CINCINNATI – Multiple teams continue to ask about Felipe Vazquez with the trade deadline approaching at 4 p.m. Wednesday. However, indications are the closer will remain with the Pirates.
“They have a huge asking price,” an executive from a National League team told me. “As well they should. He’s one of the best relief pitchers in the game. But the asking price is too high for us and, I suspect, every other team.”
The Pirates are said to want two premium prospects for Vazquez, players who are either ready to play in the major leagues now or next season, along with a lower-tier prospect.
A scout from an American League team said, “It’s hard to give up any of your best young major league-ready players this time of year because you might need them for the pennant race and postseason. I think the Pirates have a better chance to get what they are looking for during the offseason."
The Dodgers are among the teams interested in Vazquez and the Pirates want infield prospect Gavin Lux as part of a trade package. A source with knowledge of the Dodgers’ thinking said Los Angeles is reluctant to part with Lux and would likely only do so in a one-for-one trade.
Baseball America rated Lux as the 10th-best prospect in the game earlier this month. The 21-year-old is tearing up the Pacific Coast League with Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting .474/.553/.918 with eight home runs in 23 games since a promotion from Class AA Tulsa.
The Dodgers selected the left-handed hitting Lux in the first round of the 2016 amateur draft with the 20th overall pick. Some Dodgers’ people believe Lux will be their starting second baseman by the end of the season, with Max Muncy shifting to first base and first baseman Joc Pederson moving to the bench.
Also factoring into a potential Vazquez deal is that the Mets are making closer Edwin Diaz available in trade talks. Teams may find the Mets are seeking less in return for Diaz than the Pirates are for Vazquez.
“I think Diaz is a probably a more realistic target,” the AL scout said.
Vazquez, who has been selected to the last two All-Star Games, is also highly valued because of his reasonable contract. Beyond this season, he has two year and $15.5 million on is four-year deal that also includes club options for $10 million in both 2022 and 2023.
Also on the trade front, Corey Dickerson is back in the Pirates’ lineup for the first time since being removed from last Friday’s game against the Mets in New York because of discomfort in his left groin. Dickerson has been hampered by the groin problem for nearly three weeks.
The Pirates would like to trade Dickerson because he is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. However, teams are wary of dealing for him because of the injury risk.
If I were a betting man -- and I'm not anymore -- I'd say Vazuqez is still with the Pirates when they return home Friday night to play the Mets at PNC Park. From all indications I'm getting, no team is ready to meet the Pirates' high demand.
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