MLB Trade Rumors: 'Fact or Fiction' on 10 Hottest Deadline Rumors
With just six days until the 2012 MLB trade deadline is upon us, the trade rumors continue to swirl as each move that is made has a ripple effect on the rest of the market.
The most recent example being the Phillies re-signing of Cole Hamels, which could affect the availability of guys like Hunter Pence and Cliff Lee, but more on that ahead.
Here is a look at the 10 hottest trade deadline rumors right now, and my take on whether they will wind up being fact or fiction.
White Sox Will Deal Gavin Floyd, Use Prospect to Pull off Another Trade
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the White Sox are "eager" to move Floyd and could look to deal him for prospects, and then move those prospects along with some of their own for Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke.
This would be a bold move for a contending White Sox team, as they would likely have to make it with no assurance of the Brewers trading Greinke in turn.
Floyd missed much of July, but made his return on Monday and was solid through six innings of work so his health is no longer a sticking point. With John Danks still on the rehab trail and Phil Humber less than reliable this season, having a healthy Floyd in the rotation is an upgrade in itself.
However, if there were any GM willing to take a risk with a move like this it would be Kenny Williams. If he can find the right prospect package, one where he would not be overly disappointed if the Brewers balked on moving Greinke and they were forced to hang onto the prospects, I could certainly see him pulling the trigger on a deal.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. Only because I don't think the White Sox will be able to get enough for Floyd to be confident they can have a shot at Greinke.
The A's Will Be Buyers, Acquire a Shortstop
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports, the A's have shown some level of interest in Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar and even Phillies veteran Jimmy Rollins to upgrade a weak shortstop position.
The A's have been as hot a team as any in baseball, and that has left them in the rare position to buy at the deadline. They have a number of areas they could stand to upgrade, but none is more pressing than shortstop.
On the season, the A's have gotten a .186/.244/.285, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 40 R line from the shortstop position (from FanGraphs) with Cliff Pennington, Brandon Hicks and Eric Sogard seeing time there.
While Rollins does not appear to be anything more than a speculative candidate at this point, Escobar and Drew could both be a fit and likely wouldn't cost all that much to acquire.
Both come with a financial obligation beyond this season, as Drew has a $10 million option ($1.35 million buyout) for next season and Escobar is signed for $5 million next season with $5 million options for 2014 and 2015.
Fact or Fiction?
Fact. I think the A's wind up acquiring Escobar from the Blue Jays for next to nothing, as Toronto looks to dump his contract and clear the way for prospect Adeiny Hechavarria.
Giants Will Acquire All-Star Closer Chris Perez from Indians
According to a tweet from Danny Knobler of CBSSports, the Giants are looking to add bullpen help in the wake of Santiago Casilla's recent struggles. Further, it does not look like Francisco Rodriguez or Jonathan Broxton are options at this point.
Instead, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the team is interested in acquiring Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez.
Casilla has filled in well for injured closer Brian Wilson, that is until the calendar turned over to July. In eight appearances on the month, he has converted 3-of-7 save chances and posted a 5.14 ERA. That after going 21-of-23 leading up to July with a 2.70 ERA.
Perez, an All-Star each of the past two seasons, has been one of the game's best closers going 28-of-30 on save chances with a 2.89 ERA and 10.1 K/9.
As the Fox Sports report mentions, the Indians have a deep bullpen and Perez is set to earn a hefty raise in his final year of arbitration as his salary will likely be in the neighborhood of $7 million next season. So the Indians dealing Perez is by no means out of the question.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. Even with his salary set to spike and potential replacements in place, the Indians won't give up Perez cheap and I don't think the Giants will be willing to pay the price. If the Royals come down on their asking price for Jonathan Broxton, I think he is an option. Or else the team will simply hope Casilla can bounce back, with help from a terrific bullpen around him.
Rangers Will Acquire Josh Johnson from Aggressively Selling Marlins
According to a tweet from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, baseball people would be "shocked" if the Marlins don't wind up trading Josh Johnson and the Rangers are viewed as the favorites to land him.
Already in the market for starting pitching, the Rangers will no doubt step up their efforts to land an impact arm after the team recently lost Colby Lewis for the reminder of the season and could also be without Roy Oswalt whose bad back is once again an issue (according to ESPN).
Johnson has shown ace stuff in the past, leading the NL in ERA back in 2010, but he has battled injury problems of his own throughout his career.
The 28-year-old has been healthy this season, making 20 starts and going 6-7 with a 4.14 ERA and he has the added appeal of being controllable beyond this season as he's under contract for $13.75 million next season.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. I don't doubt the Rangers have interest in Johnson, but they have more interest in someone like Zack Greinke or potentially Cliff Lee and I think they will be willing to pay the price to acquire one of those guys. If I'm wrong and they miss out on a frontline guy, Johnson could certainly find his way to Texas.
Phillies Will Move Hunter Pence
According to a tweet from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, AL executives have indicated that they think the Phillies re-signing of Cole Hamels means that Hunter Pence (and Cliff Lee) are "pretty available."
I think it's safe to say that no one thought when the Phillies acquired Pence at the deadline last season that we would be talking about him potentially being moved again this year, but that is the position the Phillies find themselves in.
The 29-year-old is hitting .268/.336/.451, 17 HR, 58 RBI on the season and he will likely earn a raise from his current $10.4 million salary in his final year of arbitration this coming offseason.
After giving up a pair of top prospects in Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton to acquire him, the Phillies asking price will no doubt be high as they look to cut their losses.
Fact of Fiction?
Fiction. As mentioned above, I think the asking price for Pence will drive teams off. However, I do think the team could re-open trade talks in the offseason and move him before the start of next season.
Justin Upton Will Not Be Traded After All
According to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick has said that it is a "reasonable assumption" that Upton won't be moved. Kendrick went on to say he thought the team was better with Upton and that the trade talks had gotten more attention than they deserved.
Upton has been one of the most intriguing names on the trade market since he was first made "available" at the beginning of the month.
After all, it is not everyday that a 24-year-old, two-time All-Star is put on the trade block, and even though his numbers are down this season, he is still the type of player a team can build around.
Kendrick left open the possibility that the team could listen to offers again once the season ends, but for the time being his stance is that Upton will be staying in Arizona.
Fact or Fiction?
Fact. This is not the first time the Diamondbacks have been willing to listen to offers on Upton and I think he will be traded between now and next season's trade deadline. However, I do think he will be sticking around through the end of the 2012 season.
Chase Headley Will Replace Alex Rodriguez in New York
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, the market is very strong for Padres third baseman Chase Headley, and sources have indicated there is a "strong possibility" he will be dealt.
From the second Rodriguez was confirmed to be out for an extended period of time, the connection was immediately made between Headley and the Yankees.
However, Jon Heyman of CBSSports tweeted that the Yankees are "unlikely to trade what it would take" to acquire Headley.
The 28-year-old has hit .268/.361/.423, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 10 SB on the season and is under team control through 2014.
Heyman reported back in early July that as many as seven teams had shown interest in Headley, and that should only help in driving up the asking price.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. Headley will be moved, especially after the Padres pulled their other big trade chips in Carlos Quentin and Huston Street off the table with intention of re-signing them (Quentin has already done so). I just don't think the Yankees have the pieces to put together a better package than some of the other interested teams.
Cubs Won't Trade Ryan Dempster
According to a tweet from Buster Olney, the Cubs plan as of now is to hold onto Dempster and make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season so they can receive draft pick compensation.
The entire Dempster saga has been a huge headache for the Cubs, as they had perhaps the biggest slam dunk trade chip and now they may wind up holding onto him.
He was all but traded to the Braves on Monday, but things quickly fell apart starting with a tweet from Dempster himself saying that there was no trade.
It was later revealed that Dempster had invoked his 10-and-5 veto rights when he found out about the trade from the media instead of the Cubs, saying he felt blindsided according to tweet from Jerry Crasnick.
Talks have since resumed between the Dodgers and Cubs according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, but as of now things look to be back at square one with the deadline fast approaching.
Fact of Fiction?
Fiction. I think the Dodgers will strike out on their other starting pitching targets and wind up giving the Cubs top pitching prospect Allen Webster like they wanted, according to NBC Sports, to assure that the deal gets done.
Angels Will Land James Shields for Trio of Big League Talents
According to Tim Kurkjian via MLB Trade Rumors, the Rays and Angels have discussed a deal that would ship James Shields to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger and Ervin Santana.
First off, it is rare that a rumored deal is so completely spelled out on both sides like this one is as it seems fairly clear what both sides would be getting in this deal.
On the surface, it looks like a deal that would greatly benefit both sides. The Angels would get another top tier starter to put alongside Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren while unloading the roughly $5 million left on Santana's contract as well as the $1 million buyout that accompanies his $13 million option for next season.
The Rays get a replacement for free-agent-to-be B.J. Upton in Bourjos, a rotation replacement for the remainder of the season in Santana and a catching prospect in Conger who could step in and immediately be the best offensive catcher on the roster.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. The trade makes sense for both sides, but with Shields potentially controllable with options for the next two years, the Angels would be winning, hands down.
Bourjos would be a nice addition, but the team would no doubt buy out Santana's option and let him walk and while Conger would be an upgrade he has not been able to secure the starting job in LA over Bobby Wilson (.209 BA), so that has to at least raise a few questions.
At the end of the day I think the Rays keep Shields, but if they do move him I think they can do better than this proposed deal.
Cole Hamels Extension Means Cliff Lee Will Be Traded
According to a tweet from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, AL executives have indicated that they think the Phillies re-signing of Cole Hamels means that Cliff Lee (and Hunter Pence) are "pretty available."
First off, Lee has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract, so anyone picking him up will be making a significant investment not only this season but down the road as well.
As of right now, the team has not gone so far as to say he is not available, but according to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Phillies plan as of now is to keep their three aces together.
That said, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Rangers actually prefer Lee to Cole Hamels who they were also heavily linked to, so a reunion with the Rangers is not out of the question.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. The Phillies will listen on Lee, but with so much money invested in so many veterans I don't think they are ready to say that their window of contention has closed. This was a tough year for the team from and injury standpoint, but they could theoretically come back healthy next season and make a run at the NL East, and Lee would be a big part of that.