MLB Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz and Predictions for Top 2021 Players Available

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 25, 2021

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel throws during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)
Joe Puetz/Associated Press

The trade market for relief pitchers is expected to be more robust than the one for starting pitchers ahead of Friday's MLB trade deadline.

The Philadelphia Phillies should be one of the teams interested in landing bullpen help as they try to chase down the New York Mets at the top of the National League East.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Phillies have been in contact with the Chicago Cubs about the relievers throughout their bullpen. Heyman also reported that Minnesota Twins hurler Taylor Rogers is "very popular on the trade market." The Twins already dealt Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays and could be one of the top sellers.

Rogers, Craig Kimbrel and others may be easier to deal because of their contracts and the need for bullpen help across the league.

The starting pitcher market appears to be thin, and if the Washington Nationals keep Max Scherzer, there may not be a top-end starter available for a contender to acquire.


Latest Trade Buzz

Phillies Talking to Cubs About Relievers

The Phillies enter Sunday four games adrift of the Mets in the NL East and eight games back of the second wild-card position.

Since the Mets have Jacob deGrom on the 10-day injured list, they could be more susceptible to giving up the NL East lead.

For Philadelphia to have a chance at catching the Mets, it needs to bolster the talent in its bullpen.

A majority of the Phillies' relievers have an ERA above 3.00, and a handful of players have rotated in and out of the closer role.

Ranger Suarez has been the team's most effective reliever with a 1.15 ERA in 25 appearances, but he only has three saves. Hector Neris, who leads the team with 12 saves, is 1-5 with a 4.93 ERA and he has been used in the middle innings lately.

A call to the Cubs makes sense for the Phillies since they have three intriguing bullpen arms in Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera.

Chicago's losing run in July pushed it 10 games back of first place in the NL Central, and it is expected to be one of the biggest sellers ahead of Friday. Kimbrel would be the ideal player to land of the bullpen trio since he has 22 saves and a wealth of postseason experience. Kimbrel has a 0.51 ERA and 61 strikeouts this season.

Chafin and Tepera both have ERAs under 3.00, and they combined to give up 23 earned runs in 85 appearances.

The Cubs' asking price for Kimbrel could be high, and if the Phillies do not agree with it, they could look at Chafin or Tepera to provide some stability to their bullpen.

Even if they look at relievers on another team, the Phillies must make improvements to challenge the Mets and fend off the Atlanta Braves during the final two months of the regular season.

Prediction: Phillies acquire at least two relievers.


Taylor Rogers Gaining Interest

If Minnesota was willing to deal Cruz so early before the deadline, you have to think it makes a handful of moves to acquire more prospects in the coming week.

Rogers is 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 39 appearances this season. He has only walked eight batters.

Most of the playoff teams in search of bullpen help could use a left-hander such as Rogers, who has closing experience.

It would not be shocking to see Philadelphia enter the market for Rogers because it needs to explore all options before Friday.

The Mets relievers have not been as brutal as the Phillies, but they could still use some help in the final few frames to lock up the division title. New York could use a left-handed hurler in the bullpen since most of its top arms are right-handed, including Edwin Diaz and Trevor May.

A deal to a National League team could be more likely for Rogers since the top contenders in the American League have sturdy bullpens.

The Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros could always use more help, but they do not have dire needs in the bullpen like their NL counterparts.

Prediction: Rogers is dealt to a NL East team.