The MLB trade deadline is nearing, and speculation is heating up across baseball. Here is what our writers are hearing today:
Sandy Alderson acknowledges thinking 'big' in additional trade talks http://es.pn/1S1BpIv #NYM #Mets— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) July 25, 2015
Rubin's take: Team sources have repeatedly minimized the likelihood Justin Upton becomes a Met, but it is good to see that general manager Sandy Alderson is at least thinking big rather than resting on his laurels after acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves. The Mets rank last in the majors in team batting average at .233 and are ahead of only the White Sox in runs scored.
"The fact that we have several days means there are other things to be examined, explored," Alderson said Saturday. "It doesn't mean we'll do anything else, but we're certainly continuing to look."
Papelbon to the #Nationals? A source said he'd be "shocked" if that happened. The teams did talk about him, though. #phillies #tradedeadline— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 25, 2015
Stark's take: You can forget that talk of Jonathan Papelbon winding up in Washington. A source said he'd be "shocked" if the Phillies end up dealing their closer to the Nationals.
Sources have confirmed a Fox Sports report that the Phillies and Nationals have discussed Papelbon in recent weeks. But those talks have gone nowhere, in part because Papelbon would balk at being traded to any team that would want him as a set-up man or co-closer, and in part because the Nationals don't appear to view him as a significant upgrade over current closer Drew Storen. Washington would also likely want the Phillies to pick up much of Papelbon's salary.
If #Nationals do make a deal this week, clubs that have spoken with them say they're out to do "something big." Kimbrel? Chapman?— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 25, 2015
Stark's take: Speaking of the Nationals: Clubs that have spoken with the Nationals say they're trying to do "something big" if they make a move at all.
The Nationals have explored a number of bullpen possibilities, other teams say. And there are indications they've spoken with the Reds about Aroldis Chapman and the Padres about Craig Kimbrel. But it's unclear if they can ultimately match up with either team.
The Nationals have told other clubs they have no interest in trading their best pitching prospect, Lucas Giolito, or their highly regarded infield prospects, Trea Turner or Wilmer Difo, in any deal.
Speaking of Chapman . . . #Reds have asked other teams for 3 higher-level prospects in return, according to clubs that have spoken w/ them.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 25, 2015
Stark's take: An executive of one team said the Reds want one "elite" prospect, plus two more he described as "better than average." As we reported yesterday, however, several clubs have questioned whether Reds owner Bob Castellini ultimately wants to sign off on trading Chapman at all.
#Padres still working to trade James Shields. But one exec says they'd have to "eat a ton" of the $65M left on his deal after this year.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 25, 2015
Stark's take: The Padres have moved into what another club described as "aggressive sell mode" this week. And moving Shields appears to be atop their to-do list.
But several front-office men have told ESPN.com they're wary of Shields on multiple levels: declining velocity, a .905 OPS by left-handed hitters against him, a 5.01 ERA away from Petco Park and a jump in home-run rate (20 in 126.2 innings this year, versus 23 all last season in 227 innings).
Trade Deadline just six days away.... #Astros #Royals #Blue Jays #Dodgers remain most aggressive "buyers" in the market place according to GMs— Jim Bowden(@JimBowden_ESPN) July 25, 2015