Rays right-hander Chris Archer has been the subject of trade rumors for what seems like since time immemorial. That’s understandable, as he’s got ace-like upside and a history of health and durability, and he’s signed to a contract that ludicrously team-friendly.

So will this at least be the trading in season in which Archer is shipped out of Tampa? Quite possibly, and the Padres are emerging as the leading contenders … 

Archer, who’s still on the right side of age 30, hasn’t been a major plus when it comes to run prevention since the 2015 season, when he finished fifth in the AL Cy Young balloting. Again, though, the underlying skills and upside are still there. He’s also, as hinted at above, locked up through the 2021 season at bargain rates (assuming both club options are exercised). That level of control is why a team like the Padres, who very much are not contenders in the here and now, are in on Archer. The Pads profile as contenders as early as 2019, and that horizon dovetails nicely with Archer’s contract situation. 

As noted, though, it’s potentially a competitive field when it comes to trading for Archer … 

By the sounds of things, this could be the time that Archer at last gets moved, and the Rays are likely poised to get an impressive return package.

And speaking of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, we’re here to update you on all the juicy rumors and, you know, actual trades as we approach this key date on the MLB calendar. Here’s Friday’s rumor roundup if you want to catch up on a packed day of deals, and here’s our updated trade tracker.

Now let’s dig into more of Saturday’s scuttle … 

Moustakas heads to Milwaukee

The Brewers and Royals got together on a trade in the early hours of Saturday morning that sends third baseman Mike Moustakas to Milwaukee. Read more about this trade here.

Barraclough on the move?

Winning teams are always hot and heavy for relievers this time of year, and for a long time it’s been anticipated that the Marlins would deal righty Kyle Barraclough before Tuesday’s deadline. He’s having the best season of his career, he doesn’t have notable platoon issues, he boasts a career ERA+ of 141, and the 28-year-old isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

For all those reasons, Barraclough is likely coveted, even though by many accounts the Marlins are asking for a hefty return. But maybe they’ll get it?

Given the declining workload of starters and how playoff games tend to become even more bullpen-centric, relievers can indeed fetch a high return these days. In that sense, the Marlins are right to hold out and stick to their demands. Barraclough’s been remarkably consistent, and he’s far from his walk year. As such, there’s no urgency on Miami’s part. That means they can be less than pliable in their negotiations, which is a good thing for a franchise that thus far appears to have blown the blockbuster trades for their three star outfielders.

The fading Dozier market

Veteran Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is in his walk year, and while he hasn’t quite been himself in 2018 he’s got a long history of putting up big power numbers. Given that Minnesota is selling off at the moment, the expectation is that Dozier will be moved to a contender. The problem for the Twins is that a flurry of trades for infielders has thinned out the market for Dozier … 

As well, the Phillies acquired Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets, so that’s another potential Dozier fit off the board.

Dozier played short and some third in the minors, so perhaps he still has the arm for a move to the hot corner. If that’s the case, then maybe teams like the Braves may have interest. That said, contenders are probably loath to drop a veteran into a position he hasn’t played in years on the fly, especially when the bat hasn’t been in vintage form. Of course, there’s plenty of time for Boston’s priorities to change, and no doubt Dozier’s pull power from the right side would be a nice fit for Fenway. 

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