Royals willing to include top prospect Wil Myers in trade for a frontline starting pitcher

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After trading for Ervin Santana and re-signing Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals are determined to add a frontline starting pitcher in order to give some legitimacy to their rotation. And they are willing to go to great lengths in order to accomplish their goal.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Royals have dangled top prospect outfielder Wil Myers in trade talks. In fact, pretty much anyone outside of Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar, who have team-friendly contracts, can be had for the right pitcher.

From veterans like designated hitter Billy Butler to left fielder Alex Gordon to youngsters like first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, the Royals aren’t limiting themselves in their search for a pitcher. Butler and Gordon come with track records of production – and contracts to match. Butler is owed $16 million over the next two years, with a $12.5 million club option in 2015. Gordon will make $31.5 million through ’15 and has a player option at $12.5 million for 2016.

Passan hears that the Royals have discussed deals with the Rays, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Athletics. While they “covet” Rays right-hander James Shields, they are hesitant to trade for him because he only has two years left on his contract and has logged the second-most regular season innings over the past two seasons.

Myers, who turns 22 next month, batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs, 109 RBI and a .987 OPS in 134 games this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. Baseball America named him as their minor league player of the year.

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.