It's hard to say if the recent surge of form - the longest winning streak in the National League - will have moved the needle in terms of buying or selling. Instinct says, probably not. We remain 6.5 games back of the second wild-card which, with 62 games left, is not entirely impossible, but there's a reason Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus respectively still gives us only a 2.5 and 3.3% chance of making the post-season. That's clearly improved; last week, BP had us at less than two percent. But given we went 6-1 over our last seven games, it gives you some indication of how much further we have to climb to become even semi-relevant.
I sense we will be more or less standing pat at the trade deadline, and I'm fine with that, just as I am perfectly fined with us being "linked" to Cole Hamels, Aroldis Chapman, etc. There's absolutely nothing wrong in Dave Stewart and crew checking in on every player. It costs nothing to ask, might drive the asking price up for someone else (especially a divisional rival), and who knows - maybe there's a GM out there with a raging passion for the skill-set belonging to some guy we have in the minors, and is willing to overpay for him. I'll never judge a GM on the basis of what players he is "in on." It's the trades they actually make which matter.
Certainly, it does not seem, based on Dave Stewart''s comments - obvious caveat, basing anything on what Dave Stewart says is a questionable decision - that the team is looking for a rental, and that would make sense. While there are a number of pitchers who will be free-agents at the end of the season, and who might be on the market, in the way that Johnny Cueto was, they don't make sense, because this is not a team which is three months of a good pitcher from a playoff spot. Better to continue to evaluate in-house talent, and get an idea, come the end of the year, as to where we are, and what weaknesses need to be addressed then.
Right now, it's looking like the catcher situation is much improved, courtesy of Welington Castillo, and Patrick Corbin seems increasingly like his old self, every start making me feel more confident he can be a solid part of the 2016 rotation. The main questions left are at second- and third-base, where Chris Owings and Jake Lamb still seem to be struggling to find their feet, the former in particular. With Brandon Drury looking increasingly like the future in Reno [though one home-run in 33 games is concerning, and leaves his average heavily BABIP-dependent], I don't see us seeking outside help there.
I think it will probably be a contrast to last season, where the last day of July saw us deal two everyday players: Gerardo Parra, to the Milwaukee Brewers, and Martin Prado, to the New York Yankees. I would be very surprised if we see anything like that tomorrow, though Stewart has already proven himself a master at keeping the cards close to his chest. Maybe there will be a trade for an upper-tier starting pitcher? That would appear the most likely trade, though my instinct is we'll probably wait until the off-season to make our moves in that area.
24 hours to go!
Source: Giants, Dodgers, D-Backs believed to have interest in Rays' starter Nate Karns. "No urgency" on Rays' part to deal him.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) July 30, 2015
Karns is a 27-year-old in his third MLB season, so would be under team control through 2020, fitting the philosophy of long-term control. He has a career ERA+ of 101, but has pitched better this year, with a 3.37 ERA, and 3.73 FIP, in 20 starts for the Rays.