The Astros made two last-minute deals before Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, shipping outfielder Justin Maxwell to the Royals and starting pitcher Bud Norris to the Orioles.
From the O’s — in a deal first reported by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and confirmed by MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli — the Astros will receive outfielder L.J. Hoes, a Compensation Round A Pick and minor league left-handed Josh Hader. From the Royals, the Astros will receive minor league right-hander Kyle Smith.
Norris was one of the biggest names floating around the last two days, as he was scratched from his Tuesday start in preparation for a deal. He is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 games (all starts) this season. Hoes, who was slated to play left field for the Orioles on Wednesday night (against the Astros), has appeared in three Major League games over the last two seasons.
Maxwell was hitting .241 with two homers and four home runs in 40 games, but missed two months of the season with a fractured hand. The 29-year-old outfielder led the Astros with 18 home runs last year after being acquired off waivers from the Nationals.
Smith, 20, was the Royals’ fourth-round pick in the 2011 Draft. He is 5-4 this year with a 2.85 ERA in 19 starts with Class-A Wilmington.
That Comp A pick is currently the 33rd pick next year, but subject to change with free agent signings.
– Joey Nowak
The Yankees have a renewed interest in White Sox outfielder Alex Rios, MLB.com‘s Scott Merkin has learned.
A deal between the Sox and the Yanks would require Rios to waive his no-trade clause, but Merkin reports that the Yankees are one of six teams that Rios has to agree to waive his no-trade clause for.
The 32-year-old outfielder has 12 homers and 49 RBIs in 101 games for the White Sox this year and could provide the Yankees with the right-handed bat they’re looking for.
– Joey Nowak
We’re about 24 hours away from Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, and it still has been a pretty quiet week. Some wheels were evidently set in motion on Tuesday afternoon, so let’s take a look at where some things stand around 5 p.m. ET:
- White Sox starter Jake Peavy and Astros starter Bud Norris were both scratched from their Tuesday starts, and rumors started flying. The D-backs have interest in Peavy — Arizona GM Kevin Towers has history with the right-hander dating back to their San Diego days — along with a handful of other clubs with starting pitching needs.
- The Phillies called up third base prospect Cody Asche, prompting rumors about Michael Young leaving town, but Young was slotted into Tuesday’s starting lineup when it was first unveiled this afternoon. There have been reports that Young’s no-trade clause would be waived only for a deal to the Rangers, though MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported a Texas reunion is “unlikely” and the Red Sox and Orioles have also been tied to Young. And on top of the Young chatter, there are still rumors flying about Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the Jose Veras deal was the big one that Detroit wanted to take care of, and the Tigers are not looking for a bat (even with shortstop Jhonny Peralta looking at a possible suspension with his ties to Bioegenesis). Javier Lopez and Kevin Gregg are other bullpen names that have been floated in connection with the Tigers.
- A league source tells MLB.com‘s Joe Frisaro that if there’s any darkhorse team who could put together the right package to land Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, it would be the Red Sox.
- Even with a wealth of quality relievers, it might be a quiet Trade Deadline for the Padres.
- The Cubs have already dealt away some big pieces, and manager Dale Sveum says that any rumors about starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija being the next to go are “far-fetched.” Kevin Gregg and right fielder Nate Schierholtz could be a different story, though.
– Joey Nowak
Astros right-hander Bud Norris has been scratched from his Tuesday start, MLB.com‘s Brian McTaggart has confirmed, and there could be a trade on the way.
The Houston Chronicle first reported that Lucas Harrell would get the start in favor of Norris, who is reportedly being sought after by as many as three teams.
Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts this season. Harrell was moved to the bullpen on July 7, and the righty is 5-10 with a 5.17 ERA in 23 appearances this year (19 starts).
– Joey Nowak
- It’s no secret that the Tigers need relief help, and according to CBSSports.com‘s Danny Knobler, they’re scouting the Marlins, Brewers, Padres, Mariners and Astros. Among the possible players that could be in Detroit come August are Steve Cishek, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Papelbon and Kevin Gregg. Jason Beck has more here on which deals may be more likely and what Detroit might be willing to give up.
- It’s possible Matt Garza is headed to the Rangers, but there seems to be a holdup with one of the players the Cubs could be receiving in return.
- Because Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is expected to be out of game action for 10-14 days, he’s unlikely to be dealt before the Trade Deadline, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported.
– Joey Nowak
The Indians have already been linked to the Cubs‘ Matt Garza. Now, they’re reportedly interested in Milwaukee‘s Yovani Gallardo.
At the moment, those two players are Cleveland’s “main and only pitchers of interest,” according to a CBSSports.com story by Jon Heyman. The Tribe is seeking a pitcher to “pair with ace [All-Star] Justin Masterson,” a source is quoted as saying in the report. The Indians want a starter with high-end stuff, and they might be content to leave their rotation untouched if a deal can’t be made for a top-of-the-rotation player.
This season, opposing clubs have devalued Gallardo, whose performance in 2013 has not reflected past success. Through 19 starts, the Brewers’ right-hander has assembled a 7-8 record and 4.85 ERA while averaging 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings. In each of the past four seasons, Gallardo kept his ERA under 4.00 and struck out at least nine hitters per nine innings, on average.
Gallardo, 27, has another year on his contract, plus an option year after that.
What’s true of Gallardo does not apply to Garza, who will be a free agent but remains open to signing on for more time in Chicago after this season ends. Over his last five outings, the 29-year-old righty has gone 4-0 and put together an impressive 0.97 ERA. Across his most recent 37 innings, Garza has issued eight walks and 34 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .180 batting average.
According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Indians were one of five teams to scout Garza’s start on Monday, when he held the White Sox to five hits and two runs (one earned) over seven innings. In 10 starts this year, Garza is 5-1 and owns a 3.22 ERA.
Entering the 2013 campaign, Cleveland’s starting rotation was thought to be the club’s primary weakness. The starters have performed better than expected, though lately manager Terry Francona has gone to his bullpen earlier in games than he’d probably like to. Overall, Tribe starters are 30-34 with a 4.58 ERA. They’ve thrown 506 2/3 innings (12th in the American League) and racked up 453 strikeouts (fifth in the AL).
Even if the Indians don’t make a deal for a starter, they’ll still receive second-half reinforcements in the form of Zach McAllister, who hasn’t pitched since June 2 because of a right middle finger sprain.
– Mark Emery
The Nationals have added a right-handed bat to their bench, acquiring outfielder Scott Hairston from the Cubs in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Ivan Pineyro.
The Nationals hope that Hairston – hitting .163 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs — can lend some right-handed power off the bench in the way that Tyler Moore has not been able to this year. The Nats were hoping players like Moore and Steve Lombardozzi would provide great depth off the bench after strong breakout seasons last year, but both have struggled.
Hairston will now be reunited with Washington GM Mike Rizzo, who drafted him in the third round of the 2001 Draft.
Pineyro, 21, has a 3.24 ERA in 15 games (all starts) between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac this year.
Both teams will also receive a player to be named later in the deal.
– Joey Nowak
Like his teammate Jesse Crain, Jake Peavy is a potential White Sox trade chip who is currently on the disabled list. Peavy, on the DL retroactive to June 5 with a broken rib, is scheduled to throw another bullpen on Friday in Tampa Bay.
But manager Robin Ventura said Peavy’s potential trade value has nothing to do with how he handles his players’ recovery or how he uses them.
“That stuff is kind of separate from what I’m doing,” Ventura said. “I’m making sure guys are healthy when they’re going out there and we’re trying to win games. That’s it. Even with the guys who are on the DL right now, they can’t go out and play. That’s just part of trying to get them healthy and get them back in a uniform so they can play and you get them in the right spots to be what you think can be successful. That’s what I’m focused on. All the other stuff is separate and I don’t even need to think about it.”
– Joey Nowak
The White Sox lost perhaps their most consistent performer and perhaps their best trade piece on Wednesday when right-handed setup man Jesse Crain was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. Crain says he didn’t feel right while warming up before yesterday’s game, and he knew when he got warm in the bullpen in the seventh inning that something was amiss.
“When I was playing catch before the game, I didn’t feel all that great,” Crain said. “I was hoping that if I was to get up and get ready for the game I would feel better. When I was doing that, I didn’t feel great. I threw some breaking balls and got a little worse. That’s when I knew I couldn’t do it. That’s pretty much how it happened, that easy, that quick.”
Crain has been practically unhittable this year — 0.74 ERA, three earned runs in 36 2/3 innings, a scoreless appearances streak of 29 games — and would figure to be a top trade target among teams looking for bullpen help. Now he’ll be out until after the All-Star Break, but expects to recover since he had this exact same issue at the exact same time last season.
The White Sox, as a whole, have struggled plenty this year. There haven’t been any real signs of them dealing pieces, but they’re aware of the circumstances.
“That’s part of it,” veteran Adam Dunn said. “You can’t sit here and worry about it. It’s not something you can avoid. It’s part of the game and we’re not idiots. We know what’s going on. But again, you can’t worry about it. You’ve gotta do what you do on the field and let that stuff take care of itself.”
– Joey Nowak
- Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki‘s eventual free agency has been somewhat of a confusing topic, but MLB.com‘s Adam McCalvy says Aoki will, indeed, be a free agent when his current contract expires after this season or next. In that case, he could be an intriguing trade chip for teams looking for outfield help.
- The Padres are certainly not the only team looking to bolster their starting rotation before the Trade Deadline, but it may not be so simple for them to do so. San Diego has worked hard to build its farm system from one largely devoid of talent to one now stocked with good players — not great or marquee players, mind you, but players who can help them in the future — MLB.com‘s Corey Brock writes. With that being the case, they may have a difficult time finding a trade partner and parting ways with the right package that would attract another starter.
- The Dodgers have a bit of interest in Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and joined the Cubs, Angels and Red Sox, among others, in scouting him last week in Mexico.
- When the Braves lost Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters for the season, each to elbow injuries, there were plenty of questions about Atlanta’s typically dependable bullpen. But the group has responded in strong fashion and, still, they may be looking to add a key piece down the stretch.
– Joey Nowak