Report: Rays have had preliminary talks about Scherzer, Bryant

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The Tampa Bay Rays could make another big splash before the July 30 trade deadline.

After acquiring designated hitter Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins, the Rays have had preliminary discussions with the Washington Nationals about three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and the Chicago Cubs about 2016 National League MVP Kris Bryant, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The defending American League champions aren't known for acquiring high-priced players, but they could include more talented prospects from their deep farm system if a trade partner eats some salary, Passan notes.

However, Scherzer's contractual situation will be tricky to navigate for both the Nationals and any team that acquires him.

The right-hander is in the final season of a seven-year, $210-million contract, though he's not actually being paid a salary this campaign. The last three years of Scherzer's deal - worth $105 million - are deferred, and he's set to make $15 million annually from 2022 to 2028.

Scherzer, who turned 37 years old on Tuesday, is reportedly open to being traded before Friday's deadline. He appears to be most interested in playing for a West Coast team and has the ability to veto any trade due to his 10-and-5 rights.

Teams interested in acquiring Scherzer believe the Nationals could agree to a deal within the next 48 hours to help work through his no-trade clause, reports The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Bryant, meanwhile, is making $19.5 million this season and will also hit free agency when the campaign concludes. He's been involved in various trade rumors throughout the past two seasons.

Chicago already traded outfielder Joc Pederson and reliever Andrew Chafin in the past two weeks, and it's expected to continue making deals.

Scherzer is 7-4 with a 2.83 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 105 innings for the Nationals this season. Over the course of his 14-year career, the eight-time All-Star is 182-97 with a 3.19 ERA and 2,926 strikeouts in 2,462 1/3 innings.

Bryant, a four-time All-Star, is hitting .269/.356/.500 with 17 home runs, 19 doubles, and 50 RBIs in 91 games. He's also a versatile defender, playing third base, first base, and all three outfield positions this year.

Report: Rays have had preliminary talks about Scherzer, Bryant
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