League Winners in Each Round
Covering the impact of coronavirus on the sports world
The 2020 MLB season is only four weeks old and yet the Aug. 31 trade deadline is less than a week away. Teams have six days to evaluate their roster, dig through the market, and make upgrades. The first notable trade of the season was made late last week, when the Phillies acquired Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays entered Tuesday with a 14-13 record, good enough for the final spot in the American League playoff picture. Reinforcements could soon be on the way, too.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays are entertaining trading for Pirates right-handers Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl. Both are off to good starts this season (Williams has a 122 ERA+ in five starts; Kuhl has a 160 ERA+ in five appearances, with three of those being starts), and are under team control until the winter of 2022.
The Blue Jays could use the rotation help. Three of the six starters they’ve given multiple starts to this season are on the injured list, including prized youngster Nate Pearson. It’s unclear who the Blue Jays would be willing to part with to acquire a new starter or two. Ostensibly, top prospects like Austin Martin, Jordan Groshans, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Alek Manoah would be off the table.
Morosi adds that the Blue Jays are open to adding a rental starter, or one who wouldn’t be under team control past this season, if the opportunity to acquire a longer-term piece doesn’t materialize. That could mean dealing for, among others, Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker.
The Diamondbacks entered Tuesday losers of six consecutive games and with a 13-17 record, good for last place in the National League West, but only a game behind the Mets for the final playoff spot in the NL. The Diamondbacks don’t seem set on either buying or selling, however, and might do a little of both, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Part of that selling could include impending free-agent left-hander Robbie Ray, whom some teams have shown interest in as a reliever. Ray has had a horrid walk year thus far: through six starts, he’s accumulated an 8.33 ERA and has issued nearly one free pass (25) for every inning pitched (27). He’s also given up nine home runs, or three for every nine innings.
Arizona did something similar last deadline, trading Zack Greinke while acquiring Zac Gallen and Mike Leake. Alas, the Diamondbacks were unable to make the postseason, falling short for a second consecutive fall.
The Brewers entered Tuesday with a 12-15 record, a disappointing start, albeit one that hasn’t knocked them out of the playoff picture. (Of course, most every NL team is still in the playoff picture, so that isn’t saying too much.) It shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that Milwaukee is reportedly listening to offers on closer Josh Hader, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Hader is said to be available at a « bananas price, » whatever that entails. Presumably, Milwaukee is motivated by the same force that led them to discuss Hader with teams over the winter — that being, namely, money. As we wrote then: « He’s projected to make around $5 million next season, but will then have three additional seasons of eligibility remaining. With how teams operate now, this could well be Milwaukee’s best chance to land a monster package in return. »
That was before the pandemic, and before teams’ financial states were disrupted. As such, it’s possible that Hader has actually gained value, since teams know he’ll be paid less than he’s worth for the next few seasons. That doesn’t mean Hader is going to be traded, at least not within the coming week, but it is something to keep in mind heading into the winter.
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