvish. I look for the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, and Colorado Rockies to make a serious run at acquiring the 27 year old.
In 2017 to this point, Gray, holds a 6-4 record, 3.66 ERA, and has 85 SO in 91 innings. The Brewers, a team not expected to take much risk at the deadline, would be a great fit. They would have him under contract for all of next season, and could slot him into a rotation with Jimmy Nelson, Matt Garza, and Chase Anderson (once he returns off the DL).
The Yankees, have also been rumored to acquire a front-line starter, to add to a strength of theirs so far this season. Entering play on July 25th, they had the 5th best team ERA at 3.88. He would help bolster a rotation that has surprised to this point in the season.
Somewhat of a surprise team, would be the Colorado Rockies. So far this season they have a team ERA of 4.69, which ranks 23rd in all of baseball. Adding Gray to a youthful staff could benefit them in a number of ways. Gray, who has nasty secondary pitches, could help mentor their staff. Not so sure Gray would enjoy pitching at Coors Field though. Look for him to be dealt one way or the other this week at some point.
Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
With the importance of bullpen pitching showing up more than ever the past few postseasons, teams are taking a close look at the Orioles closer. Britton has converted 55 saves in a row, an American League record. This season Britton has only 17 innings, and battled an early season injury. Fully healthy, he looks like he’s back to being his dominant self in late game situations.
Teams that need to go all in for him include the Dodgers, Astros, and Cubs. Come playoff time, a backend of the bullpen including Britton and Kenly Jansen would be light outs. With the bullpen already being a strength in LA, this addition would just shorten the game that much more for them.
As for the Astros, they also have a reliable closer in Ken Giles. Though he’s struggled this season a bit with a 3.31 ERA. They could go get Britton and move Giles to the 8th inning role, in which he may be more comfortable.
Likewise, the Cubs have a pretty reliable bullpen to this point in the season, but could add more depth with Britton. Putting him with the likes of Wade Davis, Carl Edwards, and Hector Rendon would only help improve the ball club.
Justin Wilson – Detroit Tigers
With Detroit gearing towards a sell this trade deadline, they will look for possible suitors for left handed reliever Justin Wilson. With incredible numbers this season to date, the Tigers should be able to get a decent return for their closer. So far in 2017, Wilson has a 2.75 ERA, 55 SO’s, and a 0.94 whip, in just 39.1 innings pitched. Teams most likely to be on Wilson include the Nationals, Red Sox, and again those Chicago Cubs.
The Nationals have had one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball and will look to continue adding even after acquiring Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle. As for the Red Sox, they are looking to add one reliever to their already strong bullpen, which ranks 3rd in all of baseball. If the Cubs miss out on Zach Britton, look for them to inquire about Justin Wilson as well. Other sleeper teams that could use another backend reliever would be the Brewers, or Tampa Bay Rays.
Yonder Alonso – Oakland A’s
With the Oakland A’s always willing to make moves at the deadline, Alonso figures to be on the move. A’s also just recently acquired Chris Carter, who could be Alonso’s replacement. This season Alonso is hitting .263, with 21 HR’s, and 45 RBI’s.
The runaway favorite, and best fit for Alonso would be the New York Yankees. With the hitting friendly, Yankee Stadium, Alonso’s numbers would most likely increase. The Yankees could use an upgrade at this position. They have used Chris Carter, Chase Headley, and others in place of Greg Bird who’s been injured through out the season. I think this move makes total sense for the Yankees, and almost expect it to happen, as the market for Alonso continues to dwindle as the deadline gets closer.
Zack Cozart and Eduardo Nunez – Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants
Cozart, who’s having a career year, should be on a few teams radars. Though not many teams are in need of a SS, his offensive numbers are hard to pass up. This season he is hitting .318, with 12 HR’s, and 39 RBI’s on the disappointing Cincinnati Reds.
His slash line is (.318/.404/.570). The Boston Red Sox would be an interesting team for Cozart to go to. They would most likely look to play him at 3B rather than SS, with Xander Boegarts already on the roster. Cozart would no doubt be an offensive upgrade over any production they’ve gotten from the third base position this season.
As for Eduardo Nunez, he will almost certainly be moved from the San Francisco Giants. He’s hitting .309 so far this season, with 17 SB’s, and 29 RBI. Not a flashy name, but is a solid player who could provide depth off the bench for a contender. Look for the Red Sox to also make a run at Nunez due to his versatility and athleticism.