1. Do the Milwaukee Brewers trade Jonathan Lucroy? After Lucroy blocked the trade to the Cleveland Indians, reports had the Texas Rangers as the new front-runners to land Lucroy, possibly for Joey Gallo. Lucroy’s limited no-trade clause does not include the Rangers, so all the Brewers have to do is agree to a deal.
2. Where does Jay Bruce land? The Cincinnati Reds gambled by not trading Bruce in the offseason following two poor years, and that decision has paid off as Bruce has had a big bounce-back season, leading the National League with 80 RBIs. The Dodgers would like to get his left-handed power bat in the middle of the lineup, but may need to also find a new home for Yasiel Puig. Late reports on Sunday had the San Francisco Giants, who had initially focused on trying to upgrade their bullpen, showing interest in Bruce. Hey, runs are runs, whether you score them or prevent them, and Bruce Bochy always seems to get his bullpen in working order come October.
3. Is there really a Chris Sale derby going on? Jon Heyman has reported the Dodgers, Rangers and Boston Red Sox — three teams with top prospects and/or young major leaguers — are still talking with the Chicago White Sox. Names floated out there: Julio Urias and Jose De Leon for the Dodgers, Nomar Mazara and Gallo for the Rangers, Andrew Benintendi for the Red Sox. There is pressure for all three teams to win this year, so you can see the lure in getting Sale.
4. Where does Carlos Beltran go? Buster Olney tweeted that the Houston Astros, Red Sox, Rangers and Indians are all talking to the New York Yankees about Beltran. He’s best suited for DH duties, but the Red Sox and Indians would be acquiring him to play the outfield. The Yankees say they’re not waving a white flag, but it makes sense to flip Beltran with so much interest in him and New York is now back to .500 after losing four in a row.
5. Do the Rays trade Jake Odorizzi or Matt Moore? They’ve been linked most prominently to the Dodgers or Rangers, although I’d suggest the Rangers are more desperate for rotation help. Bud Norris, who had pitched well for the Dodgers, did leave his Sunday start after two batters with tightness in his back, however, and Clayton Kershaw‘s stay on the DL continues to have no timetable for a return.
6. Any other starting pitchers out there? The Baltimore Orioles did acquire Wade Miley from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, while other back-end starters out there appear to include Jeremy Hellickson of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins. Hellickson has a 2.49 ERA over his past eight starts with just six walks in 50.2. He’s an impending free agent while Santana is signed through 2018, but that may actually make Hellickson more attractive, since he doesn’t come with at least $28 million in future salary.
Detroit Tigers, New York Mets. The St. Louis Cardinals picked up Zach Duke from the White Sox, but could still be looking for more depth. Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress of the Brewers remain two of the most intriguing relief arms available.
8. What do the Mets do? Maybe nothing. They were rumored to be interested in Bruce, but he fits only if Curtis Granderson moves over to center with Yoenis Cespedes seemingly locked into left field as he’s hobbled by a sore quad.
9. The Kansas City Royals are sellers, right? They should be. After losing all four to the Rangers over the weekend, they fell to 49-55. They’re toast. Trouble is, Wade Davis, who would been a trade target for teams seeking a closer, landed on the DL for the second time this year with a forearm injury. Kendrys Morales could be a DH option and the Royals would love to find a taker for Ian Kennedy‘s contract (unlikely). Maybe Edinson Volquez, who owns a $10 million mutual option for 2017.
10. Any potential surprise names out there? The trade rumors are so all-encompassing now that there are few surprises, although Miley and Duke were traded without their names popping up. The Mariners fell to 52-51 after Sunday’s night crushing defeat to the Chicago Cubs, dropping them five out of the wild card. Do they consider dealing Hisashi Iwakuma? Would they cash in on Nelson Cruz? Do the Brewers trade Ryan Braun? Does Puig stay in L.A.? Stay tuned for what should be a fun afternoon.