MLB PLAYER NEWS

Which players may be on the move soon?

Sports Xchange

July 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm.

Justin Verlander could be on the move before August.  Photo Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander could be on the move before August. Photo Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals are looking for a closer and maybe a set-up man after losing eight games in which they had a lead going into the ninth inning.

The Boston Red Sox have gotten less production from their third baseman than any other American League team.

The Houston Astros would like another front-of-the-rotation starter that could pitch with Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. in a postseason rotation.

The Los Angeles Dodgers learned last season that playoff games can be won and lost on the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen.

The teams that played well enough in the first half to appear October-bound still have areas to strengthen for a run to the World Series. And there are plenty of teams competing for a postseason spot that would like to bring in the pieces that would solidify one — like the New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies.

For all of them, the days that lead up to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline will be crucial. It will also afford some teams that are eyeing next season to deal off today’s assets for tomorrow’s building blocks.

Here’s a look at some players that could be on the move:

STARTING PITCHERS

Jose Quintana (White Sox): He hasn’t pitched that well this season, but he is front-of-the-rotation material and is signed for $32 million through 2020 if two options are picked up. The White Sox are said to be asking a lot. Teams with deep farm systems like the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers or Cubs could meet the asking price.

Sonny Gray (A’s): He is regaining his ace form in recent starts and has two more years in arbitration. Given the A’s are 21 games out in the AL West and looking to retool, they too could be looking for a package of prospects. The Twins, who are just 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central, have already reportedly asked about him. The Cubs or Yankees would make sense too.

Julio Teheran (Braves): One might not think this makes sense as the Braves try to build a winner in a new park, but Teheran is 6-0 on the road this season and 1-6 in the club’s new home. He has a high-quality arm and could have three more seasons with a team for a total of $31 million.

Justin Verlander (Tigers): It’s hard to tell if the Detroit front office can trade one of its icons, but he might do well with a change of scenery after starting 5-6 with a 4.73 ERA and the Tigers sitting close to the bottom of the AL Central. He is 34, has about $88 million left on a contract through 2020 and would have to approve a trade. The Dodgers or Red Sox could have interest.

Others: Johnny Cueto (Giants), Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Alex Cobb (Rays).

RELIEF PITCHERS

David Robertson (White Sox): The Nationals are already said to be interested in the right-handed closer and rightly so. He is getting $12 million this season and is signed for $13 million next year. He also has a load of playoff experience from his years with the Yankees. The Rangers are another team that needs a closer to contend.

Justin Wilson (Tigers): He moved from set-up man to closer when Francisco Rodriguez imploded and has done well. Wilson has a 2.36 ERA and 10 saves this season. He has one more year of arbitration left. He could be a much needed closer for the Rangers or Nationals or a set-up man for other contenders, including the Diamondbacks and Rockies.

Brad Hand (Padres): San Diego GM A.J. Preller has identified his club as a seller as it is 12 games under .500. The left-handed Hand has a 2.30 ERA and is durable, having thrown 89 1/3 innings in 82 appearances last season. He has two more years of arbitration. Hand could appeal to the Astros, Nationals, Red Sox or Mariners.

Addison Reed (Mets): Injuries have sabotaged New York’s season, and the Mets have a slew of players who, like Reed, are in the final year of a contract and could get shipped if things don’t turn around quickly. GM Sandy Alderson has said he is already listening to offers on a number of players.

Also: Sean Doolittle (A’s), Ryan Madson (A’s), Jerry Blevins (Mets), Pat Neshek (Phillies).

POSITION PLAYERS

Zack Cozart (Reds): The Reds are 10 games under .500 and dead last in the NL Central and could offer the All-Star shortstop with the .941 OPS as a rental to some team. The Mariners have expressed interest in him before. Any defensive upgrade for the error-prone Brewers has to be a consideration and he could also help the Twins.

Yonder Alonso (A’s): He picked a good time for a breakout season. In his final year before free agency, the All-Star first baseman is hitting .275 with 20 homers and 43 RBIs. He is likely to be dealt because the A’s probably won’t be able to afford him. The Yankees are now using their fourth choice at first base and Alonso could be a fit. If the Angels, who at 45-47 are three games off the wild-card pace, choose to invest they, too, could be interested.

Martin Prado (Marlins): Given how young the team is, the Marlins may not want to part with his leadership. Prado has played third and second as well as the corner outfield spots and many clubs would value the versatility. Although he is owed $28.5 million for 2018 and 2019, he might be a great fit for the Red Sox or Twins.

Jay Bruce (Mets): If the Mets punt, Bruce would be a good middle-of-the-order addition. He is hitting .266 with 23 homers and 59 RBIs in the final year of his contract. Of course, he wasn’t the huge lift the Mets expected him to be when they got him from the Reds before the deadline a year ago, but coming to New York is unique. He would be an outfield upgrade for the Mariners or a DH upgrade for the Twins, though they would probably be more interested in players under contract beyond this season.

Also: Curtis Granderson (Mets), J.D. Martinez (Tigers), Todd Frazier (White Sox), Kurt Suzuki (Braves).