A few late twists on Tuesday could have a big effect on Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, which hits on Wednesday. Generally when a player is taken off the trading block, it’s due to a deal already having been completed or a team’s steadfast desire to hang onto him. However, two of the leading candidates to be dealt before the deadline could stay put for an entirely different reason.
Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios and Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo might not be traded due to injuries sustained in games on Tuesday. If serious enough, interest in both would lessen significantly.
Rios, one of the most heavily coveted position players available, went down with a foot injury. After fouling a ball off of his foot in a game against the Cleveland Indians Rios had to exit, leaving his status in doubt. For what it’s worth, speaking to CSN Chicago, Rios doesn’t believe his injury is serious and isn’t even sure if he’ll miss any time. That’s simply a player’s evaluation, but the White Sox have to feel at least a little relieved to hear that. Still, that won’t be enough proof for a clean bill of health and until more is known about the injury, talks involving him will stall.
Gallardo suffered a similarly disappointing injury. The Brewers’ pitcher left his start on Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs with leg tightness in his hamstring. He initially felt some pain in the fourth inning, and after hanging on briefly, had to exit in the fifth. Gallardo was so sore he even limped after suffering the injury – not a good sign.
Both were reasonable options with a good likelihood of being traded away. With these injuries the status of any potential deal is clearly in question.
With 25 home runs last year and 12 in 2013, Rios brings a good deal of power to the table. As we’ve covered before, he’s also a solid defensive player and has been sought after by several teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers. Gallardo has been drawing significant interest for the better part of a month and while one of his potential suitors, the Rangers, are probably out of the market with their addition of Matt Garza, several other teams have been considering a deal for the starter.
The status of both is unknown, but even if the injuries are only minor, each is a big blow to the respective teams of the two players. Both are scheduled for further evaluation on Wednesday to try to quickly soothe the fears of teams interested in trading for either player.
The problem not only lies in the injuries themselves but also how the teams perceive them. For clubs needing immediate help, they may be scared off by even a minor setback. The season is quickly winding down and even a short 15-day stint on the disabled list would be a significant one at this point. If a team was on the fence about a particular player, this could be the type of thing that will send them heading in another direction.
The other factor, of course, is that the trade market would shrink considerably with those two players out of the mix. The market has already been defined as a thin for the most part and if Rios and Gallardo suddenly disappear, that should increase demand for other available players.
In terms of outfielders, that could mean some late interest in guys like Hunter Pence, Giancarlo Stanton, or Nate Schierholtz. When it comes to pitchers, more attention could be paid to starters Bud Norris, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy, or even Cliff Lee. Teams in need of outfielders or pitchers could stand pat. However, if they feel a move is imperative, acquiring a player like Pence or Lee could mean they actually give up more than they had planned to when targeting Rios or Gallardo.
More will be known by Wednesday afternoon, but for now, any deal involving either player should be on hold.
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