MLB’s 2021 trade deadline is approaching. The frenzy all has to happen by July 30 at 4 p.m. ET. Contenders will stock up on talent. New contenders will emerge. And some big stars will move.
Yahoo Sports is tracking all the action right here.
The Milwaukee Brewers are acquiring switch-hitting infielder Eduardo Escobar from the Arizona Diamondbacks, per multiple reports, seeking a boost for their lackluster lineup as they roll toward an NL Central crown.
Escobar plays mostly third base and second base. He has 22 homers and 65 RBIs already in 2021 and has long been a steady, above average hitter. The jovial 32-year-old — known for his love of the Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao — made his first All-Star Game this year.
Milwaukee’s stellar pitching staff has lifted the team to the top of the NL Central, but the lineup has been bogged down by major holes. Recent top prospect Keston Hiura has flailed at the major-league level this year, batting just .167.
Escobar is the second significant infield addition the Brewers have made via trade this season, as they also brought over Willy Adames from the Tampa Bay Rays, who has been a revelation at shortstop.
The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan reports minor leaguers Cooper Hummel and Alberto Ciprian will go to Arizona in the deal.
Astros trade for Yimi Garcia, stock up on closers
The Houston Astros are reportedly picking up another high-leverage reliever. They are dealing for Marlins closer Yimi Garcia, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Garcia, a hard-throwing 30-year-old righty, has logged 20 saves as the Marlins closer in 2021. The move comes a day after the Astros snagged Seattle closer Kendall Graveman, along with fellow reliever Rafael Montero, in a deal that sent shockwaves through the Mariners clubhouse.
Garcia and Graveman will slide in behind Astros closer Ryan Pressly and give manager Dusty Baker more late-game options. Houston boasts a solid lead in the AL West over the Oakland A’s, who have also been active on the trade market.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports minor-league outfielder Bryan De La Cruz will be headed back to Miami in return.
A’s get Starling Marte from Marlins for Jesús Luzardo
The Oakland A’s reportedly added outfielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins for young pitcher Jesús Luzardo. After extension talks between the Marlins and Marte broke down, he became one of the most in-demand hitters on the market.
His ability to play any outfield spot and hit for average made him a desirable piece for contenders, and the A’s swooped in to add him as they try to fend off the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for an AL wild-card spot.
Reds acquire reliever Mychal Givens from Rockies
The Cincinnati Reds are finalizing a deal with the Colorado Rockies to acquire right-handed bullpen arm Mychal Givens, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports.
The 31-year-old Givens has been a reliable reliever since the moment he emerged with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. This season, he has managed a 2.73 ERA in Colorado.
Adding to their bullpen — which has an MLB-worst 5.36 ERA — signals the Reds have at least some intention of staying in contention and buying. They are seven games back of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers and six games back of the second NL wild card entering Wednesday.
Cincinnati also made a minor deal with the New York Yankees late Tuesday night to pick up relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson for a player to be named later.
Tyler Anderson diverts from Philadelphia to Seattle
The two big MLB trade stories of the day were the Tyler Anderson and Kendall Graveman deals, so of course those stories have found a way to fuse.
After a reported trade to the Philadelphia Phillies went south, Pittsburgh Pirates starter Tyler Anderson was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for minor leaguers Carter Bins and Joaquin Tejada on Tuesday.
Anderson, currently sporting a 4.35 ERA in 18 starts, was previously on his way to Philadelphia until a medical issues cased the deal to fall through. He will now head to Seattle, where emotions are raw among players after the Kendall Graveman trade (see below).
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto defended the Graveman trade by indicating more moves were coming, but trading for an average starter alone probably isn’t going to make Mariners players and fans feel like they came out of the trade deadline stronger.
Anderson figures to slot in as the Mariners’ new fifth starter.
Mariners send Kendall Graveman to Astros
Despite sitting only one game out of the second American League wild-card spot, the Seattle Mariners front office is trading its top relief arm to a division rival.
The Mariners have agreed to trade ace reliever Kendall Graveman and reliever Rafael Montero to the Houston Astros in exchange for infielder Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith. The quartet won’t have to travel far, as the two teams are in the middle of a series in Seattle.
Graveman, a pending free agent, is the clear centerpiece of the deal. After several seasons of middling results as a starter, Graveman had rocketed to the top spot of the Mariners’ bullpen with a 0.88 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings, plus 10 saves. He will join an Astros bullpen low on depth behind All-Star closer Ryan Pressly.
That lack of depth was never more clear than Monday’s game, when the Astros blew a 7-0 lead in an 11-8 loss, capped off by a Dylan Moore grand slam. One day after that exhilarating victory, and with their best playoff position in months, the team decided to trade one of its most important arms.
The decision reportedly isn’t going over well with Graveman’s now-former teammates.
The trade becomes even more perplexing when you consider the other pieces. The Mariners designated Montero for assignment recently, so he’s effectively a throw-in, while their return is Toro, a corner infielder with a .193/.276/.350 line in three seasons, and Smith, a 37-year-old reliever with a 7.48 ERA this season.
Graveman’s trade value was never going to be too high as a reliever with half a year of team control, but only receiving those pieces makes this deal a head-scratcher.
Phillies deal for Pirates starter Tyler Anderson held up
The Philadelphia Phillies looked to be trading for rotation reinforcements Tuesday. Chasing the New York Mets in the NL East, the Phillies reportedly agreed to a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire left-handed starter Tyler Anderson.
But as the Pirates’ game got closer, Anderson was spotted throwing in the bullpen and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported a medical issue has held up the deal.
Anderson has been more solid than standout. He has compiled a 4.35 ERA for the lowly Pirates, however, he has completed at least five innings in all 18 starts — an important tendency for a Phillies club with a beleaguered bullpen. He was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday against the Brewers, and it’s unclear whether the deal will be completed.
A’s bolster bullpen with Andrew Chafin
Currently clutching the American League’s second wild-card spot, the Oakland A’s are reportedly making a deal to add firepower in the bullpen. The A’s are set to acquire left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports.
The deal, still pending medicals, would give Oakland a second reliable southpaw in the bullpen and add flexibility for Jake Diekman, one of their best relievers. The mustachioed Chafin has been excellent for the Cubs in 2021, logging a 2.06 ERA in 39 1/3 innings.
The A’s will be sending back two players, according to Rosenthal, including outfielder Greg Deichmann. Chafin was among the most obvious trade chips once the Cubs faded from contention and signaled their intention to sell.
Padres acquire Adam Frazier from Pirates
The San Diego Padres dealt for the versatile Adam Frazier Sunday, sending three prospects back to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The always aggressive A.J. Preller started off trade season by adding a second baseman who makes a ton of contact and can also play the outfield. Manager Jayce Tingler now has the option of starting four current All-Stars in his infield as the Padres try to chase down the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
In return, the Padres sent infielder Tucupita Marcano, outfielder Jack Suwinski, and right-handed reliever Michell Miliano to Pittsburgh. None are impact prospects, but the Pirates reportedly have high hopes for Marcano. At best he might evolve into … something like Frazier.
Rays deal for Twins slugger Nelson Cruz
The Tampa Bay Rays made the first big deal ahead of the deadline, swooping in to snag beloved designated hitter Nelson Cruz from the flailing Minnesota Twins.
Cruz, now 41 years old, has been one of baseball’s best hitters despite his advancing age. He adds a new dimension to a Rays lineup that lacked a consistent top-level power threat.
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