Mike Minor

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‘Big Time Baseball' Podcast: Assessing MLB Trade Market

July 03, 2019 - 1:40 am

Some of the top pitchers in baseball are on the trade block, and Radio.com Sports insider Jon Heyman offered insight into a few of these names on this week’s “Big Time Baseball” podcast with WFAN’s Sweeny Murti.

Rangers starter Mike Minor, the most impressive of these hurlers, is second only to MVP candidate Cody Bellinger in WAR (5.6), and he leads all American League starters with a 2.40 ERA. His month of June was immaculate, as he went 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA in five starts. Coming into this season, Minor had compiled a career 56-50 record and a 3.98 ERA, neither of which pointed toward a breakout season.

Heyman doesn’t expect the Rangers to deal Minor, owning a half-game lead for the American League’s second wild-card spot, but he isn’t willing to completely outrule it.

“From what I’m hearing, it would take a haul,” Heyman said. “There’s still a chance because Texas is open to anything.”

Another starter on the block is Tigers ace Matthew Boyd, who carried a 2.85 ERA after the first two months of the season. Though he struggled in June, going winless in five starts while posting a 5.90 ERA, Boyd is an elite strikeout artist. He’s posted the fifth-highest strikeouts per nine innings pitched (11.42 K/9) among qualified starters while allowing just 1.77 walks per nine innings (BB/9). With the Tigers trending towards a 100-loss season, the 28-year-old should have many potential suitors for his talents.

“I do think that this is the time for the Tigers to make that trade because they are still a rebuilding team, he’s got a couple of years to go, and his value is high,” Heyman said.

As far as bullpen pitchers go, there may not be a more shutdown reliever -- trade candidate or not -- than San Diego closer Kirby Yates. The All-Star leads MLB with 27 saves and would give a contender another valuable weapon.

Heyman reports that, like Boyd, the asking price will be very steep, and notes that the Padres have moved a dominant reliever for a younger piece in the recent past (Brad Hand to Cleveland for catcher Francisco Mejia). Murti mentioned Boston as a potential suitor for Yates given their 4.37 bullpen ERA.

“[Red Sox general manager Dave> Dombrowski’s MO is generally to go for a really hard thrower, so they will certainly be looking at him,” Heyman said, adding that San Francisco’s Will Smith and Pittsburgh’s Felipe Vasquez are other possible targets.

The All-Star break is fast approaching and the trade deadline isn’t far behind. The Yankees, Phillies, Indians and Nationals are some of the teams that could also be active throughout the next few weeks, and one of the aforementioned pitchers could help to bolster any squad’s postseason chances.