The Miami Marlins have been looking at both starting and relief pitchers on the trade market, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports.
Morosi reports that the Marlins have been in "preliminary contact" with the Tampa Bay Rays in regards to right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi.
The team is currently 37-32 and tied for the top Wild Card position in the National League with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Miami appears to be interested in adding in an attempt to contend down the stretch and gear up for a possible playoff run.
Odorizzi, in particular, will not come cheap.
The 26-year-old established himself as one of the better up-and-coming starters in the American League in 2015, and he has not even hit arbitration. Odorizzi is still under team control through the 2019 season, adding to his value.
This season, Odorizzi has made 15 starts for the Rays, going 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 82 to 27 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 84 1/3 innings pitched.
According to FanGraphs.com, Odorizzi has worked to a 3.99 FIP and a 4.08 xFIP, perhaps suggesting that he is due for some, but not a lot, regression for the rest of the season due to his strikeout-to-walk ratio and home run allowed rate.
Regardless, the Marlins could use another starter in a rotation that currently includes Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley, Wei-Yin Chen, Tom Koehler and Paul Clemens.
The New York Mets have expressed interest in Oakland Athletics' third baseman Danny Valencia, The New York Post's Ken Davidoff reported on Saturday.
Davidoff reports that the Mets reached out to the Athletics prior to their acquisition of Kelly Johnson from the Braves.
Despite that, however, Davidoff says that the Mets could still consider pursuing Valencia in the future.
Though, with Johnson, the team did get a replacement for David Wright (who may miss the rest of the season). However, Valencia could also fill a utility role, having spent time in the outfield and at second and first base (though in limited opportunities) in the past.
The 31-year-old Valencia is having a career year in Oakland in 2016 and will not hit free agency until after next season. He's cheap too; Valencia is only under contract for $3.15 million this season.
Valencia is hitting .331/.375/.551 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in 192 plate appearances this season. He has been worth 1.1 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement in just 47 games, which is the third-highest total for his career.
The Texas Rangers agreed to sign 1st round pick Cole Ragans to a slot value deal, a source told Cover Those Bases on Tuesday.
Ragans, the No. 30 selection in the 2016 MLB Draft, will make $2,003,400, the suggested slot value for the pick, the source said.
The 18-year-old is a left-handed pitcher out of North Florida Christian High School (FL).
The Rangers have one of the smallest bonus pools in the Majors this year. At $5,358,500, the team has the fourth-lowest pool, making it tough on them to sign some of the better draft picks out there. Just the Giants, Royals, and Cubs have smaller pools.
Ragans was rated as the 57th-best draft prospect on Cover Those Bases' draft prospect rankings from Zack Silverman.
Nevertheless, the scouting report on Ragans from MLB.com is promising.
"Ragans looks and throws like a future big league starter...All of his offerings are a tick above-average, starting with a fastball he throws 89-93 mph with some angle and outstanding command. His curve is Major League average to a tick above and his changeup could be plus when all is said and done. Still growing into his body, there could be more in the tank."
The Rangers are expected to announce the signing of Ragans, as well as some other draft picks, at some point on Tuesday.
The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are discussing a deal that would send left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, as Christopher Meola reported today.
Meola reports that the early names being discussed in this deal include Adam Warren and Javier Baez, both of whom would go to New York if the deal is completed.
On the contrary, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic Chicago denied Meola's report, saying that the Cubs have not "engaged in talks" for Chapman. Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score reports that Chapman's name has come up in trade talks between the two sides.
The 28-year-old Chapman is one of the best relievers in the Major Leagues. Consistently hitting 100 miles per hour (MPH) on his fastball, Chapman has posted a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings this year, saving 11 games in 12 opportunities.
With a 21 to 3 strikeout-to-walk ratio (currently the best of his career), Chapman has a 0.77 FIP and a 2.28 xFIP. He has been worth 0.8 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR).
Chapman was suspended for the first 30 games this season due to violations of Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.
A trade for Chapman could make sense for the Cubs, who currently rank 18th in the Major Leagues with just 0.4 fWAR from their relievers collectively. Their collective relievers' ERA is one of the better in the league (7th), but FIP (20th) and xFIP (8th) suggest that it may not be sustainable.
Hector Rondon has been the Cubs' closer this year, and he's done an excellent job in the role, pitching to his similarly fantastic 1.40 ERA and 1.89 FIP. He's saved all 11 opportunities. So, if the Cubs do get Chapman, he may not close for them going forward.
Chapman was arbitration eligible for the final time this past offseason, and he settled with the Yankees for $11.325 million. He will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Note: Meola has been correct on many reports in the past, including Kenta Maeda's deal with the Dodgers and Giancarlo Stanton's mega deal with the Marlins.
The Chicago White Sox signed first baseman Justin Morneau to a one-year contract and placed him on the 15-day disabled list, they announced on Thursday.
The White Sox will pay Morneau $1 million, as announced. They designated Mat Latos for assignment in a corresponding move.
The 35-year-old Morneau is recovering from elbow surgery that will keep him out through midseason.
Last year, Morneau hit .310/.363/.458 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 182 plate appearances with the Rockies. The prior season, he won the National League batting title with a .319 average.
When he becomes healthy, the former AL MVP (2006) will be brought in to Chicago to help add to their offense, which has been struggling this season.
Latos, 28, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the White Sox during the offseason, and he struggled to a 4.62 ERA in his first 11 starts, including a 7.25 ERA in his last seven outings.