MLB Trade Deadline 2019: Hottest Rumors Leading Up to Wednesday's Deadline

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2019

New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz throws against the San Francisco Giants during a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, July 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

By the time Wednesday's MLB trade deadline passes, the National League East could go down as the most active division.

The New York Mets already made one significant acquisition in Marcus Stroman and are rumored to be in contact with a few contenders about pitchers on their roster.

The Atlanta Braves currently lead the division, but they are searching for pitching improvements to fend off the Washington Nationals, who are viewed as their biggest competition for divisional glory.

Teams in other divisions are active on the trade market as well, but none of them have dominated the news quite like the NL East over the last few days.

                        

Latest MLB Trade Rumors

Edwin Diaz

Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the Boston Red Sox have talked to the Mets about closer Edwin Diaz, but there is "nothing close" between the two parties as of Monday afternoon.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Red Sox are confident "they can make an impactful deal" before 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, and he speculated that Diaz makes sense in terms of financial parameters.

Mike Puma of the New York Post reported Saturday that Atlanta, the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers were in on Diaz.

Since then, the Blue Jays shipped Stroman to the Mets in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects, so that likely takes them out of the discussion.

SNY's Andy Martino shot down the speculation between Diaz and the Braves, as he noted Zack Wheeler would be the player likely going to Atlanta if a deal between the divisional rivals gets completed.

Martino followed that up by stating the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and possibly Milwaukee Brewers were teams to watch on Diaz.

Of the teams mentioned above, Boston makes a good amount of sense, especially after it beat the Yankees in three of four games at Fenway Park over the weekend.

With another key series coming up with the Yankees to start August, the Red Sox should at least peruse the trade market for bullpen help, as they attempt to make up a nine-game deficit in the American League East, or work their way into one of the two wild-card positions.

Diaz has 23 saves in his first season with the Mets, but he is viewed as a viable trade asset partly because of the dominant numbers he put up in Seattle in 2018, when he had 57 saves and a 1.96 ERA.

Any contender would love a strong arm like Diaz at the back end of their bullpen, and since he is making less than $1 million, he is a cheaper option in terms of a contract for teams like the Red Sox that do not want to overspend at the deadline.

Tampa Bay has been active on the market already with the acquisition of Eric Sogard from Toronto, and it could look to go after Diaz because it is 8.5 games back of the Yankees and a half-game out of the second wild-card spot.

The Dodgers have also been linked to a handful of bullpen arms, but they already have a plethora of right-handed flamethrowers in relief, so they would likely look in a different direction first. MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported the Dodgers have interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates' Felipe Vazquez.

If the Mets set a high price that no team is capable of matching, they could keep Diaz and look to build their bullpen around him.

In one scenario, the Mets could not trade any of their targets and eventually end up with a better roster because of the Stroman deal.

                        

Toronto Relievers

Matt Marton/Associated Press

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Braves' discussions with the Blue Jays have been centered on Joe Biagini, while all contenders, including Boston, are in on Ken Giles, and many of them are after Daniel Hudson.

Toronto displayed over the weekend that is willing to sell, as it shipped Stroman to the Mets and Sogard to the Rays in exchange for two minor league pitchers and a pair of players to be named later.

The Blue Jays' trade haul could expand in the coming days if the bullpen-needy teams in both leagues turn to them with a solid offer.

Biagini is 3-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 48 appearances, and he has struck out 48 batters and walked 16. Giles leads the Blue Jays in saves with 14, while Hudson is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 44 games.

Atlanta has a rather inexperienced bullpen that is currently headlined by Luke Jackson, and with a pair of starters coming off the injured list last week, its focus could shift solely to finding relief help.

The Braves will get an indication of where they stand in the NL East race this week, as they take on the Nationals in a three-game set in Washington, D.C.

Atlanta holds a 5.5-game advantage over Washington at the moment, but if that lead decreases over the next few days and the bullpen does not show well, the team could be forced to use its wealth of prospects to make a deal or two.

If Boston strikes out on Diaz, it could call up the Blue Jays and take a chance at acquiring one of their arms.

Toronto has shown no hesitation to trade within its division over the last two years, with J.A. Happ going to the Yankees in 2018 and Sogard shipped down to Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Collecting more young assets would only help the Blue Jays, who are in the process of bringing some of their top prospects up to the majors.

Toronto is still building toward the future, and if its pitchers can help further the process, it should explore the possibilities of trading all three of the coveted relievers before Wednesday.

                        

Domingo Santana

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay are among the teams showing interest in the Seattle Mariners' Domingo Santana.

The 26-year-old outfielder has 20 home runs and 66 RBI while hitting .273 for the Mariners, who are stuck in the basement of the American League West.

It would be wise of the Mariners to at least test the market with the some of their players in order to bring in a few young prospects who may help build toward the future.

Santana is a power bat that could help the playoff chances of the Indians or the Rays, and in the case of Cleveland, he might be the slugger who pushes it past Minnesota in the tight AL Central race.

Cleveland has turned into a potential buyer over the past month because it has closed the gap on the Twins to two games and sits three games back of the final AL wild-card position.

Although Oscar Mercado has made an impact in the last month in the outfield, the Indians do not have a player at the position with more than 11 home runs.

In order to make the lineup more dangerous, they could give Seattle a call to see what the price tag on Santana would be.

Tampa Bay already dished out two players to be named later in the Sogard deal, so that shows it is willing to make improvements in its chase of the Yankees and a wild-card spot.

Adding Santana's bat to an outfield unit currently led by Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows, who are swinging the bat well this season, could make the Rays lineup more well-rounded.

But since no position players of Santana's stature have been dealt yet, and there are few rumors circulating about hitters, it is hard to grasp what the rate for a trade with Seattle may be at this juncture. If the price is too high, it may scare away the Indians and Rays.

                           

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from MLB.com.

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