MLB rumors roundup for August 3


The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but some notable names could still be changing teams between now and August 31, the deadline to acquire players eligible for postseason play.

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick previewed the August landscape over the weekend, and began his list with Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who is hitting a meager .179 with a .532 OPS. Utley is on the disabled list with an ankle problem, and the injury ensures he will fall short of the 500 plate appearances he needs to make a $15 million vesting option kick in for 2016.

Crasnick mentions lists the Yankees, Angels and possibly the Cubs are potential landing spots if the Phillies decide to move him. Teams are unlikely to put in a waiver claim to block a deal, given they would be on the hook for the roughly $5 million left on the deal.

The Cubs have had internal discussions about a deal for Utley, but any deal “looks like a long shot at this point, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago would likely be asked to offset the money left on Utley’s contract, and that could be a deal breaker.

Utley is making progress on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, reports Nick Suss of MLB.com. If Utley is not traded, his return would mean a reduced role for Cesar Hernandez, who is batting a solid .278 with a .354 on-base percentage.

Here are more rumors around the majors on the first Monday in August:

  • Justin Upton: The Padres stunned the baseball world by standing pat at Friday’s deadline, but Upton could be dealt in a waiver deal if and when they finally fall out of contention, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. While Upton, a free agent after the season, would likely be claimed, teammate James Shields might be able to slip through waivers because of his hefty salary.

  • Miami Marlins: The Marlins have a history of fire sales when things go bad, and last week’s three-team deal with the Dodgers and Braves may be attracting attention. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports the Players Association has “renewed its scrutiny” of the Marlins over concerns that the goal was merely to shed salary in return for low-level minor leaguers. By moving Mat Latos and Michael Morse, along with Steve Cishek, who was traded to St. Louis previously, the Marlins shed $8.7 million in payroll this season, as well as $8 million due to Morse next year.

  • Jed Lowrie: The veteran infielder returned to the Astros’ lineup last week following a long stint on the disabled list, and had a double and run scored in Sunday’s win over Arizona. Manager A.J. Hinch cautions that Lowrie will not be an everyday player down the stretch. One reason is to keep Lowrie healthy. Another reason is to make sure Luis Valbuena and Marwin Gonzalez continue to get at-bats.

  • Danny Valencia: The White Sox, Rangers and Orioles have emerged as three of the likeliest destinations for Valencia, who was designated for assignment over the weekend, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.

  • St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals went for relief help prior to the deadline, adding right-handers Cishek and Jonathan Broxton. The extra bullpen arms could be used to better manage the August workload of starters Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, predicts Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.

  • Coco Crisp: The veteran outfielder completed a rehab stint over the weekend and could be activated as soon as Monday. Manager Bob Melvin plans to drop Oakland’s longtime leadoff hitter to second, with Billy Burns keeping his spot at the top of the lineup, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Kyle Kendrick: The righthander will have an MRI on his inflamed right shoulder Monday. If the news is not positive, it would likely end his brief career with the Rockies, reports the Denver Post. Signed to a one-year deal, Kendrick is 4-12 with a 6.43 ERA in 21 starts.