Yankees target Sonny Gray, Jaime Garcia

MLB Buzz: Trade talk, deals and rumors

Zack Littell, the Yankees’ No. 22 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, has been discussed with the Twins in the Garcia talks, one source told MLB.com. Littell was scratched from a Double-A start on Saturday.

If Garcia is traded to the Yankees, his tenure with the Twins will last just one start. The Twins acquired him from the Braves last week, and he earned the victory Friday against the A’s by allowing three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.

Garcia's Twins debut

In recent days, the A’s most extensive trade conversations concerning Gray have been with the Yankees, sources said. Those negotiations continued Saturday, when the A’s decided to postpone Gray’s scheduled start on Sunday.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wants to add a high-end starting pitcher who will remain with the team beyond this year, in light of Michael Pineda‘s Tommy John surgery. Gray, under control through 2019, matches that description. Garcia is a free agent after this year.

An essential element of the Yankees’ two-pronged pitching pursuit is that their farm system is among the deepest in the Majors, providing Cashman with multiple avenues to meet the asking prices of the A’s and Twins.

For example, the Yankees likely won’t need to give up outfielder Clint Frazier in a Gray trade, because Oakland prefers the center-field defense of Class A prospect Estevan Florial.

While the Yankees and A’s have also spoken about Oakland first baseman Yonder Alonso over the past several weeks, it’s unclear if the Yankees remain interested in acquiring him. The Yankees already added a corner infielder this month, Todd Frazier, and are 8-1 since he joined the lineup.

The Gray trade, if completed, will be the first significant deal between the Yankees and A’s since July 2002, when a three-team trade sent then-Tigers ace Jeff Weaver to the Yankees. Ted Lilly (Yankees to A’s), Jeremy Bonderman (A’s to Tigers) and Carlos Peña (A’s to Tigers) were other notable players involved.

More trade rumors

• The Astros have scouted Gray extensively, and are expected to acquire another starter if he is dealt to the Yankees. Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn is among the options the Astros are discussing, sources said.

Lynn is one of the hottest pitchers in the Majors, with a 0.71 ERA over his last four starts, and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow knows him well. Luhnow was the Cardinals’ vice president who drafted Lynn with the No. 39 overall pick in 2008. The Astros and Cardinals are said to be comfortable trading with one another, sources say, despite the database hacking scandal that resulted in former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa pleading guilty to five criminal charges.

• The Brewers’ 5-10 record since the All-Star break is the second worst in the National League, and GM David Stearns likely needs to add pitching help for his team to have a chance of catching the defending World Series champion Cubs in the NL Central. The Brewers and Marlins are engaged in ongoing discussions about Dan Straily, which could result in his Sunday start being postponed in a manner similar to Gray.

• This has been said before, but the left-handed-relief market is about to move. Sources say the Astros, Dodgers and Nationals are among the most serious suitors for the same group of pitchers: the Orioles’ Zach Britton, the Padres’ Brad Hand, and the Tigers’ Justin Wilson.

Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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