Now that the draft is firmly last week’s news, we should start seeing trade rumors regain some of their front-page powers in short order, and the White Sox should be fairly prominent in the proceedings if Buster Olney is any indication.
For instance, based on the ongoing fallout from the Nationals’ bullpen woes -- they lost on Monday after leading 6-0 — the David Robertson rumor maintains its popularity. In his ESPN Insider column, Olney is the latest to try to get the two sides to kiss.
The most obvious solution now would be for the Nats to pursue David Robertson of the White Sox, the most prominent and most experienced closer available. But the relief market is thought to be much more thin than in 2016, when Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Mark Melancon were all moved. And the White Sox are in a position to extract financial and prospect concessions for Robertson, who is owed about $20 million for the rest of this year and next year.
The Astros are in a similar situation as the Nationals -- huge division lead, but a glaring hazard with three of their five starting pitchers on the disabled list. The question is whether it serves them better to be proactive, or keep all resources in the fold until the division or deadline prompts them into addressing the most pressing matters. Olney says it’s the former:
Even before the season started, the expectation within the industry was that the Astros would add a good rotation piece, more likely someone who they could control beyond the 2017 season. But with Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton all out of action, the sense among rival evaluators is that the Astros want to push to jump the market and make a deal. "The need for a starting pitcher is right now," an AL official said.
He says the Yankees are in a similar boat, but more willing to let the market play out. Then again, the Yankees are in the middle of a six-game losing streak that has cut their lead in the AL East down to a half-game, which is the kind of thing that can change a conversation.
This is where the Jose Quintana market could start in earnest. If the Astros prioritize a starter with team control remaining, and the Yankees need a cost-controlled one to help them get under the luxury tax, Quintana remains a great target for both clubs. Joel Sherman of the New York Post laid out the case for a Quintana reunion:
He would cost the kind of prospects who would help alleviate some 40-man roster crunch — this is made up by me: Adams, Frazier, Mateo and Estevan Florial. He is just 28 and lefty. Plus, he is under control through 2020, and how his team-friendly deal is structured Quintana would cost just $5.3 million toward the luxury tax payroll next year.
Sherman also wrote that the Yankees had a chance to look at look at Gleyber Torres to solve their gap at third base, but the team just announced that its top prospect will undergo Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for the next year.
With both the Yankees and Red Sox dealing with issues at the position, Todd Frazier could become a surprisingly desirable candidate if he could only maintain his upswing. He’s hitting .259/.343/.517 in June, but a hotter start was diluted by this recent 2-for-25 slump.