It's July 26 and, well, we so far have the slowest-moving July in recent memory in terms of actual trades. The hard deadline -- no waiver trades can be made after the deadline this year for the first time -- isn't seeming to produce its intended effect. There have been a lack of sellers, but things are starting to come into focus with teams like the Mets, Reds, Pirates, Padres and Rockies falling down to where they can no longer be considered contenders. That wasn't the case at the All-Star break. With more clarity, there should be more movement. We'll see. For now, here are the latest rumors.
Twins in on Thor
The Twins are interested in Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, who is known to be available, reports the Star Tribune. The report indicates the Mets are "eyeing both" of the Twins top prospects, shortstop Royce Lewis and outfielder Alex Kirilloff, so it's a steep price. Of course, the Twins are set at shortstop and outfield at present and there could be an argument to go all in right now.
Syndergaard, 26, is 7-5 with a 4.33 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 126 strikeouts in 126 2/3 innings this season. Prior to this season, he had a career 2.93 ERA (132 ERA+) with 573 strikeouts in 518 1/3 innings. His raw stuff (high-90s fastball, slider around 90) suggests he should be an ace and perhaps a change of scenery works as it did for, say, Gerrit Cole. Syndergaard is controlled through 2021, too, so he's no rental.
Pairing the best version of Syndergaard with Jose Berrios makes for an intimidating top of the playoff rotation.
Angels looking for pitching?
According to Jon Heyman, the Angels are in the market for starting pitching and have checked in on all the usual deadline suspects. What may keep them from going big, however, is that presently they're 4.0 games out of the second wild-card spot in the AL and behind three teams for that final playoff berth. In related matters, the SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) right now gives the Angels just a 3.3 percent chance of making the postseason for the first time since 2014. Those are the kinds of odds you sensibly seek to improve without selling out for. That's why a starter who's controllable beyond 2019 would be the best fit for the Halos.
Minnesota eyeing Romo, too?
Craig Mish, a Miami-area radio host who is generally well dialed in on Marlins rumors, says the Twins have shown interest in Marlins reliever Sergio Romo. Bullpen depth is something pretty much every contender craves and the Twins are no different, so this makes sense. Romo's been through lots of playoff battles, too, and teams do value experience.
Romo, 36, has pitched to a 3.58 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and has 33 strikeouts against 10 unintentional walks in 37 2/3 innings this season.
The Twins' bullpen has a 5.25 ERA after the All-Star break and former part-time closer Blake Parker was designated for assignment earlier this week.
Dyson drawing interest; Cubs in?
The Cubs "and others" are interested in Diamondbacks' outfielder Jarrod Dyson, reports Jon Heyman. Dyson, a lefty, would fit as the Cubs' center fielder and leadoff man, with both areas being an issue this season. Dyson has a .333 on-base percentage and would make a nice center fielder in Wrigley Field. He'd also be easily their best base-stealing threat, as he has 22 stolen bases this season. Javier Baez leads the Cubs with seven. Dyson is far from ideal here, but he would work. Heyman does note that the D-Backs aren't yet committed to selling.
Nationals look for multiple relievers
Not surprisingly, the Nationals are looking to shore up their major weakness, which is the bullpen. They are targeting left-handers, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com, so that means someone like Jake Diekman of the Royals and hoping the Giants lose out so Will Smith and Tony Watson become available. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports the Nats are also showing interest in right-handers Shane Greene of the Tigers and Alex Colome of the White Sox.
The Nationals are fine at closer with Sean Doolittle, but in front of him there are questions as the shaky Fernando Rodney and Wander Suero are the primary setup men. We've seen Nats general manager Mike Rizzo add two arms at once before, as he acquired both Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the A's in July of 2017.
Royals close to dealing Diekman?
We mentioned lefty Jake Diekman above. He's pitching to a 4.75 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, but he does have 63 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings. And, of course, being left handed is coveted right now, especially if the Giants aren't sellers. To this end ...
The Royals could be getting closer to trading Jake Diekman, according to a source. The Dodgers and Braves are believed to be two clubs showing serious interest in the lefty reliever.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 26, 2019
Padres willing to move Morejon
ESPN's Olney reports that there is a "perception" that the Padres would be willing to trade pitching prospect Adrian Morejon in a deal that would land them a veteran starting pitcher. Morejon is a 20-year-old lefty who recently made his MLB debut and has now worked 3 1/3 innings, having allowed one earned run (2.70 ERA) on four hits and zero walks (1.20 WHIP) with two strikeouts. He was ranked as the 52nd-best prospect in baseball heading into the spring by Baseball America.
The Padres shouldn't really be "buyers," but if there's a player under control past this season like Syndergaard or Marcus Stroman, for example, the Padres should definitely be in. It's clear from the organizational makeup that the club is set to contend next season, but rotation help -- especially a veteran presence -- is needed for that to come to fruition.
Mets won't trade with Yankees?
The Yankees have been connected to Syndergaard in trade rumors, but there's this rub:
Mets position on trading with Yanks: not completely opposed but if all things r equal they r trading player (ie Noah, Wheeler) elsewhere; Yankees’ belief: Mets probably won’t trade with them at all, short of paying huge premium, (but that doesn’t mean it’ll stop them from trying)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 26, 2019
This is pretty silly if you asked me, but the Mets have long had little brother syndrome when it comes to the Yankees, so I guess it fits.