MLB trade deadline rumors: Soto sweeps down to four teams;  Yankees, Cardinals seeking rotation upgrades

MLB trade deadline rumors: Soto sweeps down to four teams; Yankees, Cardinals seeking rotation upgrades

The Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline is mere days away, and teams are no doubt laying the foundation for any number of notable swaps. Others, meanwhile, are trying to figure out whether they’re going to buy, sell, or hold as we work our way toward Tuesday. All of that means a daily dose of trade buzz, and we’re here to round up Friday’s.

Oh, before we get to the rumors, there was a big trade that happened late Friday. The Mariners landed All-Star starting pitcher Luis Castillo while the Reds got a huge prospect haul in return. Full story here.

Soto sweepstakes down to four teams

Negotiations continue on a possible trade of Nationals right fielder Juan Soto. The field of suitors has been trimmed to just four teams, according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ. Bowden also reports that things are moving “at a rapid pace” and Soto is very likely to turn down any extension offer the Nationals present him.

Some of the more prominent teams we’ve seen in Soto rumors have been the Cardinals and Padres, though up to nearly a dozen have been mentioned and there’s no specific word on what teams might make up the final four here.

Yankees want starting pitching

The New York Yankees recently added outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the fold, and the now their deadline focus seems to be on fortifying the rotation. Here’s the latest from Jon Heyman:

“The Yankees are casting a wider net for starters, and no surprise, they are in on Frankie Montas as well. Luis Castillo seems to be their first choice, however. Noah Syndergaard is running third.”

The Yankees this season have had one of the best rotations in baseball to date, but concerns about regression in some corners of that rotation and the injury to Luis Severino mean they’re on the lookout for reinforcements. We know now that Castillo is no longer a possibility, so the Yankees will have to focus elsewhere.

Montas, of the A’s, would be the catch now that he’s gotten past his recent shoulder troubles. As for more modest targets, Heyman also lists Jose Quintana of the Pirates in addition to the Angels’ Syndergaard.

Cardinals targeting rotation upgrades

The St. Louis Cardinals — presently tied for the final NL wild-card spot and within range of the first-place Brewers in the National League Central — are reportedly one of the teams with very real designs on landing Juan Soto of the Nationals . At the same time, however, they need to address a rotation that, never deep to begin with, has been beset by injuries. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the rotation is indeed a priority for the Cardinals’ front office as the deadline approaches. As well, the Cardinals want to add significant upgrades to a corps that has been effective but is right now struggling to fill spots. Specifically, Goold reports that Montas and Pablo Lopez of the Marlins are of interest to the Cards. Either would be a substantial upgrade for St. Louis. Of course, competition for either arm figures to be fierce.

White Sox not looking to sell

The Chicago White Sox, coming off aa division title in 2021 and a playoff berth in the abbreviated 2020 season, had high expectations coming into 2022. However, they’ve failed to meet those in a big way thus far. Going into Friday’s slate, the Sox are 49-49 with a minus-19 run differential, and that’s not typically the profile of a team that’s looking to add pieces at the deadline. However, thanks to the surrounding weakness of the American League Central, the White Sox are just three games out of first place. As well, the SportsLine Projection System gives them a 49.4 percent chance of making the postseason — the highest odds of any team in the AL Central.

Against that backdrop, Jon Morosi reports that Sox GM Rick Hahn will not be looking to sell any notable names leading up to the deadline:

Hahn has previously hinted that adding to the bullpen will be a deadline priority, and they could also use a left-handed bat in the outfield (and ideally at second base, as well). At the very least, the Sox figure to keep the band together in the hopes they can make a push for the division title down the stretch.

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