Trade buzz heating up in Miami, Detroit and Chicago

From ESPN - July 17, 2017

Even when you are a fan of a particular major league baseball team, it can be tough to keep track of all of the news surrounding your favorite club on a daily basis.

When you are a fantasy baseball owner, multiplying that effort by 30 in order to keep tabs on each and every club is a fool's errand -- bordering on the impossible.

Fear not! We will be here every Monday to give you a snapshot of what's going on in the world of baseball, providing you with one fantasy takeaway from each of the league's 30 teams. Think of it as your one-stop shop for the week ahead.

Here are the takeaways as we head into Week 15 of the 2017 season:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Robbie Ray will certainly be well-rested when he takes the mound on Tuesday to face the Reds. The southpaw has not pitched in a game since July 6 due to the timing of the All-Star break, coupled with manager Torey Lovullo's desire to give the 25-year-old a few extra days off. Ray has thrown fewer than 100 pitches in just four of his 17 starts this season, and was only 1-2 pitches shy of triple digits in three of those appearances. He also ranks seventh in the league in pitches per start. He may be a bit rusty, but he definitely needed the time off.

Atlanta Braves: Do not look now, but the Braves are suddenly a .500 team, and could be getting a key component of their bullpen back in the next few days. Arodys Vizcaino has not pitched since July 2 due to a strained right index finger, but after a pair of bullpen sessions this weekend, manager Brian Snitker appears close to activating his primary setup man. Vizcaino has 15 holds and two saves this season to go along with a 2.38 ERA.

Baltimore Orioles: After two scoreless eighth innings over the weekend, manager Buck Showalter might finally have seen enough to reinstate Zach Britton as the team's closer going forward. "If you remember the first two or three outings, it was not Zach, and you could tell [by] the look on his face he did not feel good about the command of the sinker and everything, and that's why we tried to stay on an every-other-day thing," Showalter said prior to Sunday's game. Expect some save opportunities this week, provided a team that has lost 8-of-10 games can give Britton the chance.

Boston Red Sox: Pablo Sandoval has been designated for assignment, and Tzu-Wei Lin has been sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket. Both moves signal yet another opening at third base in Boston. Hopefully, Brock Holt is finally ready to stake his claim at the hot corner. Holt went 1-for-5 during the team's doubleheader on Sunday, his first action since April 20 when vertigo sent him to the bench. "If I was not ready, I would not be here," Holt said. Fingers crossed, he will be able to stick around. Otherwise, a trade for a more reliable third-base option is likely the next course of action.

Chicago Cubs: John Lackey (plantar fasciitis) is scheduled to be activated from the 10-day DL on Tuesday to start for the Cubs. It will be the 435th appearance of the veteran's career, and 434th start. He has only pitched in relief once in his career: an emergency inning of work in 2004 after then-Angels starter Bartolo Colon got shelled. That's why manager Joe Maddon thinks rumors of Lackey getting sent to the bullpen are a bit silly. "'Just to try to take him out of a game -- and then try to tell him something like that? My God,'' Maddon said. ''Exponentially worse.''

Chicago White Sox: The Great 2017 Sell Off has begun. Jose Quintana was traded to the Cubs on Thursday, and many more members of the Chicago clubhouse are expected to be packing their bags in the next two weeks. Todd Frazier to the Red Sox seems very plausible, and rumors of David Robertson to the Yankees are starting to heat up. But we all know there's only one move that most fantasy owners care about, and it was expressed very nicely by a CSN Chicago headline earlier this week: "WHITE SOX CALL UP NOT-YOAN MONCADA." That wait continues...

Cincinnati Reds: The numbers 8-6-1-1-8 read like an Arizona zip code, but in actuality, those are the runs allowed by Homer Bailey in his five starts this season following elbow surgery No. 3. However, after getting lit up on Sunday against the Nationals, manager Bryan Price remained optimistic about his pitcher's future. "There have been zero health issues," Price said. "No doubt, you do not pitch as infrequently as he has in the last three years and come back and be the 2012-2013 version of Homer Bailey. That being said, our expectation, and I am sure his, is that he will go out and perform and give us games that look a lot more like the (one-run games) than the other three." We will see.

Cleveland Indians: Austin Jackson went 1-for-4 on Sunday at the DH spot for Triple-A Columbus, the last stop in his rehab for a strained left quad. Since he has yet to play the field in the minors, one would expect at least another day or two in Triple-A for Jackson. Assuming all goes well, he should be back in Cleveland's outfield by the end of this week -- presumably in right-field -- at least until Lonnie Chisenhall (calf strain) is ready to return to action himself.

Colorado Rockies: After remaining on the disabled list since July 2 with a strained right calf, Ian Desmond has returned to the Rockies' lineup. In his first game back on Sunday, Desmond went 2-for-3 before getting pulled in the sixth as a precaution with the Rockies up big. For now, manager Bud Black says he will use Desmond in left field and first base rather than at shortstop, even if Trevor Story continues to struggle.

Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer, last year's AL Rookie of the Year and a 2017 All-Star, has a 2.44 ERA and a .188 BAA in his last six starts -- including an 8-IP, two-hit gem against the Blue Jays on Saturday. However, rumors of a potential trade are growing, especially after seeing the return the White Sox got for Jose Quintana. Fulmer has heard the rumblings. "I am not really worried about it," he said in response. "We are trying to keep the whole team together right now." We will know for sure if Fulmer is right in about two weeks.

Houston Astros: Dallas Keuchel (neck) is scheduled to pitch today for Double-A Corpus Christi, the first time the Astros' ace will have taken the mound since joining the disabled list on June 5. Expect 2-3 innings of work and then a re-evaluation of his status. A timetable for his return to Houston is non-existent, as the team is likely to play things by ear. As Keuchel himself says, "It's how I feel on Tuesday and how I continue to progress. It may be one [start], it may be 14."

Kansas City Royals: Nate Karns, who recorded 10 and 12 strikeouts in his two starts prior to his exiting a May 19 outing against the Twins with tightness in his forearm, will miss the rest of 2017. Karns will have surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome on Wednesday and wo not be back before next spring. This development will likely inspire the Royals to deal for a fifth starter before the deadline, as they had been counting on Karns' return. If that fails, however, Eric Skoglund (1.62 ERA in his last three Triple-A starts) could be an in-house alternative.

Los Angeles Angels: Nick Franklin was traded to the Angels on the last day of June, and it appears the team has now decided to make a change at second base. Danny Espinosa was designated for assignment on Sunday, leaving Franklin and Cliff Pennington to share time at the position. "The one thing they will bring, we feel, is some on-base percentage, at the least," manager Mike Scioscia said. Kaleb Cowart has been playing second base at Triple-A Salt Lake and is batting .301 on the season, so if this new-look infield fails to impress, he might get the call.


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