Perhaps it should be no surprise that the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays, two of the most aggressive teams in baseball at improving their rosters, have placed themselves squarely in the middle of seemingly every trade conversation as the MLB trade deadline (4 p.m. ET Friday) fast approaches. What does surprise executives around Major League Baseball are the players they're discussing.
The reigning American League champion Rays, long recognized for their ability to win with minuscule payrolls, have had preliminary discussions about both Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Chicago Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant, league sources told ESPN. And the Padres, playing in the fifth-smallest market in baseball, are primed to exceed the luxury-tax threshold -- and continue to pursue a deal for Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo and have at least inquired on other high-priced players, according to sources.