MLB Trade Deadline

MLB rumors: Giants, Brewers 'engaged' in Will Smith trade before deadline

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MLB rumors: Giants, Brewers 'engaged' in Will Smith trade before deadline

Nearly three years ago, the Giants acquired reliever Will Smith from the Brewers for prospects Phil Bickford and Andrew Susac. Fast forward to the present, and these two teams reportedly could make a trade centered around Smith yet again.

The Giants and Brewers are "engaged" in trade talks regarding Smith, The Athletic's Robert Murray reported Monday morning. Sources told Murray that both teams are scouting each other, with a Giants representative in Cincinnati for the Brewers’ most recent road trip.

Milwaukee had one of the best bullpens in baseball last season, carrying the Brewers all the way to the NLCS. That hasn't been the case this year, though.

The Brewers' bullpen currently has a 4.61 ERA, which is 18th in the majors. Last year, they ended the regular season with the fifth-best bullpen ERA at 3.47. 

Smith has been one of the best relievers in the game in 2019, with a 2.17 ERA and 23 saves to his name. He could be exactly what the Brewers need as they sit 2.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. 

Sources told Murray that the Giants have "identified" prospect Mauricio Dubon as a player of interest. Dubon, 24, was born in Honduras but went to high school in Sacramento at Capital Christian High School. He's ranked as the Brewers' No. 5 prospect and has hit .305 with 14 home runs in Triple-A this season. 

[RELATED: Beede stars on 'both sides of the ball' in Giants' road win]

Dubon is a shortstop who has also played plenty of second base in the minors. He made his big league debut this season and could be able to the Giants contribute right away. 

The July 31 trade deadline is slightly over two weeks away, and Smith is sure to garner plenty of interest from a variety of teams. 

MLB power rankings: Where each team stands as trade deadline approaches

MLB power rankings: Where each team stands as trade deadline approaches

The Giants find themselves in an odd spot.

A surefire seller for much of the first half, they've gotten hot for two weeks and sit just 4 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot. A chunk of the National League is facing a similar decision. The Diamondbacks and Rockies are .500 teams but both are just 1 1/2 games from a playoff spot. The Pirates have been outscored by 48 runs but they're 3 1/2 out. The Reds are six games under .500, but have the same run differential as Wild Card leader Washington, and they're also just 4 1/2 out.

It's a strange time for a lot of NL executives who have to decide whether to buy or sell.

Our decisions here are easier. We simply have to rank the teams.

Click for the latest MLB power rankings

A's bolster rotation by acquiring Homer Bailey in trade with Royals

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A's bolster rotation by acquiring Homer Bailey in trade with Royals

OAKLAND -- The A's officially have begun their annual trade deadline wheeling and dealing.

Sunday morning, Oakland acquired veteran starting pitcher Homer Bailey from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league middle infielder Kevin Merrell. Bailey, 33, is expected to make his first start for the A's on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.

"He's been pitching really well as of late," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Bailey. "He's beaten some good teams this year. Before he got hurt, obviously, he was an electric arm and it seems like he's coming back to form at this point. I think it makes our rotation better and I think that's the objective at this point."

To Melvin's point, Bailey is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in his last eight starts. For the season, the right-hander is 7-6 with a 4.80 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and has battled injuries since then, but appears to now be healthy.

"I think (our) players feel these things," Melvin said. "They want to feel like the front office is going out and making us better and typically they do that. It certainly doesn't mean we're done, but it's nice to get somebody in the rotation that we feel like is going to make us better."

Bailey spent his first 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, throwing a pair of no-hitters in 2012 and 2013. This past offseason, he signed a minor league deal with the Royals. The A's only will be responsible for about $250,000 of his league-minimum salary.

As for Merrell, the former first-round draft pick was ranked as Oakland's number 17 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The 23-year-old was slashing .246/.292/.339 with two home runs, 34 RBI and 13 stolen bases this season at Double-A Midland. Merrell has top-notch speed but scouts have had concerns about his hitting ability.

[RELATED: Bassitt makes adjustment after advice from A's veterans]

The A's are still expected to add more pitching before Major League Baseball's July 31 Trade Deadline. Oakland likely will seek bullpen help and potentially could add another starter.