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David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Some of the best players in baseball are in Colorado for All-Star weekend. The top MLB stars will enjoy the break from league action, but the focus will soon shift to the July 30 trade deadline.
Some clubs are clear-cut sellers. Others have pivotal decisions to make in the next couple of weeks. More still will be on the hunt for impact talent to boost a playoff run.
Here’s a closer look at some of the top MLB trade rumors with the All-Star break in full swing, including the surging Joey Gallo and a pair of teams with assets to sell.
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Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Joey Gallo has long been rumored to be a player the Texas Rangers might look to deal, with the San Diego Padres being a possible suitor.
Dennis Lin of The Athletic previously reported the Friars were “particularly interested” in the 27-year-old, though it might be harder for San Diego to acquire the slugging outfielder. Lin has since noted the Padres “covet” the player but added the price tag is “daunting.”
It’s not difficult to understand why the price tag for Gallo has become so difficult. For starters, he’s a powerful corner outfield archetype who captured a Gold Glove last season and still has a final season of club control in 2022. Secondly, he has been on an absolute tear over the course of the last month-plus.
The Henderson, Nevada native struck 10 homers in June and hit .333 with five homers and a 1.488 OPS in eight games prior to the All-Star break. He has seemingly been galvanized following the implementation of pitcher foreign substance checks, hitting .321 with 12 dingers and a 1.493 OPS since they began on June 21.
Texas might not be so inclined to move Gallo if it cannot get a massive package for him, especially given that final season of club control. San Diego might not be willing to pay the price after giving up ample prospect capital to acquire the likes of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove this past offseason.
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Aaron Doster/Associated Press
The trajectory of the Chicago Cubs’ season has been every bit as tumultuous as their preseason expectations.
Chicago was a bit of a wild card in the National League Central heading into 2021, especially after trading Darvish to the Padres. The Cubs still had the core group of players to seemingly make a run at an NL Central title, but they also looked like possible sellers come July. It appears the latter is the likeliest scenario.
Ken Rosenthal and Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reported the Cubs have already begun the “process of becoming sellers” ahead of the July 30 trade deadline. Two such players who could be on the move include star third baseman Kris Bryant and closer Craig Kimbrel.
Bryant has been an integral part of the team this year. He has played every outfield position and both corner spots all while boasting a 133 OPS+. The former NL MVP is in a walk year and is likely to seek big money in free agency, possibly prompting the Cubs to move him for value if they do not feel they can re-sign him.
Andy Martino of SNY.tv reported the Cubs and New York Mets talked about Bryant this past winter, though there are no indications the discussions got very far. Interestingly, though, The Athletic reported a Cubs scout did some work evaluating the Low-A affiliate of the Mets. Might a deal still be in the offing?
Even if Chicago retains Bryant, the flamethrowing Kimbrel is likely to move.
Relievers typically come at a premium at the deadline because of market demands. The 33-year-old has been as good as any reliever this season, amassing a 0.53 ERA and 0.66 WHIP in 33 appearances. He is striking out 15.3 opponents per nine innings and is tied for first among all qualified relievers in fWAR.
The Cubs were 42-33 and tied atop the NL Central on June 24. But after going just 2-13 in their last 15 games and falling 8.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, the North Siders are preparing for serious roster overhaul.
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Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
Much like the Cubs, Cleveland has also scuffled tremendously as of late.
Manager Terry Francona’s team was only two games back of the Chicago White Sox on June 28. It then proceeded to lose its next nine games, falling 7.5 games back of the White Sox even after a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals heading into the break. Cleveland is also 4.5 games back of the second wild-card spot.
In other words, things are looking dire. The bleak outlook might prompt general manager Mike Chernoff to sell, or at least reposition.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported rival clubs believe Cleveland could trade big leaguers. This might not be the biggest surprise given Chernoff’s track record.
Cleveland traded right-hander Mike Clevinger at least year’s deadline despite him being a controllable asset. Heyman wondered whether this might mean the franchise would be open to dealing star pitchers Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale or James Karinchak, among others.
It seems improbable for Cleveland to seriously consider dealing Bieber, who only just turned 26 and is fresh off an AL Cy Young in 2020. The same goes for Karinchak, who has wasted little time becoming one of the best relievers in baseball. Civale and fellow starter Zach Plesac could be more interesting names to monitor, though, particularly if Chernoff feels confident in the team’s pitching talent throughout the pipeline.
However, it’s also worth noting starting pitching has been a real issue for the club this season, which might mean Cleveland looks to explore moving outfielder Eddie Rosario, second baseman Cesar Hernandez or veteran reliever Bryan Shaw.