The Rangers have claimed infielder Matt Duffy off waivers from the Astros, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link). Houston designated the infielder (who isn’t to be confused with the better-known Giants third baseman of the same name) for assignment last week. Texas has optioned Duffy to Triple-A. [Related: updated Rangers depth chart at Roster Resource] Duffy’s MLB career consists of 11 games for the Astros over the last two seasons and 12 career plate appearances.
Here’s a look back at this week’s top stories here at MLBTR: Twins fire GM Terry Ryan: Though the Twins have badly struggled in recent years, it was still a bit of a surprise to see the team part ways with the longtime general manager given how Ryan has been such a key figure in franchise history. Assistant GM Rob Antony will take over the top job on an interim basis while Minnesota will immediately begin a search for its new general manager — Antony himself figures to be a top candidate, though the Twins could depart from their usual method of internal promotions to bring a totally fresh face into the organization. The short-term effect of Ryan’s firing was an immediate surge of interest from rival teams looking to add Twins players before the deadline. White Sox could be deadline sellers: The Pale Hose are just 6-11 in July and have dropped to four games under the .500 mark, a slide that has led the club to consider moving some veterans by August 1. The only White Sox who seem to be untouchables are youngsters Tim Anderson, Carlos Rodon and Carson Fulmer, plus rotation stars Chris Sale and Jose Quintana…though the Sox are at least willing to hear offers about Sale and Quintana. The Rangers have already shown interest in Sale and needless to say, several teams would jump in if Sale or Quintana were being openly shopped. It would be a surprise if the two southpaws or the likes of Jose Abreu, David Robertson or Adam Eaton left Chicago over the next week, though if the White Sox are really willing to consider moving any of these cornerstones, it would drastically shake up the deadline. Cubs acquire Mike Montgomery from the Mariners for Dan Vogelbach: One notable trade has already made in advance of the deadline, as the Cubs addressed their need for lefty bullpen help at the cost of one of their top slugging prospects. (The deal also involved two minor league righties, with Jordan Pries going to Chicago and Paul Blackburn going to Seattle.) The Cubs’ middle-of-the-pack bullpen is arguably the team’s only weakness, and while they’ve been linked to such major names as Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman, Montgomery is a controllable young southpaw who was available at a much lower price. Vogelbach is no slouch, however, as the M’s have acquired a young slugger who has torn up minor league pitching and could be Seattle’s first baseman (or at least DH) of the future.
While it’s not clear if a deal can be completed before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Rangers are “making a serious run” for White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reported Friday, citing Major League sources.
The Giants’ luck continued to plummet as catcher Buster Posey left Friday night’s Interleague game against the New York Yankees with a bruised right foot.
The Padres are telling other organizations that they are nearing a deal involving outfielder Melvin Upton, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). The report does note that it “may ultimately be posturing” on San Diego’s part, so perhaps it’s worth taking with a grain of salt, but regardless it seems that the club could be pushing for action on the veteran outfielder. Upton, 31, has recently ranked in MLBTR’s listing of the top trade candidates despite his still-sizable contract. The reason is two-fold: first, he’s in the midst of a career revival since coming to San Diego, hitting a useful .259/.316/.441 since the start of 2015 while contributing on the bases in the field. And second, the Friars are perhaps the most motivated seller in all of baseball, having already traded away players with future control in James Shields and Drew Pomeranz (not to mention the winter deal involving Craig Kimbrel). It’s tough to know exactly what buyer would be lined up for Upton, as he could theoretically fit in a number of roles
The Rangers are making a serious run at landing ace left-hander Chris Sale in a trade with the White Sox, according to Major League sources, but there are no indications yet if a deal can get done.
This was the 15th consecutive year that Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith led his “Play Ball with Ozzie” clinic.
When discussing top prospect trade chips, it’s important to note the difference between those who simply have the most value versus those who are most likely to be traded due to an abundance of organizational depth or talent ahead of them at the Major League level. For example, Red Sox infield prospect Yoan Moncada might have more value than any prospect in baseball. His Double-A teammate, Andrew Benintendi, isn’t far behind. Yet, neither is on this list. Both have a pretty clear path to the MLB roster with their current organization in the very near future—Moncada as the starting third baseman and Benintendi in left field—which makes that the more likely scenario. Of course, if the Red Sox really wanted to make a splash and acquire an impact player signed beyond 2016—think Chris Sale—they’d have to be willing to part with at least one of them. The players listed below might not be completely blocked from a starting job in the big leagues, as was the case with the recently-traded Dan Vogelbach, but some of them have obstacles for at least the next couple of seasons
Clay Buchholz may be in his final days as a member of the Red Sox, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Teams have inquired with the Red Sox about the struggling right-hander, Bradford reports, and his sparse usage as of late has the pitcher himself pondering his future with the club. “…I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out,” said Buchholz in reference to the rotation. “I’m not sure. I don’t know. Not having pitched in a while I felt like something has be going on.” Manager John Farrell offered a rather frank analysis of the situation when asked by Bradford: “He’s in a tough spot, I’ll be candid. I don’t want to say it’s purgatory, but as far as baseball he’s in a difficult spot.