Behind The Scoreboard

Trade talks continue

In last week’s column, I mentioned the most important things some Major League Baseball teams had to achieve in the second half.

But, what about that particular player the general manager would never give up, trying to get what he wants during this trade season?

With the trade deadline around the corner, the general managers of every team are evaluating what they have as well as what they need – and whom they should never let go.

We know the obvious “must-keep” franchise players like Bryce Harper or Aaron Judge won’t be traded. But let’s look at some guys who shouldn’t get moved under any circumstances.

St. Louis Cardinals: Jack Flaherty, RHP. Sometimes the best move at the trade deadline is no move at all. The Cardinals are under .500 and to be honest with themselves – is this a team that can win a championship? Probably not. So, keep your prospects like Flaherty, who has emerged as the No. 50 prospect on the Keith Law midseason update, or the injured Alex Reyes.

San Diego Padres: Jose Torres, LHP. Pretty much anyone in the bullpen is available, including Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter, Kirby Yate, and Brandon Maurer. But the rookie lefty is the one to keep.

Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers, third baseman. Dave Dombrowski has never met a prospect he wouldn’t trade, but Devers is the one he should keep. The Red Sox have a hole at third base, and Dombrowski  should resist the temptation  to include Devers in a deal for a veteran.

Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF. Tucker may have been the bait in a Jose Quintana trade. Now that Quintana is off the board, the Astros should keep Tucker. The 20-year-old is tearing up Double-A since his promotion. Tucker looks like a future all-star.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Walker Buehler, RHP. This 24th pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt had Tommy John surgery after signing, so this is actually his first full season in pro ball. Buehler flashed an upper-90s fastball while striking out 91 in 65 and one-third innings between A-ball and Double-A. He could probably help the Dodgers out of the bullpen in the postseason and then compete for a rotation job next spring. And if the Dodgers want to upgrade the big league roster, there is still plenty of talent on the team – Alex Verdugo, Yadier Alvarez and Willie Calhoun.

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