MLB trade rumors: Red Sox join Max Scherzer sweepstakes; Mets eyeing major move; Yankees not done after Gallo

The MLB trade deadline for 2021 arrives on Friday afternoon, and at this late hour the trade rumors are flowing like pristine river water and or untreated sewage. Let’s have a look, shall we?

As for what’s already happened, our deadline trade tracker is here to help. Now for Thursday’s scuttlebutt. 

Mets may be close to major addition

The Mets are trying to hang on to first place in the balanced but unspectacular NL East. If not for an inordinate run of injuries all season, New York might have a more comfortable lead over the Phillies and Braves. Since better health may be beyond their immediate control, the Mets may look to make some notable additions before Friday arrives. Speaking of which, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN reports that something big may be in the works: 

The Mets have been linked to an array of deadline candidates: Kris Bryant of the Cubs, Trevor Story of the Rockies, and Jose Berrios of the Twins, among them. Other targets may include Javier Baez and Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs. The rotation figures to get healthier in the near- to mid-term, which may mean Bryant or Story is the most likely target for the Queenslanders. Either would make a great deal of sense as the Mets deal with the uncertainty surrounding Francisco Lindor’s oblique injury and a general lack of depth in the lineup. 

Nationals ace Max Scherzer on Thursday made what will likely be his last start for Washington. The expectation is that the pending free agent will be traded prior to Friday’s deadline. We already know that Scherzer is of interest to the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres, and now Jon Heyman adds the AL East leaders to the fray: 

The Red Sox, barring the unexpected, will get Chris Sale back reasonably soon, but they may not want to rely on a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery to fortify their stretch drive and playoff rotation. Thus the reported interest in Scherzer and Twins right-hander José Berrios, who also might be available (more on him below). 

Scherzer has a strong no-trade clause, so he’s got significant control over this process (it’s already been reported that he’s not willing to approve a trade to the Mets). Slotting in Scherzer at the front of the rotation would certainly help the Red Sox fend off the Rays, Yankees, and Blue Jays in the brutal AL East. The competition for Scherzer’s services, however, should be intense. 

That’s especially the case given that Scherzer in his Thursday start probably put to rest any concerns about the triceps discomfort that caused him to be scratched from his last scheduled start. The command and control weren’t quite vintage, but against the Phillies he allowed just one run on three hits in six innings. 


Consider Scherzer’s trade appeal to be about as high as you’d expect for a three-time Cy Young winner who seems to be still near the peak of his skills at age 36. 

Mariners interested in Berrios

The disappointing Twins are sellers, but there’s no guarantee they’ll part with ace José Berríos. That’s because he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season, and the Twins might want to keep him around for that extra year. That said, that same extra year of team control means the Twins could ask for quite a bit in return if they decide to move the 27-year-old two-time All-Star. 

As noted just above, the Red Sox have some interest, and Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Mariners are also in discussions with the Twins: 

The M’s recently added lefty Tyler Anderson to the rotation, but they may not be done as they attempt to make up ground in the AL wild card fray. 

Gallo trade money may mean Yankees aren’t done

The Yankees’ trade for slugger Joey Gallo went official on Thursday, and here’s an important and perhaps overlook fact of the multi-player swap with Texas, via Joel Sherman of the New York Post

“The Yankees will be receiving more than Joey Gallo and Joely Rodriguez from the Rangers – Texas also is paying both players’ salaries the rest of the season, The Post has learned.”

That’s significant because it allows the Yankees to maintain significant room under the $210 million luxury-tax threshold. There’s no real reason that the Yankees, one of the most well-heeled franchises in all of professional sports, should be paying any heed whatsoever to the tax threshold, but for reasons sufficient to themselves staying under it appears to be an organizational priority this year. That room, though, means that Brian Cashman may still be clear to add another piece before Friday’s deadline. 

The rotation is an obvious area of need as the Yanks attempt to make up ground on the Rays and Red Sox in the AL East, but it may be that the Yanks are focused on another bat: 


For emphasis, we’ll repeat Sherman’s nugget that the Red Sox and Blue Jays may also be kicking the tires on Schwarber, who’s hit 25 home runs in 72 games for the Nationals this season. 

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo not in Cubs lineup; Red Sox interested in Rizzo

The widespread expectation is that the Cubs will undertake a deep sell-off prior to the deadline, and names like Bryant, Rizzo, Kimbrel, Báez, and others may be in play. Speaking of which, Bryant and Rizzo were not in the lineup for Thursday’s matinee against the Reds. Some context: 

To hear manager David Ross tell it, those particular lineup decisions don’t necessarily mean anything, but any such decisions are open to interpretation during Tradin’ Season. 

Given all that, this is quite notable: 

The Red Sox have gotten poor production from first base this season, so Rizzo would be an obvious fit in Boston.

Hudson, age 34 and in the final year of his contract, boasts a 2.20 ERA on the season, and he has a 2.99 ERA and 3.27 K/BB ratio since the start of the 2019 season. The Nats have little reason to retain him, and relievers are always in demand this time of year. So here’s this, regarding one of three NL West powerhouses: 

Hudson right now is on the COVID-19 injured list, but that probably wouldn’t be a serious impediment to a trade. 

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