MLB Trade Rumors: All the Day's Newest and Hottest Rumors Around the League

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: All the Day's Newest and Hottest Rumors Around the League

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    The next five days are going to be very similar to the week leading up to Christmas, but instead of people bouncing from store to store to find that last-minute gift, MLB general managers are bouncing from phone to phone trying to make that last-minute addition to their teams.

    With a number of high-profile players still believed to be available, the rumor mill has officially been kicked into overdrive and will be spitting out rumors fast and furious.

    How is a fan supposed to keep up with it all?

    That's where B/R comes in. We will be bringing you up-to-the-minute rumblings about who is going where and for what, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it.

    The best part? Everything will be right here, so there's no risk of missing anything.

    Without further ado, let's take a look at the most intriguing scenarios to emerge over the past 24 hours and what they might mean for your favorite team.

Ryan Dempster to Stay in Chicago?

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    By refusing to accept a trade to the Atlanta Braves and requesting one to the Dodgers—something that was well within his rights as a veteran with 10-and-5 status—Ryan Dempster took the one thing away from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer that Hoyer could ill afford to lose: leverage.

    Knowing that they are Dempster's preferred destination, the Dodgers are not inclined to meet Chicago's asking price:

    Source: #Cubs have asked #Dodgers for Allen Webster as primary piece in Ryan Dempster talks.

    — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 25, 2012

    While the Cubs are hoping to renew interest from other teams by offering a window to negotiate a contract extension with the 35-year-old right-hander, it seems as if they are more likely to let Dempster play the season out in Chicago:

    Hoyer and Theo Epstein are in the beginning stages of rebuilding the Cubs organization from the ground up, so whether they receive a player who can help them immediately or a draft pick who they have to wait a few years to develop really makes no difference in the grand scheme of things for them.

Where Will Matt Garza Wind Up?

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    UPDATE: Garza has reportedly been shut down by the Cubs until after the trade deadline after it was discovered his arm discomfort stems from fluid in his triceps. The severity of the injury is unclear at this time, as is its impact on any potential trade.

    The Cubs continue to discuss trade scenarios revolving around Matt Garza with a number of teams.

    However, one seems to have jumped to the head of the pack:

    In other #Cubs RHP news: team continues to discuss Matt Garza with multiple suitors. @MLBONFOX

    — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 25, 2012

    Cubs not resting on their laurels continue trade discussions with Dodgers on deal that would send Matt Garza for package including Zach Lee

    — JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 23, 2012

    Garza, who is under team control through the 2013 season, tweaked his triceps in his last start. While some teams would like to see that he's healthy before making a move to acquire him, the Cubs have made no guarantees that Garza won't skip a start to ensure that he's over the issue.

    Zach Lee is the kind of high-end prospect that the Cubs covet—and it sets the bar for what other teams will be expected to offer if they wish to be taken seriously by the Cubs. Garza isn't an ace, but he can slide into the No. 2 spot on a contender's rotation with little problem.

    Other teams who have been linked to Garza that have not already acquired a starting pitcher include the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Royals.

Zack Greinke: Traded to Angels

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    UPDATE: July 27

    Zack Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for three prospects—SS Jean Segura and a pair of right-handers, John Hellweg and Ariel Pena.

    UPDATE: July 27, 7:50 p.m. ET

    Numerous outlets are reporting that Greinke has been dealt to the Los Angeles Angels for three prospects.

    UPDATE: July 26, 10:00 a.m. ET

    Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has listed the Brewers' preference in regards to prospects they'd like to acquire in exchange for Greinke from a number of teams.

    Texas Rangers

    The Brewers would love to snag shortstop Jurickson Profar, but he is simply not available. They are very high on left-hander Martin Perez, the Rangers' top pitching prospect, as well as right-hander Justin Grimm.

    Atlanta Braves

    Right-hander Julio Teheran is the Brewers' preference over Mike Minor or Randall Delgado. Haudricourt speculates that a package of Teheran and another prospect could get a deal done.

    Los Angeles Angels

    The Brewers have some interest in right-hander Garrett Richards, who could slide into their rotation immediately, but they prefer shortstop prospect Jean Segura above anyone else the Angels have available. They also have interest in first base prospect C.J. Cron.

    Chicago White Sox

    Haudricourt, like others, simply doesn't think that the White Sox have the pieces to put a deal together by themselves; they'd likely need to involve a third team.

    Baltimore Orioles

    Unless Baltimore decides that it's willing to include Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy in a deal for Greinke, they really don't have anything that excites the Brewers.

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    As with nearly every other player the Dodgers have been linked to, their top pitching prospect, Zach Lee, would be the Brewers' primary target. Right-hander Allen Webster could interest Milwaukee as well, but not as much as Lee.

    According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, Brewers GM Doug Melvin told his staff prior to the team's recent road trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia that if they lost five of six games, the Brewers were going to become sellers.

    Well, the Brew Crew wound up getting swept in both series and are now fully immersed in sell mode, with no player on the roster having more value than starter Zack Greinke, who is set to become a free agent following the season.

    While Greinke is the best pitcher available, Knobler's colleague at CBS, Jon Heyman, reports that the Brewers are asking for the moon to start negotiations with teams. They told the Orioles they wanted shortstop prospect Manny Machado in return, a request the Orioles quickly denied.

    There isn't a contender in the league who wouldn't love to add a pitcher of Greinke's caliber to their rotation, but Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tries to make sense of the field:

    Source says that teams most interested in #Brewers' Greinke are #Rangers, #Angels, #Braves, #WhiteSox. MORE

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2012

    Source continues: #Nationals did not scout #Brewers' Greinke last night; appear on periphery at best. #WhiteSox want Greinke badly.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2012

    While there is no question that any of those teams would love to get their hands on Greinke, the Braves, who currently feel like they were left at the altar after being spurned by Ryan Dempster, are perhaps the most motivated and have the most attractive young pitching available to get a deal done.

    With #braves moving on from dempster, greinke will be a big focus for them

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 25, 2012

    Greinke is a legitimate game-changer, one who has the ability to shake up a playoff race more than any other player believed to be available at the moment.

    Whoever winds up adding him to their rotation will immediately see their chances of success in the postseason increase substantially.

    The Brewers aren't interested in waiting years for a prospect to develop—they need to add pieces that can help them on the field in 2013. They should be able to acquire multiple players who fit that description in return for the former AL Cy Young Award winner.

Chase Headley Is the Hottest Bat on the Market

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    For more than a week, Padres third baseman Chase Headley has known of "between six and 10 teams" that had serious interest in trading for him, as he told Bill Center of U-T San Diego.

    With Alex Rodriguez expected to miss up to two months with a fractured hand, the Yankees can be added to the list as well, though the New York Post's Joel Sherman doesn't believe that the Bronx Bombers are serious contenders to land him:

    #Padres do not see #Yankees as good fit for Headley. They r down road with several other teams willing to part with hi-end prospects

    — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 25, 2012

    While Sherman says the Padres have several teams who are willing to give up high-end prospects in exchange for Headley, there have been conflicting reports on that matter:

    issue for a's on headley will be their understandable reluctance to give up top prospects

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 23, 2012

    The Padres have asked the Pirates for a significant package of prospects for Chase Headley, as they have with all teams.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 23, 2012

    The Diamondbacks are certain to have interest, but it's highly unlikely that they will be able to strike a deal with the Padres:

    Arizona is among those interested in Chase Headley, but keep in mind: Padres and D-Backs have strained relations, complicating deal-making.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 17, 2012

    Chase Headley is going to net the Padres a sizable return, as he is as valuable a batter as you can find available. Under team control through the 2014 season, Headley's numbers have always been hampered by playing half of his games in the spacious confines of Petco Park.

    Put into the middle of a contender's lineup and given the chance to play home games in a more hitter-friendly park—which would include virtually every other ballpark currently in use—Headley could be the steal of the deadline.

Josh Johnson Is Available...But It's Going to Cost You

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    ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with an executive from another club who says that while the Marlins are willing to trade ace Josh Johnson, they will only do so for a package built around a young, star-caliber player who isn't arbitration-eligible.

    Stark asked another executive what he thought the odds of Johnson staying in Miami were, and the response he received was "95 percent."

    That being the case, there is no pitcher currently on the block who is drawing more interest at the moment than Johnson—the Angels, Blue Jays, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals and White Sox have all been linked to him—and his trade value will never be as high as it is right now.

    Miami will have to lower its asking price in order for a deal to happen, but doing so would result in a fierce bidding war between contenders, and that could be the best thing for the Marlins moving forward.

Is Cliff Lee Available?

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    Cliff Lee has yet to officially be made available by the Phillies, but Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal report that multiple GMs have called about Lee and that none of them were told that Lee wasn't available.

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that the extension the Phillies worked out with Cole Hamels signals the beginning of the end for a number of players currently on Philadelphia's roster:

    Asked AL exec what thought about #Phillies signing of Hamels: "I think it means Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence are pretty available."

    — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 25, 2012

    If Lee does in fact become available, he'd immediately surpass Zack Greinke as the most sought-after starting pitcher on the market. It should be noted that while Lee can block trades to 21 different teams, neither the Rangers nor the Yankees are on that list.

Is Hunter Pence Too Expensive for the Phillies' Taste?

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    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the Phillies have let other teams know that they are motivated to move right fielder Hunter Pence.

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms:

    Asked AL exec what thought about #Phillies signing of Hamels: "I think it means Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence are pretty available."

    — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 25, 2012

    Already resigned to the fact that they will be paying the luxury tax in 2013, the Phillies realize that while Pence's numbers are down, the 29-year-old is still likely to receive a raise in arbitration next season—and they'd prefer to not pay him $12 million to $15 million a season.

    The Dodgers have been linked to virtually every player thought to be available, so why would it be any different with Pence?

    Source: #Dodgers deal for Victorino or Pence possible even if team gets Dempster along with H. Ramirez. LA has been in talks with #Phillies.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2012

    Pence has a solid bat and is average in the field, but his current and future salary could limit the Phillies' options for moving him.

Could Jimmy Rollins Leave Philadelphia?

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    ESPN's Buster Olney came out with this somewhat surprising news yesterday:

    Phillies have reached out in last two weeks to dangle Jimmy Rollins.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 25, 2012

    CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says that the A's have kicked the idea around of bringing Rollins back home to Oakland, but at this point, they aren't necessarily interested in doing so.

James Shields' Availability Tied to Evan Longoria's Health?

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    Per ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, the Rays and Angels had been making progress on a deal that would have sent James Shields to the Angels in exchange for outfielder Peter Bourjos, catcher Hank Conger and possibly starter Ervin Santana before the deal fell apart.

    It was presumed that one of the hurdles the two sides needed to get past was how much of Santana's remaining salary the Rays would be responsible for, but ESPN's Jayson Stark tells a different story:

    #Rays telling teams they're getting encouraging reports on Longoria. If he's back sooner than thought, less likely to move Shields, etc

    — Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 25, 2012

    While the Rays find themselves tied with the Orioles for second place in the AL East, eight games behind the Yankees, they are less than three games out of a wild-card spot—and if Longoria can come back soon, they apparently feel that they can make a serious run at the postseason.

    Both teams would do well by the original deal: Shields would give the Angels one of the deepest and more formidable rotations in the league, joining Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren, while the Rays would get their catcher of the future in Conger, an excellent defensive outfielder with plus speed in Bourjos and a serviceable starter to replace Shields for the rest of the season in Santana.

    Kurkjian notes that the two sides were continuing to have discussions, presumably about Shields, so this deal certainly could come back to life at any moment.

Denard Span to the Reds?

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    Cincinnati Reds leadoff hitters have put up a combined .202/.248/.347 batting line this season, so it comes as no surprise that the team is out trying to acquire someone else to put in the spot—most likely at center fielder Drew Stubbs' expense.

    They have had preliminary discussions with the Twins about center fielder Denard Span, says Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, though the Twins' asking price remains very high and no deal is close.

    Span would make the Reds lineup far more complete and explosive, and his ability to get on base consistently in front of Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce would be a welcome change for an offense that has struggled to score runs, ranking ninth in the National League with 408 on the season.

    The Twins desperately need young, quality starting pitching, and while the Reds lack someone that Minnesota could plug into its rotation immediately, they do have a number of prospects, including right-hander Robert Stephenson and left-hander Tony Cingrani, who could help the Twins down the road.

    If the Reds can't work something out for Span, the Phillies' Juan Pierre and Shane Victorino could come into play.

Where Will Shane Victorino Be on Tuesday?

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    Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino is set to hit free agency at the end of the season, and with a number of teams looking to add another outfielder or a veteran bat to their lineup, the Phillies have made Victorino available.

    According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, the Phillies are looking for help late in games, and he points to deals with both the Reds and Dodgers as possibilities:

    Phillies trying to move Victorino for bullpen help, realize they will have to pay some of his contract...Dodgers/Reds continue talks w/Phils

    — JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 25, 2012

    Phillies interested in Victorino-Ondrusek deal with Reds or Victornio-Lindblom deal with Dodgers

    — JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 25, 2012

    If bullpen help truly is what the Phillies seek, the Orioles have one of the better 'pens in baseball and could potentially move a piece to add Victorino's bat to their lineup:

    For what it's worth, #orioles like Shane Victorino & heard he's available. Doesn't mean they'll get him of course. Just that...they like him

    — Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) July 25, 2012

    By all accounts, Victorino isn't going to cost a contender more than some bullpen help, and he brings not only a decent bat to the top of someone's lineup, but excellent defense in center field as well.