The players and teams to watch in the final hours leading to the non-waiver deadline at 4 p.m. ET Monday:
Many in the industry expect president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to make at least one major move, and probably more than one.
Jay Bruce? Chris Archer? Something unforeseen and stunning?
Considering that the Dodgers struck out on Cole Hamels last season and then Zack Greinke last off-season, the best guess might be, “All of the above.”
Hector Olivera got traded while serving a domestic-violence suspension. Matt Kemp got traded despite his onerous contract and shoddy defense.
Granted, those two were moved for each other, but if they can be dealt, surely Bruce can be, too — particularly after a full year of waiting.
Among the clubs interested in the Reds right fielder, according to major-league sources: Dodgers, Mets, Giants, Rangers, Blue Jays.
Oh, he will be traded, most likely to the Rangers, a team that can acquire him without his permission. Any deal with the Brewers could be expanded as well, with the Rangers getting pitching as well as Lucroy.
Joey Gallo could be part of the package going to the Brewers, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Right-hander Luis Ortiz and/or lefty Yohander Mendez also could be included, according to Fox’s and MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi.
Jonathan Lucroy (Getty)
Don’t rule out the Rangers making a separate deal for a starting pitcher – perhaps one from the Rays’ collection.
General manager Bobby Evans told reporters Sunday that he considers the asking prices for relievers to be so high, he might try to acquire a starter and/or hitter instead.
One target, according to major-league sources: Rays left-hander Matt Moore. It is unclear, however, whether the Giants have the prospects to satisfy the Rays in such a deal.
Clearly they’re not done.
Carlos Beltran likely will be the next to go, with the Rangers, Indians, Astros and Red Sox among the possibilities, as first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Yankees also could entertain offers for catcher Brian McCann (full no-trade clause), left fielder Brett Gardner and a number of their starting pitchers. Multiple deals possible.
Almost no one in the industry expects the White Sox to trade Sale — who, like the Rays’ starting pitchers, also will have significant value in the off-season.
Only a few contenders are deep enough in prospects to mount a legitimate bid for Sale or Jose Quintana. Among them: The Dodgers, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals and Astros.
Among American League clubs, perhaps only the Rangers are under more pressure to improve.
The Jays need a starter (Rich Hill? Francisco Liriano? Jeremy Hellickson?) so they can eventually move Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen.
They also could use a left-handed hitter, and remain a possibility for Bruce.
Will the Athletics trade them or not?
The Dodgers and Blue Jays are among the clubs that tried to acquire both potential free agents in one deal, but it’s possible that the A’s might not move either. The team is even talking to Hill about an extension, major-league sources say.
Billy Beane, the team’s executive vice-president, has told clubs, “I don’t have to make the best deal possible. I’m only going to make a good deal.”
By that, Beane means that he is under no financial pressure to move Hill and Reddick, and that he is willing to extend qualifying offers to both.