Sport: 4 MLB deadline deals that should totally happen but probably won’t

Here are the 20 players most likely to switch teams before the MLB trade deadline

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MLB's annual trade deadline can be a dizzying firestorm of real, reported rumors and utterly baseless speculation. What follows here is only the latter.

It's fun to try to connect dots and find new homes for the players frequently discussed in trade rumors, and while all this stuff changes quickly - any of these guys could get dealt within minutes of this post getting published - this represents merely one man's effort to identify sensible deals for a handful of MLB buyers and sellers.

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Here we go:

1. Justin Verlander to the Dodgers for Brock Stewart and D.J. Peters

4 MLB deadline deals that should totally happen but probably won't© AP 4 MLB deadline deals that should totally happen but probably won't

It's hard to say how the Tigers will operate moving forward without late owner Mike Ilitch, who was known for his dedication to winning now, sometimes at the cost of longterm success. And Verlander's situation is tricky: He had a great year last year but he's been shaky in 2017, he has a full no-trade clause he'd need to waive, and he's owed at least another $56 million through the 2019 season.

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There's been little to link the Dodgers to Verlander, but the guess here is that the Los Angeles club can better shoulder the payroll hit than many other competitors for his services, and the Dodgers have made a habit in recent seasons of using their financial flexibility to add players without trading away the farm. In Verlander, they'd add a fairly durable arm to their stable of veteran starters. And by taking on his full salary, they could probably get him for less, in terms of young players, than other 2017 contenders.

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Even by the silly standards of an exercise like this one, it's completely silly to speculate about which young players will get traded in deadline deals because teams all have their own internal assessments, and the guys the Tigers value most in the Dodgers' system might not be the same as the ones Baseball America or the Dodgers value most. I picked Stewart and Peters somewhat randomly, and mostly to illustrate the idea that the Dodgers would not need to part with their top guys for Verlander if they're willing to take on his salary. But Peters, a Class A Advanced outfielder, does look like the type of righty slugger the Tigers always seem to covet.

2. Sonny Gray to the Nats for Victor Robles et al

Sonny Gray (USA TODAY Sports Images)© USA TODAY Sonny Gray (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Though Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has been willing to part with prospects for proven commodities, the club has been understandably reluctant to move top prospect Robles. But Sonny Gray, despite a rough 2016 campaign, might be the most valuable guy on the block this year because he's still on his rookie contract and will remain under team control at a reasonably low cost through arbitration through the 2019 season.

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Stephen Strasburg is expected to return from the elbow injury that recently landed him on the disabled list, but Nats' fifth starter Joe Ross is done for the year after Tommy John surgery. Adding the Athletics' ace could give them a postseason rotation of Max Scherzer, Strasburg, Gray and Gio Gonzalez, which would almost certainly be the strongest in the league. The Nats have had a lot of regular-season success and little luck in October, and bringing on Gray - even at great cost - makes the club appear far more likely to capitalize on Bryce Harper's final seasons before he hits free agency after 2018.

3. Yonder Alonso to the Red Sox for less than you'd think

Yonder Alonso (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)© USA TODAY Yonder Alonso (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Alonso's having a breakout season after reworking his swing in the winter, but he's a pending free agent and it's not clear if the A's would risk giving a qualifying offer in the offseason to a 30-year-old first baseman with all of one good season under his belt. The Mets got a fairly unheralded minor league reliever in exchange for Lucas Duda - a lefty-hitting first baseman and pending free agent just like Alonso - so the guess here is that the market is light for corner bats.

Aaron Hicks' return comes at perfect time for Yankees

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The Sox, meanwhile, could use a little more offensive thump, and first baseman Mitch Moreland owns a putrid .467 OPS since the middle of June. Alonso has also cooled off a lot since the middle of that month, but he's been at least a touch better than Moreland, and, again, doesn't seem like he'll cost a whole lot. It's a buyer's market for sluggers, and Boston could use one.

4. Yu Darvish to the Yankees for Estevan Florial and Jorge Mateo

(Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)© USA TODAY (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Again, I have no idea which Yankees prospects the Rangers might value, and there hasn't been a lot to connect Darvish to the New York club. But though it would seem foolhardy for the Yankees to give up too much in terms of young talent to make a push for 2017, GM Brian Cashman's recent retooling left the club flush with promising prospects. Guys like Florial and Mateo don't land at the top of the Yanks' prospect lists, but the Yankees should not - and should not need to - trade the likes of Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier on behalf of a season in which few expected them to stay in contention this long.

They're only 1/2 game back of the Red Sox entering play on Friday, though, and adding Darvish would give the Yankees a deep rotation to go with their strong lineup and their recently revamped bullpen. Darvish is coming off a real lousy outing and has not been as dominant this season as he has been in the past. He's set for free agency after the season, and the Yankees' depth suggests they can bear the cost of the rental.

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Related slideshow: 2017 MLB season (Provided by photo services)

AP source: Marlins sign agreement to sell to Jeter group .
A person familiar with the deal says the Miami Marlins have signed an agreement to sell the team to a group that includes former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter. The person confirmed the signing to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the Marlins have not confirmed the agreement. The person said the Marlins signed it Friday night.Another person familiar with the agreement said Friday that Jeter would be a limited partner in the group led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman. That person said Major League Baseball was told owner Jeffrey Loria will receive about $1.

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