Rumor roundup: Activity high as 4 ET Deadline nears

Rumor roundup: Activity high as 4 ET Deadline nears

Today's non-waiver Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and if Thursday's blockbuster deals were any indication, the final hours leading up to 4 p.m. ET should be thrilling.

MLB Network is airing live coverage of Trade Deadline throughout the day. To get you prepared for what figures to be a wild day in baseball, here's a look at the top rumors circulating around the league:

• A number of players figure to be on the move in the coming hours, and MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince offers his predictions on what today could bring, including the Yankees' pursuit of Padres closer Craig Kimbrel.

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says Kimbrel could be moving again, with the Yankees and Astros coming in as suitors. According to his report, New York was engaging in "overnight talks" about the 27-year-old while Houston is "still very much in the hunt as well."

Kimbrel, who has been an All-Star each of the last four seasons and has 30 saves this year with San Diego, was dealt from the Braves to the Padres in April. He is signed through 2017 with a team option for 2018.

• There were reports earlier in the day that the Mets and Reds were moving toward to a deal that would send Jay Bruce to the Mets, but ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the talks are losing momentum. However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested that the Mets will add a bat today, and there is a lot of talk connecting the Mets to Yoenis Cespedes.

• The Red Sox reportedly are trying to boost their starting pitching, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

Crasnick tweeted that Boston is looking for controllable starting pitching and has eyed Tyson Ross in San Diego and Carlos Carrasco in Cleveland. Ross -- whom the Red Sox reportedly like "a lot" -- is arbitration eligible in 2016, while Carrasco is signed through 2018 with team options in 2019 and 2020. Crasnick says Boston is operating "very quietly" in talks for pitching.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Cubs are also "among teams engaged in ongoing dialogue" with the Indians about Carrasco.

Buster Olney takes the concept one step further and tweeted late Friday morning that "there is some speculation" that a three-way deal between the Cubs, Red Sox and Padres could be in the works, saying there are "lots of pieces that fit."

The three teams' front offices, of course, are also all linked. The Cubs' contingent of Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein had success in Boston, and Hoyer also spent time in San Diego.

• The red-hot White Sox are apparently looking to build off of their recent push into the AL Wild Card race. CBS Sports reports that the White Sox have now expressed interest in Padres outfielder Justin Upton and Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. This falls in line with a report from USA Today earlier Thursday afternoon that the White Sox were "aggressively looking" to add a hitter to their lineup.

Both outfielders are believed to be readily available, with the Padres having already discussed a potential Upton deal with the Orioles earlier this week, and the Tigers reinforcing that they've become sellers by shipping Price to the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon. In addition to checking in on Upton, the O's have also reportedly expressed interest in Cespedes, though they are said to be unwilling to part with any of their top prospects.

• The Cubs are "aggressively trying" to move shortstop Starlin Castro, according to ESPN.com. This report comes one day after 21-year-old Addison Russell made his fifth career start at shortstop on Wednesday night. He's now appeared at shortstop in three of the last six games, though Castro started at shortstop on Thursday.

Though it's unclear which teams the Cubs have specifically discussed Castro with, they are believed to be in the market for pitching depth. The 25-year-old Castro, who has four years and $38 million remaining on his contract after this year, is hitting just .237 this season.

• The D-backs, who reportedly extended an offer Thursday night to the Reds for closer Aroldis Chapman, are no longer in the running, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. He tweeted Friday that the Reds' asking price "just became too exorbitant," taking Arizona out of contention.

The Astros, Giants and Yankees are among the other clubs that have been tied to Chapman in various degrees this week. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tweeted early Friday afternoon that "Houston ownership is interested in Chapman," but the Astros are also taking a look at Craig Kimbrel for back-end bullpen help.

• One night after their bid to acquire Gomez somehow fell apart at the last minute, the Mets are now reportedly pursuing Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Bruce has been one of the obvious names linked to the Mets, given their desire to land an outfield bat matched with the Reds' intent to move a number of their core veteran players. The report adds that Zack Wheeler would "most likely" be involved in any potential deal with the Reds, though the Mets are also still looking into other options.

• While Yovani Gallardo struggled on the mound against the Yankees on Thursday night, rumors surrounding the Rangers' right-hander were continuing to swirl off of it. CBS Sports reports that at least five teams have expressed interest in Gallardo, with the Cubs, Blue Jays and Dodgers considered to be making the hardest pushes. The report also mentions the Yankees, who placed Michael Pineda on the disabled list Thursday, as another potential destination.

The 29-year-old Gallardo racked up an impressive 2.62 ERA over his first 19 starts this year, but he has struggled since the All-Star break. Including Thursday's outing, he's allowed five runs in each of his three second-half starts, during which he has an unsightly 9.64 ERA over 14 innings.

• The Blue Jays made another splash Thursday morning by acquiring ace David Price from the Tigers, which furthers Toronto's position as a contender in the American League, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.

• The Astros also cemented their status as AL contenders with a bold trade for Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers. Houston is looking to make the postseason for the first time in 10 years, and the club might not be done dealing yet.

Video: Luhnow on the Astros acquiring Gomez and Fiers

The future is now for the Astros, explains MLB.com columnist Richard Justice, who adds that Houston is still shopping for another starter and could go after Padres right-handers Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner.

That falls in line with a Yahoo! Sports report early Friday morning that the Astros and Padres are working on "something big" possibly involving Kimbrel or Ross.

• Thursday night ended with a bang, too, as the Giants pulled off a trade for Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake. The deal bolsters San Francisco's rotation, but it cost the club its top overall prospect in right-hander Keury Mella, along with infielder Adam Duvall (No. 25).

Video: Haft breaks down Giants' trade for Mike Leake

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @paul_casella. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.