The 28-40 Houston Astros are open for trading as the July 31st deadline slowly approaches, and one name that has been tied to trade rumors for the better part of 12 months remains on the block.
Teams are now starting to do their due diligence on Rodriquez, who is 6-5 this season with a 3.29 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 95.2 innings. According to Morosi, the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants each had scouts in attendance for Rodriguez's last start—a 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals Tuesday in Houston.
Finally, it appears the market for Rodriquez is starting to heat up.
A talented left-hander with one of the better overall ERAs over the last couple of seasons, Rodriguez has scared some teams off with his rather large remaining contract. The 33-year-old will make $10 million in 2012, $13 million in '13 and also has a vesting option in '14 for another $13 million that becomes a player option if he's traded.
Even if sending scouts doesn't necessarily equal genuine interest, we think the five teams in attendance should all make a pitch to the Astros for Rodriguez:
New York Yankees
The Yankees are far from desperate for starting pitching, as they've likely had the game's best five-man staff over the last month. As Morosi noted, New York's staff has a 2.17 ERA in the month of June, which is tops in baseball.
But you can never count the Yankees out of any potential deal, and the four home runs Phil Hughes allowed Wednesday to the Atlanta Braves could get New York thinking. Keep an eye on Hughes as we inch closer to the end of July—Rodriguez could be a potential replacement down the road.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays have recently been hammered by injuries to their rotation, which opens up a spot for the team to add a guy like Rodriguez. Starters Kyle Drabek, Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchinson are all currently sidelined by injury.
Adding Rodriguez wouldn't likely take a major investment in terms of prospects unless the market really begins to take hold. If the Astros elect to wait it out on Rodriguez to increase the interest, the Blue Jays could get squeezed.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have three above-average starters in Ryan Vogelson, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, but All-Star Tim Lincecum (2-8, 6.19 ERA) has been a major let down in 2012. If he continues to struggle, the Giants may look to add Rodriguez as a way of masking some of his shortcomings this season.
To that end, Barry Zito (5-5, 4.35) is also replaceable in the rotation for a guy of Rodriguez's caliber.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are almost certain to adding pitching at the July trading deadline, with Rodriguez being one of the more attractive names on the short list. There's simply no good reason why Boston shouldn't consider Rodriguez heavily, especially considering his contract would keep him with the Red Sox for at least two years.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have four dependable starters in Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley. But fifth starter Ted Lilly is on the shelf for the foreseeable future, which opens up the club to pursue Rodriguez to fill that hole.