Brad Mills/USA TODAY SportsR.A. Dickey leads the Braves in innings pitched in his first season in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves are “thinking about” picking up the $8 million option on knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for next season, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heyman adds Dickey has cleared waivers, but the Braves are not all that interested in trading the 2012 National League Cy Young winner.

Dickey, 42, has pitched a team-high 141.0 innings with a 3.89 ERA in 23 starts after signing with Atlanta last winter. The right-hander has pitched at least 200 innings on five occasions.

Picking up the option on Dickey, who has a $500,000 buyout, would give the Braves a durable starter at a reasonable price. Dickey, however, has yet to publicly commit to returning in 2018.

“I haven’t really kicked it around. Just trying to get through this season. It’s everything I can do to just stay in the moment with it at this point,” Dickey told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week when asked about the contract option.

-- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Left-field duty for Lonnie Chisenhall?

August, 16, 2017
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Lonnie ChisenhallRick Scuteri/USA TODAY SportsPrimarily a right fielder, Lonnie Chisenhall is set to shift to left field with Jay Bruce now on the team.

With right field now belonging to Jay Bruce, Lonnie Chisenhall is expected to be part of the Cleveland Indians’ left-field mix when he comes off the disabled list.

Chisenhall, sidelined since the middle of July with a left calf strain, played right field Tuesday in a minor league rehab assignment for Triple-A Columbus. He is expected to play two games in left field and get some time in center field, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.

Chisenhall has been used primarily in right field in recent seasons, but Bastian says “a far more realistic option” right now is in left field, where Michael Brantley landed on the disabled list last week with a sprained ankle. Austin Jackson, Brandon Guyer and Bradley Zimmer are also part of the left-field mix.

Bruce was acquired last week in a trade with the New York Mets.

Manager Terry Francona says Chisenhall also has expressed a willingness to play third base or first base, reports Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com.

- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Blue Jays unlikely to trade Marco Estrada?

August, 15, 2017
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Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via APToronto reportedly has little interest in dealing starter Marco Estrada after an unknown team claimed him on revocable waivers.

The Toronto Blue Jays reportedly are in no rush to deal starter Marco Estrada this month.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Blue Jays "have little interest" in trading Estrada even though Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that an unknown team recently had claimed the veteran right-hander on revocable waivers.

Toronto and the mystery team -- which SB Nation's Chris Cotillo indicated may share the same division as the Blue Jays -- have 48 hours from when the waiver claim was awarded to work out a trade. If no deal materializes, Toronto either can allow the interested team to absorb Estrada’s contract or instead pull him back.

Estrada, 34, sports a 4.85 ERA this season, but has pitched better of late -- posting a 2.08 ERA over his last four starts. His 11.4 percent swinging-strike rate currently is above his career average and he's demonstrating usual velocity, but opposing hitters have rattled him for a .305 batting average on balls in play this year.

The native of Mexico is earning $14.5 million in the final year of his contract, although he's due roughly $3.5 million the rest of the way. Estrada won’t be eligible for a qualifying offer this winter because he already has signed one previously with the Blue Jays, who enter Tuesday 3.5 games out of the second American League wild card slot.

-- Nick Ostiller

Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsSeattle has reportedly made "multiple" calls to the Twins regarding veteran right-hander Ervin Santana.

The Seattle Mariners have reportedly been eyeing Minnesota Twins right-hander Ervin Santana for some time, but the possibility of a deal has become less likely because of changes in the standings.

According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, talks between the two clubs are "on hold" now that the Twins have surpassed the Mariners in the American League wild-card race -- essentially transforming Minnesota into a buyer rather than a seller.

Seattle is in desperate need of starting pitching with James Paxton recently joining Felix Hernandez on the disabled list. Santana, 34, owns a 3.28 ERA across 24 starts for the Twins this season. He's due $13.5 million in 2018 with a club option for 2019 and a vesting option for 2020.

It's unclear if Minnesota has placed the 13-year veteran on revocable waivers this month, a necessary action for any trade to be consummated.

-- Nick Ostiller

Cubs v GiantsJohn Hefti-USA TODAY SportsSan Francisco has reportedly toyed with the idea of converting the left-hander into a reliever amid his struggles this season.

San Francisco Giants left-hander Matt Moore has struggled mightily this season and his job security as a starter may be in jeopardy.

According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants have considered moving Moore and his 5.71 ERA to the bullpen.

The 28-year-old owns a 3-12 record and 1.56 WHIP across 135 2/3 innings (24 starts) for San Francisco, possibly the result of a dip in his velocity this season. Moore has made just two relief appearances in his 131 big league games and they both came back in 2011 when he was a highly-touted prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Moore is making $7 million this year and is under team control through 2019. His contract includes a $9 million team option and a $10 million team option in each of the next two offseasons, respectively.

The Florida native did pitch well in his most recent start on Sunday, though, striking out nine Washington Nationals while allowing two runs over seven innings.

-- Nick Ostiller

Curtis GrandersonAP Photo/Kathy KmonicekThere have been differing reports regarding demand for the veteran outfielder after he cleared waivers earlier this month.

New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson cleared revocable waivers earlier this month, meaning he is eligible to be traded to any team. But there have been conflicting reports as to the level of interest he is drawing from around the game.

Marc Carig of Newsday reported on Sunday that the 36-year-old veteran continues to generate minimal demand on the market. However, Mike Puma of the New York Post indicated that interest in Granderson had "picked up" as of Monday.

Granderson sported a .122/.175/.211 slash line with one home run and six RBIs on May 2, but has picked up his production in recent months. Since plummeting to rock bottom, he has elevated his numbers to .271/.392/.572 with 16 home runs and 41 RBIs.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has been open about his willingness to move veterans like Granderson for prospects or salary relief. New York entered Monday at 53-62, 16.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East and 11 games out of a wild-card spot.

Granderson is in the final season of a four-year, $60 million contract. He is a lifetime .254/.340/.474 hitter with 310 career home runs.

-- Nick Ostiller

Rumor Central: Astros still looking for bullpen help

August, 14, 2017
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Quinn Harris/Icon SportswireFrancisco Liriano has posted a 6.75 ERA in four appearances with the Houston Astros.

In the past few weeks, the Houston Astros have made a couple moves to attempt to bolster their bullpen, but they may not be done.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros are still looking to add a left-handed reliever, even after the additions of Francisco Liriano and Tyler Clippard to the team's struggling bullpen.

Liriano came to Houston before the trade deadline and was immediately moved to the bullpen, as the team sought to improve its left-handed options. However, after struggling with a 5.88 ERA as a starter for the Toronto Blue Jays, Liriano has not improved much in four appearances with the Astros, allowing four hits, three walks and two runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

The Astros acquired Clippard, a righty, from the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, marking the pitcher's third team this season after starting off as a member of the New York Yankees. He was one of the top relievers in baseball through May, but the wheels came off starting in June when he put up an 11.17 ERA for the month. Clippard rebounded with a 1.80 ERA across 11 appearances with the White Sox.

Houston's bullpen ranks 19th in the majors with a 4.26 ERA this season. After Liriano, left-handed relievers Tony Sipp (now on the DL) and Reymin Guduan have struggled to post 6.47 and 5.54 ERAs, respectively.

--Sam Henken

Miguel GonzalezTom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesMiguel Gonzalez has a 4.85 ERA, but the White Sox right-hander had a strong outing earlier this week against Houston.

The Baltimore Orioles are among the teams that have expressed interest in Chicago White Sox starters Miguel Gonzalez and Derek Holland, reports Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago.

The Orioles have won 15 of their past 24 and are a surprising 1 1/2 games back in the race for the second American League wild-card berth. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports said Baltimore was "actively seeking" a starting pitcher before the July 31 deadline, but it failed to bolster a staff that ranks 29th in the majors in rotation ERA.

There is no guarantee either pitcher would provide a notable boost. The 33-year-old Gonzalez is 6-10 with a 4.85 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 18 starts, although he did work eight strong innings in a win against the Astros on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Holland owns a 5.25 ERA and a career-worst 1.58 WHIP in 23 games (22 starts).

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports the White Sox would like to work out trades for Gonzalez, Holland and reliever Tyler Clippard, all of whom will be free agents this offseason.

-- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Brewers still interested in Ian Kinsler?

August, 10, 2017
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Steven King/Icon SportswireA four-time All-Star, Ian Kinsler could be part of an August waiver deal.

The Milwaukee Brewers remain interested in Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, but there are several roadblocks in front of any possible waiver deal, reports veteran writer Ken Rosenthal.

Rosenthal reports the Tigers have placed Kinsler on revocable trade waivers, which expire Thursday afternoon. Kinsler would have to pass through every American League team and then every National League club behind Milwaukee for the Brewers to win the claim.

Rosenthal adds the Brewers are one of 10 teams on Kinsler’s no-trade list.

Kinsler is hitting just .250 this year, but owns a .275/.343/.448 slash line over 12 major league seasons. The four-time All-Star is owed approximately $3 million for the rest of this season. He has a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout.

In Milwaukee, the 35-year-old Kinsler would represent a second base upgrade over Jonathan Villar, who is hitting just .213 with a .272 OBP, and Eric Sogard, who is 3-for-34 since coming off the disabled list in late July.

Prior to the July 31 deadline, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Brewers were considering Kinsler as a second base option.

-- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Promotion for Dansby Swanson?

August, 9, 2017
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Dansby SwansonDale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsDansby Swanson is likely headed back to the Braves, even after his struggles at the plate continued at Triple-A Gwinnett.

An injury to Johan Camargo appears to be the ticket back to the major leagues for Dansby Swanson, even if the top pick in the 2015 draft didn't exactly earn it.

In a freak accident, Camargo suffered a bone bruise in his right knee while jogging onto the field before the Atlanta Braves played the Phillies on Tuesday. Camargo was hitting .292 with three homers and 19 RBIs and took over as the Braves' starting shortstop after Swanson was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett on July 27 to work on his swing.

Swanson was removed from Gwinnett's game on Tuesday, an indication that a promotion was imminent, and would likely regain his job as the starting shortstop, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

Swanson was hitting just .213 with a .287 OBP at the time of his demotion and the struggles continued at Gwinnett, where he had hit .237 in 11 games.

Swanson's problems follow an impressive 2016 debut in which he posted a .302/.361/.442 slash line in 38 games following an August call-up.

Jace Peterson replaced Camargo at shortstop on Tuesday night.

-- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Andrew Cashner in line for nice raise?

August, 8, 2017
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Andrew CashnerAP Photo/Charlie RiedelAndrew Cashner has a 3.36 ERA over 18 starts in his first season with the Rangers.

Andrew Cashner gambled on a short-term deal last offseason, and might have positioned himself for a lucrative payday this winter.

After his ERA ballooned to a career-high 5.25 with the Padres and Marlins last season, Cashner agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the Texas Rangers in November. The 30-year-old has been limited to 18 starts because of two stints on the disabled list, but has restored some of his value with a 3.36 ERA in those starts.

The timing could not be better, given that the quality of available free agent starters will be wide open once you get past Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. "Cashner falls into the next tier, and could look awfully shiny to a team in need of starting pitching," writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.

Cashner, a Texas native who pitched collegiately at TCU, would presumably be open to remaining with the Rangers, who will have as many as three vacancies in their rotation, according to Wilson.

Cashner is 38-61 with a 3.36 ERA over eight seasons with the Cubs, Padres, Marlins and Rangers.

-- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Limited first base duty for J.T. Realmuto

August, 8, 2017
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J.T. Realmuto, Don Mattingly, Martin PradoStephen Dunn/Getty ImagesThe Marlins have another way to keep J.T. Realmuto's bat in the lineup.

J.T. Realmuto may make an occasional start at first base over the next few weeks, but his future with the Miami Marlins remains behind the plate.

Realmuto made his first career start at first base Sunday and belted his 13th homer in a 4-1 win over the Braves.

With Justin Bour on the disabled list with an oblique strain, the Marlins may give Realmuto a cameo at first base to keep his bat in the lineup, but the strategy will stop there. “Realmuto is one of the top catchers in the Majors, and the Marlins intend to keep it that way," writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.

Realmuto, who was back behind the plate Monday night against the Nationals, started all of two games at first base in his minor league career. He played two innings at the position on May 16 in a lopsided loss to the Astros.

"He's not going to be a guy over there three days a week or anything like that. He's pretty much our catcher,” manager Don Mattingly told reporters.

-- Doug Mittler

Rumor Central: Astros checked in on Justin Verlander?

August, 7, 2017
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Justin VerlanderDavid Manning/USA TODAY SportsThe Tigers say Justin Verlander is likely to remain in Detroit until the upcoming winter.

The Houston Astros called the Detroit Tigers about veteran ace Justin Verlander, but "nothing materialized," reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Verlander cleared revocable trade waivers last week, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

The 34-year-old Verlander can theoretically be dealt since he cleared waivers, which can be retracted if a team claims him. However, according to Nightengale, the Tigers say Verlander is likely to stay with Detroit until the upcoming winter. The right-hander has 10-and-5 rights, which means he has the ability to veto any proposed trade.

The Astros were among the teams interested in Verlander as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approached. Teams were deterred from trading for Verlander because of a high asking price and his expensive contract -- the six-time All-Star is owed $56 million over the next two years and has a $22 million vesting option for 2020 that's guaranteed if he finishes in the top five in voting for the 2019 American League Cy Young.

In 23 starts this season, Verlander is 7-7 with a 4.20 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He threw his third 10-strikeout game of the year in Saturday's 5-2 win against the Baltimore Orioles.

-- Alex Tekip

Rumor Central: Justin Verlander clears waivers

August, 4, 2017
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AP Photo/Carlos OsorioJustin Verlander is 6-7 this season with a 4.29 ERA and 126 strikeouts this season.

The trade deadline may have passed but Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander might still be on the move.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that the right-hander has cleared waivers, making him eligible to be dealt until the end of the season.

Verlander, 34, clearing waivers comes on the heels of the pitcher's name coming up often in rumors leading up to the deadline. Last year's American League Cy Young runner-up likely cleared because of his massive contract that pays a minimum of $56 million over the next two seasons, with a vesting option that would pay $22 million in 2020 if he finishes in the top five of Cy Young voting in 2019.

Many players, especially those with big contracts, are placed on waivers during August but can be pulled back if a team claims them. Since Verlander cleared waivers, he can be traded to any team, as long as he waives 10-5 rights, by way of having more than 10 years in the majors and more than five with his current team. If he's traded, he will be postseason-eligible as long as he is on his new team's roster by September 1.

Verlander is 6-7 this season with a 4.29 ERA and 126 strikeouts for a Tigers team that looks to be heading toward a full rebuild. Though his numbers have slipped this season, Verlander remains a constant source of innings -- he has topped 200 in all but one season since 2007 and looks likely to reach that threshold again this year.

--Sam Henken

Nick CastellanosSteven King/Icon Sportswire/AP ImagesNicholas Castellanos' future as the Tigers' third baseman is in potential danger following their acquisition of Jeimer Candelario.

Detroit Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos is open to changing positions if the team decides that new acquisition Jeimer Candelario is the better option at the hot corner in the future.

“I know what it is,” Castellanos told Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. “At the end of the day, I don’t care what happens or where I play. I just want to win. I don’t care if I’m playing third, I don’t care if somebody else is playing third, I don’t care if I’m playing first, right field or I pitch. Whatever makes the Tigers better.”

Candelario was traded to Detroit on Monday in the deal that sent catcher Alex Avila and reliever Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs. The 23-year-old is widely considered to be a major league-ready prospect with the potential to have regular playing time. He's currently with the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate in Toledo.

Overall, Castellanos has improved defensively since his arrival in Detroit, but has taken a step back this season, committing 15 errors, tied for a career high. Although the 25-year-old could be considered a liability at the hot corner, his bat should prove a case for him to stay in the Tigers' lineup on a regular basis in the future. Castellanos is slashing .261/.311/.432 with 59 home runs and 254 RBIs over five years in the majors.

GM Al Avila said acquiring Candelario had nothing to do with Castellanos and the Tigers don't have any plans to move Castellanos from third base at the moment. However, Avila also mentioned that Detroit envisions Candelario as a third baseman going forward.

Fenech notes right field as a potential option for Castellanos in 2018, as the Tigers don't have an everyday player at the position after dealing away J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fenech also mentions the possibility of moving Justin Upton from left field to right -- if he chooses to remain in Detroit, that is -- and having Castellanos play left. Castellanos patrolled left field early in his minor league career and has played nine games at the position, all of them when he was first called up in 2013.

-- Alex Tekip

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