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MLB Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz Surrounding Chris Sale, Jay Bruce and More

There are just a few days left before Major League Baseball's August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, and the rumor mill is replete with tidbits regarding some of the best players in the league.

With their starting rotation in tatters and the NL West lead in sight, the Los Angeles Dodgers are ready to make moves and acquire a front-line starting pitcher. Should that pitcher be Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, the Dodgers are reportedly not above parting with a top prospect, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman

As of Monday, the Dodgers’ sense was the White Sox were not yet motivated to move Chris Sale or even well-regarded No. 2 starter Jose Quintana. But I have heard if that changes, the Dodgers would be more aggressive with Sale than they were with Hamels, up to including top prospect, lefty Julio Urias, to front a strong package. The Dodgers would not include Urias for Hamels last July.

This would be quite the blockbuster deal if it went down. Sale is one of the best starting pitchers in the league, and Urias is perhaps the most highly regarded prospect in the league. With that said, it would be tough to see the 19-year-old go.

Former Dodger and current Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke once called Urias "the most perfect pitching prospect I've ever seen," per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

The kid already throws four pitches well, all of them at different speeds. He has ultra-smooth mechanics, is left-handed and improved upon a rocky introduction to the majors before being sent back down to the minors on Friday. All of this as a teenager.

But the Dodgers are interested in winning right now. They're sporting the league's highest payroll and yet fighting against injuries and poor production in some spots to keep this from being a write-off year. Falling out of the NL West chase or missing out on a wild-card spot would be unacceptable.

Since Urias isn't quite ready for prime time, it's understandable that the Dodgers might be willing to part with him for a pitcher like Sale.

Sale, also a lefty, is 14-3 on the year with a 3.18 ERA and 1.008 WHIP, per Baseball-Reference.com. He's made the All-Star Game five years running. 

Not that it matters a whole lot to the cash-rich Dodgers, but Sale's contract is highly favorable. He's owed $12 million in 2017, per Spotrac, and has club options for the next two seasons. He's not a rental, and he's a sure thing as far as talent and production go, whereas Urias, for all the praise, is still just a potential sure thing.

Of course, Sale's recent, bizarre jersey-cutting incident that earned him a five-game suspension isn't going to endear him to prospective suitors—unless they're convinced it's nothing more than a principled manifestation of his insatiable desire to win.

If the Dodgers are indeed willing to dangle Urias, it can only be for a player of Sale's caliber. However, Urias' potential is so great that it's more likely the Dodgers either try to work a trade without him involved or simply settle for a lesser pitcher than Sale.

While Sale is enticing for teams looking for help on the mound, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is catching the eye of several teams looking for more punch at the plate. Per ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, at least four teams are interested in Bruce: 

Bruce provides some serious pop at the plate, with 24 home runs and 78 RBI on the year. One team that could be looking at Bruce is, in fact, the Dodgers.

As the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin notes, the Dodgers' outfielders haven't provided much power this season:

Although he's making fine contact since returning from a June injury, Yasiel Puig still hasn't found a way to generate big hits with his bulging muscles, tallying just two home runs and 12 RBI in his last 26 games. If the Dodgers do go for Bruce, Puig could be on his way out, as has been rumored this season.

However, injuries to Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu likely have the Dodgers focused more on bolstering the rotation, as evidenced by the Sale rumors.

Should the market not materialize to the Reds' liking, RedReporter.com's Wick Terrell notes that they could hold onto Bruce awhile longer: 

It's obvious that the Reds are trying hard to trade Bruce, and to his credit, his play of late can only be helping their cause.  However, Cincinnati does have the option of holding on to him past the August 1st non-waiver deadline, picking up his option, and attempting to trade him when there are more teams interested and the projected free agent OF market is as weak as expected. That's a huge risk, of course - one The Enquirer's Zach Buchanan looked at last week - as Bruce's disastrous 2nd half sent his overall value into the toilet. As streaky as he's been in his career, trusting Bruce to sustain what he's shown so far is a gamble the Reds may not want to take.

Bruce is on a tear as of late, which could spur a contender into offering up a dazzling prospect or two for his services. But the 39-61 Reds aren't dealing from a position of total weakness here, so it could be that the 29-year-old Bruce remains in Cincy until the team brass finds a deal that suits them.

While there's a fair chance Bruce isn't traded before the August 1 deadline, it seems all but certain that the San Diego Padres will unload starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, despite his remaining with the team through Tuesday's start against the Toronto Blue Jays. 

According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, there was a chance that San Diego would trade Cashner before his start on Tuesday.

There was similar chatter leading up to his start against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21, but Cashner took the mound in both cases. Rosenthal added context once the game against the Blue Jays—which ended in an embarrassing walk-off loss for the Friars—began:

The Padres must be happy that they haven't pulled the trigger on a deal yet, because Cashner keeps putting together quality performances. 

Cashner is well aware his time with the Padres is short, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune's Dennis Lin, "I've made some great relationships."

While he's unlikely to assume the mantle of a staff ace on whatever team snaps him up, Cashner is a dependable pitcher who only rarely has a meltdown start.

He's dealt with a couple of injuries this season, but his recent form shows that he's done well to put those troubles behind him. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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