The White Sox, amid a bevy of injuries, are still running away with the American League Central as we get closer to Friday’s MLB trade deadline. They will try to upgrade their roster, but how? And what’s the course of action for every other team in the division? Let’s talk about it.
The White Sox have been linked to the Diamondbacks’ Eduardo Escobar since June. He would help Chicago fill its current void at second base and provide a little more balance to its righty-heavy lineup. Getting outfielders Eloy Jimenez and (soon) Luis Robert back from injury is huge, but the White Sox could still be in the market for another one; they may be a fit for the Marlins’ Adam Duvall.
This is close because although the Indians are currently just five games out of a playoff spot, they look to be far outclassed by the White Sox. Duvall and other outfielders would make sense, but if the organization is being realistic, it will sell. The Indians currently have a 2.1% chance of getting into the playoffs, according to Fangraphs’ postseason odds; that’s less than the Angels and the Cardinals. The first man to go would probably be Cesar Hernandez, a second baseman who has already set a new career high with 18 homers. Outfielder Eddie Rosario, although currently injured, could head out as well. Both men are scheduled to be free agents after this season.
The Twins are one of the bigger disappointments in baseball this season and have already begun unloading players, highlighted by the trade of Nelson Cruz to the Rays last week. Starting pitcher Michael Pineda and shortstop Andrelton Simmons should also have a market for their services. However, it appears as if the Twins will hang on to their more controllable talent, like injury-plagued but uber-talented outfielder Byron Buxton and starting pitcher Jose Berrios with the hopes that the franchise’s fortunes do a 180 next year.
Unfortunately for the Royals, possibly their most attractive and readily available trade chip, pitcher Danny Duffy, went on the injured list last week with a strained forearm, so he’s damaged goods. Mike Minor is another veteran pitcher who could be on the move. First baseman Carlos Santana might find a home with a run-starved club and he’s under contract through 2022. The Royals could really shake things up if they strike a deal involving All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield, who has been at the center of trade rumors in seemingly every year of his career. But the asking price there is reportedly high, understandably.
As of this writing, the Tigers are 8-4 since the All-Star break and have climbed into third place in the Central. But everyone in the Motor City knows the franchise’s sights are set on the future. Pitcher Michael Fulmer just came back off the injured and is an obvious trade candidate as a bullpen piece for some contender. Starter Matthew Boyd won’t pitch until August due to an arm injury, but he should be available, too. Infielder Jonathan Schoop, an impending free agent currently enjoying a career year, is the highest-profile Tiger set to travel elsewhere when the deadline arrives on July 30.