Gray, Verlander and Darvish in the spotlight on MLB deadline day

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Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish each have the potential to help a contending team down the stretch, and any of them could be traded before the MLB trade deadline.
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Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros during their MLB game at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, on July 30, 2017. The Tigers won 13-1.

As the hours tick down to baseball's trade deadline, three standout pitchers remain at the center of attention.

Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish each have the potential to help a contending team down the stretch, and if any of them are traded on Monday, it would certainly spice up what has been a fairly pedestrian stretch of deals so far. The non-waiver trade deadline is at 4pm EDT.

"Right now, it is business as usual until someone tells me something different," Verlander said after pitching six scoreless innings in Detroit's 13-1 win over Houston on Sunday. "The trade deadline can be a crazy time, because teams can come out of the woodwork, but I'm just keeping the status quo."

There has been plenty of movement over the past couple of weeks, with Jose Quintana, JD Martinez, Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera all having been dealt. A handful of talented relievers also switched teams, but in the run-up to this year's deadline, no really big names have been traded, like Cole Hamels in 2015 or David Price in 2014 and 2015.

That could all change on deadline day. Gray's strikeout rate is the best it has been since his debut season in 2013, and at 27, the right-hander is younger than Verlander and Darvish. Verlander's trade value is harder to assess because of his age (34) and his big contract, but he was a contender for the Cy Young Award as recently as last year. A team like the Dodgers — who have certainly been willing to spend — could be a reasonable fit for him.

The 30-year-old Darvish allowed 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings against Miami on Wednesday — not exactly an encouraging audition for any potential suitors. That raised his ERA from 3.44 to 4.01, but Darvish said afterward he'd been tipping pitches and could easily fix that problem.


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