The Nationals fixed their bullpen by trading for Oakland relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. The Chicago Cubs added starter José Quintana, who struck out 12 batters in an 8-0 win against the Orioles in his Cubs debut Sunday at Camden Yards.
As the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline approaches on July 31, what’s next for teams?
The Dodgers, battling Washington for the best record in the National League, are looking for a starter and reliever, even though they start the week with a nine-game winning streak and the best record in baseball.
Ross Newhan, former Los Angeles Times baseball writer, penned an L.A. twist to the old Milwaukee line that described the Braves’ lack of pitching, which was, “Spahn, Sain and pray for rain.’‘
Newhan describes the Dodgers’ rotation predicament on Facebook: “(Clayton) Kershaw and (Alex) Wood and don’t we wish three that could.’‘
After All-Stars Kershaw and Wood, the Dodgers rotation has Brandon McCarthy, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill. The bullpen has two lights-out pitchers, Pedro Báez and closer Kenley Jansen, but after that, the Dodgers are thin.
The Dodgers reportedly are looking for Orioles reliever Zach Britton, a free agent after 2018. Orioles fans would hate to say goodbye to Britton, but would trading the lefty allow them to replenish their rotation for the future?
And considering the list of teams that need bullpen help, the Orioles will be hearing from teams about the availability of not only Britton, but Darren O’Day and Brad Brach as well.
There are relievers available, from San Diego’s Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer to Detroit’s Justin Wilson and Miami’s AJ Ramos.
Here’s a primer on what’s going on with the trade market:
* Boston’s pitching is solid, but they could use help at third base and the White Sox’s Todd Frazier might be on their radar. The Red Sox released Pablo Sandoval, leaving Devon Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin to share the position. But the Red Sox’s third baseman of the future, Rafael Devers, could be called up mid-August. Could Devers do for the Red Sox in the postseason what Xander Bogaerts did as late-season call-up, helping them win the 2013 World Series?
* The Indians, defending American League champion, are looking for starters. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carraso lead the rotation, but Danny Salazar has been injured and Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer haven’t been good.
* How will the Milwaukee Brewers answer the Cubs’ acquisition of Quintana? The Brewers need help in the rotation and bullpen, but will they go after a big name or live up to their small-market reputation?
* The Twins, contenders in the AL Central, are looking for a starter and reliever, but apparently aren’t willing to give up any of the prospects they are using to rebuild: They signed 44-year-old Bartolo Colón, released by Atlanta, and he’ll start Tuesday in Minnesota against the Yankees.
* The Astros, runaway leaders in the AL West, are looking for starting pitching and banking on the health of Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh in the second half. Their only reliable starter is Lance McCullers. They wanted Quintana, but could make a move from Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole.
* Detroit is willing to trade Justin Verlander if there is a team that wants to pick up $78 million left on his contract. The Dodgers are interested.
* Arizona has a good chance at a wild card spot, but how far will they go in the postseason with 40-year-old Fernando Rodney as their closer? Perhaps they should call the Reds about Raisel Iglasias.
* The Phillies are going nowhere, so they’d be interested in trading All-Star reliever Pat Neshak and his funky delivery.
If Tampa Bay gets bullpen help to go with a re-charged offense and strong rotation, the Rays could be in the postseason.