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What to watch for on Trade Deadline day

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Today is Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. 4pm Eastern is the deadline by which players must be traded without going through the waiver process.  Players who clear waivers can still be traded through August 31, by 6pm Eastern and will be eligible for postseason rosters. Players traded after that cannot be on postseason rosters.

There have already been a number of trades. Here are the major ones, with links to our breakdown of each deal:

There are, of course, still a number of players who are available or who have at least been rumored to be so. These are the ones we’ll watch most closely today:

  • Yu Darvish, still being shopped by Texas, and rumored to be on the radar of the Dodgers and Indians, among others;
  • Sonny Gray, coveted by any number of teams, but with the Yankees and Braves mentioned as a suitor most frequently;
  • Relievers, relievers, relievers: Now that Justin Wilson has been traded, Zach Britton of the Orioles, Addison Reed of the Mets, Brandon Kintzler of the Twins and Brad Hand of the Padres are the most highly sought after relief pitchers. The Astros have been linked to Britton, as have the Dodgers. Really, though, any contender would consider bullpen help, not that the fashion is stacking the back end of the bullpen with two or perhaps three relief aces, with an eye toward shortening playoff games;
  • Beyond Kintzler, the Twins — having fallen out of contention in the AL Central — could deal any number of players, including Ervin Santana and Brian Dozier. Really, they’ll listen on probably anyone not named Jose Berrios, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler;
  • The Tigers will likely listen on Justin Verlander, but his price tag — in either salary or prospects, take your pick — may be too high for current buyers;
  • There are a lot of rental/role players who could be had, including Mike Napoli and/or Carlos Gomez of the Rangers, Randal Grichuk and/or Tommy Pham of the Cardinals and David Freese of the Pirates. Offense is not likely to be a top ticket today, however, as position player value seems to be at an all-time trade deadline low.
  • That said, the A’s will still listen on Yonder Alonso, even if there doesn’t seem to be a perfect landing spot for him at the moment;

Obviously any player who isn’t a key contributor to a contender could be moved, so even if we’re watching those, we’ll be seeing all and will update you as the deals happen today.

 

 

 

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.

While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.

Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.

Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.

For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.