As the struggling White Sox, Mets and Cardinals set their sites on the future, they could move veterans like José Quintana, Lucas Duda and Jedd Gyorko.
As the July 31 MLB trade deadline approaches, we will be taking a regular look at some of the biggest names that could be moved.
José Quintana, LHP, White Sox
Quintana trade rumors, floating around since the offseason, are heating up again now that the ChiSox lefty is pitching like an ace again.
Since back-to-back disastrous starts to end May, Quintana has gone 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 24 strikeouts in four June starts. Overall, the 2016 All-Star is 4-8 with a 4.69 ERA.
“The 28-year-old has a long track record of being a top-tier starting pitcher, and he’s also signed to a long-term contract that’s team-friendly in the extreme,” points out Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com. Quintana is under control through 2018 with team options for 2019 and 2020.
Even when Quintana was struggling, many observers thought his trade value was high. Now that he’s seemingly turned things around, expect him to be the most sought-after player on the market (especially if the Tampa Bay Rays don’t make Chris Archer available).
With so may deep-pocketed teams looking for pitching help, the White Sox can expect a nice return in prospects for Quintana. Because they also figure to trade David Robertson and Todd Frazier and already have an excellent farm system, the rebuild on the South Side could be a quick one.
Possible landing spots: Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports the Los Angeles Dodgers could be a player in the Quintana sweepstakes. “They certainly have the prospects to get a deal done, and there’s a belief ChiSox people are eyeing them,” according to Heyman.
Also, look for the New York Yankees and Houston Astros to be involved.
Lucas Duda, 1B, Mets
The New York Mets, well below .500 and buried in the NL East, almost certainly are going to be sellers. The New York Post reports the team is “ready to hear offers” for veterans with expiring contracts.
One player who fits that description is first baseman Lucas Duda.
The 31-year-old is unlikely to re-sign with the Mets, who have his replacement waiting in the wings: Dominic Smith is hitting well in Triple-A (.320/.371/.472) and should be ready for the majors soon. The Mets would love to give him extended playing time this season, making Duda trade all the more likely.
After an injury-plagued 2016, Duda is again showing the power and plate discipline that made him a valuable player in 2014 and 2015. He is hitting .251/.362/.553 with 13 homers.
Possible landing spot: Here’s where things get interesting. The one contender that desperately needs and upgrade at first base is that other New York team.
The Yankees recently parted ways with Chris Carter, and it is not certain Tyler Austin or Greg Bird is ready to step in and contribute in 2017. That would make short-term rental Duda an ideal fit, especially if the resurgent Kansas City Royals don’t deal Eric Hosmer.
The New York baseball press already is hyping a possible Mets-Yankees trade. NorthJersey.com reports “Duda’s name has been brought up informally among Yankees’ senior officials” while Newsday says the Yankees aren’t ready to deal with the Mets yet but “could be before too long.”
Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Cardinals
The struggling St. Louis Cardinals may not be sellers. Even if they are, it’s not clear they would want to move the 28-year-old Gyorko.
But ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks (behind paywall) Gyorko’s trade value is near its peak. He is having an excellent year at the plate (.292/.352/.504) and in the field (10 defensive runs saved).
“Gyorko is making $6 million this year, $9 million next year and $13 million in 2019, with a $13 million club option for 2020, but $7.5 million of that guaranteed money for 2017-19 is being paid by the Padres,” Olney points out.
The Cardinals will have to decide whether Gyorko is one of the pieces they want to build around moving forward or whether he’s more valuable for what he could bring back in prospects.
Possible landing spots: The Yankees and Red Sox. As we reported in the Mike Moustakas rumors column last week, the AL East rivals both are looking to upgrade at the hot corner.
Moustakas, as a rental, likely would cost less than Gyorko. But what if the Royals decide not to sell? In that case, it’s easy to see St. Louis starting a bidding war between Boston and New York, both of which have well-regarded farm systems.