The health of a few possible trade candidates will ultimately effect the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
The Boston Red Sox and their outfield situation have been a popular topic while the Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein have publicly announced their shopping of righty Ryan Dempster.
At the end of the day, this is a business and no player is ever safe from being dealt.
Let's take a look at five guys whose health may impact the MLB trade deadline.
Jacoby Ellsbury broke out in 2011, and in 2012 he just broke.
Ellsbury was injured in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 13 and has been out since with a subluxed right shoulder, forcing the Red Sox to substitute a variety of outfielders due to injuries across the outfield.
The 28-year-old is set to become a free agent after the 2013 season and was seeking a long-term deal, but as Mike Axisa of MLBTradeRumors.com writes, the injury could hinder that process.
He can become a free agent after 2013. During the offseason, Ellsbury indicated a willingness to sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox but said he will leave negotiations up to Boras. MLBTR's Mark Polishuk suggested that a seven-year deal worth roughly $130MM could work for both sides, though that was predicated on another MVP-caliber season. The shoulder injury throws a wrench into that.
With that being said, it's not out of the question for the Sox to trade Ellsbury at the deadline.
As Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe writes, the Washington Nationals could be suitors for the center fielder.
But it all hinges on his health.
Ryan Dempster has been mentioned in multiple trade conversations this season.
But his recent placement on the DL with tightness in his right lat has put his trade value into question heading into the July 31 deadline, explains Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun-Times.
"He won’t be eligible to return from the DL until July 1 and would have only two potential starts before the All-Star break to prove his fitness, pushing a potential trade closer to the deadline."
Dempster has been the Cubs' best starter this season, sporting a 3-3 record to go along with a 2.11 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
Dempster's name has been linked to the Braves, Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox, to name a few.
In my opinion, Dempster will be dealt by the deadline, but he needs to prove his health before anything concrete goes down.
Bartolo Colon has beaten the odds for his entire career, and he has been decent so far in 2012, writes ESPN's Enrique Rojas.
In 15 starts this season, Colon has posted a 6-7 record with a 4.22 ERA, but was recently placed on the DL with a right oblique strain, an injury that he's dealt with before.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN (Insider Access required), the Oakland Athletics are open to dealing Colon, Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour at the deadline.
Of course, teams will want to see Colon return from the DL and get some solid innings in, especially given his injury, age and weight issues.
Colon was able to give the Yankees 164 innings in 2011 and has already provided the A's with more than 89 this season, and could be a viable option for a team in need of a back of the rotation starter.
It'd be an understatement to say that the Carl Crawford experiment in Boston has been a bust so far.
Crawford signed a seven-year, $142 million deal during the 2010 offseason and hit just .255 with 18 stolen bases in 130 games for the Sox in 2011.
To make matters worse, Crawford has missed the entire 2012 season with a torn UCL in his left elbow.
His disappointing performance could have him on the trade block, as the Red Sox have a number of outfielders who have come on this season.
Boston has started an MLB-high 25 different trios of outfielders, writes Jeremy Lundblad of ESPN Boston.
It'll be awfully difficult for the Red Sox to find a team willing to take on Crawford's salary, but hey, you never know.
It's never a good sign when your bosses question your performance or will to get onto the field; just ask Kevin Youkilis.
But that's exactly what happened to Arizona Diamondback's shortstop Stephen Drew when D-Back's managing partner Ken Kendrick called him out (via Yahoo Sports).
I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now, frankly. I, for one, am disappointed. I'm going to be real candid and say Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than on going out and supporting the team that's paying his salary.
Drew hasn't played since July 2011, when he fractured his right ankle, but he could possibly return back this week, just in time to prove his health before being dealt at the deadline.
Willie Bloomquist has filled in nicely for Drew this season, hitting .299 and committing just three errors at short.
With Arizona less than six games back in the division, they could be looking to make a move this July, and it could come in the form of Stephen Drew.
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