BS Meter, Predictions on the Last-Minute Rumors Ahead of MLB Trade Deadline 2020August 30, 2020
BS Meter, Predictions on the Last-Minute Rumors Ahead of MLB Trade Deadline 2020
There have been a few noteworthy deals leading up to the 2020 MLB trade deadline, including the swap that sent right-handed reliever Trevor Rosenthal from the Kansas City Royals to the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Will there be more significant action before the deadline clock strikes at 4 p.m. ET on Monday? Probably, though there are no guarantees in this strange season.
With COVID-19 and the expanded 16-team playoff format drastically changing the calculus, anything is possible.
While we wait for the deadline to arrive, let's parse the latest rumors, run them through our BS meter (which goes from "low" to "medium" to "high") and make predictions on the outcomes.
Blue Jays Interested in Andrelton Simmons
The Toronto Blue Jays are in the thick of the American League playoff scramble and already acquired right-hander Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners to bolster their starting rotation.
The Jays could make more moves ahead of the deadline. One of them, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, could be in the middle infield.
Toronto, Morosi reports, has inquired about the Los Angeles Angels' Andrelton Simmons. The 30-year-old recently returned from a left ankle sprain that kept him out for more than three weeks. In nine games with the Halos, he's slashing .257/.297/.286.
Simmons is a renowned defender who has won four Gold Gloves and posted 12 defensive runs saved last season (a career low, but still impressive).
Simmons, an impending free agent, would serve as a fill-in for injured shortstop Bo Bichette, who is out with a strained right knee. If and when Bichette (who resumed baseball activities Friday) returns, Simmons could serve as a late-inning defensive replacement.
As a rental, he shouldn't cost the Jays any top prospects, and he'd be an upgrade over internal options such as Joe Panik and Santiago Espinal.
BS Meter: Low
Prediction: Blue Jays acquire Simmons for a player to be named.
Suitors Circling Dylan Bundy, Including Atlanta
Speaking of Los Angeles Angels assets, the Halos are drawing interest from multiple suitors for right-hander Dylan Bundy, according to Morosi.
Specifically, Morosi cites the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta. Of those three, Atlanta might be the most motivated.
Atlanta lost budding ace Mike Soroka to Achilles surgery and hasn't gotten an inning out of veteran left-hander Cole Hamels (triceps). Max Fried has emerged as a No. 1, but overall Atlanta starters have posted a 5.13 ERA.
Bundy is enjoying a nice season with the Angels, with a 2.58 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. The 27-year-old is also controllable through 2021.
Atlanta has a deep farm system and could pay what it takes to land him without sacrificing any top prospects, and he'd provide needed pitching depth as the team tries to win a competitive NL East.
BS Meter: Low
Prediction: Atlanta acquires Bundy for a mid-tier prospect and a player to be named.
Chicago White Sox After Lance Lynn
If the Texas Rangers decide to move him, right-hander Lance Lynn could be the biggest pitching prize of the trade deadline.
The 33-year-old owns a 1.59 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 45.1 innings and is signed for an affordable $9.3 million in 2021.
With the Rangers falling out of the playoff race, Lynn's name has churned through the rumor mill—including this rumor, courtesy of Morosi, which claims Lynn is on the White Sox's radar.
The White Sox are a serious contender in the AL Central with a 20-13 record and could add pieces before the deadline. Lynn would make them better, as he would any team.
But this doesn't feel like a fit. Chicago's starting pitchers already rank third in the AL with a 3.65 ERA. Lucas Giolito (3.09 ERA, 12 K/9) threw a no-hitter Tuesday and looks like an ace. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (2.70 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) provides veteran balance and postseason experience, and there's depth and talent beyond that.
Yes, the ChiSox could add more pitching (who couldn't?). But they're a team on the rise whose rebuild is finally bearing fruit, and giving up the amount of young talent the Rangers would surely demand for Lynn doesn't make sense.
BS Meter: High
Prediction: The Rangers hang on to Lynn at least until the offseason, and the White Sox make only minor deadline additions.
Astros Targeting Robbie Ray
The Houston Astros lost Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees via free agency, and then Justin Verlander went on the injured list (forearm). Just like that, the 'Stros were without their pair of aces.
With Verlander still sidelined, Zack Greinke is the only proven top-of-the-rotation option in a starting corps that has posted a middling 4.20 ERA.
Houston could look to upgrade via trade but may not be able to land more than a change-of-scenery reclamation project with its relatively thin farm system.
Enter left-hander Robbie Ray.
The Astros could be targeting the Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw, according to Eno Sarris and Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic, and it makes sense.
On the one hand, Ray would be a rental and owns a 7.84 ERA with an MLB-leading 27 earned runs and 31 walks allowed in 31 innings. On the other hand, the 28-year-old was an All-Star and top-10 Cy Young Award finisher as recently as 2017 and has averaged 12.5 K/9 even amid his struggles this year.
He wouldn't be a savior, but he could be an affordable gamble for Houston as it tried to maintain contact with the Oakland A's in the AL West.
BS Meter: Low
Prediction: Astros acquire Ray for a lower-tier prospect.
Mariners Likely to Hold on to Kyle Seager
The rebuilding Mariners already dealt Taijuan Walker to Toronto and could continue their sell-off ahead of the deadline. If so, who do they have left to move?
One interesting name? Third baseman Kyle Seager.
The veteran is hitting .291 with an .871 OPS, five home runs and 10 doubles in 34 games. He's owed $18.5 million in 2021 with a $15 million team option for 2022 that becomes a player option if he's dealt.
He'd represent an upgrade for a number of contenders with a potential need at the hot corner, including Atlanta. It may not be in the cards, however, as MLB.com's Greg Johns noted.
"The Mariners have shown a willingness to take on some of the remaining money to deal other veterans, but they don't have any elite third base prospect waiting in the wings, and Seager has been a steadying force on this young club," Johns wrote.
You can never count out a swap when it comes to M's general manager Jerry Dipoto, aka "Trader Jerry," and Seager has value. But the safe money is probably on him staying put for now.
BS Meter: Medium
Prediction: Seager remains a Mariner unless someone blows Dipoto away with an offer.
Mike Clevinger Could Still Be Traded
By now, you're probably familiar with the saga of Mike Clevinger. In case you need a refresher: Clevinger, along with Cleveland teammate Zach Plesac, was sent to the team's alternate site after it was revealed that both players violated the club's COVID-19 safety protocols. Immediately, both Clevinger and Plesac became the subject of widespread trade speculation.
Clevinger posted a 2.71 ERA with 12.1 K/9 in 2019 and is controllable through 2022. He'd be a prize for any pitching-hungry contender.
He's back with Cleveland and threw six innings of two-run, six-strikeout ball Wednesday. Still, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, "Teams say that [Clevinger] is very much on the table, with the Indians absolutely willing to move him for the right offer."
That's possible. But according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Cleveland's asking price is "ridiculous."
Add the fact that Cleveland is in the thick of the American League Central race and it seems unlikely Clevinger will be moved now, especially since his teammates seem to have at least partially welcomed him back after his breach of trust.
BS Meter: High
Prediction: Cleveland keeps Clevinger at least until this offseason.
All statistics current as of Saturday and courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.