We have now entered the portion of the MLB season when baseball fans will be checking Twitter every five minutes to see which veterans are being moved and which prospects are headed the other way in deals between rebuilding teams and playoff contenders.
Like every year, some big names are on the trade market. Here's a look at the latest talk surrounding a highly coveted starting pitcher and two sluggers.
With the Oakland Athletics last in the American League West, they'll almost certainly move some proven veterans in return for prized prospects.
One of those vets is 27-year-old starting pitcher Sonny Gray, who has enjoyed a nice comeback campaign after an injury-riddled 2016 season. The right-hander has managed a 3.72 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while striking out 79 batters in 84 innings.
Thankfully for A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, he has many suitors for Gray's services, as numerous teams have holes in their starting rotation due to injury or ineffectiveness.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Milwaukee Brewers have interest:
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
Sources: #Brewers showing interest in #BlueJays’ Happ as well as #Athletics’ Gray. Others also on Happ, but “highly unlikely” he gets moved.2017-7-16 18:57:39
So do the Cleveland Indians, per Buster Olney of ESPN:
Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN
Sources say that the Indians are among the teams evaluating Sonny Gray. Cleveland overcame rotation injuries in '16 to reach Game 7/WS.2017-7-15 20:01:40
Naturally, the New York Yankees are in the mix, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports:
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman
yanks are one of many to check in on sonny gray. (but yanks are reluctant to trade biggest prospects)2017-7-14 18:14:41
Finally, the Chicago Cubs have also been connected to the A's ace, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports:
Jon Morosi @jonmorosi
Sources: #Cubs continuing to show interest in Sonny Gray, even after Jose Quintana trade. One reason: Vacancy still remains in '18 rotation.2017-7-14 16:04:57
Although Gray has done well this year, much of his success has come in pitcher-friendly O.co Coliseum, which is one of the toughest places for opposing batters to hit because of the colder weather, the cavernous outfield and the enormous space between the foul lines and the stands.
This season, Gray has a 4-2 record and a 3.11 ERA at home, but he's been a pedestrian 1-2 to go along with a 4.85 ERA away from Oakland.
Still, Gray is punching out batters at an above-average 22.8 percent rate, per FanGraphs, and he's inducing groundballs 54.9 percent of the time.
Fans of Gray's new team shouldn't expect an ace, but he will hold down the fort, eat innings and keep his team in games every five days.
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Boston Red Sox are looking to acquire Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who has hit just .207 but has managed 16 home runs to go along with 44 RBI in 81 games.
Bob Nightengale @BNightengale
The #Redsox moving closer to acquiring #Whitesox 3B Todd Frazier. Be interesting if Boston can get David Robertson as setup man in package2017-7-16 17:23:27
Rosenthal noted during Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox broadcast on FS1 that a Frazier-Red Sox pairing seems likely:
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
What I said on @FS1 broadcast is that it "seems almost inevitable" #RedSox will get Frazier. "Seems" is not "is." But makes total sense.2017-7-15 21:18:16
Frazier is the perfect fit in Boston for numerous reasons.
First, the Red Sox designated third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who hit only .237 in 161 games over the course of three seasons after signing a five-year, $95 million contract before 2015, for assignment last week. Boston has used a rotating group of players at the hot corner this year, but it needs a steadier solution.
Second, the White Sox are in rebuilding mode (through Sunday, they had the worst record in the American League) and will look to trade off their top players.
Finally, there has been an unusual power shortage in Fenway Park this year, as Boston, which has the American League's second-best win-loss record, is dead last in home runs among all Junior Circuit teams.
At this point, it seems like a matter of if and not when Frazier heads east.
The Detroit Tigers have struggled mightily this year, as they have a 41-49 record and sit second-to-last in the American League Central.
Although Detroit is only six games back of the Cleveland Indians for first place, Detroit could still look to sell off its best players and rebuild for the future.
The Tigers' best hitter this season, outfielder J.D. Martinez, looks to be on the market, according to Morosi:
Jon Morosi @jonmorosi
Sources: #Rockies interested in J.D. Martinez, who is especially valuable in NL West due to high number of LH starters in division. @MLB2017-7-16 14:23:58
Martinez missed a portion of the season due to a foot injury, but he's been fantastic in 56 games, hitting 16 home runs to go along with 39 RBI and a .308 batting average.
Even more notably, Martinez has crushed left-handed pitching this year. It's admittedly a small sample size, but Martinez is hitting .500 in 36 at-bats against southpaws, hitting six home runs in the process.
While Martinez can't keep up that run against lefties forever, he has a good track record of success on that front, as he posted a .926 OPS against them in the past three full seasons.
As Morosi noted, the National League West is full of left-handers, including 2017 All-Stars Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Robbie Ray.
Southpaws Madison Bumgarner, Patrick Corbin, Rich Hill, Clayton Richard, Ty Blach and Matt Moore also take the hill for National League West teams.
The Rockies have 23 straight games in September against NL West opponents, so a lefty-killer like Martinez will certainly be beneficial to making the postseason.