Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is coming up in just 11 days. Trade talks are beginning to heat up for a number of players due to the fact, including Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza, widely believed to be the best pitcher on the market this season.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reported Friday afternoon that the Rangers and Cubs would get a deal for Garza done with Texas sending pitching prospect Neil Ramirez to Chicago as a centerpiece of the trade. However, later on Friday, reports came in that a deal would not be completed that night. According to Bowden, the two sides were trying to find a replacement for an agreed upon player that had questionable medical reports.
The Rangers have not given up on acquiring Garza, but they have also made inquiries about Houston Astros pitcher Bud Norris. Norris is likely the Rangers' backup plan if the Garza talks fall through. A long list of other teams are also interested in the Astros starter, though, including the Pirates, Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Giants, according to Passan. Trade talks involving Norris have allegedly been heating up since the All-Star break.
The Boston Red Sox are rumored to have heavy interest in Norris, too, and prefer him to other pitchers on the market. According to WEEI.com, the Red Sox would prefer to acquire a pitcher who would be under team control for a longer amount of time. Norris, who has a 3.91 ERA over 20 starts this season, would not be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. The Red Sox and Astros are not close to a match, however, as Boston believes Houston's asking price for the pitcher remains too high, according to NESN.com.
On the offensive side, the Minnesota Twins are finding the market for first baseman Justin Morneau to be "soft", according to Jon Heyman at CBS Sports. When Morneau first hit the market, the Yankees, Rays, and Pirates were all mentioned as being interested in the former MVP. In addition, the Orioles and Rangers have shown small interest in Morneau. The left-hander's $6 million price tag remaining for the rest of the season is keeping some teams hesitant while others would prefer to find a right-handed hitter.
The Pirates may be interested in Morneau, but the team has also been looking into White Sox hitters, including outfielder Alex Rios and shortstop Alexei Ramirez, reports Heyman. The White Sox have been "extremely disappointed" with offers for Rios thus far, which could come in part from his hefty $18 million price tag that he is owed through the 2014 season. Nonetheless, right field has been a significant weak spot for the Pirates and the team has a great farm system they could dig into.
Rios caused a stir last night when he was pulled from the game early and was seen hugging teammates in the dugout, but later word was that he was taken out of the game for not hustling.
The MLB's trade deadline is 4 p.m. ET on July 31. Any deals will need to be made by that time. Any trade occurring after the 31st will require the involved players to first pass through waivers.