MLB Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz and Predictions for Top 2020 Players Available

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer throws during the seventh inning of game two of a baseball doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. The Reds won 5-0. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

This is already one of the most unusual seasons in baseball history, and Monday's trade deadline could follow that script.

After all, far more teams are in playoff contention than usual when the trade deadline approaches thanks to a smaller sample size of games and the fact the playoffs were expanded to 16 teams this season.

That means the traditional notion of buyers and sellers could be blurred with few teams realistically eliminated from the postseason picture.

Still, there is no shortage of rumors as the deadline approaches. Here is some of the latest buzz and predictions to go with it.


Reds Still Looking to Add MLB Talent

The Cincinnati Reds made waves this past offseason when they bolstered their offense with the additions of Nick Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama and Mike Moustakas.

They appeared to be all-in on making the playoffs for the first time since 2013, especially since their pitching staff was one of the best in the league on paper. Those playoff aspirations apparently haven't changed. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Cincinnati has discussed adding Major League talent and not selling to this point.

Morosi also noted the Reds have not seriously considered trading starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, who is scheduled to hit free agency following the season, although "that approach could change if they play poorly this week."

They looked like anything but a playoff team when they lost three of four games in their most recent series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which dropped them to a tie for third place in the National League Central and 5.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Bauer has also been largely dominant this year and could net a massive return in a trade before potentially leaving in free agency anyway.

Still, the thought here is the Reds will hold off on trading Bauer and continue their aggressive push to the playoffs. There are more postseason spots available this year, and they could be quite dangerous if they did qualify for the field even as a lower wild card.

That is because the ceiling of a rotation with Bauer, Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo is nearly as high as any in the league. Look for Cincinnati to keep that group together and resist trading Bauer.


Yankees Looking for Pitching

Logic dictates the New York Yankees will be looking for pitching depth heading into the trade deadline.

After all, Domingo German and Luis Severino are out for the season, while Zack Britton, Luis Avilan and James Paxton are on the injured list. This team is in win-now mode in a tight race with the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East, and any quality arm would help.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger is a potential trade target.

Clevinger is under team control through 2022, and the fact he can provide value for two more seasons beyond this unusual shortened one makes him one of the most intriguing potential trade chips on the market.

Sherman also pointed out the Indians recently optioned Clevinger to the minor leagues for violating COVID-19 protocols and may not need him as much with the promotion of Triston McKenzie.

He also highlighted outfield as one of Cleveland's biggest needs and suggested Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier or even Miguel Andujar could be enough to land the Yankees Clevinger if paired with pitching prospect Deivi Garcia.

The prediction here is the Yankees pursue Clevinger. Cleveland may accept less for him than it typically would given the presence of McKenzie, and New York needs another pitcher who can eat innings for the team during the stretch run.

There may not be many notable moves this trade deadline, but look for this to be one of them.


Red Sox in Rebuild Mode

Entering Monday's slate, the Boston Red Sox were tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the worst record in the American League at 9-20.

As a result, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the team "have let everyone know that there are no untouchables, meaning that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. should be on the move but unlikely shortstop Xander Bogaerts."

It may be unusual for a team that won the World Series in 2013 and 2018 to be in rebuilding mode, but that is the reality of the situation.

Owner John Henry told reporters at the end of last season the team intended to cut payroll to get under the MLB's luxury-tax threshold, and it made a move toward doing just that when it traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

If the Red Sox were willing to move Betts, any trade should not be surprising at this point.

Still, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported the Red Sox think Bogaerts is "extremely important" to the rebuild. He is 27 years old and could be the anchor of those efforts for a team that may be ready to compete again in a season or two when he is still in his prime.

Look for the Red Sox to give up more major league talent in a lost season but ultimately hang on to Bogaerts with an eye on the future.