With the halfway point of the 2012 season upon us, we're starting to gain some clarity in terms of understanding who may be buyers at the trade deadline, and who will be clearing salary in an effort to gain youth.
A number of high-profile players will be mentioned in various circles as possible trade chips, and while some will be more of a bargain for buyers, others will cost the acquiring team a heftier price.
Here are some veterans that could find themselves sitting in a new dugout sooner than you might think, and might be better off for doing so.
Throughout much of the offseason it seemed like there were relatively constant murmurs about Matt Garza being shipped out of Chicago prior to the start of the 2012 season.
It's gone back and forth more than once since then, as the notion of both trades and extensions have been considered, but a trade may be a best case scenario for Garza as he looks to the future.
Having been a part of trade talks since last summer, it's almost surprising that Houston Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez has yet to find a new home.
With free-agent options getting the most attention this past offseason, Rodriguez's best chance at moving is likely nearing as the trade deadline approaches—something that may be a real possibility, given the Astros' willingness to eat half of the $36 million left on his contract.
On paper, the Philadelphia Phillies could have one of the best rotations in the game toeing the rubber on a nightly basis, with pitchers Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee holding down the front of the rotation.
That could take on a very different look in a matter of months as Hamels is a trade target and Joe Blanton may not be far behind.
Blanton started in only eight games in 2011 for the Phillies, and the Boston Globe had reported that the team is willing to eat some of Blanton's contract in order to work a trade, indicating that even though he may not be the biggest target out there, he certainly is movable.
The Chicago Cubs probably would have loved to rid themselves of Alfonso Soriano's inflated contract a number of times over the past few seasons, but as he continues to inch closer to the end of his deal, it appears a move may be a possibility.
Soriano has been solid in 2012, batting .280 with 41 runs batted in so far, and the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays appear interested in pursuing the option of making a move for the Cubs slugger.
Sitting just ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates atop the NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds are hoping to return to the postseason in 2012, where third baseman Scott Rolen may or may not be joining them.
Rolen has played in 41 games with the Reds thus far but has struggled to a .184 batting average and has seen his power numbers decline right along with his average.
With the possibility of the Cincinnati Reds going in a different direction at third base, the 37-year-old Rolen could be in a new home sooner rather than later.
In acquiring Jonathan Sanchez from the Giants to take a place in their rotation, the Kansas City Royals gave up Melky Cabrera, who represented one of their more consistent offensive pieces in 2011.
They have a number of talented prospects poised to see significant time in 2012, and while they'll no doubt see their share of growing pains, the future is certainly bright.
If they don't see a possibility of keeping Sanchez around long-term, then it might be best to ship him off to a team in need of a solid starter for a postseason push in order to secure one or two pitching prospects to help with the rotation and/or bullpen.
The Minnesota Twins have been struggling mightily this season, and while much of the blame can be placed on the starting pitching, Carl Pavano has been doing everything in his power as the team's veteran presence to turn things around.
In the final year of his contract, Pavano is a veteran starter who has pitched in pressure situations and could be valuable to a team's postseason plans if he can come off the disabled list in stride and get back to form.
In the final year of his contract with the Chicago White Sox, you can't blame A.J. Pierzynski for being upset at his snub for this summer's All-Star game.
Given his performance in 2012 and the team's place atop the AL Central standings, it's hard to believe they'd consider trading their backstop, but since he may not be in the team's long-term plans, the change in scenery may do him some good as he winds down his career.
Having spent virtually his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, Jeremy Guthrie has had his share of both successes and struggles.
He's led the league in losses a couple of times in the past few years, and while it hasn't all gone as planned for Guthrie in Colorado, he could still represent a realistic option for some teams' rotations as they look to position themselves for postseason play.
Ryan Dempster's record this season certainly doesn't match up with his performance, as he's sitting at 3-3 but has managed an ERA of 2.11 and has been controlling his pitches with every outing.
A number of teams may be interested in his services should he become available, with the Atlanta Braves mentioned as a potential suitor.