MLB Trade Scenarios: Zack Greinke and Every Team's Top Available Pitcher
Almost every team this season thinks they can make the playoffs.
With the addition of the second Wild Card, more teams are in the hunt for a postseason berth. On July 7, 27 of 30 teams are within seven games of playoff spot, and 18 are within just three.
One problem with the new arrangement, though, is that most teams will consider themselves "buyers," and there will be far fewer big names available at the July 31 trade deadline.
Baltimore Orioles: If Anyone, Jake Arrieta
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The Baltimore Orioles lead the AL East. On June 7. And are going to be buyers at the trade deadline. No, none of that is a typo.
The Birds' success has come from their pitching, which has been excellent all-around.
Their starters, middle relief and closers have all been top-notch, and it's hard to envision any of them being cut loose.
The only one who has struggled enough to be let go but has enough upside to attract interest is Jake Arrieta.
He's young, but a Michael Pineda-style "prospect-for-prospect" move wouldn't be a huge surprise.
Boston Red Sox: Josh Beckett
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Josh Beckett has been excellent since he got shelled on Opening Day.
With the exception of one bad start in mid-May, the righty has been superb.
However, that doesn't mean the Red Sox won't listen to trade offers, as Beckett is still seen as the ringleader of the "beer and chicken" circus that engulfed the team last season.
New York Yankees: No One
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It's hard to see New York trading away any pitcher, or even a pitching prospect.
They will be in the hunt for the AL East title or a Wild Card berth, and their greatest area of need is pitching, both in the starting rotation and in a bullpen missing two closers.
Tampa Bay Rays: Joel Peralta or James Shields
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The Tampa Bay Rays do not get attached to players, especially relievers.
That's why Joel Peralta is a trade chip on a team loaded with pitching talent.
With a K/BB ratio of almost five, he's had good swing-and-miss stuff.
Of course, the Rays wouldn't be averse to a blockbuster trade involving one of their big-name starters, with James Shields one name that could come up next month.
Toronto Blue Jays: They Could Be Buyers
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In the only division in which each and every team is above .500, the Toronto Blue Jays could be competitive for a Wild Card berth, either this year or next.
They are probably one veteran starter and one more bat away from being a solid challenger, but GM Alex Anthopoulos won't want to dismantle what he's built.
Chicago White Sox: Gavin Floyd
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If the White Sox can keep up their winning ways and stay atop the AL Central, they will want to keep everyone they have.
But if they fall back to Earth and the disappointing Detroit Tigers get their act together, Gavin Floyd is a viable trade chip.
In the offseason, both Boston and Baltimore were interested, says CBSSports' Danny Knobler, and the latter almost landed him.
Floyd has hurt his trade value with four consecutive terrible starts.
Over that stretch, he has pitched 19.2 innings and allowed 26 runs, all earned, on 37 hits and eight home runs. His ERA has more than doubled, from 2.53 before those four games to 5.32 now.
Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez
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If the Indians fall away and Chicago and Detroit take over the division, closer Chris Perez could find himself being one of the most attractive options at closer.
Cleveland is still a little away from competing seriously and need some help with their starting rotation.
Detroit Tigers: If They Turn It Around, No One
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The Detroit Tigers have been a major disappointment so far, but with a solid-on-paper starting rotation and one of the best 3-4 combos in the game, they should be okay.
If they turn things around, they won't want to trade away any of their pitchers.
Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Sanchez
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Jonathan Sanchez has not been nearly the pitcher the Royals thought they would be getting when they traded Melky Cabrera to San Francisco in the offseason.
Battling a biceps injury, Sanchez is 1-2 with an ERA north of six.
That said, though, if he pitches well in his return, the Royals wouldn't ask for the moon, making him one of the more affordable options in July.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano
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The Francisco Liriano trade rumors have been circling for years, but as he gets closer to being a free agent, it only becomes more likely that the Twins, who are mired in another terrible season, would be willing to pull the trigger on a deal.
Almost any contender would be willing to take a flyer if Minnesota doesn't ask too much.
They can't afford to, as Liriano is having a bad year.
Los Angeles Angels: No One
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The Angels have a great rotation and a struggling (but good on paper) lineup.
Their biggest need is to acquire a reliever and shore up that relief corps.
Oakland Athletics: Grant Balfour
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Los Angeles is in need of upgrading their bullpen, but as Jon Heyman tweeted, it's difficult to find sellers right now.
Of course, Oakland would be one such team, though they might be less willing to trade him to a division rival.
Seattle Mariners: Jason Vargas
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Obviously the Mariners' biggest trade chip is former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, but considering that he missed a start earlier this week, there could be concerns about his health.
Also, he seems content in Seattle, having signed a five-year deal prior to the 2010 season.
Jason Vargas, then, is probably Seattle's most likely option for a trade. He's relatively inexpensive, has a 3.64 ERA and leads the league in wins.
Texas Rangers: Mark Lowe
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The Texas Rangers might be the best team in all of baseball and are probably the favorites to win the World Series right now.
However, they aren't perfect.
The Rangers need a right-handed outfielder and, as CBS' Jon Heyman suggests, they might be willing to shop Mark Lowe or Scott Feldman.
Feldman's ERA is over seven, so Lowe probably has more value, even as a reliever.
In 20 appearances, only three Rangers relievers have been more effective, with a 3.22 ERA.
Atlanta Braves: Jair Jurrjens
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A demotion to the minor leagues, a drop in velocity and control issues have seen Jair Jurrjens' trade value crash through the floor in the last 12 months, but he has pitched well since being sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Miami Marlins: None
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The Miami Marlins could very well reach the playoffs in their first season after their total makeover.
They are not about to trade away a pitcher, although a package of prospects could be sent away to try to land a bat.
New York Mets: RA Dickey
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The New York Mets have been one of the biggest surprises so far this season.
They are competitive in the NL East and have shared the lead in the division as recently as a few days ago.
However, if by the deadline they're falling out of contention (and with the league's best record in one- and two-run games, a losing streak wouldn't be too much of a surprise), they may want to trade a piece.
Dickey is a free agent after this season and has a team option for 2013, and is putting together the best year of his career.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels
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Injury issues aside, Cole Hamels is a top-of-the-rotation pitcher and is only underrated because he pitches behind Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
The Phils' season has not gone well.
They are last in the NL East, a game below .500 and have lost their last five.
They desperately need help in the infield and in the lineup, and Hamels could fetch a pretty penny.
The Los Angeles Dodgers could be one team willing to give up a decent package to acquire the lefty.
Washington Nationals: John Lannan
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The last few years have seen the Washington Nationals go from obscurity to "that team with Stephen Strasburg" to playoff contenders.
Largely, they have performed well on the back of their rotation, which has been one of the best in baseball.
That doesn't mean they wouldn't give up a pitcher, though.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that both the LA Dodgers and Colorado Rockies could be interested, though Lannan's salary could be a sticking point.
Chicago Cubs: Matt Garza
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Chicago Cubs are willing to trade anyone on their roster except Jeff Samardzija.
The most attractive trade chip, though, would of course be Matt Garza.
The righty is 2-4 with a 4.10 ERA this season, the worst mark since his rookie year if he finishes the season like that.
However, teams know how he has performed in the past, with a 3.72 ERA from 2007 to 2011.
Cincinnati Reds: Jose Arredondo
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The Cincinnati Reds are in with a real shot of winning the NL Central for the second time in three seasons, with both St. Louis and Milwaukee taking big steps back without their slugging first basemen.
But they might look for a left-handed bat, perhaps even off the bench, and could send away a reliever like Jose Arredondo, who has a 2.10 ERA and WHIP just a tick above one.
Houston Astros: Wandy Rodriguez
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The Houston Astros are a terrible team that is going nowhere for the next few years.
That situation makes Wandy Rodriguez very tradeable.
Jon Heyman writes that Rodriguez could be the New York Yankees' second choice if a trade for the Cubs' Matt Garza doesn't go their way.
Milwaukee Brewers: Zack Greinke
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The Milwaukee Brewers would clearly love to ink their ace to a long-term extension.
However, if the talks break down, he becomes a trade option thanks to the team's struggles this season.
The drawback for a trade is Greinke's reported unwillingness to pitch for a big-market team because of a social anxiety disorder.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Erik Bedard
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Erik Bedard was traded from Seattle to Boston last season, and if he were dealt at the deadline again, he would be pitching for his fourth different team in 13 months.
That suggests he has probably struggled, but this season, he has surpassed the Pirates' expectations.
The Bucs' lethargic lineup have held him to a 3-5 record, but his 3.12 ERA shows he has pitched much better than his three wins suggest.
St Louis Cardinals: No One
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Much like the New York Yankees, the Cardinals are contenders in need of pitching, not in a position to give it away.
Either they need to acquire one or just hope their present pitchers can perform better.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Saunders
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The Diamondbacks have a fairly decent farm system and have some good pitching prospects coming up through the ranks.
Then there are the rumors that they would be willing to trade Joe Saunders, who has a one-year deal.
He has a 3.55 ERA this season, and Arizona might let him go cheap to another contender, such as St. Louis, to make room for one of their young prospects.
Colorado Rockies: No One
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Los Angeles Dodgers: Ted Lilly
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The LA Dodgers are involved in the rumors about Matt Garza and John Lannan, so it's clear they are seeking to acquire pitching talent rather than trade it away.
It's unlikely, but if the NL's best team fall apart and they want to move some pieces, Ted Lilly, with a year and a half left on his contract, could be a possibility.
San Diego Padres: A Few Options
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The San Diego Padres are going nowhere again, and even their pitching, which had been strong in recent years, hasn't been too great.
Still, there are a number of possible options, such as Edinson Volquez, Jeff Suppan or lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, that could be minor pickups for a team like the Yankees or Cardinals down the stretch.
San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner
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Madison Bumgarner is one of the game's best young pitching talents, and the Giants wouldn't say no to some offensive help.
He would cost a fair amount, but he would make the biggest splash in the trade waters on July 31.
He is 27-23 with a 3.13 ERA in his short career.