CLEVELAND - The MLB trade deadline is just hours away and the Cleveland Indians remain prevalent in reports and rumors.
Soon enough, we'll know whether or not any them will come to fruition and turn into actual deals. Until then, here are four names you need to know when it comes to the Tribe and today's trade deadline.
Francisco Mejia is already a member of the Indians' organization, but he may be Cleveland's most important name when it comes to any potential deadline deals. The switch-hitting catcher currently ranks as the top-ranked prospect in the Indians organization and the No. 1 catcher prospect in all of baseball.
In 68 games with AA-Akron this season, Mejia has hit for a .317 average with 10 home runs and 36 runs batted in. And given Cleveland's current uncertainty at catcher, the 21-year-old could find himself in the majors sooner rather than later.
Whether or not that will be with the Indians will likely be determined in the coming hours. If any team is going to make a deal with Cleveland, Mejia will likely be the first player asked for in return.
With his contract up at the end of the season, Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish is one of the most prominent players with the potential to be moved today. And according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Indians could be in the mix for the 4-time All-Star.
What I know this morning: Yankees and Dodgers remain interested in Darvish as they have all along. What I think: Cleveland also— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 30, 2017
With the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers also reportedly interested, landing a pitcher of Darvish's caliber would likely require the Indians to part with top prospects, potentially even Mejia. Gerry Fraley of the Morning News reported on Sunday that one official with a major league club said that the Rangers "are disappointed in the quality of offers received" for Darvish and "have contacted smaller-market clubs such as Cleveland to tell them their best might be good enough."
The 30-year-old right-hander is currently in the midst of his worst season as a pro, laying claim to a 6-9 record and a 4.01 ERA. Nevertheless, he possesses the talent to give Cleveland one of the most formidable starting pitching staffs come playoff time.
Given the recent struggles of closer Cody Allen, it would make sense that the Indians would seek bullpen help. And according to Cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes, the Indians are doing just that while targeting Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton.
Tribe pushing hard for Britton. In mix for Darvish, but only if price comes down.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) July 31, 2017
A two-time All-Star, Britton led the American League in saves last season with 47 and finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting. In 19 appearances this season, the 29-year-old left-hander has converted 8 saves while possessing a 3.32 ERA.
Although he has battled forearm injuries, he would likely command a hefty asking price -- likely Mejia and other prospects -- as he remains under contract for the 2018 season. In addition to the Indians, Britton's name has been linked to the Dodgers and Houston Astros.
A late addition to the Indians' rumor mill, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted on Tuesday that there is speculation within baseball that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn could land in Cleveland.
Speculation within the industry that Lance Lynn might fit best with the Cleveland Indians.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 31, 2017
St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold corroborated the report, stating that not only had the Indians scouted the right-hander, but the Cardinals would be interested in one of Cleveland's outfielders in return.
In 22 starts this season, the 30-year-old Lynn has compiled a 9-6 record, along with a 3.20 ERA and 110 strikesouts. And while acquiring the one-time All-Star (2012) wouldn't likely create the buzz the adding Darvish or Britton would, doing so likely wouldn't cost Cleveland Mejia and could ultimately solidify a starting rotation that's remained in flux throughout the 2017 season.
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