It's still really early in the MLB season, but it's also arguably the most fun time to speculate on trades. Because as much as trade rumors are just that — speculation, sometimes well-informed and sometimes just instinctual — discussing these hypotheticals now allows us to fit in all the different possibilities before they're eventually taken off the table.
And that's exactly what we were talking about on our "Big Time Baseball" podcast this week, with Audacy Sports MLB insider Jon Heyman giving us eight insider nuggets — count them, eight — about players that could foreseeably be traded before the deadline. Some are more likely to be moved. Some are names who could constantly swirl around the rumor mill but will ultimately be unlikely to change teams. And all of them will depend on how their teams play in the coming weeks.
But, for now, that's besides the point. What's more important is that these starting pitchers will be names to watch in a number of ways — how they're performing, how their teams are playing, how the standings shake out — as we approach the trade deadline, and Heyman had us covered with some of the best insider info around.
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Scherzer is the most obvious name that's already been out there, people speculating. The Nats are off to a pretty slow start — not as bad as 2019, though... they held on to him and ended up winning the World Series and he was an enormous part of it and that's part of the reason I am still skeptical about whether Scherzer really might be traded. In this case, he is a free agent after the year so that boosts the chances of a trade, but now knowing how they operate and how Mike Rizzo, the GM, operates even more, how reluctant he is to give up on his season and how smart that was in 2019, I'm still of the belief that Scherzer is most likely to stay with the Nats. And they're likely to extend him and he's likely to finish his career there. I talked to an owner this morning and he named that as one of the best free agent contracts ever signed by a team...
...I don't think Scherzer's getting traded. He's the most interesting one for the group, but if I had to put odds on it, I would say they're slim on Scherzer. But he's the guy that people will be talking about, that we'll talk about.
Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
We'll see on the Reds, they've been a little bit up and down and they could easily be a contender, particularly in the (NL) Central where we're not expecting anyone to run away with it... four out of the five teams have a shot there, we're not really gonna say Pittsburgh has a good shot... the Reds' Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, not off to great starts... they did talk about it in the winter and if they're not in the race, I think there's a decent chance that one or both of them does get moved.
Kyle Gibson, Texas Rangers
Kyle Gibson has had some very good games already with the Rangers. I'm not anticipating them to be a factor this year. I do think that they're gonna be big in the winter and they will be a big factor next year, but I can easily see Gibson being traded.
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have a couple of guys. The most interesting starter would be Kyle Hendricks — not off to a good start, but we know how good a pitcher he is and how he can help a team down the stretch.
Jon Gray and German Marquez, Colorado Rockies
Colorado's got a couple of guys. Obviously, the Rockies changed GMs now. They are the one team in the West not doing well, they're the one team likely to be a seller, and Jon Gray is off to a fabulous start and he has big value. I could see it. He's not a free agent for a couple of years but I could see it. And Marquez is off to a very nice start as well and he has some good value. He's got a long deal already but I could see, potentially, him being dealt.
Matt Harvey, Baltimore Orioles
I do think the Orioles signed him with the idea that, you know, he can fill a rotation spot for a while and then be trade bait, and he had a nice start against the Yankees recently and I could see him having some value as well.