As a bidding war progresses, according to reports, over three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, teams with World Series ambitions may be focusing their attention on a potential second choice: Jose Berrios.
Inquiries and offers to the Twins for the two-time All-Star "spiked" on Wednesday, two days short of Friday's trade deadline, according to a major-league source. Three National League West contenders — the Giants, Dodgers and Padres — are all believed to be pursuing Scherzer, according to MLB Network's Jon Paul Morosi, and the Yankees and Mets were reportedly interested but Scherzer, who has veto rights, is reportedly reluctant to play in New York.
That leaves some of the most aggressive trade partners in baseball likely to turn to other options as the deadline approaches, with Berrios — enjoying his best season yet, with a 3.48 ERA and 1.044 walks/hits per nine innings — considered the best possible alternative.
Berrios, earning $6.1 million this season and in line for a contract at least twice as large next season, cannot become a free agent until after the 2022 season, making him more valuable to potential suitors, and thus more costly to acquire. The Twins have not indicated they have any plans to move their most reliable starting pitcher, but a strong package of prospects, particularly pitchers, could convince them.
In addition to Berrios, Michael Pineda is a potential trade target, along with reliever Taylor Rogers and shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Yankees were interested in outfielder Max Kepler as well, but those talks likely died with New York's reported acquisition of Texas outfielder Joey Gallo on Wednesday.