MLB Rumors: Latest Pre-Trade Deadline Buzz on J.D. Martinez and More

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

Boston Red Sox's J.D. Martinez swings at a pitch from the Baltimore Orioles during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Baltimore. The Red Sox won 7-1. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

With the MLB season about halfway over, teams are looking to upgrade for the stretch run before Monday's trade deadline.

One major challenge could be the limited teams willing to sell thanks to a 60-game season and expanded playoffs, resulting in few squads out of postseason contention. Mark Feinsand of MLB Network noted how many teams are still in the playoff race entering Sunday:

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

The Pirates are the only team not within 2 games in the NL, while the Royals, Rangers, Mariners, Angels and Red Sox are the teams more than 3.5 games out of a postseason spot in the AL. https://t.co/kMvi0zuj2e

FanGraphs still lists seven teams with less than a five percent chance of making the playoffs, providing some opportunity for trades. Those buying could also become more aggressive as we approach the deadline.

Here is the latest buzz on some notable players potentially changing teams.


Asdrubal Cabrera, IF, Washington Nationals

Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Washington Nationals might be the defending World Series champions, but they have struggled in 2020 with a 12-18 record, good for last place in the National League East. Other teams see this as a good chance to poach the squad's pending free agents.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, teams have called and made offers on Asdrubal Cabrera, Howie Kendrick and Kurt Suzuki. However, the Nationals reportedly aren't in sell mode.

"There's no inclination to sell," Heyman added about the Nats. "It's not something they do, not in their DNA."

Washington has held on to its superstars in past years before losing them in free agency like Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, the latter helping them win a title. It could be a different story when it comes to less essential players like Cabrera.

Moving the 34-year-old could also open playing time for prospect Carter Kieboom.

It's easy to understand why teams would want Cabrera, though, who has 14 years of experience and is off to a strong start in 2020. The veteran has an .805 OPS, which would be the second-highest mark of his career for a full season.

He has played third base and first base this season, while most of his MLB experience is at shortstop and second base. Though he might not still be able to play middle infield full time, his versatility could provide a team with plenty of options.

The value is there, but opposing teams might have to pay a high price to get him out of Washington.


Dylan Bundy, SP, Los Angeles Angels

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Lance Lynn might be the most prominent pitcher on the market, but Dylan Bundy is also a top option for teams looking to upgrade the rotation.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves are all showing interest in the Los Angeles Angels starter.

The Braves could be the most intriguing possibility, even after acquiring Tommy Milone Sunday.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Atlanta was still seeking another starter, but not on the level of Lynn.

Bundy could be a good secondary option while going 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts. This would be by far the best season of the 27-year-old's career after totaling a 4.67 ERA in parts of five seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.

There could be some concern this start has been a fluke, but Bundy was also a highly touted prospect with quality stuff; he simply struggled to avoid giving up walks and home runs. Both those numbers are down in 2020, and he seems to have turned the corner in the new location.

Even though the Angels just traded for the starter last December, their struggles at 12-22 clearly makes them sellers. Flipping him at just seven starts for more prospects could be a great way to help build toward the future.


J.D. Martinez, DH, Boston Red Sox

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Boston Red Sox have been one of the worst teams in the majors this season and have already traded away Mitch Moreland.

Heyman reported Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez and Kevin Pillar could also be traded, but J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts are "unlikely to be dealt."

The problem for Martinez could be his contract, which features over $19 million in each of the next two years before he hits free agency after the 2022 season. He also hasn't performed well in 2020 with just a .207 average and three home runs in 31 games.

Despite his recent struggles, Martinez had been one of the most consistent batters in baseball while hitting over .300 in each of the last four years. In his first two years in Boston, the veteran had a .317 average, 79 combined home runs and 235 RBI, adding two All-Star selections and plenty of MVP votes.

The limited fielder also has more options this season with all teams using a designated hitter.

Martinez helped the Red Sox win a World Series in 2018 and can be a key part of a lineup for a contender. An interested team simply must have faith in a bounce back during September while Boston would likely have to sell low on the talented player.