The trade deadline is nigh, and the Toronto Blue Jays seem dead set on being buyers.
Plenty of other teams are also looking to make a final push for the post-season, while slumping clubs are happy to shop around some big names. Here are the latest rumours flurrying around the baseball world.
Could Blue Jays get Hudson back?
After dealing Daniel Hudson to the Washington Nationals in 2019, the Blue Jays might look to welcome him back ahead of the deadline.
Toronto’s bullpen continues to be a major point of frustration — case in point, Sunday’s four-run bottom of the sixth against the New York Mets — and GM Ross Atkins is widely expected to act on the trade market.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Blue Jays (49-46) have inquired the Nationals about relievers Brad Hand and Hudson.
A three-time All-Star, Hand signed a one-year, $10.5-million deal with the Nationals ahead of the 2021 season before spending just over two seasons in Cleveland. He has a 3.05 ERA and a 1.113 WHIP in 41.1 innings pitched this year.
Hudson has been in Washington since being traded by the Jays in 2019, and has a 2.27 ERA and 0.884 WHIP over 31.2 innings pitched in 2021.
Mets still looking at rental pitching, will check in on Scherzer
After acquiring veteran lefty Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Mets will reportedly continue to explore the rental market for pitchers.
According to SNY’s Andy Martino, New York isn’t interested in disrupting its strong farm system, which would lead the team to focus on soon-to-be free agents that may come at a lower price.
Martino reports that the Mets intend to check in with the Nationals about ace Max Scherzer, though admittedly a deal of this calibre between two rival teams seems unlikely.
The NL East-leading Mets are three games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies — and seven ahead of the slumping Nats.
Blue Jays, Twins could be trade partners
After being rumoured as a suitor for Nelson Cruz (but eventually missing out on him), Toronto could still look to partner up with Minnesota.
Twins players expected to be shopped include starter Michael Pineda, slugger Max Kepler and Byron Buxton — whom the team was unable to sign to an extension last week.
Padres’ Eric Hosmer may become luxury-tax casualty
The San Diego Padres have spent big over the past few seasons, acquiring big names like Manny Machado, Yu Darivsh and Blake Snell. Before any of those deals, however, they signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144-million contract that turned heads back in 2018.
Now, they have some decisions to make if they want to avoid exceeding the luxury tax for the first time.
The Ahtletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that trading infielder Eric Hosmer may be one of San Diego’s options, with the team expected to be aggressive in the trade market — especially for pitching help.
Hosmer is making $13 million this season and his salary will bump up to $21 million in 2022, with a $21-million player option for the following season. With a .266 average, .710 OPS and eight home runs at 31 years old, and four years left on his contract, Hosmer is far from finished. But don’t be surprised if his name swirls up in Friday's leadup, especially after the Padres acquired All-Star infielder Adam Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
MLB's current luxury-tax threshold is $210 million, with first-time exceeders required to pay a 20 per cent tax on all overages. Recurring offenders can see that figure rise up to 30 and 50 per cent.
Pirates to keep dealing
After shipping Frazier to the Padres, the Pirates are expected to keep selling.
Starter Tyler Anderson is among the players expected to leave Pittsburgh, although he is still expected to start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Buying teams may consider this one final audition for the righty, who will become a free agent in 2022.
Anderson has a 4.35 ERA, 86 strikeouts and 1.200 WHIP over 103.1 innings in 2021. At a manageable $2.5-million salary, he should encounter no shortage of suitors.
Marlins’ many moves
The Miami Marlins are “working on moving” outfielder Starling Marte, utility player Adam Duvall and multiple relievers, according to The Athletic’s Peter Gammons.
Duvall signed a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Marlins in the last off-season. The 32-year-old has an interesting stat line, with a .233 batting average and 22 home runs with 68 RBIs.
Marte, on the other hand, is earning $12.5 million this year and is also set to become a free agent by the end of the season. The 32-year-old Dominican approaches the deadline with a .303 average, seven homers and 24 RBIs.
Infielder Miguel Rojas, however, seems to be out of trade conversations for now.