The 2017 MLB season is approaching the three-month mark and the state of the two leagues present teams with vastly different outlooks.
Post-season dreams for every American League team are still alive and well while the National League has already given us a strong idea of who will be left standing come October.
As a result, franchises are starting to determine their place in the market with buyers and sellers starting to emerge. Here’s the latest buzz from around the majors.
Mets ready to deal
Rumour: The New York Mets have emerged as an early seller on the trade market and are looking to move several of their key veteran players, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Analysis: Coming off back-to-back post-season appearances (including a trip to the World Series in 2015), the Mets have struggled through the first three months of the season. Injuries have taken a toll on New York’s roster and that’s a big reason why the club sits 12 games out of a playoff spot. Making up that kind of ground on the division-leading Washington Nationals is about as likely as getting struck by lightning, and the wild-card positions are already hotly contested in the top-heavy NL.
Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera and Addison Reed are all names that buyers would be interested in targeting prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Granderson, Bruce and Reed are all set to hit free agency at season’s end while Cabrera has a club option attached to his contract for 2018. If New York doesn’t see these players as part of the plan moving forward, it would be wise to sell what it can.
With the likes of youngsters Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz on the pitching staff, the Mets could easily return to contention quickly, especially if they can acquire some strong complementary pieces for the future over the next month.
Tigers willing to move veterans
Analysis: Unlike the Mets, the Tigers are still in striking distance of a playoff spot in the jumbled American League. Just one season ago, Detroit added plenty of drama to the AL Wild Card race with a late-season push. Sitting seven games out of the second wild-card spot with 88 games left on their schedule, Detroit has plenty of time to climb the standings.
However, McCosky writes if “a team came to them today with a suitable offer for J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson or just about anybody else, they would certainly make the trade.” Those are some marquee names that contenders would likely drool over acquiring for the stretch run.
Another intriguing name to keep an eye on is Justin Verlander. Although he has 10-and-5 rights, which would allow him to veto a trade, he has also made it known he does not want to be part of a rebuild. He still has two years plus a vesting option for a third remaining on his contract, so it might limit suitors to MLB’s top spenders.
Red Sox interested in Moustakas
Analysis: It’s been a revolving door at third base for the Red Sox in 2017 and Moustakas would provide stability at the hot corner. A free agent at the end of the season, the former first-round pick is lining himself up for a solid payday by posting a line .268/.305/.532. He’s also connected for 19 home runs while playing half his games at the pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium. Having that bat in an already-potent Red Sox lineup could be the move that puts them over the top.
Much like the Tigers’ situation, moving Moustakas would deal a big blow to the Royals’ playoff hopes. The 2015 World Series champs are two games back of the division-leading Cleveland Indians and sit just 1.5 back of the second wild-card.
With Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar and Moustakas in the final years of their current contracts, this could be Kansas City’s final kick at the can with this group. It’s unlikely they throw in the towel unless they take a tumble down the standings over the next month.
Hechavarria being shopped
Rumour: The Miami Marlins are looking to trade Adeiny Hechavarria imminently, according to a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
While the 48-hour window Spencer alludes to is nearing its deadline, the native of Cuba could still have a new home very shortly.
Analysis: One of the pieces in the blockbuster deal between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, Hechavarria has emerged as a strong defender. Through five seasons with Miami, the 28-year-old has committed just 51 errors from the shortstop position. Hechavarria has only appeared in 20 games this season due to injury, slashing .277/.288/.385.
Miami seems to be ok with potentially losing Hechavarria since internal infield options J.T. Riddle and Miguel Rojas come with a cheaper price tag.
The team with the most traction in trade talks currently seems to be the Tampa Bay Rays, who currently have Tim Beckham manning shortstop.
If the Rays were to complete a deal for Hechavarria, they could move Beckham to second base with Brad Miller on the shelf with a groin injury.