Sonny Gray is on the move.
That seems to be the only thing everyone can agree on as it relates to the 27-year-old.
Rumors swirled all day Saturday about possible suitors and landing spots for Gray, with the Yankees and later the Braves being reported to have interest. The Yanks were the consensus favorites to land Gray, with a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today calling the club the “leading candidate” to acquire Gray.
Nothing is finalized, but the talks are to the point that Gray won’t make his previously scheduled start on Sunday. Instead, he’ll have his bags packed, awaiting a new destination with bigger postseason aspirations, perhaps.
That a playoff hopeful like the Yankees and a team with slimmer hopes of making the tournament like the Braves are both in on Gray illustrates the right-hander’s appeal. Gray is both pitching well now for a bad team — he owns a 3.43 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 94/30 K/BB ratio over 97 innings this year — and is under team control through 2019, making him valuable beyond just this year.
As such, the return package for Gray is also hard to get a gauge on. Speedy Jorge Mateo’s name keeps getting bandied about in trade rumors regarding the Yanks, and the Braves have a host of top prospects from which to deal if they wanted. Even a team like the Padres, identified by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal as a “dark horse,” have the means to get it done if they wanted.
So, for now, we wait. But soon enough — by 4 p.m. ET Monday at the latest, to be exact — we’ll know where, not just if, Gray is headed.
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Kemp (Hamstring) Takes A Seat
Matt Kemp‘s stay on the disabled list could be a lengthy one.
The outfielder suffered a right hamstring strain in Friday’s game against the Phillies, and on Saturday, Braves manager Brian Snitker said the injury is “going to take a while” for Kemp to recover from.
“He’s had a history of it even when he was younger,” Snitker said. “It’s one of those things when they are out there running around on hard ground with cleats. It’s probably better now to wait. It’s going to take a while for it to get back well.”
Kemp has played in 88 games this year, batting .290/.336/.477 with 14 homers, 48 RBI and 40 runs scored. The 32-year-old had something of a renaissance last season, hitting 35 homers with 108 RBI and 89 runs scored between the Padres and Braves.
With Kemp out, Snitker said the team is “covered” but the options underwhelm — Sean Rodriguez and Danny Santana are expected to platoon to fill in the gap, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, with Lane Adams also pitching in. Kemp owners looking for an alternative while Kemp is out would be better served looking outside the organization.
Haniger Survives Scary Incident
For the second day in a row, it was a scary situation on a baseball field after a player took a high-speed baseball to the head.
A day after Robbie Ray was hit in the skull with a line drive — Ray was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list Saturday — Mariners rookie Mitch Haniger took a 95-mph fastball to the mouth during Saturday’s game against the Mets. The ball, from Mets starter Jacob deGrom, rode up and in, glancing off Haniger’s face and leaving the 26-year-old in serious pain.
“There are no fractures and his teeth are okay, but he had a pretty severe laceration on that upper lip and he’s getting some work done on it now,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It could have been a lot worse. It got away from deGrom. Obviously, he’s got a great arm. Mitch, I don’t think he ever saw it. But he was never unconscious or anything like that. When I got out there, he was talking. You hate to see that happen to anybody. Obviously he’ll be out for a little while.”
It’s been a rough year for Haniger, who can’t seem to catch a break in the injury department. After winning a starting outfield spot out of spring and coming out of the gate hot, Haniger missed six weeks in May and early June with an oblique strain. Then, shortly after the All-Star break he missed a handful of games with a jammed finger. Now this.
National League Quick Hits: According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Nationals are among teams interested in Zach Britton. Not satisfied with their recent additions of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, the Nats are still looking to upgrade their bullpen. Specifically, they’d like to add a lefty with Britton, Brad Hand and Justin Wilson among their preferred targets. The Orioles are obviously going to want a ton for Britton while it seems like the Padres are on the fence about trading Hand, who still has several years left on his current contract. Wilson seems likely to be traded, though the Nats are far from alone in pursuing him as the Astros, Brewers, Dodgers, Indians and Rays have all expressed interest … according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Marlins have “engaged in ongoing dialogue” with the Brewers about a possible trade for Dan Straily. A number of teams have been mentioned in relation to Straily though the Brewers have to be thought of as the favorites. Part of Straily’s appeal is that he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and will remain under team control through 2020 … Stephen Strasburg (elbow) completed a successful bullpen session on Saturday. GM Mike Rizzo said he came out of the session “very well.” The Nationals will see where he stands tomorrow before deciding on the next step. Strasburg landed on the DL with an elbow impingement earlier this week, though the Nats remain optimistic that he’ll only miss one start … Mark Melancon (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday. Johnny Cueto (blisters) is also set to begin a rehab assignment Monday at High-A San Jose. It’s taken Melancon about a month to recover from a right pronator strain. He shouldn’t need more than a game or two to dust off the cobwebs. Melancon will regain the closer role upon his return with Sam Dyson moving back into setup duty … Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Friday that Brad Ziegler is likely to close games for the Marlins following the departure of A.J. Ramos. Ziegler is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday. The 37-year-old hurler owns a disappointing 6.52 ERA, 1.82 WHIP and 17/13 K/BB ratio over 29 innings this season. Junichi Tazawa could also be in the mix for save opportunities … German Marquez struck out 10 batters and allowed two runs in seven innings to beat the Nationals 4-2 on Saturday. He took a perfect game into the sixth inning and gave up only three hits in the ballgame. Unfortunately all three of those hits came in one frame, which contributed to two runs in the sixth. This was the first time Marquez has reached double figures in strikeouts in a game in his career. All things considered it was a very impressive start for the 22-year-old against one of the best offenses in baseball. Marquez improves to 9-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 17 starts … Padres’ pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. Espinoza hasn’t pitched at all this season due to his elbow injury and now he may not see a mound in 2018 either. The 19-year-old hurler was acquired from the Red Sox last season in the controversial deal that sent Drew Pomeranz to the Sox.
American League Quick Hits: According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it doesn’t appear the Yankees have “gotten deep” in trade talks for Yu Darvish. That’s probably because the Yankees are heavily engaged in talks for Sonny Gray. New York hasn’t closed the door on Darvish, but he’s considered a fallback option if things fall through with Gray. That’s fine with the Rangers, who believe they can get more for Darvish elsewhere. A number of teams have been linked to Darvish, though the Dodgers have been mentioned the most frequently … according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, Justin Wilson is at the “top” of the Astros’ wish list for relief targets. Clearly the Astros are prioritizing bullpen help, pursuing Wilson and Zach Britton among others. Wilson has been a hot commodity, drawing trade interest from as many as 12 teams. The left-hander has had a breakout year for the Tigers, racking up 13 saves to go with a standout 12.27 K/9. Detroit’s asking price for Wilson remains sky-high, though it’s likely the Tigers will soften their demands as the deadline draws closer … MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports the Astros have “shown interest” in Lance Lynn. Lynn has also drawn interest from the Royals and Yankees … According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Angels have received calls on Bud Norris, David Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit and are “open to moving any and all of them” before Monday’s trade deadline. Norris has been a pleasant surprise this year, converting 15-of-17 save chances while impressing with an 11/38 K/9 … Eduardo Nunez homered twice and delivered an unconventional 9-8, walk-off win in 10 innings Saturday against the Royals. His five hits in nine at-bats since being traded has his overall line up to .315/.343/.441 between the Red Sox and Giants this year … Dustin Pedroia was scratched from Saturday’s game against the Royals due to a left knee injury. It’s the same knee that bothered Pedroia about a month ago. The Red Sox are optimistic he’ll be back for Sunday’s series finale … Blue Jays placed INF Troy Tulowitzki on the 10-day disabled list with a right ankle injury. Tulowitzki suffered the injury during Friday’s game against the Angels. He was scheduled for an MRI on Saturday to determine the full extent and severity of the ailment.