With the MLB All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror and the stretch run toward the playoffs around the bend, trade talks have heated up considerably in recent days. The first big chip has fallen as the Chicago Cubs dealt starting pitcher Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers on Monday, per ESPN, and it's likely that there is plenty more movement to come.
Since quality pitchers are so difficult to come by, many of the biggest names on the trade market right now are hurlers. There is certainly no guarantee that they'll be traded, but non-contending teams would be wise to unload as they stand to come away with a king's ransom if they play their cards right.
Here is the latest trade buzz on Jake Peavy, Huston Street and Francisco Rodriguez as the July 31 deadline quickly approaches.
With Garza no longer on the market, there is no question that Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy is now the most sought-after and attainable starting pitcher on the market.
The Sox have had an extremely disappointing season, so they figure to be big-time sellers as the deadline draws nearer. Peavy's contract runs through the end of next season with a player option for 2015, but at roughly $15 million per season, Chicago may be better off cutting bait.
Peavy won't come cheaply, though, as he could potentially act as an ace or a No. 2 starter at the very least for a contending team. The right-hander just returned from the disabled list as he was nursing a rib injury, so now he's fresh and raring to go.
Peavy's numbers aren't quite where he'd like them to be as the rib ailment compromised him prior to going on the DL, but he has been solid nonetheless. Because of that, teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies are all interested, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
Red Sox are doing background work on Jake Peavy, who pitches against AT today. Arizona, SF, Colorado also in the discussions.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 20, 2013
Peavy currently sports a 7-4 record with a 4.19 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 12 starts. His FIP of 3.77 suggests that he has been a bit unlucky, though, so his peripherals are bound to come down moving forward. Of all the teams that Olney mentioned, Boston may make the most sense for Peavy as Clay Buchholz has not progressed as quickly as hoped from his injury. The Red Sox are World Series contenders, and Peavy could potentially put them over the top.
It's no secret that the Detroit Tigers have been in the market for bullpen help all season long. The Bruce Rondon closer experiment failed miserably, and the return of Jose Valverde didn't go much better. Joaquin Benoit has stabilized things to some degree, but even if he remains in the closer role, he's going to need some help.
That is likely why Detroit has been watching the San Diego Padres closely as either Huston Street or Luke Gregerson could potentially be on the move, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Gregerson is a solid bullpen arm, but the focus here should be on Street. The 29-year-old Street is a well-established closer in the league as he has done the job for the Padres, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics. He'll never be confused with an elite closer as he has eclipsed the 30-save mark in a season just twice over the course of his career, but he is fairly reliable, and he is a guy who could either close games for the Tigers or at least set Benoit up.
Street isn't having the best season as his 3.90 ERA is a tad high, but he had a 1.85 ERA last year, so he is perfectly capable of getting the job done in pressure situations.
One thing that could give Detroit pause is the fact that Street will make $7 million next season, along with a $7 million club option in 2015. If Street stabilizes the bullpen, though, the Tigers will arguably be the most complete team in baseball. Detroit is very close to being a World Series winner, and Street could be the last missing piece.
Which player is most likely to get traded by the July 31 deadline?
Francisco Rodriguez was once the most dominant closer in baseball as he closed out a league-record 62 games for the Los Angeles Angels in 2008. K-Rod simply hasn't been the same ever since, though, as he never had more than 35 saves for the New York Mets and has acted largely as a middle man for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 31-year-old reliever seems to have new life this season, however, and it could lead to him getting dealt to a contender.
Rodriguez has somehow been more dominant this season than he has been since the start of his career. K-Rod has converted all 10 of his save opportunities to go along with a 1.09 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 24.2 innings.
Since the Brew Crew isn't going anywhere fast and the organization isn't committed to Rodriguez over the long term, he is a definite trade candidate. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, both the Tigers and Red Sox have shown interest in the four-time All-Star.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports is also reporting that the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the running to acquire Rodriguez. Whatever the case, it seems as though K-Rod is going to be thrown right into a pennant race.
It remains to be seen if he can keep up the incredible pace that he has set for himself thus far, but he is a former World Series winner who has pitched in some big spots, so he would be a fantastic acquisition for whichever team grabs him.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter