MLB Rumors: The Loudest Chatter from Around Baseball
We are just barely into the second month of the season, but already we find ourselves looking towards the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Most clubs around baseball have eclipsed the 30-game mark on the 2013 regular season and are now starting to evaluate their rosters.
What injured players need to be addressed? Which teams will be sellers, and which will be buyers as we inch towards July?
This time of year is rather slow in terms of actual trades and transactions. But the rumor mill is starting to heat up, and general managers are making sure their cell phones are fully charged.
Let's take a look at the latest whispers around baseball, focusing mainly on teams that could look to be sellers this summer.
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The Philadelphia Phillies currently sit with a 14-18 record and in a virtual tie for third place in the NL East with the New York Mets. And while it's far too early to panic over win-loss records and divisional standings, there are some growing concerns in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Phillies have been one of the top teams in baseball over the last five or six seasons and won the World Series back in 2008. And with a roster full of All-Stars, MVPs and Cy Young Award winners, there were once again a lot of expectations placed on the 2013 club.
But a combination of injuries, age and ineffectiveness has the Phillies limping out of the gate in 2013. Roy Halladay—who was recently placed on the 15-day DL—has been nothing short of awful so far this year. And the team has gotten little out of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and other mainstays.
If the Phillies aren't able to right the ship over the course of the summer, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may find himself trying to sell off some of his expensive and/or aging commodities. With a tip of the hat to Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors, the Phillies could look to trade away such names as Howard or Cliff Lee.
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The Chicago Cubs are in a strange position. With an 11-20 record, they sit dead last in the NL Central. Yet their Opening Day payroll was over $106 million. With lofty financial commitments to Alfonso Soriano, Edwin Jackson and Carlos Marmol, Cubs management was almost certainly hoping for a better start to the 2013 campaign.
With no turn-around in sight, the Cubs will once again likely be sellers at the trade deadline. Matt Garza—currently on the disabled list, recovering from a strained lat muscle—has always been a popular name when trade rumors are abound and should once again be a potential target.
Soriano could also be moved, but the Cubs will likely have to eat a good portion of the $36 million left on his contract (plus, he has a full no-trade clause).
Other possible, and more affordable, trade options could be David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Scott Hairston.
Toronto Blue Jays
Could the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays be the Miami Marlins of 2012? Well, maybe things aren't THAT bad in Toronto. But things certainly aren't going the way GM Alex Anthopoulos had expected after a busy, high-spending offseason.
The comparison to the 2012 Marlins is not that outlandish, actually. After all, they have a number of players that were on that team after swinging a blockbuster deal last November. Included in those players are Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio. (John Buck was also a part of that deal but was later traded to the Mets for R.A. Dickey. More on that later.)
And just how has this trade worked out for the Jays? Well, after a hot start, Reyes sprained his left ankle on an awkward slide and landed on the disabled list; he is not expected back until July. Johnson is also on the DL with right tricep inflammation. And Buehrle and Bonifacio have not been effective early on.
Speaking of ineffectiveness, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Dickey, has been woeful for the Jays so far, with an ugly 5.36 ERA on the year.
There's still plenty of time for Dickey and the rest of the team to turn things around. But guys like Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind and Brandon Morrow could be popular trade candidates at the deadline if things haven't improved north of the border.
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Not as though it were of any surprise, but the Houston Astros sit with the worst record in baseball, having won just eight games so far in 2013. In the franchise's first season playing in the American League West, the 'Stros are rebuilding and will likely have some rough seasons for the next four or five years.
GM Jeff Luhnow has a tough task trying to build this team virtually from the ground up. He brought in some seasoned veterans to help with the many youngsters on the team. But as the season progresses, some of those veterans (particularly the ones who are playing well) could find themselves on the trading block. Carlos Pena, Erik Bedard and Jose Veras are among them.
Bud Norris' name has also been oft-mentioned as a possible trade candidate this summer, along with fellow rotation mate Lucas Harrell.
The Seattle Mariners were surprisingly active in the offseason, beefing up an offense that finished last in the American League in runs scored in each of the last four seasons. GM Jack Zduriencik went out and got sluggers Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay and Michael Morse to help jump start is lineup.
But so far, things haven't worked out for the Ms. While Morse got off to a roaring start, a broken pinky has quickly put his fire out. Overall, the Mariners are finding themselves once again near the bottom of the runs scored column in the American League—only the White Sox, Twins and Blue Jays have scored fewer times than the Mariners in 2013.
If things don't turn around for Seattle, moves could be on their way. Morales could be a trade candidate along with Jesus Montero, who has struggled to meet his prospect-oriented expectations. Brendan Ryan could also be a trade target, especially for teams in need of a shortstop, such as the Yankees.