What could happen in the final 24 hours before the deadline?

ByJerry Crasnick ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

As the trade deadline approaches, it's more about quantity of moves that could be made than moves that will make you say "wow." Once Manny Machado left Baltimore for Los Angeles, the top closers came off the market and Cole Hamels was traded from Texas to the Cubs, the market became decidedly short on pizzazz.

With less than 24 hours remaining, a slew of relievers, back-of-the-rotation starters and positional depth pieces are ready to change teams. The Twins, Blue Jays, Padres, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Rangers, Mets and Reds are among the teams with inventory to sell and no particular reason to hang on to it.

With the understanding that things are fluid at this time of year, here's some buzz to pass along:

Chris Archer remains the big name out there, and the Padres are the team most prominently linked to him. There's a sense among some people that Archer will still be pitching in Tampa Bay after the deadline -- and that the Rays' talks in recent days were basically one big fact-gathering mission to lay groundwork for more extensive trade talks involving Archer this winter.

"They're in no hurry to move him because of his contract,'' said an official with one club that checked in on Archer. "I think they would have to be completely overwhelmed. I just don't see it happening.''

Are the Giants coming or going? No one knows for sure. They're 3-8 in their past 11 games, but the front office seems loath to declare a sell-off.

"The Giants don't think they're out of it,'' said one person familiar with San Francisco's thinking. FanGraphs calculates the Giants' odds of winning the NL West at 0.5 percent and making the playoffs at 4.5 percent, so management is a lot more optimistic than it has a right to be.

If Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans decide to selectively sell Tuesday, relievers Will Smith and Sam Dyson could generate interest. Beyond that, Andrew McCutchen's name could surface as a trade candidate in August because of his pending free agency. Problem is, McCutchen can't play center field anymore, and his power production has dropped off a cliff. He's 19-for-84 with three extra-base hits and a .286 slugging percentage in July.

The Twins are working hard to deal Brian Dozier, but potential landing spots have fallen off the board in recent days. The Diamondbacks acquired Eduardo Escobar, the Brewers picked up Mike Moustakas, and the Dodgers didn't have much need for a second infield acquisition after they added Machado. The Phillies were looking for a more versatile infielder with the ability to play shortstop, so they went for Asdrubal Cabrera (even though the metrics and scouts seem to agree that he's now a defensive liability at the position).

The reported second-tier-interest teams are less-than-ideal fits. Cleveland needs a center fielder more than a second baseman. Boston is focused more on bullpen upgrades and has already acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler. And the Giants might be more motivated to sell than buy, given their place in the standings.

Still, as one observer said of Dozier, "He's going to get traded.'' Maybe a team that has already traded for an infielder decides to double-dip, or another club without a perfect positional fit finds a way to get Dozier in the lineup. There's a strong sense that he'll be wearing a different uniform by Wednesday.

The Indians' biggest remaining need is in center field, where Rajai Davis and Greg Allen are sharing playing time. Bradley Zimmer is out for the year, Tyler Naquin just went on the DL, and center field has become an offensive black hole at Progressive Field.

It's not a great time to be shopping at the position. Adam Jones is staying put in Baltimore, Leonys Martin has hamstring issues and can't hit lefties, and the Reds never seem inclined to discuss Billy Hamilton in trade talks. He also has a .227/.302/.310 slash line in 101 games, so it's questionable whether he would even qualify as an upgrade.

Houston's Jake Marisnick is an affordable upside play who might benefit from a scenery change. He's hitting .192 in 71 games this season after logging an .815 OPS with 16 homers a year ago. But Astros GM Jeff Luhnow doesn't appear to be in any rush to sell low on Marisnick, who is making $1.9 million this season and won't be eligible for free agency until 2020. Luhnow might also be reluctant to help a Cleveland team that the Astros could wind up facing in the postseason.

As multiple outlets have reported,Zack Wheelerwill probably join Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in staying put in New York through the deadline. The Mets will concentrate on moving outfielder Jose Bautista and catcherDevin Mesoracoand could trade reliever Jerry Blevins by the deadline.