With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, Jonah Keri expects a lot of moving pieces over the next week-and-a-half.
“I think there should be a fair number of deals,” the CBS Sports MLB writer told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You’ve got a significant number of teams that are starting to kind of separate a little bit, where the sellers are starting to come into view. The Milwaukee Brewers have a whole bunch of guys that teams are going to want. There’s some other ones too kind of in the bottom of the league. The Cincinnati Reds have a few, maybe Arizona, San Diego’s already started selling. And then on the buyer side, there’s a whole bunch of teams. If you look at division leaders, especially in the American League – Texas, Baltimore and Cleveland – all good clubs, but all have significant weaknesses. And as we go along – we’ve still got almost two weeks to go – you’ll start to see even more separation to the point that maybe even a team like the Yankees can come into the picture and really start to market some of their players, starting with, of course, their tremendous bullpen.”
Indeed, the Yankees have tremendous trade value in their bullpen, but not every New York reliever carries the same weight.
“I think it depends on who you’re talking about,” Keri said. “If it’s Aroldis Chapman, he’s only controllable through the end of this season, and listen, it’s a relief pitcher for less than half a year. Even if your team goes on to win the World Series and Arodis Chapman is pithing Game 7, that’s 40 innings. Obviously if your team has made the World Series that’s wonderful, but there’s only so much you’re going to give up in terms of premium talent for that short of controllable amount of time. On the other hand, if it’s Andrew Miller or even Dellin Betances, that changes things considerably. Miller is controlled through 2018, Betances even longer, and they’re both great, great pitchers. Phenomenal stuff, more or less unhittable. Those guys are three of the best relief pitchers in the game. So it really depends on controllable service time.”
The Yankees are reportedly interested in trading for Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber, but Keri doesn’t see it happening.
“The Cubs would have to be off their damn rocker to do a trade like that,” Keri said. “Even if it’s somebody like Miller, who’s a great, great pitcher, it’s still a relief pitcher. Good relief pitchers are much easier to find than 23-year-olds with the potential to hit 30 or 35 home runs for the next five years in a row in addition to walking 100 times a season.”
Schwarber hit 16 home runs in 69 games in 2015 before tearing his ACL this past April. Even with Schwarber’s injury, the Cubs, much to the frustration of other big-league clubs, don’t intend on moving him.
“It’s a pipe dream,” Keri said of a potential Schwarber trade. “I don’t see that happening.”