Major League Baseball's trade deadline is mere days away, and that means rumors are in abundance right now. Saturday is no exception, so without further ado let's run down all the current trade scuttle across baseball.
The Mets and Rangers have agreed to a trade that will send right-hander Max Scherzer and cash to Texas in exchange for shortstop prospect Luisangel Acuña, according to SNY's Andy Martino. .
Arenado addresses Dodgers rumors
The disappointing Cardinals will be aggressive sellers, or at least attempt to be aggressive sellers, before the deadline. Would said aggressiveness include a trade of All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado? A recent report in the Los Angeles Times said that the Dodgers have been aggressive in their pursuit of Arenado, who just last offseason chose not to exercise an opt-out in his contract. That led to days of speculation, but on Saturday, top Cardinals executive John Mozeliak told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he will not be trading Arenado ahead of the deadline.
"I have stated we are not trading him, have not asked him to waive his (no-trade clause)," Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch. "So at this time, we are working on building future success."
For whatever it's worth, Arenado finally addressed the rumors on Friday, albeit in a somewhat indirect way. Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat writes:
After two days of rampant speculation kicked off by a report in the Los Angeles Times regarding a potential trade to the Dodgers, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado declined Friday to categorically reject the possibility of being moved to Southern California , while confirming he has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause.
The Times' report had previously held that Arenado would waive his no-trade clause only for the trade to the Dodgers, but Arenado's agent has refuted that. Now, if the Cardinals can be taken at their word, it doesn't appear it'll matter.
Cubs having second thoughts on seller status
The Chicago Cubs at this writing have won seven games in a row, and as a result they've risen to third place in the NL Central, just 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers. The Cubs also have far and away the best run differential in the division at plus-56, which suggests their truer quality may be better than what's reflected by their 52-51 record. On the wild-card front, they're 3 1/2 games out of the final spot and behind three teams in that particular chase. In other words, the North Siders have very realistic designs on making the postseason.
For a long time, the assumption had been that the Cubs would sell leading up to the deadline, but the team's recent improved play may have taken that option off the table. As Jon Heyman reports, that could mean two key pieces -- right-handed starter Marcus Stroman and resurgent outfielder Cody Bellinger -- are currently off the trade block. Both Stroman and Bellinger were widely of interest to contenders looking to buy. In particular, the pulling back of Stroman would further tighten an already tight market for starting pitchers leading up to Tuesday's deadline.
As the Tigers have faded from contention in the AL Central, the chances of their selling at the deadline have increased. One of their most interesting pieces is walk-year starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen, who was a surprise All-Star selection earlier this season. On that front, Jon Morosi reported now long ago that the Orioles are among the teams eye-balling Lorenzen. Now, Jon Heyman reports that the upstart Marlins may have interest in Lorenzen as well.
The Marlins are highlighted for their organizational pitching depth, but nonetheless find themselves in need of back-end rotation help as they fight to stay in wild-card position in the NL. In part this situation was self-inflicted, what with the decision to demote and scale back on the workload of 20-year-old rookie Eury Pérez. As for the Orioles, the rotation has been an obvious need for some time for the AL East leaders, but GM Mike Elias has sounded reluctant to work at the top of the starting pitcher trade market. Lorenzen figures to come more cheaply in trade than some more prominent names rumored to be available.
Hicks back on the block
Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks has one of the biggest fastballs in baseball, and he's enjoyed vastly better results since shifting his position on the rubber and altering his warm-up routine. Along the way, he's emerged as the Cardinals' closer. Hicks is also in his walk year, which raises the possibility that the Cardinals will trade him. The chances he would be traded seemed to fall after it was reported that Hicks and the club were again talking contract extension.
Now, though, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that those talks did not progress substantially and that the Cardinals have been informing interested parties that Hicks is once again available in trade. Those interested parties may include teams like the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Rays, and Yankees. Of course, almost any contender could use an additional high-leverage arm in the bullpen.
Dodgers not done, eyeing Mets outfielders
The Dodgers have been the most active team leading up to the deadline, as in recent days they've swung deals for names like Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Enrique Hernández, and Amed Rosario. Now Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic adds that the Dodgers may still have interest in a pair of Mets outfielders, Mark Canha and Tommy Pham. Both veterans bat from the right side, and Pham has been the more productive of the two thus far in 2023. Production against lefties remains a concern for the Dodgers, even though the addition of Rosario addressed that weakness directly. Pham is eligible for free agency at season's end, and Canha has an $11.5 million club option/$2 million buyout in his contract for 2024. As for the Mets, they signaled a willingness to sell with the recent trade that sent reliever David Robertson to the Marlins.