MLB Rumors: Most Buzzworthy Reports Entering 2020 Trade Deadline

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger gets another ball after giving up a home run in the first inning in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Major League Baseball's trade deadline arrives at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, yet there doesn't seem to be much anticipation that a major deal is going to happen.

There are several reasons for this, not least of which being the uncertain financial state of the sport because of lost revenue from ticket sales. The expanded playoff field could also play a role in what teams do since more than half of MLB (16 out of 30 franchises) is guaranteed to reach the postseason.

But whenever it's assumed the trade deadline will be slow, there's often one major deal that shakes things up. No one was predicting Zack Greinke would get traded last summer, let alone that the Houston Astros would be the ones to acquire him.

Keeping all of that in mind, here are the latest rumors floating around about who might be dealt before Monday's deadline.

                     

Cleveland Listening on Clevinger

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The strange saga of Mike Clevinger in 2020 could add a new chapter, with Cleveland reportedly receiving offers for the 29-year-old right-hander.

Per MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Clevinger is "definitely being talked about in trade scenarios," but Cleveland has put a "ridiculous" asking price on him.

Clevinger returned to Cleveland's rotation Wednesday after being optioned to the team's alternate site after he and Zach Plesac broke coronavirus protocol during a road trip in Chicago earlier in August.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported several Cleveland players "scolded" Clevinger and Plesac for violating protocol, and "the anger over their actions was palpable enough to lead to the demotions."

Despite that apparent frustration, Cleveland has every reason to put a high price tag on Clevinger. He owns a 2.97 ERA with 534 strikeouts in 470.1 innings since the start of 2017. The Florida native is under team control for two more seasons after 2020.

The potential return for Cleveland is obvious: MLB-ready hitters. The team has a pitching staff capable of winning a World Series, but the offense has been horrendous this season. Cleveland's lineup ranks 27th overall with a .667 OPS and -26.0 FanGraphs offensive value. The outfielders are hitting a collective .184/.284/.273 with five home runs.

              

Reds Stuck in Limbo with Bauer

Expectations were high for the Cincinnati Reds coming into the season. They signed Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos to add power to a lineup that already had Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and hoped for a rebound year from Joey Votto.

As the Reds hit the halfway mark of this shortened 60-game season under .500, in Trevor Bauer, they have an attractive trade chip who could bring back pieces for the future.

Per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the feeling among people around the league is mixed on whether Bauer will get moved.

"I think they are going to try [to] win," one NL executive told Feinsand. "I suppose if they lose for a week straight, they could consider it, but it would surprise me."

Feinsand did note two executives suggested Bauer could be moved "if things go south" in the final days leading up to the deadline.

Bauer is in his final year of arbitration and pitching like someone who hopes to receive a lucrative long-term deal. The 29-year-old has a 1.65 ERA, 49 strikeouts, 15 hits allowed and two complete games in 32.2 innings.

One thing working against Bauer being dealt is that no one is running away with the NL Central. The top four teams entered Friday within five games of each other.

Based on a lot of their moves dating back to acquiring Bauer from Cleveland in July 2019, the Reds appear to be all-in on winning. That strategy hasn't resulted in a lot of wins, but the expanded playoffs do make it easier for the team to make a run over the final month of the regular season.

                     

Will the Giants Sell?

Before getting shut out in both games of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, the San Francisco Giants were trending in the right direction with seven straight wins.

Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reported after the doubleheader sweep that Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was "still determining whether to buy, sell or make need-for-need deals."

It's worth noting that even before those losses to the Dodgers, San Francisco's seven-game winning streak only got its record to 15-16.

If you recall, last year the Giants had a 21-7 stretch after a 34-46 start to improve to two games over .500 before the July 31 trade deadline. The front office stood pat rather than sell off veterans like Madison Bumgarner, but the team fell back down to earth en route to a 77-85 overall record.

Rather than try to roll the dice with another roster that's not ready to compete for a World Series, the Giants could move one of the most valuable pitchers on the market.

Per SNY's Andy Martino, the Giants have received inquiries from the New York Yankees about Kevin Gausman.

The 29-year-old is eligible for free agency this offseason after signing a one-year contract in December. He's put together a solid season with a 4.54 ERA, 48 strikeouts and eight walks in 35.2 innings.

The Yankees desperately need pitching depth behind Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka. Jordan Montgomery is the only other starter on the roster with an ERA under 5.00 who has made at least four starts.

General manager Brian Cashman told reporters James Paxton isn't close to returning from a strained forearm.

Gausman has the type of stuff to slot into a rotation or come out of the bullpen for any team. The Yankees are playing to win a World Series this season and should be calling about every available pitcher before Monday's deadline.