Both players can dramatically alter a team's playoff chances. They can also hurt a team if a deal backfires. With a few big names on the market, the MLB will be the cause for a lot of water cooler discussion.
Who will improve their team in the second half?
Who will be starting a fire sale?
With 33 consecutive scoreless innings, now is the time to trade Ryan Dempster.
Like right now. This very moment, before he goes out, gets shelled and his value drops.
Dempster is the hottest pitcher on the market right now and the rumors are swirling. He has been a rock in the rotation for the Chicago Cubs all season. Too bad he didn't have any run support in the majority of his games. It took him 10 games and 3 losses, before he got his first win.
In his last five though, he has gotten 6.4 runs on average. Pretty good. He's making the most of it too, with his scoreless innings streak at 33.
Any playoff contending team with pitching needs have to contact Theo Epstein.
That includes the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and few others.
The Cubs have a good and very tradable pitching staff. Mainly Dempster and Matt Garza have the most value. Garza has experience pitching in the playoffs with the Tampa Bay Rays. That could be a big factor to most contenders that feel Garza would be an important addition.
Dempster, 35, could be a great rental for the rest of the season, as he has kept runs down and his team in the game. He's reached the sixth inning or later in all but two of his 15 games pitched so far. This is big for teams looking to conserve their bullpen and not overkill them before the playoffs.
He's first in the NL in ERA (1.86) and third in WHIP (1.02).
Dempster is a very valuable trade piece and the Cubs need to act on this now before the market for him goes down with a bad outing. The Cubs would be smart to get as many prospects, or cash, or whatever they can get for Dempster now while the iron is hot.
Because lets face it, despite their recent success, there's not many winning seasons ahead for Cubs fans and management to look forward to.
Justin Upton looks over his shoulder for a possible trade in the near future.
Justin Upton is in the midst of a very subpar season. Especially for the talent Upton possesses.
That doesn't stop the trade rumors though.
The Diamondbacks are 6.5 games out of first place in the NL West, and could be looking to move Upton. They are having a disappointing season as well and could be major sellers at the trade deadline.
Despite the tough season Upton is enduring, he can be a major factor for plenty of power-hungry teams out there. If he can put it together during the second half, which I think he can, Upton will be a dangerous player.
He possesses great power, good speed and good fielding skills. All things teams can use during a playoff run.
Upton is batting .271 with only 7 home runs and 38 runs batted in. Not the season many expected out of him considering his 31 home runs last season. In the month of July he is really struggling, batting .186 with zero home runs and 3 runs batted in.
If I'm the Diamondbacks, I don't cave and make a trade. He's too young and too good to give up on now. He will be a big role player for many years to come in Arizona. Arizona has a good future ahead of them, and trading Upton could truly derail that.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could be a suitor for Upton. They are looking for a big bat and Upton could surely provide that. According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Pirates had scouts in Chicago watching Upton over the weekend.
With Upton having a down year, Pittsburgh could get him a lot cheaper and avoid giving up a major prospect. If Arizona is willing to throw money in the deal as well, it could help pay Upton's salary and push the trade over the edge.
This could be a great deal for the Pirates in my eyes. Yes they'd owe Upton and McCutchen a ton of money in the near future, but that's a problem I wouldn't mind.
Another team that could be a major player in the Upton sweepstakes are the Toronto Blue Jays. They have a player in Adeiny Hechavarria, that seems to interest the Diamondbacks. The Diamonbacks have a bunch of young outfielders, so if their interest is more towards other positions, the Blue Jays could offer a better deal.
According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Atlanta Braves could be interested in Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke. The only snag could be the unwillingness to trade new All-Star Michael Bourn. Bourn provides speed, defense and a solid bat at the leadoff spot.
Something the Braves would like to hold on to, and the Brewers would like to acquire.
The thing about Greinke is, while extremely talented, it would cost way too much to acquire his services. He is one of the top pitchers on the market, however with his known anxiety issues, will he be able to handle a pressure-packed playoff run? Especially if he is traded to a big-market team.
A team would have to give up the farm to get Greinke; with Greinke's late inconsistency, it might not be worth it.
Milwaukee is eight games out of first in the tightly contested NL Central and seems likely to move Greinke. According to Jon Heyman, the Brewers are reportedly willing to offer Greinke around a $100 million dollar contract over 5 years. It's unlikely though, that he will accept that deal and pass on free-agency.
This seems to be a recent trend over the past few years with the Brewers, they're willing to offer their stars big money: and they reject it. With exception to Ryan Braun.
Winning seems to be more of a necessity to Greinke than the money. If you remember, he turned down a $100 million dollar deal from the Nationals two years ago, to only approve a trade to the Brewers. He felt the Brewers had a better chance of winning than the Nationals did.
If only Greinke went to Washington. Wow. That would be scary, like Friday the 13th the movie scary.
Strasburg, Greinke, Gonzalez, Jackson, Zimmermann. Yikes.
Greinke really dodged a bullet with that one, huh?
The Miami Marlins have a nice new ballpark, a young team, a fiery manager and could begin their fire sale of players any day now.
They have under achieved this season and sit in fourth in the NL East, three games under .500. Their star-power hitter is on the DL and their closer has struggled. The shortstop they signed to a big deal in the off-season is batting only .264, after winning the batting title last season. Ozzie Guillen is in the news again, after comments he made about Bryce Harper.
The Marlins might have a chance to make the playoffs this season.
The upcoming days of July will tell all. If the Marlins can put together something they may stay put. But, according to Buster Olney, the Marlins would be willing to part ways with players like Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Johnson and Omar Infante to name a few.
This could dramatically impact the NL East and any team that can steal Stanton or Johnson.
There is a huge need around the MLB for an ace type pitcher, and Josh Johnson could surely fill that need. Yes he isn't having the greatest season coming back from injury, but he still has great stuff and can be a dominant pitcher that you may be able to get for low-cost prospects and players.
I don't see why they would ever consider trading Stanton.
With a nucleus of him, Jose Reyes and Hanely Ramirez, the Marlins have a shot to be a good team. They just need some seasoning. With all the hoopla surrounding the Marlins following their big move, new stadium and player signings, it will take time to get it all together.
The Texas Rangers are one of the best teams in the majors at this point of the season. Shoot, they could be considered one of the best teams in general after back-to-back World Series appearances. That doesn't stop them from being major players in the latest batch of trade rumors.
The Rangers have been linked to every player from Justin Upton to Cole Hamels. They have a good amount of young talent they'd be willing to part with and would like to bolster their rotation and maybe add another bat.
Their lineup is pretty stacked, but they want to add bench depth, especially at backup catcher. An upgrade over Yorvit Torrealba is a must, mainly with Mike Napoli wrestling with some injuries.
If they can add a player of Justin Upton's caliber, the Rangers could once again be heading back to the World Series. He would add another power bat in the lineup if he can turn his season around.
Upton wouldn't be a rental player either, being he's under team control till 2014. He's owed between $9.75 and $14.5 million over the next three season, but with the possibility that Josh Hamilton might leave for free-agency, they should take this chance.
They are also looking into players like Zack Greinke, Matt Garza and Cole Hamels to improve their rotation. With Derek Holland just coming off the DL, Yu Darvish being inconsistent and Matt Harrison being their best starter to date, the Rangers needs to add an ace at the front of the staff.
They need to do what the Brewers did a few years ago, acquiring CC Sabathia around the deadline, and making a big push in the second half. They didn't win it all, but this Rangers team is far better than Milwaukee was then.
If they can add one of these players they are likely to give up a star prospect. One player that may be untouchable is Jurickson Profar. Other than him, Mike Olt seems to be a popular name. His numbers have risen and he has become an interesting prospect on the rise. If the Rangers can get Greinke to opt in long term or get Upton in a deal, then they need to make a move and include Olt.
The Rangers have a lot of thinking to do. If they are able to make a deal for Greinke or Hamels, I would do that over an Upton deal. Pitching wins games and the Rangers don't have a Cliff Lee or C.J Wilson this year.
Are Matt Harrison and Yu Dravish reliable starters in the postseason? Who knows.
Hamels has shown his ability to win in big games and Greinke is a big-time pitcher.
Rangers, it's your move.