We are more than a third of the way through the 2012 MLB season, and now that the draft is behind us, there are two big things on the horizon: the All-Star Game and then the trade deadline.
Even though the deadline is many weeks away, seeds for trade rumors are being planted, since there are already teams that are overachieving and struggling. After all, no one had the Baltimore Orioles or Detroit Tigers where they are now.
The latest trade buzz is centered around players, but there are other rumors of note.
The big thing about this year's draft was that the new CBA meant that signing players would be both easier and quicker, since there was a sliding scale for pay. So far, that is clearly the case.
Teams have locked up their players quickly, and that includes first overall pick Carlos Correa, whose Astros contract was for $4.8 million. If any high picks opt to go to college, we will know sooner rather than later.
It's not a trade rumor, but getting this out of the way now opens up more time for front offices to actually look at trades rather than handling these draft headaches.
Alfonso Soriano, at this point, is the lone piece between Theo Epstein being able to dive into complete rebuild mode, since he has the lone ridiculous contract left on the Cubs roster.
Soriano has stated that he's open to being traded since he wants to play for a contender, per the Chicago Sun-Times.
But it's not up to him; it's up to the other 29 teams if they want to take on even a third of the deal, which is a stretch for Soriano and his diminishing skills.
If you're a team that is struggling with pitching, why would you want a player who has no place on a major-league roster right now and has a 4.98 ERA in Triple-A?
Well, the Dodgers and Rockies seem to know something that we don't.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, both teams have engaged in talks with the Nationals, though the Rockies bowed out as the Nationals were asking too much (given that Lannan's in Triple-A right now, and all).
There's no question in my mind that Kevin Youkilis will be traded before the deadline. The question is simply to what team.
Earlier this month, it looked like the Arizona Diamondbacks could be one of the front-runners, as they could do a Youk-Joe Saunders trade.
Well, according to Steve Gilbert at MLB.com, there haven't been any recent talks between the two. It's a shame, because this does seem like a win-win, as both teams need to at least do something to improve in their divisions.
Starlin Castro has turned into one of the most exciting players to watch with the Chicago Cubs, so why would they consider trading him, especially since he's just 22?
Ken Rosenthal brought up the possibility, noting that the Cubs, of course, denied any possibility of that happening. I don't see it happening at all but, then again, I have seen crazier trades happen.
Given that many of the Houston Astros veterans have expiring contracts, I can't see them not being sellers at the deadline. The most intriguing situation is with Brett Myers.
He's been great as a closer, and suddenly many teams need closer help. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted precisely this, though Myers' salary makes him a tough one to trade.
Still, there are certainly contenders out there who may take a shot.
In his first seven games, Carlos Quentin has five home runs. He already has more home runs than everyone but Chase Headley, and he should surpass him with little difficulty.
According to Jon Heyman, Quentin is a prime trade candidate—but at the same time, he's the kind of player the Padres may take a shot at signing long term.
There are always teams that could use a power-hitting bat, even if it's just to platoon, so keep an eye on his stats.