MLB Rumour Roundup: Yankees significantly scouting Marcus Stroman

MLB insider Jeff Passan joins Sportsnet 590 The FAN to discuss the trade market the Blue Jays will face for Marcus Stroman, and why the Houston Astros would be an absolute perfect fit for a trade.

With Major League Baseball’s July 31 trade deadline a mere 11 days away, the rumour mill is in full swing.

Here’s some of the latest buzz to get you caught up.

Yankees had “significant presence” at Stroman’s Detroit start

The Toronto Blue Jays thumped the Detroit Tigers Friday night 12-1. More significant than the lopsided victory, however, was the strong performance of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman.

Stroman, a hot trade candidate, surrendered zero runs on six hits with five strikeouts in seven innings pitched as baseball contenders possibly looking to trade for him tuned in to watch him work.

Among the most-rumoured teams connected to Stroman has been the New York Yankees who, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, had a “significant scouting presence” in Detroit specifically to watch Stroman.

Could this be start to break the camel’s back and entice the Yankees to make a deal immediately? Perhaps. However, there’s still an opportunity for Stroman to make another start before July 31.

Red Sox “monitoring” White Sox slugger Abreu

Before breaking their losing streak on Friday, the Chicago White Sox had dropped seven-straight games en route to finding themselves eight games under .500 and quite a ways out of the playoff picture.

As such, they’ll likely be sellers at the deadline again with, perhaps, no greater tradable asset than first baseman Jose Abreu.

According to Forbes reporter Phil Rogers, the Boston Red Sox are “among a few teams” checking to see the status of Abreu’s availability.

Both of Boston’s regular first basemen, Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce are on the IL, so acquiring another guy who can fill the role would seem to make sense – especially one with as much potential upside as Abreu in as potent a lineup as the Red Sox’s.

An all-star this season, Abreu is batting .271/.306/.492 with 21 home runs and 68 RBI in 405 plate appearances this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at Age 32 at season’s end.

Padres targeting Indians’ Trevor Bauer

The San Diego Padres, just 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot in the National League, look like they want to make a playoff push for this year and maybe beyond.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, San Diego has “emerged as the most serious suitor for Bauer” and could be looking to send one of three young, talented position players to make the trade happen in Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe or Luis Urias.

Bauer sports a 3.67 ERA with a 10.6 strikeouts-per-nine rate in 22 starts this season and is considered one of the top arms available at the trade deadline.

He’s under control through next season, but he’s entering his last year of arbitration eligibility and will likely be in for another big raise over the $13 million he’s making this year — a major reason why Cleveland is looking to deal him.

Giants may have “pulled back” on Bumgarner trade discussion

Currently on a seven-game winning streak and winners of 14 of their last 16 contests the San Francisco Giants may be pumping the breaks on being sellers at the deadline, with the latest indication being that they might be re-thinking trading their most marketable asset.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Giants may have “pulled back” Madison Bumgarner in trade talks.

This season, Bumgarner has a 3.65 ERA with a 9.1 K/9 rate in 21 starts. The 29-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Diamondbacks willing to eat money to trade Greinke

It would seem the Arizona Diamondbacks really want to trade ace Zack Greinke and the rest of the $34.4-million-per-season contract he’s still under through 2021.

In fact, Arizona is willing to eat about $10 million a year depending on what sort of package they receive, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports.

Greinke, 35, remains an elite starting pitcher, sporting a 2.95 ERA while only surrendering 1.1 walks per nine innings and 0.9 home runs per nine across 20 starts in his third straight all-star season with the Diamondbacks.

On paper he seems like an attractive trade candidate for contending teams given how much control he remains under, the fact he remains as good as ever and this new potential wrinkle that an acquiring team won’t have to pay him his full salary.

However, he comes with the kicker of a 15-team no-trade list and even though Arizona indicates it would be willing to take on some of his remaining salary, it’s still huge money to dedicate to a pitcher heading into the latter half of his 30s, factors that will make a deal harder to swing.

Phillies looking to sign Smyly

The Philadelphia Phillies have been rumoured to be in the market for starting pitching and they appear to have found some in picking up free agent lefty Drew Smyly, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury.

Smyly, 30, had been essentially sidelined from Major League Baseball since 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John Surgery in in 2017 and then spent much of that year and 2018 in the minors.

This year he managed to land back in the Majors with the Texas Rangers where he sported an 8.42 ERA in 13 appearances, including nine starts, before being released by the Rangers. He was subsequently picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers organization where he started three games for triple-A San Antonio and eventually became an available free agent.

In picking up Smyly it’s not clear if Philadelphia is actually finished in their pursuit of starting arms, as he isn’t exactly the impact pitcher they’re likely looking for.

Twins targeting Giants’ Bumgarner, Mets’ Syndergaard?

The AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins look like they’re preparing to load up to maintain their spot atop the standings and make a deep playoff run given their reported interest in two of the sexiest names on the market.

As MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports, the Twins had evaluators in San Francisco for Thursday night’s Madison Bumgarner-Noah Syndergaard matchup to take a look at both pitchers.

Given their names and reputations it would be a very splashy move on Minnesota’s part to land either of them. And while Bumgarner has been alright this season, Syndergaard hasn’t been as good, with a 4.36 ERA and a K/9 rate under 9.

With that said, though, Syndergaard is still just 26, is under control until 2022 and features some of the best stuff in the game, meaning there’s still a lot to like there despite the down year.

Tigers’ Boyd, Greene drawing interest from multiple teams around the majors

It’s shaping up to be a potentially very lucrative trade deadline for the bottom-feeder Detroit Tigers.

Though they sport the second-worst record in the Majors, the Tigers still have a couple of very attractive arms in left-handed starter Matthew Boyd and righty reliever Shane Greene, both of whom are stirring up a fair bit of interest across multiple teams.

In the case of Boyd, the Twins have checked in on him and the Padres may have also been evaluating him during his start on Thursday, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Additionally, the price for Boyd is also looking to be a bit different than the usual collection of prospects, Jon Heyman reports.

Boyd, 28, has a 4.13 ERA in 20 starts but an excellent K/9 rate of 12. Additionally, acquiring him comes with the added bonus that the earliest he can become a free agent isn’t until 2023.

As for Greene, he was named an all-star this year and sports an ERA of 1.03 across 35 appearances with 22 saves.

According to Morosi, the 30-year-old Greene has drawn interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Twins also having checked in on him at the same time as they did Boyd.

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