Saturday, August 13, 2022

MLB trade rumors: Cardinals’ Juan Soto talks intensify; Yankees eyeing Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo

The 2022 MLB trade deadline is less than 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 Wednesday’s trade deadline rumors as we wait for the latest Soto developments.

Gorman, Corbin in Soto trade?

The Cardinals, identified by CBS Sports as the favorites to land Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, have “ratcheted up” efforts to get a deal done, according to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat.

Jones reports that the Cardinals’ latest offer includes second baseman Nolan Gorman, as well as Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin. CBS Sports reported last week that Corbin was expected to be included in any potential deal as a means of balancing the trade and clearing the books for the Nationals’ next ownership group. As we explained then:

Tacking Corbin onto Soto is a way for the Nationals to get a better deal, but not in the conventional “the other team will then add more to their side” sense. Rather, Corbin has been a well-below-replacement-level pitcher over his last 50 starts, amassing a 5.84 ERA (68 ERA+) and a 2.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s owed an additional $60 million over the two forthcoming seasons, too. Shedding that commitment would be a win, and would help even the scales when viewed from the aforementioned cold, calculating dollars-based framework.

Gorman, 22, has batted .223/.299/.411 (103 OPS+) in his first 194 plate appearances. 

Yankees interested in top veteran starters

Veteran left-hander José Quintana, who is in the midst of a career resurgence with the Pirates, is drawing trade interest from a variety of contenders, including the Yankees and White Sox, according to Robert Murray

Coincidentally, Quintana used to be a member of both the Yankees and White Sox organizations. He never pitched on New York’s big-league club, but he did spend parts of six seasons in the White Sox’s rotation. 

Quintana has started 19 games this season, and has amassed a 3.70 ERA (114 ERA+) and a 2.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those contests. He’s a free agent at year’s end.

The Yankees are also interested in Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo, the top two starters on the market, according to Jon Heyman. No deal is known to be close, however.

Dodgers looking at Cooper

The Dodgers have interest in Marlins first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper, according to Jon Heyman. Heyman notes that the Dodgers, among others, may wait to see what happens with Soto before moving on other potential targets.

Cooper, for his part, was highlighted by CBS Sports as one of the summer’s top 30 trade candidates. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

It’s unclear if the Marlins will entertain moving Cooper, but he is and will remain a popular ask because of a rock-solid offensive skill set. He hits the ball hard and at an optimized angle; he smokes fastballs and has a league-average whiff rate; he’s shown no platoon split to date; and so on. Of course, you didn’t have to know any of that to realize he’s good with the stick; all you had to do was look at his .292/.370/.472 slash line during the pandemic era. Cooper won’t be a free agent until after next season, but if the Marlins are feeling grim about their chances — of making the playoffs in either year, and/or of retaining him beyond that point — then they could at least listen to what other teams would be willing to part with. 

Astros in on Contreras

The Astros, who have received little production from their backstops this season, are among the teams with interest in Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Contreras, an impending free agent, has batted .258/.373/.470 (136 OPS+) with 14 home runs and 21 additional extra-base hits in his first 82 games this season.

The Astros are currently relying on Martín Maldonado and Korey Lee to hold down the catching position. Neither has produced much offensively; ditto for Jason Castro, who does not appear to be recovering quickly from a knee injury.

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