The 2022 MLB trade deadline is only a week away and all eyes are on Nationals wunderkind Juan Soto. The Cardinals are seen as the frontrunner, though more than a few clubs have the pieces and motivation to get a deal done. Here are Tuesday’s trade deadline rumors as we wait for the latest Soto developments.
Tigers willing to trade Skubal
The Tigers have made “just about everyone” available, including lefty Tarik Skubal, according to The Athletic. Skubal, 25, has stumbled a bit of late, but is a bat-misser who won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2026 season. There is never any harm in listening on players, though Skubal seems like the kind of pitcher the perpetually rebuilding Tigers should keep and build around.
Detroit has several relievers to peddle at the deadline (Andrew Chafin, Michael Fulmer, Gregory Soto) and they figure to again be active sellers, though trading Skubal would be a tough pill to swallow considering the club was expected to take a step forward this year. Again, there’s no harm in listening on any player, but trading Skubal would not be a popular move, and it’s fair to wonder whether longtime GM Al Avila should be the one making such an important trade given the team’s path.
One Red Sox slugger ‘in the market’
Despite losing 13 of their last 17 games and falling three games behind a wild-card spot, the Red Sox are not having trade discussions involving Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, team president Sam Kennedy said during an interview with WEEI (via the Boston Globe). Specifically, Kennedy said “there’s been no discussion or communication internally or externally” about trading the team’s two homegrown stars.
Boston has, however, put JD Martinez “out in the trade market,” according to ESPN (podcast link). The soon-to-be 35-year-old is a rental and he’s having a productive season, albeit one with less over-the-fence power than usual. The remainder of Martinez’s $19.375 million salary could be an obstacle for some teams, but if the Red Sox do decide to sell, they would be smart to be eat some money to maximize their return.
Devers, 25, is on the injured list with a hamstring strain and will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2023. He rejected a contract extension in spring training — the two sides were said to be “very far off” — and the Red Sox figure to take another shot at extending him this winter. Trading Devers seems crazy, but remember, this is the same team that traded Mookie Betts after he rejected an extension.
As for Bogaerts, he can opt out of the final three years and $60 million remaining on his contract after the season, and he is widely expected to do so. The 29-year-old has full no-trade protection. Bogaerts has played more games at shortstop than anyone in Red Sox history. Keeping him at the deadline and extending him seems sensible, though it’s unclear whether the team will do what it takes to keep him around.
Cubs likely to trade Happ
There is tremendous interest in Cubs outfielder Ian Happ and the team is likely to trade him, reports ESPN. The soon-to-be 28-year-old was a first time All-Star this season and, thanks to improved contact ability, he is enjoying his best all-around season. Happ has also settled in as a full-time left fielder after spending most of his career moving between positions. He is not a rental and will remain under team control through 2023.
Assuming Soto is every team’s Plan A, then Happ figures to be Plan B for most teams because he offers an extra year of control and more power than Andrew Benintendi, the top rental outfielder. The market for Happ may not really begin to move until Soto’s future is settled. Soto is the kind of player you put everything on hold to acquire. Teams don’t want to give up prospects to get Happ only to learn they would’ve had a shot at Soto had they waited a little longer.
A’s Murphy drawing interest
Athletics catcher Sean Murphy is drawing trade interest, reports The Athletic. Cubs backstop Willson Contreras is the top catcher available on the trade market, but he is rental, whereas Murphy will remain under team control through 2025 as an arbitration-eligible player. He’s also the superior defensive catcher. Murphy can help a team win now and also win later.
As intended, the A’s have the American League’s worst record, and they are likely to trade righty Frankie Montas prior to the deadline. Good young catchers are hard to find, but Oakland already has Murphy’s replacement in top prospect Shea Langeliers, who is tearing up Triple-A after coming over in the Matt Olson trade. Catching is weak across baseball and the A’s figure to have no shortage of suitors for Murphy.