Even in a shortened 2020 season, the MLB trade deadline is still set for 4 pm EST on August 31st. With an expanded playoff format this year, more teams will be looking to add talent to their roster for the final month of the season in pursuit of a playoff push. With just under 48 hours until the deadline, let’s check in on some trade deadline rumors.
Tampa Rays showing interest in Christian Vazquez
The Tampa Rays have expressed interest in acquiring catcher Christian Vazquez from the rival Boston Red Sox. Up to this point in the season, the Rays have hardly received any offensive production from catchers Mike Zunino and Michael Perez who have a combined .160/.241/.340 slashline, .254 wOBA, .274 xwOBA, and 60 wRC+. Vazquez would be an immediate upgrade as he currently sports a .260/.294/.423 slashline, .307 wOBA, .263 xwOBA, and 88 wRC+. Vazquez hasn’t been nearly as good in 2020 as he was in 2019 when he had a .276/.320/.477 slahline, .331 wOBA, .317 xwOBA, and 102 wRC+. Vazquez is under contract through the 2021 season with a $7 million team option for the 2022 season.
Blue Jays have inquired on Andrelton Simmons
A couple of weeks ago, the Blue Jays placed rising star and starting shortstop Bo Bichette on the injured list. With the Angels off to a disappointing 2020 season, it’s been rumored that the organization will look to sell before the trade deadline. Last night, the Angels made their first move by shipping Tommy La Stella to Oakland in exchange for former top prospect Franklin Barreto. Simmons’ contract expires at the end of the season so it would make sense for the Angels to at least explore potential trade packages for the shortstop. Simmons has been a below average hitter since the start of the 2019 season with a .263/.308/.358 slashline, .288 wOBA, .274 xwOBA, and 79 wRC+ but he is arguably the best defender in all of baseball. From 2017-2019, Simmons has 75 DRS, a 47.7 UZR, and 42 OAA at the most important defensive position in baseball. If the Blue Jays were to acquire him, Simmons would most likely take over as the everyday shortstop but the Blue Jays’ defensive alignment could be interesting if/when Bichette returns from the injured list; Simmons would probably start at shortstop with Bichette sliding over to second base and Cavan Biggio moving over to the hot corner.
Asking price for Mike Clevinger is “ridiculous”
After he lied to the Indians organization about breaking COVID-19 protocols, Mike Clevinger has been the biggest name known to be discussed in trade talks. Since the start of 2018, Clevinger has pitched 348.2 innings to a 2.92 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 3.64 xFIP, and 3.71 SIERA while striking out 10.38 and walking 2.87 batters per nine innings. Clevinger is widely regarded as one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball and his team friendly contract through the 2022 season makes him an even more appealing trade target. With or without Clevinger, the Indians have one of if not the best rotations in all of baseball but it should be interesting to see whether or not Clevinger is indeed traded.
Reds are not planning to sell at the trade deadline
Heading into today, the Reds are currently 14-17 and would not be in the playoffs if the season had ended last night. Despite the Reds not in current possession of a playoff spot, they’re only .5 GB of the Cardinals for second place in the NL Central (second place team in each division automatically receives playoff berth) and 1.5 GB of the Phillies/Rockies for the eighth and final National League playoff spot. This upcoming offseason, Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley, Anthony DeSclafani, and Freddy Galvis are all set to be free agents while Nick Castellanos could join them if he declines his player option. If the Reds do change their mind and decide to sell, Trevor Bauer would be one of the hottest names discussed between the Reds and rival teams. In 32.2 innings of work in 2020, Bauer has a 1.65 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 2.90 xFIP, and 2.66 SIERA while striking out 13.50 and walking 2.48 batters per nine innings.