The MLB trade deadline is just a week away, and some rumors are already beginning to ring true—sort of—across the MLB landscape.
Monday likely marked the biggest splash thus far when reports surfaced that Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster had been traded to the Atlanta Braves. Those rumors began to dissipate when Dempster was seen in the Cubs clubhouse putting on his jersey and debunking the reports on Twitter.
Still, there appears to be a chance that the Dempster trade will go through, despite the rumor being squashed. The right-handed hurler must approve the deal, and there have been conflicting reports that he would accept a trade to the Braves.
But the upcoming MLB trade deadline isn't all about Ryan Dempster.
Several players are at the forefront of trade rumors, including big names such as the Brewers' Zack Greinke, the Phillies' Cole Hamels, the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton and the Marlins' Josh Johnson.
Speaking of the Miami Marlins, they shipped off right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante for right-handed hurler Jacob Turner and two minor league players in a deal with the Detroit Tigers. Not only this, but rumors have sprung that Hanley Ramirez is on the trading block as well.
The Marlins (45-51, 11.5 GB) are in a difficult position, as they are in the first year of their new ballpark but must risk an attendance drop by becoming "sellers" as the trade deadline approaches.
With so many games to make up and teams to jump in the standings, it appears as though the Marlins have taken on that risk and looked to build for the future.
The Milwaukee Brewers stand in a similar situation (44-51, 11.5 GB).
Like the Marlins, the Brewers entered the 2012 season with optimism, following a deep playoff run from a year ago. They also hold some key trade bait that includes the likes of Zack Greinke and late-relief man Francisco Rodriguez.
Unfortunately for the Brewers, along with their recent struggles have come the struggles of Greinke and K-Rod. On Monday, Rodriguez blew a three-run lead in the ninth against the Philadelphia Phillies, a performance that certainly does not bode well for his trade value.
Another team in even worse shape than the aforementioned Marlins and Brewers are the same Phillies (43-54, 14 GB) that rallied from three down Monday night. While known to have a formidable starting rotation, it’s been Cole Hamels receiving the most trade buzz.
But like the Brewers with Greinke, who was reportedly offered a contract of over $100 million over five years, the Phillies have been in talks with Hamels. Both players are set to become free agents at the end of the season, which could also diminish trade value.
The position player drawing the most attention has been Arizona’s Justin Upton. However, with the team climbing back into contention, Upton appears to no longer be involved in trade rumors.
While the Braves seemingly have a bead on Dempster, other teams that have been rumored to need help on the mound are the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians.
The Chicago White Sox recently bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Brett Myers from the Houston Astros, a team in all-out sell mode.
The only other newsworthy deal thus far involved the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. Ichiro was dealt to the Yankees for two minor league pitchers.
The Rangers, Orioles and Indians are all in playoff contention, but this brings up another controversy teams are faced with: Are they contenders or pretenders?
The extra Wild Card presents an interesting dilemma and may give teams the illusion that they remain in the playoff hunt.
Teams may argue that they are within striking distance, but with so many teams to leapfrog in the standings, they have to make the difficult decision of accepting defeat and throwing in the towel despite not even being 100 games into the season.
Of course, we are still a week away from the MLB trade deadline, and the rumors will continue to swirl. Sure, there’s bound to be more activity in the next week, and rumors will continue to float around the MLB landscape, but don’t expect to see as much action as in past years.