Peter Gammons: Trade rumors, Hall of Fame, and more notes from July

Wade Davis

We are in the crazy time when there is a trade rumor a second. A few things heard:

–The Royals have entertained dozens of scouts with the Angels in town. Some were in to look at Hector Santiago and Huston Street, but many others were in to see if Kansas City would seriously talk Wade Davis after discussing Edinson Volquez.

They are saying they will listen to anyone and everyone, but privately the Royals brass has said they won’t deal Davis barring a vast overpay. The Glass family wants to make another run next year, when the window of championship opportunity begins to close. Davis is a free agent after 2017, as well as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, so after next season they simply have to begin a rebuild.

 –Boston was in to inquire about Davis, but the Red Sox have let other teams know they will not discuss four players: Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Michael Kopech and Rafael Devers.

–The Indians strongly believe they have a legitimate chance to get to the World Series, and will be one of the most interesting teams to watch leading up to the Monday deadline.

They still hold out hope that Michael Brantley, who took BP Monday, could be back, which would put Jose Ramirez back at third. They are still trying to determine what they most need: a bat, Jonathan Lucroy, or a big arm in the bullpen, preferably lefthanded.

What has been interesting is the number of teams that have come to them, because their system may be the most underappreciated, with 7 of the so-called top 100 prospects in the game, from outfielders Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer to first base slugger Bobby Bradley to pitchers Mike Clevinger, Justus Sheffield and Brady Aiken to 21-year old catcher Francisco Mejia and Cuban third baseman Yandy Diaz.

“The Indians may have the most underrated farm system in the game,” says one NL GM. “They are taking a lot of calls right now. If a team is selling, they will call Cleveland.”

One way or another, Cleveland is going to make a significant move, knowing they have the power starting pitching that plays in October.

–The Orioles are bringing Dylan Bundy back off Tommy John Surgery in a reverse manner to the way the Nationals brought back Stephen Strasburg in 2013.

The Nats pitched Strasburg in the regular rotation until he reached 159 1/3 innings on September 7, then shut him down.

In contrast, the Orioles used Bundy, who was out of options, carefully out of the bullpen for half the season, and now they believe he will be in their rotation the remainder of the season. Since he is now at just 46 1/3 innings after two starts, it means he should be a significant part of the rotation with Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman in September.

Bundy, who was the fourth pick in the 2011 draft, has convinced the O’s that he is the real deal. In his last start, his first pitch of the game was a changeup strike, he has three pitches, has become an ardent student of Tillman and has Buck Showalter watching his chess prowess as an indicator of his ability to think out the pitching craft.

Baltimore is looking for a low rent starter and an outfield bat. But having traded away so many pitchers in the last five years, they want to hold onto every good arm that is still in the organization.

Just a reminder: since that unforgettable last day of the 2011 season, when the O’s knocked the Red Sox out of the playoffs, exiling Terry Francona to Cleveland and Theo Epstein to Chicago, in the last five seasons Baltimore has the most wins in the American League East. As well as the best bullpen.


Baltimore      412

New York      403

Toronto         380

Tampa Bay   377

Boston           370

Hall of Fame

The final event in the Hall of Fame Weekend is the Monday forum with the inductees, which yesterday was a delightful hour with Ken Griffey and Mike Piazza.

My favorite moment: I asked them each which pitcher was the hardest for them to hit.

Piazza’s answer? He mentioned (El Duque) Orlando Hernandez, but then said the absolute toughest pitcher for him was Byung Hyun Kim. Look it up: 0-for-9, 3 strikeouts

Griffey’s? He said it was a no doubted— (The Mechanic) Tony Fossas. 3-for-24.

Then think about this: Fossas held three Hall of Famers—Griffey, George Brett and Wade Boggs—to 9 hits in 62 at bats, a .145 average.


More trade talk

–It’s likely Billy Beane makes a trade—or three—before the deadline. With Rich Hill getting one start off his blister problem, it could be Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers, which has been discussed at length. Hill could go elsewhere. Reddick has a number of suitors, although talks with the Cubs broke off Sunday.

However it is increasingly clear Sonny Gray will not be traded. He makes only $528,000 this season, he isn’t a free agent until 2020, and his 5.49 ERA essentially cut off serious calls. The Athletics figure that if Gray pitches to his historic norm the last two months, going into his first arbitration season he will be possibly the hottest name on the winter market which is essentially void of starting pitching.

–Toronto’s deals for B.J. Upton—ok, Melvin Upton, although he requests I still call him B.J.—and Joaquin Benoit were all about depth.

The Jays are still scouring for another starter and more bullpen depth, and may have to deal with the issue of Aaron Sanchez’s innings and return to the pen. Sanchez may well be the American League Cy Young leader right now, but he could also give them a huge bullpen advantage in September and October with Roberto Osuna.

Their starters lead the league in quality starts. They are second to the Indians in starters’ ERA. Since Aug. 1 of last season. The three best ERAs among AL starters are Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada; the latter two were off-season free agent signings by Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro.

They seem happy to put Drew Hutchison in the pen should Sanchez have to move back, but that remains to be seen.

–The Cubs deliberated long and hard on making the Aroldis Chapman deal because of the off-field incident, but in the end Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer felt they owed it to the players. The price was steep—they love Gleyber Torres for his right-centerfield power as a third baseman (which should play in Yankee Stadium) and know Adam Warren will help the Yankees this season, but Billy McKinney has fallen in the prospect ranks, with power and body concerns. Chapman got a huge reception from the Cubs players when he arrived.


  1. SoxSpot says:

    Its interesting that Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Michael Kopech and Rafael Devers are refereed to as the “not on the table” crew. Cause unless they plan on giving up one of their big league stars like JBJ or or Betts, there is no way a a team is sending a big-time pitcher this way without at least one of the above names. I think they are just saying that so other teams feel like it would be a stretch to get them, then when the Sox do throw them in, the otherside is that much more likely to pull the trigger.

    • Chitown fix says:

      Definitely means the Red Sox won’t get Sale if those players are in-fact untouchable.

    • james Wilson says:

      The Red Sox can add most by subtraction–having lost six games at the minimumbecause Farrell was in the building. The next greatest impact they can make is adding a big stick, which is far cheaper this year than an arm. Either way they are not the team to advance in the playoffs, but Farrell will not get them that far.

  2. Springtown Royal says:

    you have the Royals dates of FA wrong. All of those guys (plus Duffy) are FA after the 2017 season. It’s all in for next year or bust. Unless they can move one of those pieces and extend the window a bit

    • Kasey from KC says:

      All in indeed. But to be honest I wouldn’t hate to see them trade some of those guys if they can truly cash in, allowing us to retool and gear up for a 7-8 year run. Cause otherwise there is a real good chance we wind up seller dwelling for the next decade or so once the core signs for real money on the open market. not to harp on the inequalities of MLB economics, but we need young and cheap talent to survive year to year, simple as that.

  3. Brandon says:

    Just curious if anyone can answer, what we’re the A’s asking for from the Cubs before talks broke down?

  4. Fossas fan says:

    For the Red Sox,beyond John Farrell blunders that keep coming up, you wonder how quickly they can get Chris Young back as they have missed his punch. Why pitch to Cabrera yesterday…??? You also wonder if Chris Marrero and his 19 HR in Pawtucket can be more than just a September call up, but there is no room for him with Travis Shaw, Hanley and Aaron Hill for the 1B/ DH bat. If Hembree is soon back on track for the PawSox he should be as good as one of the Milwaukee relief pitchers. Dombrowski needs to let the players and maybe Tory Lovullo fix the rest of this for them to stay ahead of Toronto.

  5. Peter Iannuccilli says:

    Why haven’t the Sox moved Moncata to another position?

  6. Farrell needs to find a new home.

  7. R Metzroth says:

    Farrell blew 4 games during the most recent home stand with Twins / Tigers. His reticience in removing pitchers, and pinch-hitting when its obvious, will cost the Red Sox a play-off spot this year. Lovullo had them playing crisply last year. This team is playing sloppily. did you see Hanley miss that pop-up? Did you see him miss the pick off throw the other day? He was not ready to receive it. Farrell must go – just ask the Blue Jays….

  8. The question now is, how much do they want to put into making this season a winner. After last night, I’m not so sure that another big arm is going to put them over the top. If takes us from 8th best in baseball to 4th best in baseball is it worth it to mortgage a bright future with some of these guys. Get them focussed, Let them play it out…. In any case, they have played about as poorly as any contending team heading into the trade deadline I have ever seen. So its a very uncertain time right now.