MLB Trade Rumors: Rangers, Athletics Outline Desired Return For Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With the July 31 trade deadline just over one week away, speculation over which players may become available, particularly on the starting pitching front, is beginning to ramp up.

Perhaps the two best pitchers that could be moved are Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish, who is eligible to reach free agency this offseason, and Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray, who is under team control until 2020.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams that have been connected to multiple starting pitchers, most prominently to Darvish.

Whether dealing with the Dodgers or other clubs, the Rangers predictably are looking for a top prospect in return for Darvish, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:

The Rangers, who have won two straight and aren’t sure if they’re a seller, are said to be seeking a top prospect for Darvish, a big star who’s a rental, if they do trade him.

Meanwhile, the Athletics are also seeking notable prospects in a potential trade for Gray:

The A’s are seeking the top guys for Gray, who makes a reasonable salary and has two more years to go before free agency.

Darvish was named an All-Star this season for the fourth time of his career, which amounts to every full season he’s been in the Majors. In 21 starts this year, he’s 6-8 with a 3.44 ERA, 3.84 FIP and 1.12 WHIP, while striking out 143 and walking 43 in 133.1 innings.

After a rough 2016 season, Gray has bounced back nicely, going 6-4 with a 3.66 ERA, 3.38 FIP and 1.18 WHIP in 15 starts. He has 85 strikeouts and 28 walks in 91 innings.

With the Athletics already out of the pennant race, Gray may be the more likely of the two to get traded. Given the Rangers are still lurking in the American League Wild Card race, a decision to sell has hardly been decided upon.

The Dodgers were reported as having significant interest in trading for Darvish, which surfaced prior to Clayton Kershaw coming out of Sunday’s start due to lower back tightness. Although they may have further incentive to acquire a starter, the Dodgers are said to be against trading their top prospects.