Behind The Scoreboard

Trade talks underway in baseball

The Major League Baseball trade season is quickly approaching.

But that didn’t stop cross-town rivals, the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox, as they kick-started the trade season Thursday of last week.

The Cubs sent a package that included their top two prospects (Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease) to the White Sox for the coveted left-hander Jose Quintana. And to further complete the deal, the Cubs also sent Class A infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete to the White Sox camp as well.

We won’t know until the deadline dust settles on what other deals will be finalized before the July 31 non-waiver cutoff.

With so many teams needing to upgrade, especially the vast majority of teams in the American League wild card race, the days ahead will be full of trade speculations and might even feature another blockbuster or two.

As teams pursue deals or a playoff spot, here is the most important thing for some teams listed below to achieve in the second half.

• New York Yankees – thanks to first half MVP Aaron Judge, they are second in the AL in runs scored, and the Yankees have done that despite a huge hole at first base. First baseman Greg Bird is still battling an ankle injury and Chris Carter, who was also a first baseman, has been released from the organization. The Yankees are ranked 29th in the majors in OBA at first base, a collective .198. They have recently acquired Garrett Cooper, who was hitting .366 with 17 home runs at Triple-A Colorado Springs for the Milwaukee Brewers. And, all-star Yonder Alonso  first baseman for the Oakland Athletics, looks like a perfect trade candidate for the Yankees as well.

• Baltimore Orioles – with the collapse of the starting rotation, a 5.75 ERA and disappointing seasons from Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, the Orioles are unlikely playoff contenders. And this might force Dan Duquette  into trading relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, as Baltimore looks to add some young talent to a weak system.

• Atlanta Braves – determining whether the Freddie Freeman experiment at third base can be a real thing, the development of Dansby Swanson is a big factor also as the Braves stay in the wildcard hunt. Swanson is hitting just .221/.296/.324 with 77 strikeouts in 85 games in a fairly poor first half.

• Philadelphia Phillies – they might make a minor trade or two, such as Pat Neshek and Jeremy Hellickson. But the most important things for the Phillies are Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco and minor leaguer J.P. Crawford; all three are showing improvements after a terrible first half.

• Will Sonny Gray still be with the Oakland A’s at the end of the season? Gray is the most sought-after starting pitcher on the trade market right now. The Yankees, Houston Astros, Cubs and Brewers have all been mentioned in connection with the Athletics starting pitcher and the list just keeps on growing. And now, the Cleveland Indians are expressing an interest in trade talks, too.

Holly Springs South Reporter

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