2019 MLB trade deadline rumors, news, analysis and trade tracker

ByESPN.com ESPN logo
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Will Madison Bumgarner, Trevor Bauerand other topflight arms move in July deals? The MLB trade deadline is approaching, and we've got you covered with all of the trade rumors, reaction and analysis you need as your team ponders its next blockbuster move in the first season with one single deadline.

Whether you root for a buyer or a seller -- or someone in between -- you can keep up with all of the completed trades, team needs, deals we'd like to see and even weigh in with our deadline polls from now until the 4 p.m. ET deadline strikes on Wednesday, July 31.

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Latest MLB trade rumors| Top deadline targets

Completed trade tracker | Buyers, sellers and needs

What Buster is hearing| Trades we'd like to see

Your turn: Deadline poll center

The latest MLB trade rumors and buzz we're hearing

Recent trade chatter:

The latest on Thor and more: The Mets are taking calls on Noah Syndergaard. But he's not in the category of Todd Frazier or Jason Vargas, both pending free agents who will fetch C-level prospects when they move.-- Jeff Passan

Passan: 10 things to watch in the two weeks before the trade deadline

NL teams showing interest in O's reliever: On Tuesday, the Phillies, Braves, Diamondbacks and Padres all had representatives at Camden Yards, where Orioles reliever Mychal Givens seems to be drawing his fair share of interest. "His velocity's ticking up," says one scout. "He's pitching like he wants to get out of there." -- Eddie Matz

Will Padres deal closer? With two weeks left until the deadline, San Diego closer Kirby Yates continues to dominate the deadline buzz. Question is, are the Padres (three games back in the wild-card race) willing to part with the All-Star righty? "He's as good a reliever as there is in the game today," says an NL evaluator. "But relievers are fickle. I think they trade him." -- Eddie Matz

Look for Nats to go after bullpen help: Of all the teams that need relief reinforcements, the Nationals are at the front of the line. Despite being pretty effective the last six weeks, Washington's pen has a 5.93 ERA that ranks last in the NL. General manager Mike Rizzo has for traded for relievers in the three of the past four Julys and is a good bet to do so again. Problem is, with all those recent trades, Rizzo doesn't have a whole lot left in the cupboard. Look for the Nats to avoid sexy names like Kirby Yates, Felipe Vazquez and Will Smith, and instead focus on someone a bit more sensible. -- Eddie Matz

Mets' trade candidate hits IL: Zack Wheeler is headed to the injured list with shoulder fatigue, which more or less destroys his trade value. He had interest far and wide across the league. Perhaps a team still takes a crack in hopes he returns, but the Mets' hopes to cash in at the deadline have evaporated. -- Jeff Passan

What will D-backs do with Greinke? While the Arizona Diamondbacks have not yet hung an open-for-business sign, rival executives believe it's a matter of days before they declare themselves ready to trade. There are the obvious candidates to be dealt: Robbie Ray and David Peralta, each of whom has a year of control left; Greg Holland, Alex Avila, Jarrod Dyson and Adam Jones, all pending free agents; and even Andrew Chafin, the stalwart left-handed reliever.

The most intriguing possibility: moving Zack Greinke, the 35-year-old starter who keeps adding to what's an increasingly intriguing Hall of Fame résumé. Greinke is a front-line starter. He is also due about $14.5 million for the rest of this season and $35 million in 2020 and 2021. It's a massive price to pay in dollars alone, and because of Greinke's excellence, the Diamondbacks also would want a prospect haul in return. They could achieve that by paying down some of Greinke's salary, but Arizona's solid core, backed by what is rapidly becoming one of baseball's best farm systems, makes holding on to Greinke an entirely reasonable proposition -- Jeff Passan

Need a power hitter? San Diego is a good place to look:The inventory for quality hitters at this trade deadline resembles what greets the person who shows up the morning after Black Friday sales start. "It's barren," one general manager said this week, with the exception perhaps of the San Diego Padres' endeavoring to build deals around one of their powerful corner outfielders. Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe are both available in deals, according to sources, and until the muddled middle that is the MLB standings right now spits out the pretenders, they may be the best teams can get.

Both are clearly monster power hitters. Both also come with drawbacks. While Reyes is just 24, has 5 years before he reaches free agency and already has whacked 25 home runs, his glove is a significant minus and his plate discipline leaves something to be desired. At 27 and with four years of team control left, Renfroe's service profile is slightly different but his game similar. He's a better outfielder than Reyes and a more consistent performer, having hit at least 25 home runs in three straight seasons. He's also not the kind of player around whom the Padres can build a trade to acquire a foundational starter, which is their ultimate goal.-- Jeff Passan

Could the Rangers trade away an All-Star? The overachieving Texas Rangers are one of the season's best stories, and starter Mike Minor finds himself at the center of their resurgence. He is also, according to executives, at the top of multiple teams' trade-target wish lists. While the Rangers have not told teams they plan to trade Minor, they have not indicated they're definitively holding on to him, either, leading a number of executives to believe he could be the best pitcher moved before July 31.

The calculus for the Rangers is clear: Three of the teams ahead of them in the wild-card standings -- Tampa Bay, Boston and Cleveland -- are clearly more talented, and a fourth team, Oakland, has a plus-81 run differential despite its warts. Unless the Rangers believe they are primed to leapfrog three of those four teams, dealing Minor could be a boon. He's got a 2.73 ERA, another year on his contract and the sort of makeup that contenders believe could behoove them come October. -- Jeff Passan

Could Robbie Ray be a fit for the Yankees? Yankees scouts aren't the only ones who have been on the hunt recently. With reports the Arizona Diamondbacks recently attended games at the Yankees' high-A affiliate, New York may be setting its price for what it will give up in exchange for a starting pitcher like Robbie Ray: high-valued prospects who still need time to get MLB-ready. In other words, not Clint Frazier. -- Coley Harvey

Are the Red Sox done shopping? The buzz around the Boston Red Sox is that they've already made their major move: Andrew Cashner. After dealing for the Orioles starter, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski emphasized that the Red Sox were committed to maintaining the top of their prospect pool, signaling that the team won't make a blockbuster trade leading up to the deadline. Pending the health of Nathan Eovaldi and his return off the injured list as a reliever rather than a starter, Boston will likely not chase a reliever at the deadline. -- Joon Lee

Dodgers will be aggressive for bullpen help: The Los Angeles Dodgers' only perceived weakness resides in their bullpen. Look for them to be aggressive here, with the hopes of acquiring both a reliable setup man and someone who could be effective against opposing left-handed hitters.

The Dodgers have the assets to compete with anyone. The question is how willing president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will be to part with those assets in order to address a position that is traditionally so volatile, especially in a year when bullpen help is such a pronounced need throughout the sport.

"We've demonstrated an aggressiveness in the past, and we will equally approach this year not just in terms of the bullpen, but any kind of upgrade aggressively," Friedman said recently. "But we won't err on the side of stupid. We're comfortable being aggressive. We're not comfortable being stupid."-- Alden Gonzalez

Angels facing unique deadline dilemma:The Los Angeles Angels face a common problem with the trade deadline approaching: They reside on the very edges of contention, but are not quite close enough, or good enough, to trade future assets for short-term additions. The Angels need to bolster their starting rotation. Ideally, general manager Billy Eppler will acquire a top-of-the-rotation starter who is controllable beyond this coming season -- an even bigger need in the wake of Tyler Skaggs' sudden death.

Given the unique circumstances facing his team, Eppler was asked if he feels an added responsibility to acquire a big-name player simply to provide a jolt of energy to a team that could desperately use one for the final two months.

"We try to approach every single decision with a mindful, pragmatic approach, and understand all the variables that govern decisions, and ultimately think about the health of the organization first and foremost," Eppler said. "If you do that, it'd be very rare to regret decisions."-- Alden Gonzalez

Could Rays make deadline splash?Some rival evaluators think Tampa Bay could be one of the most aggressive teams in adding players before the deadline-- Buster Olney

More trade market insight from Buster Olney

MLB trade deadline targets

ESPN's top 10 deadline targets (listed alphabetically)

Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians

Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants

Scooter Gennett, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

Shane Greene, RP, Detroit Tigers

Will Smith, RP, San Francisco Giants

Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets

Felipe Vazquez, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets

Kirby Yates, RP, San Diego Padres

Jeff Passan's names to watch: Trevor Bauer, Mike Minor, Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Franmil Reyes, Zack Wheeler, Marcus Stroman, Kirby Yates, Trevor Richards.

Buster Olney's names to watch: Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Ken Giles, Tony Watson, Zack Wheeler, Shane Greene, Scooter Gennett, Noah Syndergaard, Martin Maldonado(traded to Cubs).

David Schoenfield's names to watch: Trevor Bauer, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner, Matthew Boyd, Zack Wheeler, Will Smith, Shane Greene, Jose Abreu, Nicholas Castellanos.

Bradford Doolittle's names to watch: Kirby Yates, Will Smith, Noah Syndergaard, Trevor Bauer, Matthew Boyd, Zack Wheeler, Felipe Vazquez, Ken Giles, Zack Greinke, Whit Merrifield.

Schoenfield: A trade fit for all 30 teams

Completed MLB trade tracker

The deal:Cubs get catching help, getting journeyman backstop Martin Maldonadofor left-handed swingman Mike Montgomery. (July 15)

Our one-sentence take:The deal gives the Cubs an insurance policy behind the plate for the stretch, as it comes on the heels of their having to put starting catcher Willson Contreras on the IL briefly with a strained foot.

Cubs acquire catcher Maldonado from Royals

The deal: Athletics get Homer Bailey from Royals (July 14)

Our one-sentence take: As they make their midseason surge up the standings, the Athletics added an under-the-radar starter having his best season in five years.

A's acquire Bailey from Royals for prospect

The deal: Red Sox get Andrew Cashner from Orioles (July 13)

Our one-sentence take: With Nathan Eovaldi ticketed for a bullpen role upon his return from the injured list, the Red Sox turned their attention to the rotation and added a veteran with American League East experience, in Cashner.

Red Sox land Cashner in deal with O's

The deal: Yankees get Edwin Encarnacion from Mariners (June 16)

Our one-sentence take: Yes, this trade happened more than a month before the deadline, but there might not be a more impactful slugger than Encarnacion on the move this summer.

Olney: Yankees can overpower all rivals after Encarnacion trade

Buyers, sellers and MLB team-by-team needs

Five key potential buyers

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Big need: Middle relief

Potential targets: Edwin Diaz, Ken Giles, Felipe Vazquez

The Dodgers have close to a perfect roster, leaving them with the luxury of targeting the reliever they need. That would be Vazquez, the ultimate late-inning lefty.

2. New York Yankees

Big need: Pitching depth

Potential targets: Matthew Boyd, Trevor Bauer, Kirby Yates

The Yankees don't need much but have the prospect surplus to aim high at the best pitchers on the trade market, the type who could make their biggest impact in October.

3. Houston Astros

Big need: Postseason starter

Potential targets: Matthew Boyd, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman

Like the Yankees, once the Astros get healthy, they don't have many roster holes. Another ace-level starter would be ideal, and wouldn't it be just so tasty to have Bauer teamed up with college frenemy Gerrit Cole?

4. Minnesota Twins

Big need: Middle relief

Potential targets: Kirby Yates, Will Smith, Ken Giles

The Twins' only soft spot, other than the underbelly of statistical regression, lies in consistent sixth- and seventh-inning options, so even if Minnesota doesn't want to cough up the prospects needed to get the top available firemen, it should be able to bolster the bullpen one way or another.

5. Atlanta Braves

Big need: Veteran pitching

Potential targets: Zack Greinke, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman

Given Kevin Gausman's struggles and the youth around Dallas Keuchel, another top-level veteran for October makes a lot of sense, and should someone such as Bauer or Greinke become available, no team has the prospect stock to outbid the Braves.

Five key potential sellers


San Francisco Giants

Big chips: SP Madison Bumgarner, RP Will Smith, 1B/3B Pablo Sandoval, RP Reyes Moronta, RP Sam Dyson, RP Tony Watson, RP Mark Melancon, 2B Joe Panik

What would they want back? Controllable starters, infielders, outfielders, prospects, salary flexibility

The Giants haven't helped first-year president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi's case to sell by overachieving just enough to hang on the fringes of contention. One more hot streak could put him in an awkward spot. If the Giants sell as expected, few teams have more quality options to offer contenders.


New York Mets

Big chips: OF Michael Conforto, SP Zack Wheeler, 3B Todd Frazier, SP Jason Vargas, C Wilson Ramos, SP Noah Syndergaard, RP Edwin Diaz

What would they want back? Relievers, prospects, salary flexibility

Whether it's Diaz, Wheeler or even Conforto, if the Mets decide to sell, freeing up future payroll would be nearly as important as adding a semblance of quality to a depleted farm system.


Arizona Diamondbacks

Big chips: SP Zack Greinke, OF David Peralta, C Alex Avila, SP Robbie Ray, RP Greg Holland

What would they want back? Prospect depth, salary flexibility

In some ways, it might almost be better if Arizona slumps the next couple of weeks, because if tomorrow were July 31, you could flip a coin as to whether the Snakes should buy or sell. If they sell, it would be a tough balancing act to determine how much cash they'd have to eat to move Greinke while getting some kind of future piece in return.


Toronto Blue Jays

Big chips: SP Marcus Stroman, SS Freddy Galvis, RP Ken Giles, 2B Eric Sogard, RP Daniel Hudson, RP Sam Gaviglio, RP Joe Biagini, 1B Justin Smoak, OF Randal Grichuk, SP Aaron Sanchez

What would they want back? Prospects

This is a crucial month for a franchise still early-ish in its rebuild that has nonetheless already graduated some high-impact talent to the majors. Toronto has some excellent pieces to sell, and getting near-ready prospects or controllable young veterans to augment the young core would improve the short-term outlook immensely.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Big chips: 2B Adam Frazier, RP Felipe Vazquez, RP Francisco Liriano, OF Starling Marte, RP Richard Rodriguez, OF Corey Dickerson, OF Melky Cabrera, OF Gregory Polanco

What would they want back? A young catcher

We know the Pirates aren't going to go all-in with a splashy move, so a move to acquire a young catcher makes a lot of sense in light of Francisco Cervelli's wise decision to give up the tools of ignorance. A deal built around Vazquez and one of the Dodgers' near-ready catching prospects makes a whole lot of sense for both teams.

What should your team do at the deadline?

Buyer/seller status and aggression rating for all 30 teams

What Buster is hearing

Selling starting pitching? You might want to act quickly. With buyers like the Red Sox and A's grabbing bargains, and plenty of supply left, sellers might find the best deals sooner rather than later. Buster Olney (ESPN+)

Olney: Call it tanking or call it rebuilding, but it hasn't paid off yet for Phillies

Why the Pirates should -- and shouldn't -- trade Felipe Vazquez

Should Tribe trade Trevor Bauer or let it ride?

Trades we'd like to see

Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke and Trevor Bauer all on the move? An All-Star closer to the Dodgers? Here's the blockbusters we're hoping go down before July 31. Bradford Doolittle (ESPN+)

GMs to watch at the deadline

What front offices are saying

A's general manager David Forst on adding Homer Bailey: "Our starting depth has taken a hit. We checked around for some starting pitching. I had let Kansas City know a few days ago that Homer might be someone we were interested in, and it came together kind of quickly this morning."

Your turn: MLB trade deadline poll center

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