The Aug. 31 trade deadline is mere days away. It may not occasion the usual deadline madness because of a prevailing reluctance to add payroll and the fact that the expanded playoff field means fewer sellers, but we still anticipate that some notable swaps will go down before the final month of the regular season begins.
So to set the scene we're here to round up the trade rumors and actual deals. Here's what's happening for Wednesday.
Rangers listening on Lynn
Lance Lynn has been on another level since signing with Texas prior to last season. Since the start of the 2019 season, he's pitched to a 3.30 ERA (153 ERA+) with a 4.05 K/BB ratio across 40 starts and 253 2/3 innings. Lynn has long been a reliably good starting pitcher, but these are ace-level results. It may also be sustainable. Lynn's added a bit of fastball velocity relative to earlier in his career, and his success in Texas has coincided with increased use of his cutter and the introduction of a slider. Throw in the fact that he's under contract through 2021 and owed just a bit over $9 million next season, and he's a rightly coveted deadline commodity.
The question is whether the Rangers would be willing to part with an ace who's under team control for another full season. Regarding that essential matter, here's what Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports:
If not for the financial uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rangers might be talking about an extension for right-hander Lance Lynn, 33. Instead, they are entertaining trade offers for Lynn, even though he is under contract at a bargain rate of $8 million next season and is an important part of the team's identity.
In related matters, the Rangers going into Wednesday's slate are 11-18 and in fourth place in the AL West. While we're not even halfway through the season and have eight playoff berths available to each league, the AL situation is already becoming somewhat settled, and the Rangers are facing long odds. The SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) right now gives Texas just a 6.7 percent chance of making the expanded postseason field, and that puts them in "seller" territory. Contenders are forever thirsty for starting pitching, and Lynn's excellence and additional year of low-cost control mean the Rangers can expect a hefty return. Also don't be shocked if Lynn winds up being the biggest name moved before the deadline.
The Yankees on Wednesday executed a minor trade with the Giants, acquiring catcher Rob Brantly in exchange for cash considerations. Brantly has been added to the Yankees' 60-man player pool and assigned to their alternative training site.
Obviously, depth at the vital position of catcher is motivation for the Yankees, who have legitimate designs on winning the World Series this season. Brantly, 31, owns a career slash line of .228/.292/.330 across 432 plate appearances in parts of six major-league seasons. At the MLB level, he's played in just games since the end of the 2017 season.