Deadline Primer: The American League West
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski, USA TodayNow that they revived and completed the Jaime Garcia trade, the Twins are probably done shopping for starting pitchers, but the hunt for relief help continues. This will be our focus as we examine buyers and sellers out west.
Houston Astros: 66-33
Seattle Mariners: 50-51 (17 GB)
Los Angeles Angels: 49-51 (17.5 GB)
Texas Rangers: 48-51 (18 GB)
Oakland Athletics: 44-55 (22 GB)
The Astros are running away with the division, and are buyers in the sense that they're clearly in championship mode, though it's not clear where they really need to add. Houston has been dominant in pretty much all phases, though obviously you can never have too many bullets.
The Mariners, Angels and Rangers are all closely bunched behind Houston -- albeit WAY behind Houston. Each is a potential player in the wild card race, and hard-pressed to dump key pieces, but none are in position to make a huge splash in pursuit of the playoffs. The A's, meanwhile, are out of it and ready to move any assets.
The M's recently traded four prospects to acquire reliever David Phelps from the Marlins, so it seems unlikely they'll dismantle their bullpen at this point, despite facing long odds. Steve Cishek is one name to watch: he's on an expiring contract and could be a decent addition at the right price.
The Halos are in the wild-card mix but if they decide to pack up and sell they have a number of relief rentals that might appeal to the Twins. Namely: Bud Norris, Yusmeiro Petit and David Hernandez. All three have been excellent. Minnesota and the Anaheimers of course linked up last year on a deadline deal involving Ricky Nolasco and Hector Santiago.
Texas is a pivotal deadline player, holding the biggest publicized trade chip in Yu Darvish, who is due to hit free agency at season's end. If they choose to ship out Darvish, it won't be to Minnesota, and there isn't really a bullpen match here unless they then decide to ship out a controllable reliever like Matt Bush or Jeremy Jeffress.
Oakland has already flipped a pair of its top relievers, sending Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to Washington, so the Twins might've missed the boat here. Now, all attention is on Sonny Gray, who is the biggest name being bandied about right now after Darvish (and far more likely to be moved). Gray is controlled through 2019, so he'd fit with the front office's long-term thinking, but would cost an awful lot.
You can dream on Darvish or Gray, but the most realistic targets in the AL West are mid-tier relievers like the Angels' trio of Norris, Petit and Hernandez.
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