St. Louis may have its Yadier Molina fill-in.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Cardinals are “in discussions to acquire” catcher Dioner Navarro via trade from the rival Cubs.
Navarro has posted an impressive .294/.370/.510 batting line with nine home runs and 20 RBI in 57 games this season for Chicago. He’s a big drop-off defensively from Molina, but you could say the same for just about any catcher in the major leagues.
Molina was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a sprained right knee.
Navarro can become a free agent this November. He’s owed about $750,000.
UPDATE, 3:51 p.m. ET: Rosenthal says the Cardinals’ pursuit of Navarro has slowed because the two teams have been unable to agree on a suitable return package. A deal is now “doubtful.”
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m. ET: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals won’t be getting Navarro.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Royals have picked up outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Astros. The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton confirmed the deal, adding that the Astros are getting right-hander Kyle Smith in return.
Maxwell gives the Royals another outfield option with David Lough having cooled off of late. With Lorenzo Cain primarily in center and Alex Gordon in left, Lough, Maxwell and Jarrod Dyson will typically battle for one spot in the lineup. Maxwell will probably play mostly against lefties at the onset.
Maxwell, 29, has hit .241/.311/.387 with two homers in 137 at-bats this season. Last year, he hit .229/.304/.460 with 18 homers in 315 at-bats for the Astros. He’s struggled with injuries his entire career, which has made it difficult for him to establish himself.
The Astros have taken a liking to Brandon Barnes in the outfield, which made Maxwell expendable. They also have top prospect George Springer likely to come up and play center field later this season.
Smith, a 2011 fourth-round pick, was 5-4 with a 2.85 ERA and a 96/29 K/BB ratio in 104 1/3 innings for high-A Wilmington this year. The 20-year-old was rated the Royals’ No. 12 prospect by Baseball America before the start of the season, and he’d probably moved up a few spots since.
The Cardinals were said to have interest in executing a trade for Angels shortstop Erick Aybar on Tuesday, but those talks apparently fell apart.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Angels no longer expect to trade Aybar by today’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver deadline. Anaheim reportedly asked for one of the Cardinals’ top two pitching prospects — Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha — in return for Aybar and were swiftly turned down.
Aybar is under contract through 2016 and the Angels don’t have a major league-ready replacement for him at short. The 29-year-old has batted .278/.306/.380 with four home runs and 38 RBI in 83 games played this season.
UPDATE, 2:45 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Angels also expect to keep Howie Kendrick.
If the Giants make a trade before Wednesday’s 4:00 p.m. EDT deadline, it’s probably going to include lefty specialist Javier Lopez. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, they’re not actively involved in any discussions regarding free agents-to-be Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum.
The Giants put a high price tag on Pence because they hope to re-sign him this winter. The 30-year-old right fielder is batting .277/.320/.455 with 14 homers and 51 RBI in 415 at-bats this year. If he were traded, it would have been the third straight year he was involved in a deadline deal; he was sent from Houston to Philadelphia in 2011 and from Philadelphia to San Francisco a year ago.
Unlike Pence, Lincecum has a good chance of clearing waivers, opening up the possibility for an August trade.
Lopez is being talked about as a possibility for Detroit or Cleveland. He’s perhaps the game’s best pure lefty specialist; left-handers have posted OPSs of .383, .500 and .422 against him the last three years. He also holds his own against righties, but the Giants have always been able to shy away from using him against them in key situations.
2:45 p.m. EDT update: The New York Post’s Joel Sherman is reporting that the Reds are also in on Lopez.