Rumors fly around Major League Baseball year-round, but this time of year seems especially busy. Most players are at least probable trade targets, and some wild theories get thrown around.
Obviously, 2012 is no different. Rumors have been flying around in baseball circles, and many of the top pitchers in the game have at least been talked about for a variety of reasons.
Here are five of these rumors and whether or not they are valid whatsoever.
RA Dickey brought home the National League Cy Young Award in 2012 after going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA. While his three seasons in New York have all been successful, 2012 was head and shoulders above all the rest.
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets want a "monster package" in return for Dickey. Depending on what they mean by monster, it might be hard to make a deal for the 38-year-old. However, given that he does rely on the knuckleball, he could easily have a long career ahead of him yet and make a trade worthwhile.
James Shields had another strong season at 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA. He has been a staple at the top of the rotation for the pitching-heavy Tampa Bay Rays.
His name has been on the block multiple times though, and this winter is no different according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Tampa Bay knows that they cannot afford to keep most of their players when they hit free agency, so they trade them early to get some return. It is unfortunate that they need to trade away players that could help the franchise, but with their financial limitations, that is often their best option.
Jeremy Hellickson is another one of the young Tampa Bay Rays pitchers who will need to move out before they hit the free-agent market in order to get any return. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald also reported that Tampa Bay is listening to offers for Hellickson.
Last season, he went 10-11 but posted a very strong 3.10 ERA in one of the most powerful divisions in baseball. He has more time under team control than the aforementioned Shields, but the Rays might be forced to move him as well, since they don't have the finances to compete on the open market.
It is hard to include Ricky Nolasco on this list because, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Miami Marlins team president David Samson essentially said that he will not trade Nolasco unless "something crazy happens."
Nolasco is not quite as dominant as some of the other names on this list, but he went 12-13 last season with a 4.48 ERA. He had posted similar numbers for the past three seasons which speaks to his consistency, and that predictability definitely adds value. Any team that would trade for him knows exactly what they are getting.
One more member of the Tampa Bay Rays will round out this list. David Price is fresh off of winning the American League Cy Young Award, but Danny Knobler of CBS Sports wrote a very interesting article about whether or not Tampa Bay will move him.
Obviously, they will not be able to afford him at some point, and his value will never get any higher than it is right now. He is still under team control, and he is the best pitcher in the American League. Who knows what type of return Tampa Bay could get for him?
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