MLB Trade Rumors: Handicapping the Favorite to Land Top Impact Targets
Contending teams are seeking out valuable pieces to solve their teams' respective playoff puzzles, and the MLB rumor mill is running on all cylinders. But while the wish lists are easy to make, getting the sellers to agree to the best compensation in return is a far tougher battle.
Prospects always help an organization, and while it can be hard to part ways with an established member of a 25-man roster in favor of a 20-year old who hasn't yet seen Double-A action, general managers are more forward thinking than we can comprehend.
It's quite possible we may not see these players change clubhouses in the coming weeks, but as the July 31 trade deadline nears, there's no doubt that we'll continue to see these names in the headlines.
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With starting pitching in such high demand this time of year, it's a surprise that Wandy Rodriguez has yet to be dealt. As Rodriguez's contract winds down, you'd think the odds of him moving would increase.
He'll be a free agent after 2013, and with the Astros not in a position to contend anytime soon, the time to move him and look to build depth in the farm system could be now.
The Baltimore Orioles have been noted as a team of interest with Rodriguez. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports the two teams have been in contact regarding a potential deal.
After years of failing to come close to contending, the Orioles finally have the makings of a team that could make some waves, and getting a deal done for a top-flight starter certainly wouldn't hurt.
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In his first season with the San Diego Padres, Huston Street has shown why he's one of the best relievers who could be available at this summer's trade deadline, with a 2-0 record and ERA hovering just south of 1.00.
With a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Street could represent a valuable late-inning option for a team in need of help in the back end of its bullpen.
In late June, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported the Mets had inquired about Street, and while a deal hasn't yet come to fruition, Street could possibly yield enough prospects in return to make a deal worthwhile for both sides.
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It's not altogether a surprise that the Chicago White Sox find themselves in AL Central contention in 2012. But with the Detroit Tigers taking up much of the attention leading up to the season, they did come in somewhat under the radar.
ESPN Chicago reports that the team may be interested in acquiring Ryan Dempster. However, the team could be better served by holding onto prospects and hedging their bets that holes in the rotation will work themselves out.
A team like the Atlanta Braves may be a more likely option for Dempster, but it seems like other pitching options on the table will need to shake themselves out first.
Update: In what was thought to be a completed deal sending Dempster to the Braves, reported by numerous sources, has turned out a "fabrication." The Chicago-Atlanta deal is by no means dead however, as the two teams continue to work in a "holding pattern."
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The Miami Marlins were busy this offseason with the signings of Heath Bell and Jose Reyes, and they continued that action this summer by recently trading for Carlos Lee.
The new confines of Marlins Ballpark haven't been entirely friendly, though, as the team finds itself struggling to contend in the strong NL East and could possibly be sellers this deadline.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has noted that the Tigers could be a fit for infielder Omar Infante, and while it's hard to believe that the Marlins ownership would want to send the message that they're giving up on the season, the organization can't afford to turn away from offers that make sense.
Update: Omar Infante, along with Anibal Sanchez, is officially returning to Detroit, as a deal for Jacob Turner has been completed.
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Having been a part of trade talks for nearly a year now, it's almost a surprise that Chicago Cubs fireballer Matt Garza has yet to find his way out of the Windy City.
With a better than 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2011, and striking out nearly a batter per inning this season, Garza remains an appealing target for potential suitors.
Garza has been involved in trade rumors all season, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports told Jonah Keri in a Grantland podcast that a handful of teams are still interested in the right-hander.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may be one of the more interested teams at this stage, as ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine points out they've shifted their focus away from fellow Cub Ryan Dempster.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of baseball's best stories in 2012. They currently find themselves sitting 10 game above .500 and 1.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the NL Central lead.
They may be looking for help in the outfield, and while Justin Upton could be an attractive option, Jon Heyman tweets that the Pirates likely aren't willing to part with the prospects it'd take to get a deal done.
The New York Yankees, however, may be a more likely option to pull the trigger on a deal of this caliber, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out. It may still be a long shot, as the team could wait until the offseason to see the help, but I don't think anyone would be terribly surprised to see the Yanks make another big move.
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Cole Hamels is set to become one of the top free-agent targets this upcoming offseason, though the Philadelphia Phillies appear poised to do everything in their power to make sure the proceedings don't get that far, as ESPN's Jayson Stark notes.
The 28-year-old California native has enjoyed his seven-year stint with the Phillies, making three All-Star appearances including this season's.
With the Phillies sitting well behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East, you had better believe they'll sell him at a high price if their efforts to re-sign him don't pan out and are not satisfied with the progress of negotiations.
Odds (to re-sign): 2-to-1
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The Minnesota Twins have been waiting for what seems like ages to see Francisco Liriano return to his pre-Tommy John surgery form.
Now that he's showing just how nasty his slider can be, Twins GM Terry Ryan just might be looking to pull the trigger on a deal to move him from Target Field.
A 15-strikeout, one-walk performance just a couple weeks back followed by another strong outing recently certainly won't hurt his value.
The latest news from Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports is that the Angels are taking a long look at Liriano. If the right package appears, LA would be well-positioned to take advantage, as the Twins won't likely be keeping him around long term.
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The Colorado Rockies invested a great deal of money in Michael Cuddyer this offseason in hopes that he'd revitalize their offense. And while he's done that, it hasn't translated to wins, as the Rockies find themselves 17.5 games out in the NL West.
While Danny Knobler of CBS Sports points out that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be interested in bringing in Cuddyer, the Rockies could very well price him out of their range.
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With a 5.5-game lead in the AL West, the Texas Rangers definitely seem primed for another postseason appearance. But they may have bigger things in mind as they look to overcome two consecutive World Series defeats.
The Rangers have the 10th-best team ERA in baseball and rank in the top third of most other pitching metrics, yet they are still looking to add a top-flight pitcher to the rotation to ensure they don't leave anything on the table.
As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out, the team has set its sights primarily on Cole Hamels, but would consider Zack Greinke instead if Hamels isn't a possibility.