Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered the home stretch of the MLB trade season.
With a week to go before the non-waiver trade deadline, things are beginning to heat up. We had our first substantial trade of the year go down on Monday when the Texas Rangers acquired Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs, and the rumor mill is heating up around some fairly well-known names who could be on the move.
Yet there are still a handful of teams who have not decided whether they are buying or selling, and should those teams decide to sell, things could get really interesting over the next few days.
But until then, let's check in with the latest buzz surrounding each of MLB's 30 clubs and see what they might be up to in the days ahead.
Just about two weeks ago, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that acquiring a reliever was higher on his list of priorities than bolstering the team's underachieving starting rotation.
Yet other than a tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney a week later that Arizona was still looking for relievers, most of the talk surrounding the team has been about starting pitchers—Jake Peavy, to be exact.
While Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Diamondbacks weren't pursuing the veteran, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman believes that they might, pointing to Peavy's relationship with Towers and the fact that he's not just a two-month rental as reasons why.
Towers was San Diego's GM when the team drafted Peavy in 1999, and he was also the one that orchestrated the trade that sent him to the White Sox in 2009. When Towers was fired by the Padres at the end of that season, an upset Peavy ripped into the organization in defense of his friend.
Ever since losing Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters to season-ending Tommy John surgery, Atlanta has been on the hunt for another left-handed reliever to pair with Luis Avilan.
Minnesota's Glen Perkins would be ideal, but the Twins aren't going to move their All-Star closer, something David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution confirms.
O'Brien also notes that the Braves may have interest in Perkins' teammate, Brian Duensing, though the starter-turned-reliever has struggled against batters from both sides of the plate this season.
Of the 59 left-handed pitchers who have appeared in at least 20 games this year (with at least 80 percent of those appearances in relief), Duensing ranks 57th in BAA (.296) and WHIP (1.67). Thankfully for Braves fans, Duensing isn't the only arm on the team's radar.
According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, who confirms the team's interest in the unavailable Perkins, Atlanta has checked in on four other southpaws: Scott Downs (Angels), Mike Dunn (Miami), Oliver Perez (Seattle) and James Russell (Chicago [NL]).
While Russell is likely the easiest of the four to pry away from his current club, he's the only one who has had trouble against right-handed batters, who are hitting .328 with a .961 OPS against him this season.
Heading into July, Baltimore had three areas that needed to be addressed: the starting rotation, designated hitter and the bullpen.
After Tuesday night's acquisition of Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Orioles have addressed all three.
Rodriguez, who was one of the few bright spots in Milwaukee this season after pitching to a 1.09 ERA and not blowing a save in 10 chances, immediately adds depth and experience to Baltimore's bullpen, which has slipped this year after finishing 2012 as one of the top units in baseball.
While he'll primarily be used in a setup role, K-Rod gives the Orioles options in the ninth inning should Jim Johnson not be available in a save situation or need to be replaced due to injury or ineffectiveness.
While much has been made about Boston looking to upgrade the left side of the infield, it is the need for pitching—both in the rotation and in the bullpen—that has dominated the rumor mill when it comes to the Red Sox in recent days.
Boston is emerging as a potential landing spot for Chicago's Jake Peavy, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While I predicted the Red Sox would wind up Peavy with earlier this week, it's likely going to cost Boston more than the package I proposed, given what the Cubs got for Matt Garza.
Despite having plenty of young pitching to fill in for the injured Clay Buchholz in the rotation, such as Brandon Workman, manager John Farrell told Alex Speier of WEEI 93.7 FM that how those youngsters perform will have no bearing on the team's direction at the deadline:
[GM Ben Cherington] will be aggressive in a situation in a deal that makes sense for us. I wouldn’t pin our assessment of the trade market on Brandon Workman. He’s not the linchpin to whether we make a trade or not.
Speier also notes that Boston had interest in former Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriguez, who was traded to Baltimore on Tuesday, but believed the asking price to be too high. Still, he was only one of a number of relievers who the Red Sox have been linked to.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports that Boston had scouts at Target Field this past weekend to watch the Twins, with the Red Sox checking out a pair of Minnesota's relievers, left-hander Brian Duensing and right-hander Jared Burton.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that Kansas City's Luke Hochevar is on the team's radar as well, though he notes that Cherington and his counterpart with the Royals, Dayton Moore, have not spoken about a potential deal.
Hochevar, who was a disaster as a starter, has thrived as a reliever this season, pitching to a 2.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP while averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
With Matt Garza now in Texas, Chicago will shift gears to try and move its other veteran trade chip, outfielder Alfonso Soriano.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune confirms that the Cubs and Yankees have talked about a deal that would send Soriano back to the Bronx, while MLB Network's Peter Gammons tweeted that Theo Epstein was flying to Arizona, where he and general manager Jed Hoyer were expected to talk with Soriano about a potential trade.
But during an interview with Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio on Tuesday, Hoyer characterized talk of a deal being close as "premature", disputing an earlier report from the New York Post's George A. King III, who said that a trade was near completion.
Epstein downplayed thoughts of the Yankees being the only team to express interest in the 37-year-old slugger to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat: “They’re (the Yankees) not the first team to call. They’re the first team to show up in the paper in their home city right away.”
So while the Cubs have secondary pieces that could be moved—like left-handed reliever James Russell, right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg and outfielder Nate Schierholtz—moving Soriano is likely going to be the team's focal point from now until the trade deadline hits.
Thanks to Alex Rios' extended slump—something we looked at on Tuesday—and his $12.5 million salary next season, ESPN's Jayson Stark doesn't believe that Chicago will be able to get a team to meet its asking price for the veteran outfielder.
That comes on the heels of a report from his colleague Jim Bowden (subscription required), who reported late last week that the White Sox had been disappointed with the offers they had received for Rios thus far, which makes you think that Rios may not be changing uniforms after all.
But Rios isn't the only player on Chicago's south side that is feeling the breeze of trade winds.
Jake Peavy has become the premier pitcher available on the market thanks to the Cubs trading Matt Garza. Multiple teams, including Arizona, Boston and St. Louis, having been linked to the 32-year-old right-hander, courtesy of the latest filing from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
Speaking of St. Louis, the Cardinals offered the White Sox a package built around right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez in exchange for shortstop Alexi Ramirez, a deal that Chicago turned down, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has since refuted that report.
While it makes sense for Chicago general manager Rick Hahn to stand his ground when it comes to asking for a significant return in exchange for his biggest trade chips, he needs to be careful as to not be so firm that potential trade partners look elsewhere to bolster their respective teams.
As presently constituted, Chicago is going nowhere fast, and the team lacks high-ceiling, impact prospects on the farm who can step in and revitalize the club. At some point soon, Hahn may need to lower his expectations and accept the best offers on the table.
With Jonathan Broxton, Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall all still on the disabled list, Cincinnati has been looking to bolster both the bullpen and starting rotation.
The team has interest in both Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain from the White Sox. According to the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales, the team's pursuit of Peavy likely hinges on how Cueto feels this week, and Crain doesn't fit the team's most glaring need—a left-handed reliever to pair with Manny Parra.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the Reds are also interested in Philadelphia's Michael Young, a player that hasn't officially been put on the market yet as the Phillies try and figure out whether they are buyers or sellers.
That the Reds would be interested in Young doesn't make a ton of sense, as third baseman Todd Frazier has elevated his game since the All-Star break while the Reds are set at second base with Brandon Phillips.
It's possible that the Reds view Young as an upgrade over Zack Cozart at shortstop, but the veteran hasn't played the position regularly since 2008.
Just over a week ago, Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer wrote that while the Indians were looking to upgrade the rotation, the team was not willing to move its top prospects for what amounted to a two-month rental, and it decided that it would be best served looking to bolster the bullpen instead.
Yet all has been quiet on the reliever front for the Indians, with the only news surrounding the team revolving around the rotation.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that the Tribe and White Sox don't match up well for a potential Jake Peavy trade, while Ben Badler of Baseball America was the first to report Cleveland's signing of 19-year-old Cuban pitching prospect Leandro Linares, who is years away from helping the major league club.
Unless Cleveland changes its stance on prospects, or a lesser starting pitcher that the team sees as an upgrade becomes available, the next seven days could be fairly quiet for the Indians.
Colorado's slide in the NL West standings continues, as the team has lost three of its five games since returning from the All-Star break and also lost closer Rafael Betancourt for an undetermined period of time as he deals with appendicitis.
Yet the rumor mill has essentially come to a standstill when it involves Colorado.
At the very end of the All-Star break, owner Dick Monfort told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that Michael Cuddyer would not be traded and that the team would not move its top prospects to acquire a pitcher that was a rental despite the team's need for another starter.
That leads you to believe that, win or lose, the Rockies are going to roll with the roster that they have and see what happens.
It's no secret that the Tigers have been in the market for a reliever, and while the team kept an eye on Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote that the team wasn't as interested in him as others due to the performances of Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit this season.
But the team is still searching, and according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, its new target is an old one—San Diego's Luke Gregerson.
In spring training last year, ESPN's Jim Bowden reported that the Tigers offered starter Rick Porcello to San Diego for Huston Street and for Gregerson in separate one-for-one deals, both of which the Padres turned down.
Whether the two sides would revisit that deal or work on something completely different is unknown.
What is known is that Gregerson, who has a 2.79 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 36 strikeouts over 42 innings of work this season, would help bridge the gap between Detroit's starters and Benoit, who has been tremendous in the closer's role for the reigning American League champs.
In the midst of a rebuilding process, the Houston Astros continue to look to stockpile talent as general manager Jeff Luhnow pieces together the foundation of what he hopes will be a contending team before too long.
While the Astros don't have as many trade chips as they have had in years past, there are still a handful of players currently on the roster who contenders have interest in, something Luhnow talked about with MLB.com's Brian McTaggart:
There's quite a bit of interest in several of our players. A lot of teams are in it. We're getting phone calls from a lot of different teams, and we're fielding them and having conversations. I can't handicap if we're looking as if we're going to get a deal, but I'll be happy either way.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities says that we can add Minnesota to that list, noting that while the Twins are sellers, the team is not opposed to adding pieces who are under team control for at least another year. However, it's unlikely that the Twins would be willing to part with the prospects it will take to get Norris out of the AL West.
Update: July 24, 11:20 p.m. ET
Kansas City has changed its stance and is now willing to consider moving right-handed starter Ervin Santana for the "right offer", according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
A free agent after the season, the 30-year-old had another strong outing on Wednesday night against Baltimore and sits with a 3.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, averaging just under seven strikeouts per game.
Contenders that are still in the market for a starting pitcher after missing out on Matt Garza are sure to have interest in Santana, who is arguably the most attractive starting pitcher available at the moment.
--End of Update--
Despite Kansas City's recent struggles, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that there are no indications that the team has changed its stance on trading Ervin Santana, who would be a hot commodity if he were made available.
That's not to say that the Royals won't sell off some pieces as the deadline nears, however, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes that the Red Sox have interest in Luke Hochevar, who has been terrific as a reliever this year after five pretty terrible seasons as a starter.
With the team's two best trade chips—left-handed starter Jason Vargas and left-handed reliever Sean Burnett—both on the disabled list and not expected to return until after the trade deadline, Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto doesn't have much to do when it comes to making moves over the next week.
He could look to make smaller and rather inconsequential moves, though, like trading left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who has drawn interest from Atlanta, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark. But whatever the team could get in exchange for him isn't likely to be of much value.
Even after acquiring Ricky Nolasco from Miami, the Dodgers are thought to be interested in adding another starter to the mix. Chicago's Jake Peavy is one of their targets, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
But it may be Chicago's bullpen that truly intrigues the Dodgers, as ESPN's Mark Saxon reports that the team is looking to add another veteran reliever to the bullpen mix.
While Jesse Crain would make sense, he's on the disabled list and may or may not be ready to show that he's healthy before the trade deadline hits.
Addison Reed isn't a veteran, but the 24-year-old right-hander might be the apple of the Dodgers' eye, giving the team another option in the ninth inning should Kenley Jansen pitch his way out of the closer's role.
With the Marlins' recent promotion of two of its top prospects—outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick—Justin Ruggiano's days in Florida may be numbered.
Ruggiano, who I ranked ninth on our list of available outfielders, had drawn interest from New York (AL) and Texas earlier this month, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. ESPN's Jayson Stark says that we can now add Philadelphia and San Francisco to that list as well.
Miami doesn't have to trade the 31-year-old, as he is arbitration eligible for the next three seasons and unlikely to ever command the kind of salary that would be prohibitive to owner Jeffrey Loria's bottom line. Unless a team is willing to pay more than he's worth, though, Miami would be best served to keep him around.
While some would think that Ryan Braun's suspension for the rest of the season would signal a fire sale in Milwaukee, that simply isn't the case.
One American League executive explained to ESPN's Jayson Stark the issue that teams are running into when trying to deal with Milwaukee: "One of the problems with dealing with Milwaukee is that [their] trade for Segura last year was so one-sided that they want another tilted deal. Not going to happen."
Can you blame Milwaukee for looking for a similar deal? I can't.
Despite the team's woeful 2013 season, there's no reason for general manager Doug Melvin to start making trades just for the sake of it.
Yes, the team got a so-so return for Francisco Rodriguez, but he fell on the lower end as far as its valuable trade chips are concerned.
Melvin has previously stated that he believes Yovani Gallardo is more valuable than Zack Greinke was last year, and while teams would love to get their hands on right fielder Norichika Aoki, who I ranked as the best outfielder available, he's also more valuable than what teams are going to offer.
We know that the Twins are selling at the deadline, but is anyone going to bite on what they have to offer?
Justin Morneau would be a fit for a number of clubs, but he's hitting only .194 with a .657 OPS in July, a slump that Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities believes has robbed the Twins of the chance to get even a mid-level prospect in exchange for him, even if they picked up the $6 million remaining on his deal.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that the Braves may have interest in Brian Duensing, but he's been mediocre at best this season and isn't likely to bring back anything of significant value in a deal.
Josh Willingham's injury makes him un-tradeable, and unless Minnesota changes gears drastically and decides to make closer Glen Perkins available, this could be a very quiet trade season for general manager Terry Ryan and the Twins.
With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, things have quieted down around Citi Field, as well as in general manager Sandy Alderson's office. The team has been virtually non-existent on the rumor mill.
Mike Puma of the New York Post cites a member of the team's front office as saying that there has been "no action" on closer Bobby Parnell or outfielder Marlon Byrd, two players that the Mets value highly and whose price likely scared off potential suitors.
As is the case with a handful of teams around baseball, don't expect much at the deadline in Flushing as the team looks ahead to an increased payroll in 2014 and beyond.
The Yankees have turned their attention to bringing Chicago's Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx.
While reports have ranged from "a deal is close" to "we've had discussions", the Yankees seem to be one of the first serious suitors for Soriano that the 15-year veteran would consider waiving his no-trade clause for.
Soriano is only willing to approve a trade if he's headed to a city in which he feels comfortable and to a team where he will play on a regular basis.
ESPN's Buster Olney says that there is a fairly wide gap between how the two teams value Soriano and who will be responsible for picking up the roughly $25 million that remains on his contract, but it makes too much sense for a deal not to get done between the two clubs before too long.
Despite having one of the best starting rotations in baseball this season, Oakland made a late push to acquire Matt Garza from the Cubs, according to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan.
Now, maybe that was a move designed to only drive the price up on Texas, the team that is hot on Oakland's tail for the lead in the AL West and the ones who ultimately wound up acquiring Garza from Chicago.
But what if the A's are serious about adding another arm to the mix?
You'd have to imagine that Chicago's Jake Peavy is too expensive in terms of salary next season ($14.5 million), but what about Houston's Bud Norris?
It's all speculation on my part, as few general managers do a better job of keeping things behind closed doors than Billy Beane, but could Oakland take the package it offered the Cubs (which likely included either Sonny Gray, Dan Straily or both) and try to land Norris?
The 29-year-old is under team control for another three years and makes a reasonable $3 million this season. Even with raises in arbitration, his salary is unlikely to become too much of a burden for Oakland to bear, and if it did, the team could move him once again.
We still don't know the answer to that question, though ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that third baseman Michael Young is a lock to be moved if the team struggles on its road trips against St. Louis and Detroit this week.
Multiple teams, including the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees could have interest in the veteran if and when he is officially put on the trading block.
But the Phillies are still looking to add pieces, as Stark says they have interest in Miami outfielder Justin Ruggiano along with some of the team's relievers.
Speaking of relievers, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities says that the Phillies were one of many teams with scouts in attendance at Target Field this past weekend. It's possible that the team was checking out Brian Duensing and Casey Fien as potential additions to the bullpen mix in Philadelphia.
The Pirates remain in the thick of the National League playoff hunt and, as the team attempts to end its 20-year playoff drought, general manager Neal Huntington tells MLB.com's Tom Singer that all options are on the table to improve the club so that dream becomes reality:
But just because we have a deep system doesn't mean we're any more willing to overpay. It still needs to make sense for us. It does, however, allow you to make moves with the confidence that you're not depleting the farm system. But there are many examples of clubs pushing too hard for today at the expense of tomorrow. We have to be cognizant of that.
At the same time, the fan base has been patient a long time -- and we have to be cognizant of that, too. We want to do what we can to help this club get better, and take that next step.
We've never gone in with a premeditated view on rentals, whether we want or don't want them. We've gone into the Deadline to impact that year's club as best we could. Now, while it does not make a ton of sense for us to give up an elite prospect for a two-month rental, you've always got to have the majority of attention on today.
That next step could come in the form of White Sox outfielder Alex Rios and shortstop Alexei Ramirez who, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, have been prominent figures on Pittsburgh's radar for over a week.
With Chase Headley not going anywhere and Edinson Volquez essentially being worthless thanks to his erratic performance this season, San Diego's biggest trade chips all hang out in the bullpen together: Luke Gregerson, Huston Street and Joe Thatcher.
Of the four, Gregerson has drawn the most interest, with multiple teams, including Detroit, reportedly being interested in acquiring his services. Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi tweets that Atlanta has interest in Thatcher.
Things have been pretty quiet in regards to Street, but established closers are always a sought-after commodity, even when they are having mediocre seasons, as Street is in 2013.
San Francisco is looking to add to its already crowded outfield mix, not subtract from it, as ESPN's Jayson Stark put to rest any thought that the team would entertain offers for right fielder Hunter Pence, the one consistent presence of the group.
In a separate piece, Stark says that the Giants are interested in Miami's Justin Ruggiano, who can play both center and left field, two areas of need for the defending World Series champions. He is also someone who isn't likely to cost a ton in terms of prospects to acquire.
Seattle has struggled on the field this season, leading to struggles in its front office as to whether the team should sell off its veteran pieces or stand pat and hope to finish the season strong.
While that has yet to be determined, teams are expressing interest in some of those pieces.
Atlanta has its eyes on left-handed relievers Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. And you can be sure that teams like Cincinnati and St. Louis, who both are looking to bolster their bullpens, have called to express their interest as well.
Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Joe Saunders and even Jason Bay could all be on the move if the team decides to start selling, and the moves could come very quickly.
While there are conflicting reports that the Cardinals offered a package built around pitching prospect Carlos Martinez to Chicago for shortstop Alexei Ramirez that the White Sox passed on—Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says that's what happened, while CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says it didn't—one thing is clear: The Cardinals are no longer comfortable with Pete Kozma manning the position on a daily basis.
Only three teams—the Mets, Pirates and Mariners—have seen their shortstops post a lower OPS this season than the embarrassing .571 mark that Kozma and company have put forth.
It's a pretty weak market for shortstops, with Ramirez standing head-and-shoulders above the other available options, so don't be surprised if the Cardinals and White Sox revisit this in the days ahead.
Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays who were hoping to see the team make a big splash at the deadline for another bat are going to be disappointed.
Owner Stuart Sternberg told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the team doesn't need to do anything, so it likely won't:
Because we've got players playing at the level that they are at all the positions on the field right now and in the bullpen and in the starting rotation, there's no glaring place to be doing anything. So while that's a great thing, it also doesn't, unfortunately, present a lot of opportunities.
Unquestionably we will do what we can to make the team at least as good if not better this year, and anything we can do to make the team better in years to come is always on our minds.
Things happen between now and (July 31). I don't anticipate us doing anything that's going to weaken the team this year, so getting past that, can we do things that will strengthen us this year and even as importantly, if not more so, strengthen us in the future.
With the way that the Rays have been playing recently, moving within a game-and-a-half of the American League East lead, it's hard to take issue with anything that Sternberg said.
After bolstering the rotation by trading for Chicago's Matt Garza, it'd be easy for Rangers general manager Jon Daniels to sit back and watch his team compete for the American League West crown.
Instead, he's still looking to add pieces to the team, with ESPN's Jayson Stark still reporting that the Rangers have significant interest in Chicago's Alex Rios.
With Nelson Cruz and David Murphy both set to hit free agency at the end of the season, and with the potential for MLB to discipline Cruz for his alleged ties to the Biogenisis clinic that just got Ryan Braun suspended for the rest of the season, at least investigating what it would cost to add a bat like Rios' makes sense.
Not only does Texas have the prospects—even after the Garza trade—to acquire Rios, but the Rangers are one of the few teams in baseball that could absorb all of Rios' contract, a move that would likely see them have to surrender less in the way of high-ceiling youngsters to pull a deal off.
While most of the team's big-name acquisitions this past winter have failed to live up to expectations, Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos tells Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that he's in no rush to make more moves to try and remedy the situation:
From our standpoint, we’re having dialogue, I think it’s going to be quiet, I really don’t see us doing anything. We’re definitely not in rental market. We’re looking at guys that can help us currently but we have control of them beyond the current year.
Nearly 15 games out of first place in the American League East and 11 games out of a wild-card spot, there are simply too many teams that the Blue Jays would need to jump over to make the playoffs this season.
It makes sense for the team to stand pat, let its injured players heal and look ahead to 2014 and beyond.
Washington is stuck.
While the team could use another starting pitcher, it isn't going to trade its best prospects to land one, and those that it could acquire for low-and-mid-level prospects aren't much better than Dan Haren.
The team's offense is struggling, but there's nobody who is immediately replaceable, with the possible exception of first baseman Adam LaRoche. But the first base market is terrible, and renting Justin Morneau from Minnesota for two months makes little sense.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that some teams who have spoken to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo have told him that reliever Drew Storen could be available, but even in a down season, the Nationals aren't going to give him away. It's also unlikely that other teams would be willing to meet their asking price.