I promise you this will all be over soon. No more rumor roundups, no more Twitter-timeline-clogging speculation, no more sleepless nights wondering if your Gordon Beckham Braves shirsey was a particularly poor investment.
The Trade Deadline, mercifully, cometh at 4 p.m. ET on Monday. We've seen some big deals already, but there's plenty more in store, even in a thin market.
Here are some predictions of what will -- or won't -- go down:
The Yankees keep Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran
My hunch at the break was that the Yankees regrettably stay true to their DNA and stand pat. I didn't know -- no one knew -- that the Cubs would empty the tank for two-plus months of Aroldis Chapman quite the way they did.
The Cubs gave up two guys (Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney) who instantly became top-five prospects for the Yanks, plus another Minor League piece (Rashad Crawford) plus returned a viable big-league arm (Adam Warren) plus took on about $5 million. Even as their playoff chances have risen to a sparkling 11 percent (!), the Yankees would have had to be crazy to walk away from that offer, especially relative to what they gave up for Chapman mere months earlier
It was a fantastic flip, the perfect combination of expiring contract, market demand and ability to adjust in-house. No other club could replace an elite ninth-inning arm like Chapman with an equally elite "backup" in Miller and, oh by the way, still feel good about the setup situation with Dellin Betances in tow.
If outfield prospect Aaron Judge were clearly ready for prime time, I'd say Beltran also gets moved by the Deadline, with the Yankees publicly insisting that they can still compete without Chapman and Beltran. But Judge has battled a knee injury in recent weeks and had an inconsistent season in Triple-A. And the market demand for Beltran simply isn't what it was for Chapman, so the return wouldn't be quite as overwhelming. He's earned a qualifying offer, so the Yankees can justify retaining him with the thought that, at worst, they get a compensatory Draft pick back for him if he signs elsewhere.
As for Miller, well, if the price was that high for Chapman, you have to double it -- at the very least -- for Miller, given the two years of contractual control beyond this one. An NL evaluator with knowledge of some of the discussions surrounding the left-hander said he'd be shocked if Miller actually gets moved.
"I don't think the Yanks have any interest in moving him, honestly," the evaluator concluded.
Contrary to any external and even internal suggestions as to what would be best for them in the long haul, the Yankees are not in full-on rebuild mode, and Miller, given the value of his contract relative to performance, is not a piece easily replaced. You can't blindly assume Chapman will re-sign with the Yanks and, even if he does, he'll command more than the $18 million Miller will make from 2017-18. There are great arguments for maximizing Miller's value in this heated midseason market (and if I'm Hal Steinbrenner, I'm listening intently to those arguments), but keeping him is actually not totally insane.
Chris Sale and Sonny Gray stay put
The White Sox are more likely to seriously entertain offers for Sale in the winter than they are now, and even that's iffy.
And A's vice president Billy Beane thought so highly of Rich Hill pre-blister that, in conversations with other clubs, he was likening his 2016 value to that of Noah Syndergaard. So imagine the high price he has on Gray, even in a down year.
In both of these cases, there is just not tremendous motivation to move the player in question. Starting pitching generally holds its value, and the value equation won't be substantially different in a winter market woefully short on free-agent options. Heck, it might even improve, with a wider swath of clubs involved. Also, we're talking about two clubs who aren't prone to going full-tilt rebuild and punting on multiple years at once.
Chris Archer to the Dodgers
Everything I just wrote about Sale and Gray applies to Archer. And if I had to handicap this one, I'd say there's realistically less than a 10-percent chance that Archer goes anywhere.
But look, something has changed in the Dodgers' front office. A year ago, this club, with prime performances atop the rotation from Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke but a questionable rotation picture beyond that fearsome twosome, opted against meeting the price for Cole Hamels, who of course came with reasonable contractual control through 2018. And then the Dodgers literally didn't meet the price for Greinke in free agency. (The criticism they're currently receiving for the latter stance isn't entirely fair, given Greinke's slow start and current injury in Arizona.)
Point is, the Dodgers generally showed hesitance with regard to the top-end starting market.
But now these same Dodgers are actively searching for a splash -- only this time in a much thinner market. And the Andrew Friedman-Matt Silverman connection adds to the believability in the ability to creatively construct a deal that satisfies both parties. Odds are, such a deal would have to involve Julio Urias, though a package fronted by Jose De Leon and Cody Bellinger might also move the needle. (Seriously, though, you probably have to move Urias in this deal.)
If the Dodgers can add Archer and let him enjoy the luxuries of the league shift, they can feel better about the uncertainty surrounding Kershaw this year and feel great about pairing him with Kershaw next year.
Of course, there was equally sound rationale behind going hard after Hamels a year ago, and we all know how that turned out.
Jay Bruce to the Rangers… for a non-earth-shattering return
Executives surveyed said talks revolving around Bruce have gained steam in recent days, as you might suspect. Bruce, having homered in five straight games, keeps doing everything in his power to attract contenders.
But as was the case over the winter, it's a difficult environment to get a top prospect package back for Bruce, even though he's had a resurgent offensive season. Josh Reddick is a better all-around rental, Steve Pearce offers more versatility and, if I'm wrong and the Yanks do deal Beltran, that clouds the corner outfield market further. Matt Kemp could also be on the move, if and only if the Padres eat as high a percentage of his remaining contract, as they did with Melvin Upton Jr.
There's a slight supply-demand issue here, and, as is the case with Beltran, there are questions about how much Bruce's defensive metrics offset his offensive impact. (I would, however, point out that Bruce's metrics are affected by his deference to Billy Hamilton in the Reds' small home ballpark.)
The Reds do have the option of keeping Bruce and trying to move him again this winter, but, for his sake, let's hope he finally, mercifully is headed out of Cincinnati in the coming days. It just appears this could be another case where the real return doesn't mesh with whatever fanciful dreams some Reds fans understandably possess. Perhaps not quite to the extreme of the Aroldis Chapman deal, in which Double-A pitcher Rookie Davis was the only meaningful return, but holding out hope for a No. 1 prospect doesn't seem especially realistic at the moment.
Where does Bruce land? I'll say the Rangers, if only because they have the most DH at-bats to play with. In these market conditions, they might be able to get him without giving up Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo or Lewis Brinson, that's a win.
Jeremy Hellickson to the Blue Jays
With the clock likely ticking on Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, they need another starter. And having stolen Melvin Upton Jr. for a song (or, in actuality, $5.6 million and a middling 19-year-old pitching prospect), they're still in good shape to land another rental. Even if that rental is an overpriced commodity in a market dangerously light on starting pitching pick-me-ups.
The Phillies could always keep Hellickson and give him a qualifying offer, because they've got the payroll room and the free-agent market justifies the potential $16.7 million price. But on the heels of a 1.89 ERA over his last six starts, he's probably at peak trade value right now, and the Phillies are currently asking for a top-five prospect. The Phils just saw one trade chip -- Peter Bourjos -- jam his shoulder against the outfield wall, so they'd be foolish to let another negatively affect his value on the field at this point.
Hellickson only has about $2.5 million remaining on his contract, which makes him attractive to all clubs looking for starting depth. If the Blue Jays aren't motivated to go the extra mile in their final season of control of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, they ought to be.
Josh Reddick to the Cubs
What, you think Theo Epstein and Co. are done? Why stop now? The Kyle Schwarber injury might not have impacted the Cubs' quest for the NL Central title much, but it has left them vulnerable in left field. And the left-handed-hitting Reddick, a pending free agent, would provide the perfect balance to the middle of the order, especially with Jason Heyward's season-long struggles showing no sign of abating any time soon.
You know the connection here. Epstein was the Red Sox's GM and Cubs senior vice president of player development Jason McLeod was the Sox's scouting director when Reddick was drafted by Boston. And you know the theme here -- the Cubs want and expect to win the World Series, and they will stop at nothing to make it happen. Reddick is the last player in the trade market that makes perfect sense for them.
David Robertson to the Nationals
Chapman's a Cub. It would take a mountain to move Miller. The Royals have every expectation of contending in 2017, so Wade Davis is very unlikely to go anywhere. Any chance of a club possibly entertaining the option of fixing Trevor Rosenthal was scuttled by his placement on the DL with a shoulder injury. The relief market is always high on quantity, but the top-end, closing-ready quality is tough to come by with Chapman off the board.
Which is why the White Sox have to shop Robertson. They've got a ready-made replacement on hand in Nate Jones, who is one of the hardest throwers in the game and is under control on the cheap through 2021. They've got reason to believe Carson Fulmer can positively impact their bullpen moving forward, too. And Robertson represents a great asset upon which they can increase the quality of their Major League-ready talent and depth.
As for the Nationals, well, the motivation is obvious. On a club built for October, Jonathan Papelbon is an elite closer in name only at this stage in his career. The Nats made an earnest push for Chapman, to no avail, and they are understandably reluctant to part with Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Trea Turner. But the Nats do have intriguing chips beyond those three in outfielder Victor Robles, right-hander Erick Fedde (a guy they dangled in the Chapman talks with the Yanks), right-hander A.J. Cole and infielder Wilmer Difo.
The bigger hang-up, admittedly, might be the $25 million remaining on Robertson's contract after 2016.
Jonathan Lucroy to the Red Sox
This was my prediction at the All-Star break, and I might as well stick with it at a time when Lucroy's market is said to be intensifying.
Sandy Leon has had a few days recently in which he's more closely resembled Sandy Leon than Carlton Fisk. Those days are bound to come with more rapidity as the last two months play out. Catcher is a weak spot in a Boston lineup with few weak spots, and Dave Dombrowski has been given a mandate to pull out all the stops in David Ortiz's final season.
Dombrowski has already done a lot of heavy lifting in the offseason and in-season trade market, but Lucroy would be the signature swap -- a true two-way player who wouldn't be required to carry the middle of the order but who could help take the pitching staff to another level, once he settles in with this staff.
My colleague Jim Duquette, of MLB Network Radio, reported that the Brewers are asking teams for their No. 1 prospect and one or two mid-level players for Jeremy Jeffress, who is under control through 2019 and has become a real weapon in the Brewers' back end. If that's the price of Jeffress, imagine what David Stearns is hoping to get for Lucroy, an All-Star backstop who is owed a measly $5 million next year.
The Red Sox should not include Yoan Moncada in a Lucroy deal, but they could dangle Rafael Devers or Andrew Benintendi. There might be a way to involve Christian Vazquez or Blake Swihart in a Lucroy swap to potentially satisfy the Brew Crew's long-term catching need. The Lucroy market forces you to take stabs in the dark, because trading for a starting catcher can be cumbersome on the fly and the Brewers' asking price has been very, very high. But I never put anything past Dombrowski.
Of course, there is a contending team with a more pressing need for Lucroy, but instead I'll predict….
Boone Logan to the Indians
The Indians -- and, specifically, Yan Gomes -- are the X-factor in the Lucroy market. The Tribe's need has become evident all the more by Roberto Perez's struggles since rejoining the club to replace the injured Gomes. Either Gomes -- or, for that matter -- Perez could be included in a Lucroy deal, or the Indians could acquire Lucroy with the intent of shifting him to first base when Mike Napoli's contract expires at year's end. Though this club has to be careful with its long-term assets, I don't put it past a motivated Indians team to land Lucroy, but, either as a matter of posturing or reality, I haven't gotten indications that the Indians' desire to make such a move is as strong internally as it is among the fans.
But yes, the Indians could absolutely use one of Clint Frazier or Brad Zimmer as the starting point in a blockbuster trade for Lucroy and, perhaps, lefty Will Smith (though Smith's stuff, scouts say, has been erratic since coming off a knee injury). We'll see, but the Indians could also improve their offense with a versatile outfielder, and the bullpen has been their primary focus, with the Rockies among the clubs they are monitoring.
Scouts are a little unnerved by Jake McGee's velocity drop of late, but the Rox still have a valuable lefty relief chip in Logan, who has had a major uptick in effectiveness this year, cutting his WHIP almost in half (1.61 to 0.87) and holding lefties to a .425 OPS. The Indians have the need and the farm depth to bring him to Cleveland.
Maybe Lucroy will be the one catching him, maybe not.
Too many people get duped by fake Twitter accounts
Darn you, @Ken_Rosanthel!
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Anthony Castrovince is a Sports on Earth contributor, MLB.com columnist and MLB Network contributor. Follow him on Twitter @Castrovince.