Some rumors are more fun in theory than reality.The Milwaukee Brewers are reportedly thinking outside the box to address their middle infield woes. According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi http://www.bluejaysfanproshop.com/authentic-roy-halladay-jersey , they have tinkered with the idea of acquiring Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and moving Travis Shaw to second base.While it's unclear how seriously they will pursue this plan, Shaw began taking grounders at the unfamiliar position earlier this month. The 28-year-old, who played first base earlier in his career with the Boston Red Sox, has never tried the spot in a big league game.There would be a method to Milwaukee's madness if Shaw's relocation solved the club's first base logjam. Unless the playoff contender really wants to go crazy and teach Eric Thames the hot corner, the Brewers should leave Shaw where he is.Batting .249/.309/.468 with four home runs in each of the last three months after an eight-homer April, Moustakas no longer merits the headache. Especially not when other second basemen are available.The Twins' Brian Dozier and the Mets' Asdrubal Cabrera are both pending free agents on teams out of the playoff hunt. Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar or Miami's Derek Dietrich is more likely to play a passable second than Shaw. If the Brewers pay a steeper price, they could possibly land more than a rental in Miami's Starlin Castro, Kansas City's Whit Merrifield or Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett.They are also in the market for starting pitching, and one team can solve both problems.Verdict: FictionKyle Gibson, Twins Infielders Draw Milwaukees Attention4 of 7Kyle Gibson is an interesting trade candidate enjoying a breakout campaign.Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesMorosi also reported that the Brewers are smitten with Kyle Gibson in addition to the Minnesota Twins' infielders, presumably Dozier and Escobar. General manager David Stearns would hit this deadline out of the park by landing Gibson and one of those position players.The Brewers have received minus-0.4 WAR from their second basemen, so even a toiling Dozier represents a significant upgrade. His career wOBA climbs from .326 to .346 from the first half of the season to the second half, so they can hold out rational hope that the 31-year-old regains his rhythm during the final months of his contract.Escobar may conversely regress from a .357 wOBA 46 points above his career average, but a stadium upgrade will prolong some performance uptick. Last year's production (.254/.309/.449, 1.7 WAR) would nevertheless boost the Brewers' lineup considerably at second base or shortstop.If they are comfortable with having him handle shortstop, they can even ask for both.Unlike Dozier and Escobar, Gibson is under contract beyond 2018. Yet the righty, who turns 31 later this year, has registered a 3.42 ERA after back-to-back seasons with a 5.07 clip. Cashing out a year early would land the Twins a better haul.Attaching him to Dozier and/or Escobar could potentially garner an elite prospect such as Corbin Burnes, who would replace Gibson in their 2019 rotation, if not immediately. Milwaukee's nine losses in its last 12 games ought to trigger a noteworthy deadline deal.Verdict: FactPirates Pursuing Keone Kela5 of 7The red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates have their sights set on Texas Rangers reliever Keone Kela.Ron Jenkins/Getty ImagesEight games below .500 on July 7, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 3.5 games away from a wild-card spot at 53-51. An 11-game winning streak snapped Wednesday has added another buyer to the hot stove.Ranked 12th with a .318 wOBA and 18th in rotation ERA (4.25), they're perfectly competent but unspectacular in most facets. While their 4.34 bullpen ERA dips to 21st on MLB's leaderboard, they're seventh in strikeout percentage and eighth in FIP.A rolling late-inning unit of Richard Rodriguez, Edgar Santana, Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez might qualify as the closest thing they possess to a distinguishable strength. That makes their interest in a bullpen upgrade somewhat confusing.The Pirates have "legitimate interest" in Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Despite his injury history, a 25-year-old with a 3.28 ERA, 29.5 strikeout percentage and three more full seasons under team control won't come cheap.It's tough to that imagine a fringe contender鈥攅specially one that cut costs by moving Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole during the offseason鈥攚ill sacrifice significant prospects for bullpen help. The Pirates are more likely to hedge their bets with a cheap rental such as Kela's fellow Rangers reliever Jake Diekman.Their infield also needs a power spark if they're serious about maintaining a late playoff push.Verdict: FictionTigers Wont Trade Michael Fulmer or Nicholas Castellanos6 of 7The Detroit Tigers wont trade Nicholas Castellanos this summer unless theyre blown away by an offer.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesCertainly not contenders Dalton Pompey Jersey , the Detroit Tigers are poorly aligned to sell this summer. A master con artist couldn't dupe anyone into taking Miguel Cabrera or Jordan Zimmermann, who will make a combined $55 million over each of the next two seasons. Outside of Victor Martinez, a 39-year-old playing out his final year with an $18 million salary and .265 wOBA, only Jose Iglesias and Francisco Liriano will depart for free agency this offseason.Their top pitcher and position player aren't going anywhere. The Athletic's Jayson Stark said they won't entertain offers for Michael Fulmer, and Nicholas Castellanos will also stay put "barring a huge overpay." On Wednesday, Stark clarified that while they will at least listen to inquiries on both, a deal remains improbable.Fulmer, acquired three summers ago for Yoenis Cespedes, was enduring the worst season of his early career (4.50 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) before going on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Trading an injured 25-year-old ace yet to enter his arbitration years would make no sense.There's a better case to make for Castellanos. They could fetch a mighty return for a 26-year-old batting .298/.351/.505 with 15 homers and a career-high .365 wOBA, especially in a market devoid of big-name bats. Detroit is doubtful to construct a competitive team next season, his final year under team control.If they don't field offers for him now, they should act with more urgency during the offseason. Superstar slugger J.D. Martinez did not draw a massive trade return months before hitting the open market, so Detroit should learn its lesson and avoid delaying the inevitable.Yet Tigers general manager Al Avila has enough leverage to stand pat unless he's blown away with a remarkable offer, so he'll likely do just that. He should at least dangle starting pitcher Mike Fiers and closer Shane Greene, who can bolt after 2019 and 2020, respectively.Verdict: FactPhillies Interested in Adam Jones7 of 7The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly considering long-time Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.Greg Fiume/Getty ImagesThe Baltimore Orioles, the summer's biggest sellers, have already sent Manny Machado and Britton packing. They could continue their extensive teardown by trading the heart of their franchise.According to Fancred's Jon Heyman, the Philadelphia Phillies have turned their attention to Adam Jones after missing out on Machado. Although also a free agent this winter, the outfielder can veto any trade using his 10-and-5 rights earned by spending the past 11 seasons in Baltimore.Heyman cited Jones' clubhouse leadership as a selling point for the Phillies. Per ESPN.com, they have MLB's youngest active roster at an average age of 26.7 years old.Yet Jones, who turns 33 on Aug. 1, no longer looks like a significant on-field upgrade. He's batting a mundane .276/.303/.420 with his lowest wOBA (.312) since 2008. While Heyman called Jones "one of the best there is" defensively, the metrics don't support that claim.In terms of Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), he's been MLB's worst defensive outfielder since the start of 2017.Besides, Philadelphia's Nick Williams has made significant progress this month by batting .333/.412/.573 with an elevated walk (10.6) and depreciated strikeout (16.5) percentage. Perhaps the Phillies only need a fourth outfielder or left-handed platoon partner, and Jones may not approve a deal to a team where he must embrace a limited role.This seems like a deal more likely to occur later in August if Williams regresses, Philadelphia widens its NL East edge and Jones is more amenable to joining any interested contender. Too many variables remain to sign off on this pairing before the non-waiver deadline.The Cleveland Indians http://www.bluejaysfanproshop.com/authentic-roberto-osuna-jersey , tied to Jones along with Philadelphia by Morosi, can offer Jones steadier playing time and a higher probability of playing October baseball.Verdict: FictionNote: All advanced statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Contract information obtained from Cot's Baseball Contracts. Through the grapevine has come a hint that the designated hitter may become a universal reality in Major League Baseball in the not-too-distant future.Hurry up. Oh, for the love of David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas, please hurry up.Per Ken Rosenthalof The Athletic andJeff Passanof ESPN, the MLB Players Association has been pushing for the DH鈥攚hich has been saving American League pitchers from hitting for themselves since 1973鈥攖o come to the National League for the 2019 season.With pitchers and catchers due to report for spring training next week, it's probably a bit late to adapt such a seismic change for the coming season. The same goes for some of the other big ideas (e.g., a 20-second pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for pitchers) being kicked around by the MLB and the MLBPA.Still, it's significant that the concept of a universal DH is being pushed by the players. At last check, it was the owners who were doing the pushing."I think that is a continuing source of conversation among the ownership group, and I think that the dialogue actually probably moved a little bit," MLB commission Rob Manfred told reporterslast June.As far as baseball fans are concerned, this is where the bickering begins.Anyone who's pro-DH is most likely an American League fan with fond memories of the great sluggers who've called the position home over the last 46 years. Anyone who's anti-DH is most likely a National League fan who much prefers the bunts, double switches and other strategic elements that come hand-in-hand with pitchers hitting for themselves.Others, presumably, just can't bear to leave behind the #PitchersWhoRake lifestyle. This group includes at least one actual pitcher who rakes:Noah Syndergaard NoahsyndergaardUniversal DH?!?!? qNLnKHFAS6No matter your preference, you're not wrong. That's the thing about preferences; they're nice and subjective.But if we're going to shift this discussion over to what's best for baseball, a fundamental problem with the anti-DH position arises. Once you get past "Because I like it," there aren't many objective arguments in favor of pitchers hitting for themselves.The big one in favor of a universal DH is that pitchers are insultingly bad at hitting.This was true even as far back as the 1800s, when an article inSporting Life(h/t SABR's John Cronin) posited: "Every patron of the game is conversant with the utter worthlessness of the average pitcher when he goes up to try to hit the ball."Here's a graph that shows it's only been getting worse since the AL and NL started rubbing elbows in 1901:The central statistic here is a FanGraphs specialty called "weighted runs created plus," which measures total offensive value in relation to the league average of 100.As that blue line shows, pitchers weren't close to league-average hitters to begin with. By the time the AL adopted the DH in 1973, they were already barreling toward zero. Now they're at a point where even a 0 wRC+ would be a feat worthy of champagne and trip to Disneyland.The trouble is, pitchers aren't trained to hit anymore. The DH is a staple of organized baseball in high school, college and the minor leagues. Only the National League is holding out.Jacob deGrom is not made for hitting.David Banks/Getty ImagesThis could have changed as far back as 1980. In August of that year, representatives from the 12 National League clubs convened to hold a vote on whether to adapt the DH. The idea was rejected 5-4 with three abstentions, yetthat marked notable progress toward a universal DH."I'm not surprised at today's vote," NL President Chub Feeney said at the time, per theAssociated Press."It's gotten fairly close from time to time Roberto Alomar Jersey , but it fluctuates. The vote was 10-2 the last time we took it, about a year ago."In the ensuing years, however, the NL and MLB as a whole had bigger fish to fry. Such as:colluding against free agentsin the 1980s, getting in and out of multiple work stoppages between 1980 and 1995 and cleaning up after the steroid erain the mid-2000s.Nowadays, however, a universal DH can help MLB with two of its biggest challenges: livening up games and preventing the first work stoppage in a quarter of a century.Strikeouts have been going up for years, and that there were more strikeouts than hits in 2018 is a dire warning that balls in play can't make a comeback on their own.Which brings us to another graph:The strikeout rate has been higher in the National League, but not because the NL's actual hitters are more prone to punchouts than AL hitters. As the yellow dotted line shows, hitters from both leagues tend to have roughly the same strikeout rate. The problem, naturally, is the pitchers.It wouldn't reverse it, but letting real hitters bat for pitchers in the NL would help stem the growth of MLB's strikeout rate, thereby reintroducing some action into games.If anyone's worried about this potentially leading to longer days at the ballpark, well, don't. Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight looked into that in 2014 and didn't find anything.As to the work-stoppage threat鈥攚hich Rosenthal reported is "palpable"鈥攑utting the DH in the National League would theoretically make it easier for players to regain some of the riches that owners have been hoarding in recent offseasons.The number of clubs with a safety blanket for aging sluggers would double. That could lead to stronger markets not only for the likes of Nelson Cruz, but for super-long-term investments such as the Bryce Harpers and Manny Machados of this world.Younger sluggers could also benefit, as there would be more job openings for bat-only prospects (e.g., New York Mets slugger Peter Alonso).Further, neither NL clubs nor AL clubs visiting NL parks would have to worry any longer about pitchers getting hurt doing things other than pitching. Maybe it wouldn't have a huge impact in the long run, but that would be one less hurdle in between pitchers and good paydays.Beyond the allegedly entertaining strategic elements of NL-style ball, the biggest casualty of a universal DH would be the end of any true differentiation between MLB's two leagues. But since this "casualty" would nix unfair advantages for one league or the other in interleague games and the World Series, the mourning period would be brief.As hinted at by that oneSporting Life quote from the 1891, the DH was a good idea long before it officially came into being in 1973. At this juncture, it's never looked more like a necessary idea.So, again, please hurry up. Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.