Heyman: Execs believe Zack Greinke will “probably” be traded

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The Royals may be more motivated to trade Zack Greinke than we first realized.

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, execs believe that the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner will “probably” be traded, while he throws the Rangers out there as one interested team. Presumably, trade talks would heat up if Cliff Lee ended up with the Yankees.

And here’s what one American League executive told Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

The Royals, in the words of the executive, are “spooked” by what happened to David DeJesus . They had a deal worked out with the Rays as the trade deadline approached last season, but on July 23, DeJesus tore tendons in his right thumb and the deal had to be scratched. “They can’t afford Greinke to have a mental relapse or a physical issue and his value to go to zero,” the executive said. Greinke has a well-documented battle with anxiety in his past.

The potential for injury is always there with any player, so Greinke is no different in that regard, but there’s no way to know if this executive has any inside information regarding the right-hander’s anxiety condition or is merely guessing just like the rest of us. Chances are the only people who really know are those among his inner circle. This executive probably isn’t one of them.

Of course, the most logical reason to trade him before next season is that there aren’t any true aces available in free agency this winter outside of the aforementioned Lee. Greinke can control his destiny to a certain degree because of a no-trade list that can block a deal to 20 teams (it decreases to 15 next year), but he makes $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons, a fairly reasonable sum for an ace, even for a mid-market team.

Watch: Mike Trout ties MLB record with his 25th home run

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It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:

In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.

Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.

Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.

Blue Jays acquire Tom Koehler from Marlins

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The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.

The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.

Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.