On Monday, news surfaced that the Nationals were making star slugger Bryce Harper available at the trade deadline, most recently drawing interest from the Cleveland Indians. On Tuesday, hours before the deadline, reports from Jon Heyman indicate that rival executives continue to believe that Harper is a longshot to be traded before 4 p.m. ET — perhaps in part because ownership nixed some potential deals, including one for Harper. The Nationals find themselves just 5 1/2 games back from the Phillies as the NL East leader. 

So far this season, the slugger is batting a bit down numbers-wise. He’s hitting .220/.369/.473, but he still has 25 home runs to his name. Harper, however, is liable to get hot at any time, and the Nationals will need him to if they’re going to catch up to the Phillies and Braves in the division. 

It’s a far more contested race in the NL East than most anticipated to start the season, but the Nationals may feel they don’t need to blow it up just because they’re aren’t dominating.

Finally, Heyman notes that Machado is batting was batting .315 when he was traded, and a lot more teams are interested in a hybrid third baseman and shortstop than an outfielder. 

The Nationals ultimately couldn’t expect a Machado-sized haul for Harper, especially when he isn’t having his best season at the plate spite of being an All Star.

Below you’ll find the latest rumors from around MLB on deadline day:  

2018 MLB trade deadline: Live updates

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Indians grab Martin

Cleveland had been in the market for an outfielder. On Tuesday, they landed one, acquiring Leonys Martin (and pitching prospect Kyle Dowdy) from the Tigers in exchange for shortstop prospect Willi Castro:

Martin, a free agent after 2019, figures to serve in a platoon with Rajai Davis. He’s hit .251/.321/.409 with nine home runs and seven steals this season. He’s always been more effective against right-handed pitching,

Castro was ranked No. 8 in the Cleveland system. Though he’s struggled in Double-A, he has the physical tools to project as an average player.

Dowdy was not ranked in the Tigers top 30. He figures to get moved to the bullpen at some point.

Archer not likely to land with Yankees

The expectation around the league is that the Rays will deal Chris Archer before the deadline. In theory, the Yankees are still in the derby to acquire his services.

But Yankees manager Aaron Boone doesn’t seem confident that Archer will end up in pinstripes:

A handful of other teams have been connected to Archer over the past several weeks. His upside and team-friendly contract make an appealing long-term fit.

Archer would seem to be the top remaining starter on the market, meaning the Rays will likely get a decent prospect haul in return. 

Ziegler-to-Cubs remains possible

The Marlins could have themselves a busy deadline day thanks to their surplus of relievers. The one who seems likeliest to go is Brad Ziegler, and it seems like he may end up with the Cubs:

Ziegler has had an uneven season. His 3.98 ERA is unimpressive (94 ERA+) but he’s held right-handers to a .670 OPS, making him a potentially useful specialist. Ziegler would become the third pitcher the Cubs have added this month, joining Cole Hamels and Jesse Chavez.

Another Marlin who could go? Outfielder Cameron Maybin, who has drawn the interest of the Yankees, among others:

The Yankes will be without Aaron Judge for at least the next three weeks, so adding a little depth would make sense. 

Vet hitters staying put?

Adrian Beltre and Adam Jones were expected to be two of the top veteran hitters on the market. Alas, it appears both will stay put:

Both Jones and Beltre have 10-and-5 rights — meaning they’ve been in the majors longer than 10 years and have been with their current teams for at least five years, giving them right of refusal on any deal. As such, they were always going to have to be on board with any potential deal.

It doesn’t appear that either wants to go anywhere, even if it means finishing the season out on a bad team. It’s unexpected, but that’s one of the perks of being good enough to stick around the majors (and with one team) for as long as they have.

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