Royals closer Wade Davis is flying back to Kansas City to undergo an MRI on his right elbow, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets that the MRI is to examine Davis’ forearm, though regardless of the specific portion of the arm that is being checked out, the test is still an ominous bit of news out of Kansas City. Casey Jones first tweeted that Davis was flying back to K.C. for an examination. Davis, 30, has seen his name pop up frequently in trade rumors over the past week as the Royals have reportedly begun to consider selling veteran pieces prior to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The uncertainty around his elbow now, however, would seem to all but eliminate the already minimal chances of Davis being moved. Even if the MRI yields positive results, it’d be difficult for a club to meet Kansas City’s exceptionally high asking price just a day or two after the MRI. Reports over the past week have suggested that the Royals sought names like Lucas Giolito from the Nationals in trade talks or hoped to package Ian Kennedy and the remaining $62.5MM on his contract with Davis in trade talks
Many potential deals are in the works as the non-waiver Trade Deadline — Monday at 4 p.m. ET — approaches. Here is a look at the latest news, reports and rumors.
The Athletics and Royals have announced a swap of outfielders, with the fleet-footed Billy Burns headed to Kansas City in exchange for Brett Eibner. Both were playing at the Triple-A level for their respective teams, but have been in the majors at points earlier in the year. Burns, 26, brings to Kansas City an elite set of wheels that should play well in the spacious outfield at Kauffman Stadium, and his overall skill set should fit in well with the Royals’ general style of play. Burns boasts an extremely high contact rate and has fanned in just 13 percent of his plate appearances at the Major League level, which is characteristic of the approach the Royals have utilized to great effect in the past two seasons. However, his overall offensive game took a notable step back in his sophomore season. After posting a .294/.334/.392 slash in 555 PAs last season (good for fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, though that award was really a two-horse race), Burns batted just .234/.270/.302 in 292 PAs before being optioned back to Triple-A earlier this summer. Eibner, 27, has just 85 plate appearances at the Major League level, where he’s batted .231/.286/.429 with three homers and six doubles. He ranked among the Royals top 30 prospects, per Baseball America, in each of the past five offseasons, checking in at No. 17 overall on the two most recent iterations of said list. Though the former second-rounder is older than most would associate with the term “prospect,” he does have an impressive track record in Triple-A, where he’s hit .280/.354/.471 with 37 homers in 961 plate appearances in parts of three seasons.
The Nationals addressed their struggling bullpen Saturday by acquiring right-hander Mark Melancon from the Pirates. Pittsburgh received left-handers Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn; the latter is Washington’s No. 27 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
As the Nationals continue their effort to add a quality reliever at the back of the pen, the club is “focused” on striking a deal to add Pirates righty Mark Melancon, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Nats have also been tied to hurlers such as Andrew Miller of the Yankees and Wade Davis of the Royals, but the asking prices have been incredibly steep. That’s not to say that the Bucs will let Melancon go lightly. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports that the team would be looking for a deal along the lines of the Aroldis Chapman pact. The Cubs parted with one high-quality prospect in Gleyber Torres as well as a useful major-league arm in Adam Warren and two other nice prospect pieces to add the flamethrowing lefty. It’s easy to see the analogy between the Cubs-Yankees agreement and what Pittsburgh would like to accomplish. They, too, reportedly hope to receive a useful set-up option in return — giving the team a player to slot in front of Tony Watson and Neftali Feliz while continuing to compete in 2016. And the Bucs obviously would only be motivated to make that kind of exchange if they can get a truly enticing prospect out of the bargain. Washington was unwilling to go too big on Chapman, who is a more obviously dominant pitcher than is Melancon. Still, it’s hard to argue that Melancon has been any less effective.
Some runs are more eventful than others.
It’s the final weekend before Monday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, and there’s a number of starting pitchers taking the mound today who have been cropping up in Major League Baseball’s rumor mill.
The battle for first place in the American League East is officially on after Toronto pulled within a half-game of the Orioles on Friday night. The Blue Jays inched even closer to the top spot in the division after a 6-5 victory over Baltimore at Rogers Centre.
The Rangers, looking for an impact starting pitcher through the trade market, have White Sox left-hander Chris Sale and Rays right-hander Chris Archer at the top of their wish list before Monday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Here’s a Trade Deadline aficionado’s guide to Friday’s schedule — with an eye on the available starting pitchers.