The MLB trade season is here. Time is running out as leaders try to prepare their teams for the stretch race ahead of the 6 p.m. deadline on Tuesday August 2. All eyes are on John Soto, the 23 year old Washington nationals superstar who is suddenly on the trading block.
We’ll follow every twist of the trade winds around Soto and the rest of the league right here. Check back for updates as the madness unfolds.
national, Cubs on the clock as the due day arrives
At midnight on deadline day, August 2, Juan Soto remains on the Washington Nationals. The same goes for Josh Bell, the powerhouse first baseman who hits the switch and is also expected to move at 6 p.m. With Soto’s draw crowding out the batting market, the other big seller who still holds key plays is the Chicago Cubs.
Chicago has a versatile All-Star outfielder Ian Happ suspended from the trading bloc, with some suitors seeing it as a backup plan for Soto. Closer David Robertson remains on the Cubs even though he could be the most notable reliever dealt at the deadline.
Beyond that, other key names to watch on Tuesday include marlins hall Pablo Lopez — would have aroused the interest of Dodgers – and Yankees slugger Joey Gallo, who will likely see a disastrous tenure in the Bronx come to an end.
Astros get Christian Vázquez a receiver
Houston Astros reportedly plugged receiver hole by dealing for Boston Red Sox support Christian Vazquez. A solid defender, Vázquez is also in the midst of another solid attacking season. He’s batting .282 with eight homers, and his park-adjusted OPS is better than average for the third time in four years.
Although not the same offensive force as the Cubs Willson Contreras, one of the big names in the trade market, he’s a more acclaimed defenseman who should more easily take on the duties of managing a playoff-bound pitching staff. He has plenty of experience in October, having captained the 2018 Red Sox to a World Series win.
Astros’ Seekers hit the league’s worst .159/.228/.297, so that counts as a major upgrade. They would have been hesitant to shake the catch body too much due to Martin Maldonado’s stellar defense and leadership.
Add a quirk to this offer? The fact that the Red Sox are in Houston, so Vázquez’s post-trade trip will be to walk to the other clubhouse.
The 31-year-old has played with the Red Sox his entire career, having originally been drafted by the club in 2008. He will join free agency at the end of the year.
Dealing with Vázquez wasn’t Boston’s only move on Monday. They also traded reliever Jake Diekman to the White Sox for receiver Reese McGuire, a player who would later be named and cashed. Meanwhile, they have reportedly agreed a deal for Reds outfielder Tommy Pham to bolster the major league club. It seems like a clear buy-and-sell case for a team that fell into the AL East basement but still has playoff chances.
Astros acquire Trey Mancini from Orioles in 3-team deal
Trey Mancini, the Orioles’ longtime first baseman and DH, would head to Houston in a three-team trade that will send outfielder Jose Siri to the Tampa Bay Rays. Right-handed hitter Mancini fits the Astros’ preference for hitters who hit less than average and still pop.
Mancini, who was taken by the Orioles in the 8th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, is hitting .268/.347/.404 with 10 home runs, 16 doubles and 35 walks. If anything, it might hit even better than it looks; his power figures took a hit due to the new wall configuration at Camden Yards. That likely takes Houston out of the market for Josh Bell, the Nationals’ first baseman who is expected to join a contender’s roster soon.
The Astros are always on the lookout for solid players like Mancini, but with the Orioles anticipating their rebuild (they’re just three games from last wildcard spot with a 51-51 record), some thought the Les Orioles could hold him off so they can make a serious playoff push this year.
Instead, it looks like the Orioles will move on from at least one player ready to enter free agency and acquire young arms — Rays prospect Seth Johnson and Astros prospect Chayce McDermott. The Astros will also have Rays pitching hopes Jayden Murray, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Yankees trade Frankie Montas from Oakland, relief aid
The New York Yankees deal with Oakland starting pitcher A Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino, by Jack Curry of YES Network. Montas, 29, has a 3.18 ERA this season and has been probably the best starter left on the board after the Seattle Mariners caught Luis Castillo.
As of the start of 2021, Montas has a stellar 3.30 ERA over 291 2/3 innings. The continued success has been accompanied by a greater emphasis on its formidable splitter, which plays to a 96 mph heat that it can launch as four or two seams. In return, the Yankees would fire their top pitching prospect, left-hander Ken Waldichuk, as well as pitching prospects JP Sears and Luis Medina and second baseman prospect Cooper Bowman. It’s a big comeback that clearly compares to Luis Castillo’s trade. The Yankees insisted on not trading shortstop prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, and that decision was accomplished without those youngsters.
Montas was one of the few key pieces that the A’s kept after a winter clearance sale. It will remain under the control of the team until 2023, giving the Yankees a No. 2 caliber starter to bolster an already strong rotation.
With his team on a 108-game winning streak, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is aggressive. He already added top relief pitcher Scott Effross from the Cubs on Monday.
Padres acquires Josh Hader from Brewers in closer surprise trade
The San Diego Padres are adding one of the game’s best shooters, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. The Padres send their own closest, Taylor Rogers, to the Milwaukee Brewers alongside a slew of young players for dominating southpaw Josh Hader.
The Brewers, who can either bring Rogers closer or raise his own dominant setup man Devin Williamshave reportedly listened to Hader offers from time to time since Williams appeared on the scene.
In the deal, according to Passan’s report, they add several other talented players, including Esteury Ruiz, a young outfielder who could be immediately considered in their roster. The Brewers currently lead the NL Central by three games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Rumors Juan Soto: Could a generational talent be on the move?
Are you ready for the seismic move that would be a Juan Soto trade? The last whispers say the Nationals have three suitors for Soto who are more likely than the rest: The San Diego Padres, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres and Dodgers, enemies of NL West, engaged in a bidding war a year ago for another Nationals superstar – Max Scherzer. The Dodgers finally released a surprise blockbuster that secured both Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner.
Learn about the potential for a Soto deal with all of our coverage so far.
Shohei Ohtani will likely stay put
Shohei Ohtani’s situation has never been more urgent than Soto’s talks, but the Los Angeles Angels have at least priced the market as they head for another losing season despite the employment of Mike Trout and Ohtani . However, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Monday afternoon that Ohtani will stay put this season.
The two-way sensation, up for his first Cy Young and a second consecutive AL MVP nod, can become a free agent after 2023 and has said he wants to play for a winning team. As the Angels work to surround him with rival pieces, it may behoove them to consider trading him this winter.