Final Trade Deadline Predictions for Every MLB Team
During the final days leading up to the MLB trade deadline, we're overwhelmed with rumors, many of which are misleading or utterly false. That's probably the case again in 2013, so don't get too riled up about the following last-minute predictions because their accuracy will inevitably dip below 100 percent.
All 30 teams contemplate potential moves in late July. Whether or not it's evident from post-deadline roster changes, every general manager is participating in the midsummer chaos.
We can distinguish between buyers and sellers, although each situation is unique. Injuries, finances, minor league depth and separation in the standings all influence who does what and when they do it.
Let the educated guessing begin!
Arizona Diamondbacks (Buyers)
Who's coming: Jose Veras
UPDATE: The Detroit Tigers have acquired Jose Veras via trade, via Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com)
The Arizona Diamondbacks would certainly welcome a "proven closer" to their pitching staff. They sent a scout to watch Brian Wilson work out, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, and Jonathan Papelbon sounds like he wants out of Philadelphia in speaking with MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.
Of course, the make-or-break factor when considering somebody's fit with the D-Backs organization is their grit, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports detailed last winter. These whiners don't pass that test.
With a career-best 2.93 ERA and 3.14 strikeout-to-walk ratio, it seems that Jose Veras isn't fazed by the importance of the ninth inning. Moreover, the price tag should be modest thanks to his lack of a track record.
Atlanta Braves (Buyers)
Who's coming: Javier Lopez
Entering spring training, Luis Avilan looked like the No. 3 left-handed option in his own bullpen, but season-ending injuries to Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters have thrust him into high-leverage situations. He's responding with the third-best earned run average among qualified relievers in the entire National League, per FanGraphs.
It couldn't hurt, however, to bolster the middle relief leading into him with a veteran left-on-left specialist. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that multiple teams want Javier Lopez from the San Francisco Giants, and the Atlanta Braves will take over those discussions (if they haven't already).
When at a platoon advantage in each of the past four seasons, Lopez has limited his opposition to a sub-.550 OPS.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com insists that Atlanta isn't very motivated to replace Tim Hudson in the starting rotation. Specifically, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweets that the NL East leaders have pulled out of Jake Peavy talks.
Baltimore Orioles (Buyers)
Who's coming: Justin Morneau and Joe Saunders
Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports that the Baltimore Orioles have been watching Justin Morneau, and the fit makes plenty of sense. He could platoon with/replace unproven Cuban rookie Henry Urrutia at designated hitter.
Per Baseball-Reference.com, 13 players have occupied Baltimore's DH spot, combining for a pitiful .202/.259/.373 batting line.
Southpaw Joe Saunders is a logical return candidate, as Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe suggests. He stabilized the starting rotation late last summer. The O's would have the option of shuffling either Scott Feldman or Jason Hammel to the bullpen in that scenario.
Boston Red Sox (Buyers)
Who's coming: Joe Thatcher
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal has noticed a trend. The Boston Red Sox prefer to pursue controllable impact players at the trade deadline, such as Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2010, Mike Aviles in 2011 and Craig Breslow last summer.
Unlike most other sought-after lefty relievers on the market, Joe Thatcher fits that description. Earning just $1.35 million in salary, the 31-year-old will go through arbitration one more time in 2014 before reaching free agency.
Jon Lester's improvement on the mound this month will presumably convince the Red Sox that it's less imperative for them to overpay to bolster the rotation.
Chicago Cubs (Sellers)
Who's going: James Russell
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that at least five teams have interest in southpaw reliever James Russell. That comes as no surprise: This is his second straight year locking down the later innings, and he'll be under team control through 2015.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein isn't eager to move sources of cheap, long-term production, Levine writes, but he won't be able to flip any other Cubs relievers for legitimate prospects.
Who's staying: Kevin Gregg, Jeff Samardzija and Nate Schierholtz
That's right, Gregg has very little appeal despite his modest salary and precious saves total. Contenders see past his superficial 2.68 earned run average.
The 35-year-old has issued 12 walks in 13 July innings while tallying only seven strikeouts. He's been succeeding at the pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park, Citi Field and Marlins Park, but not so much at Wrigley Field (4.24 ERA in 17.0 IP).
Schierholtz is going to avoid a deadline move this year, too. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports that he's being watched closely by scouts, all of whom probably agree that he's just a platoon guy.
The Cubs will emphasize his offensive production against right-handers, but with nobody to meet their asking price, Schierholtz will be on the block again this winter.
Following up on Ken Rosenthal's tweet, Tom Loxas of ChicagoNow.com hears that the Cubs held conversations with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates about strikeout artist Jeff Samardzija.
Ultimately, Chicago's exorbitant asking price for the right-hander will halt any serious negotiations.
Chicago White Sox (Sellers)
Who's going: Gordon Beckham, Jake Peavy, Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios
The Chicago White Sox dipped their toes in the sellers' pool with the trade of Matt Thornton. With a barren farm system, they might as well take the full plunge (or something close to it).
Peavy has already cleaned out his locker, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. The position players listed above haven't yet taken that step, but the potentially huge prospect returns will lead the White Sox to make moves.
Who's staying: Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Addison Reed and Chris Sale
Crain's injured shoulder will sideline him into August, while Lindstrom isn't being seen as a significant bullpen upgrade by most contenders.
Chicago will listen about Addison Reed and Chris Sale, but it would need to be completely overwhelmed to consent to dealing either. If those two ever do leave the Windy City, it'll be during the offseason.
Cincinnati Reds (Buyers)
Who's coming: Nobody
What an awkward situation for general manager Walt Jocketty and the Cincinnati Reds.
Five veterans who significantly contributed to last year's success—Jonathan Broxton, Johnny Cueto, Ryan Hanigan, Ryan Ludwick and Sean Marshall—are on the disabled list, yet all of them have taken steps toward rejoining the active roster.
You can rule out additions to the outfield and starting rotation. Ludwick has already began his minor league rehab assignment, while rookie phenom Tony Cingrani is seamlessly filling in for Cueto. Even bolstering the bullpen isn't warranted, as early-season question marks like J.J. Hoover, Logan Ondrusek and Manny Parra have thrived in recent weeks.
With reinforcements on the way, the Reds will keep their fingers crossed as they pass on potential acquisitions at the deadline. That said, as they're contenders, they're much more likely to buy than they are to sell.
Cleveland Indians (Buyers)
Who's coming: Oliver Perez and Michael Young
The Cleveland Indians starting rotation has looked much more competent in recent weeks. General manager Chris Antonetti doesn't even see it as a weakness anymore, writes Pat McManamon of FoxSportsOhio.com.
Rather, the front office is focused on bolstering the bullpen, specifically finding someone "to get left-handed hitters out."
Perez has yielded only one home run to a lefty opponent since transitioning to full-time relief in 2012.
The Philadelphia Phillies have officially made Michael Young available, tweets Buster Olney, and the Tribe could use him at the hot corner. He's less of a fielder than Lonnie Chisenhall, but he's much more capable of reaching base consistently.
Colorado Rockies (Buyers)
Who's coming: Kyle Lohse
Being four games below .500 is rarely the time to buy, but that's not such a crazy idea given the lack of depth in the NL West.
The Colorado Rockies could take off with one more starting pitcher, and they're very familiar with Kyle Lohse. As recently as late March, sources were telling Ken Rosenthal that the team was inquiring about the then-free agent.
Lohse is considered more available than Milwaukee Brewers rotation mate Yovani Gallardo, according to Jon Heyman.
Detroit Tigers (Buyers)
Who's coming: Luke Gregerson and James Russell
Although the Detroit Tigers sought closer-caliber relievers earlier in 2013, that no longer seems to be the case. Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit lock down leads in the later innings as well as any duo in the majors.
That said, general manager Dave Dombrowski wouldn't mind strengthening the supporting cast.
Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the Tigers have been "maintaining conversations" with the San Diego Padres about Gregerson. They also possess sufficient prospects to woo Russell away from the Chicago Cubs despite his modest service time and salary.
UPDATE: The Detroit Tigers have acquired Jose Veras via trade, via Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com)
Houston Astros (Sellers)
Who's going: Bud Norris and Jose Veras
Since Matt Garza was dealt, we've seen Bud Norris linked to the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics and others, per MLB Trade Rumors. Norris is the highest-paid player on the Houston Astros, and he's under team control through 2015, so movement is inevitable.
The two other major free agents the Astros signed last winter, Carlos Pena and Jose Veras, will both be gone by the deadline. Pena slashed .209/.324/.350 before being designated for assignment, while Veras could actually make a major impact for a club looking to contend this summer or next.
Who's staying: Erik Bedard and Lucas Harrell
Although Bedard has delivered two great performances to remind us all that he still possesses swing-and-miss stuff, his age and injury history serve as major deterrents. Houston will try and fail to sell high on him.
Ken Rosenthal suggested that the Baltimore Orioles might target right-hander Lucas Harrell, but nothing about his 2013 campaign suggests he'd upgrade their pitching staff.
Never a good sign when someone gets demoted from Houston's mediocre rotation like he was.
UPDATE: The Detroit Tigers have acquired Jose Veras via trade, via Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com)
Kansas City Royals (Buyers)
Who's coming: John Axford
Six consecutive wins have improbably elevated the Kansas City Royals back to .500. With their next nine contests coming against the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets, we cannot blame them for seeking improvements at the deadline.
In case there was any doubt, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweets that K.C. is committed to contending this season. He noted that the Royals could trade Ervin Santana or Luke Hochevar, but only if they get pieces for this year.
Axford allowed only one earned run in 32 appearances from May 15 through July 24. Back-to-back poor performances since then have shaken some suitors' confidence in him.
Expect the Royals to take advantage of the reduced asking price.
Los Angeles Angels (Sellers)
Who's going: Nobody
ESPN's Jim Bowden simplifies this grim situation perfectly in an Insider-only post (subscription required), calling the Los Angeles Angels "sellers with nothing to sell."
It's doubtful that they trade anybody from their organization prior to the July 31 deadline, but Jeff Passan shares some conflicting information. Sources tell him the Angels would listen to offers for prominent position players in an effort to obtain controllable pitching.
This team wants to bounce back in 2014, meaning veterans would only be traded if such moves returned major league-ready/established talent. It's unrealistic to expect current contenders to compromise their depth and leave themselves vulnerable down the stretch.
Who's staying: Erick Aybar, Scott Downs and Howie Kendrick
Passan specifically mentions second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar. Both have been signed to contract extensions at slightly below market value, guaranteed through 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Now isn't the time to move either middle infielder. Those conversations would make much more sense over the winter.
Veteran lefty Scott Downs could certainly help a contender in the final couple months of his contract.
However, as you may have noticed over the previous dozen slides, there are plenty of capable relievers available on the market. The Angels won't have much leverage in trade negotiations because teams could just as easily pursue Javier Lopez, Joe Thatcher and more great matchup guys if they disapprove of the asking price.
Rather than get 50 cents on the dollar for Downs, expect L.A. to keep him around and focus on extension talks, or at least express an interest in re-signing him in free agency.
Los Angeles Dodgers (Buyers)
Who's coming: Gordon Beckham and Chad Qualls
The hottest team in the Senior Circuit happens to be its richest, which means there's no need for the Los Angeles Dodgers to sit back and let their competition close the talent gap.
They will address their mediocrity at second base and pedestrian bullpen depth with acquisitions of Beckham and Qualls. Only the former will cost the Dodgers a significant prospect.
Beckham boasts a .307/.335/./403 slash line in 2013, and Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that his nagging wrist is recovering. The injury originally threatened to force him to the disabled list at this crucial juncture of the trading season.
Who's going: Ted Lilly and Nick Punto
Lilly is currently in limbo after being designated for assignment. If the Dodgers eat enough—probably meaning all—of his salary, they should find someone to take him on.
Fading rapidly since a hot start, Nick Punto is amid an anemic 3-for-29 July. He has only one hit since the All-Star break. Beckham will knock him off the roster.
Miami Marlins (Sellers)
Who's going: Chad Qualls
Qualls has changed uniforms at the deadline twice in the past three years. The veteran right-hander is pitching his best baseball of the last half-decade, so expect the Miami Marlins to find a taker.
Who's staying: Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Justin Ruggiano and Giancarlo Stanton
Highly paid veterans Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco appear to be over the hill. Neither has performed enough above replacement level in 2013 to draw any trade interest.
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro insists that Steve Cishek and Dunn are viewed as "building blocks" in South Florida. Miami's asking price is extremely high, and he doubts that anybody will acquire them in the coming days.
There aren't many contenders seeking outfield help, much less platoon guys like Justin Ruggiano. He has crashed back to reality at age 31 with sub-.300 on-base percentages against both right-handers and southpaws.
Of course, everybody would scratch their preconceived deadline strategies if the Marlins made budding superstar Giancarlo Stanton available.
It doesn't sound like they will. Team owner Jeffrey Loria deems him too important to the organization's future, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Milwaukee Brewers (Sellers)
Who's going: John Axford and Kyle Lohse
Axford still struggles with fastball command, though not nearly as much as he did at the beginning of the regular season. Few available relievers have performed better since Memorial Day.
He's been keeping more pitches low in the zone, and continuing to induce grounders should translate to success down the stretch.
When adjusting for park factors and the quality of the Milwaukee Brewers defense, right-hander Kyle Lohse has virtually replicated his 2011-2012 performance. As Jon Heyman explains, "Lohse could be an extremely valuable piece on a very thin pitching market."
Who's staying: Yovani Gallardo, Mike Gonzalez and Rickie Weeks
Gallardo isn't quite as bad as his 2013 stats suggest, but diminished velocity likely spells the end of his glory days.
His age-28 season will cost $11.25 million, and the contract also includes a 2015 club option. The Brewers can get a better return by waiting for his performance to improve in August and September and then shopping him this winter.
Mike Gonzalez has been trending in the wrong direction recently. His smaller salary and historical excellence against left-handed batters won't be quite enough to incite a trade.
Epitomizing the brutal combination of expensive and inconsistent, second baseman Rickie Weeks has not created much of a market for himself.
Minnesota Twins (Sellers)
Who's going: Justin Morneau
Even in decline, Morneau is an above-average bat against right-handed pitching. That fact—combined with the slim possibility of him returning to 2010 form (1.055 OPS)—will fuel trade discussions.
The Minnesota Twins have shown no desire to retain the first baseman, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. They would likely eat some of his remaining salary to receive a worthwhile prospect in exchange.
Who's staying: Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Glen Perkins
Their homegrown closer has been so solid in recent years and will be so affordable over the next several that it would take a huge haul of young talent for the Twins to move him. Jim Bowden reports that they turned down some suitors during the All-Star break (subscription required).
Like many others in their first year back from Tommy John surgery, right-hander Mike Pelfrey isn't near 100 percent. He's barely averaging five innings per start this season. A strong July does not erase the three messy months that preceded it.
Kevin Correia has even less strikeout ability and a worse contract.
New York Mets (Sellers)
Who's going: Marlon Byrd
The New York Mets continue to insist otherwise, but Byrd's inexplicably great production at the plate makes him too coveted for a non-contender to keep. He's arguably the best power hitter available.
The veteran outfielder—who signed for only $700,000—has shown no signs of tiring, as evidenced by his monthly splits.
Who's staying: John Buck and Bobby Parnell
Highly rated catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud has finally returned to minor league action after recovering from a broken foot. He has already spent a few full games behind the plate, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports.
Still, D'Arnaud won't be considered for a call-up until August, at which point the Mets certainly could place Buck and what remains of his $6 million salary on waivers. Just don't expect him to go anywhere this Wednesday.
Bobby Parnell has obviously found a niche in relieving in the later innings, this being his second straight strong season out of the bullpen. Andy Martino of the Daily News hears that a deal involving him is "highly unlikely."
The key difference between Parnell and Byrd are the two remaining years during which the right-hander can be team-controlled.
New York Yankees (Buyers)
Who's coming: Carlos Ruiz
It's been more than three months since Francisco Cervelli played for the New York Yankees, and his latest setback puts the rest of the 2013 season in doubt.
General manager Brian Cashman says Cervelli's broken hand has not healed as expected, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post.
“I don’t know if Cervelli is an option for a return or not,” Cashman bluntly admitted.
That's where Carlos Ruiz comes in. The 34-year-old free-agent-to-be represents an all-around upgrade over current backup backstop Austin Romine. He'll make about $1.7 million in August and September.
Who's going: Joba Chamberlain
Once a feared setup man, Chamberlain has deteriorated to such a degree that he could prove tricky to trade despite a reasonable $1.875 million full-season salary.
In 46 innings pitched during the past two years, his opposition is batting .296.
Ultimately, you'd expect some fringe contender to buy low and use Chamberlain to replace the 12th man on the pitching staff. He's still bringing mid-90s heat out of the bullpen.
Who's staying: Phil Hughes
On the other hand, Phil Hughes, another former prized prospect, is too undesirable. His paychecks are nearly quadruple Chamberlain's, and the quality of his outings isn't much better.
Jon Heyman once identified the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants as potential fits for the fly-ball pitcher. Unfortunately for the Yanks, none of those teams are in positions to spend on a rental.
Oakland Athletics (Buyers)
Who's coming: Jake Peavy
Jon Heyman suggested that the Oakland Athletics may emerge as a dark horse in the Jake Peavy sweepstakes to bolster an already formidable starting rotation.
As it turns out, this connection was more than pure speculation.
Buster Olney believes the right-hander will land in the Bay Area and that the A's would offer anybody with the exception of 19-year-old shortstop Addison Russell to ensure that happens. He deemed them the No. 1 front-runner as of Sunday afternoon. The fact that the asking price is higher than Matt Garza's, per Jeff Passan, isn't a concern, as right-hander Sonny Gray is considered a stronger centerpiece than what most other suitors can offer.
Pretty remarkable that barely 19 months ago, general manager Billy Beane was selling his top pitchers: Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. In a stunning twist, his A's have a better record than any of those players' new teams since those trades were completed.
Philadelphia Phillies (Sellers)
Who's going: Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young
Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the latest Philadelphia Phillies road trip was going to largely determine how they attacked the trade deadline. The winless result makes it clear that they will subtract.
Papelbon is overpaid and outspoken, while Ruiz and Young reach free agency this winter. All three will generate interest anyway.
Who's staying: Cliff Lee and Chase Utley
Ken Rosenthal explores the complicated case of shopping Cliff Lee, ultimately deciding that he's more likely to stay put. The stud left-hander was scratched from his most recent scheduled start with a stiff neck and won't take the mound again until August.
In his 11th major league season with the Phillies, Utley is beloved by the fans and the organization. Not shockingly, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com is under the impression that the franchise will extend his contract.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. already told Danny Knobler that he hopes to keep the second baseman.
Pittsburgh Pirates (Buyers)
Who's coming: Jonathan Papelbon and Alex Rios
It's hard to imagine the Pittsburgh Pirates paying full salaries for either of these veterans, as neither has necessarily overachieved in 2013.
Jason Grilli figures to be on the disabled list for at least a month, and Pittsburgh could really use another arm to reduce the strain on their healthy relievers. Papelbon has appeared only 40 times on the not-so-relevant Philadelphia Phillies, so he's probably itching to pitch.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Pirates are hesitant to trade top prospects like Jameson Taillon, Nick Kingham, Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson. Recognizing the necessity to add talent, expect them to relinquish one of the latter two if the Chicago White Sox absolutely demand it.
Their right fielders collectively have a .288 on-base percentage this season. That's lowest in the majors, per MLB.com.
San Diego Padres (Sellers)
Who's going: Chris Denorfia, Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher
For the fourth time in five major league seasons, Luke Gregerson boasts a sexy strikeout-to-walk ratio. His evasion of significant injuries and remaining year of arbitration eligibility put him near the top of several contenders' wish lists.
Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that the San Diego Padres seek a controllable pitcher with starting potential in return.
Joe Thatcher, meanwhile, is another of the many sought-after relievers. As sellers, the Padres should be very receptive to offers.
Think of Chris Denorfia as a rich man's Justin Ruggiano. He's a strong defensive outfielder who annually excels against left-handed pitching.
Who's staying: Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, Huston Street and Edinson Volquez
In hindsight, the Padres should have moved Edinson Volquez coming off a respectable 2012 season. They didn't, and now he's reached rock bottom.
The 30-year-old is surrendering more hits than he has in any season since arriving in the National League in 2008. His strikeout rate has tumbled too.
Bill Center of U-T San Diego reported that several teams were showing interest in Volquez last month. However, the Baltimore Orioles have already fortified their starting rotation, while the Phlladelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays no longer appear to be in contention.
Closer Huston Street deters suitors with his long-term contract, injury history and underwhelming velocity.
Although it's clear that Chase Headley's dominance last summer was an aberration, Jon Heyman hears that the third baseman is "as close as possible to an untouchable player without actually being one."
Padres outfielder—and Southern California native—Carlos Quentin has a no-trade clause that could make relocation difficult. The asking price is presumably enormous considering his below-market-value contract and great power numbers.
San Francisco Giants (Sellers)
Who's going: Javier Lopez
Multiple teams are interested in Javier Lopez, according to Buster Olney, and the San Francisco Giants must be realistic about their slim chances at contention.
Slumping coming out of the All-Star break has the defending champs fighting just to climb out of the cellar. They have a strong core that could lead them back to relevance in 2014 but lack the high-ceiling prospects to flip for impact players and salvage this season.
During the 33 outings that Olney referred to, Lopez limited his opposition to a .393 OPS and recorded 20 strikeouts in 19 innings.
Who's staying: Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence
Pence is among the only players on the roster to actually improve since last season. His passion and awkwardness have endeared him to Giants fans, but Ken Rosenthal tweets that the team will be open-minded about shopping the impending free agent.
However, with a lack of big bats coming up through the farm system, the organization won't likely cut ties.
While Lincecum hasn't been viewed as a clubhouse leader, he's similarly iconic in San Francisco. The market for his services—as a starter or reliever, Jon Heyman writes—isn't strong considering his prohibitive $22 million salary.
Seattle Mariners (Sellers)
Who's going: Oliver Perez and Joe Saunders
A 9-3 record since July 12 has helped the Seattle Mariners leapfrog the Los Angeles Angels, but that's not saying much. This club remains a dozen games back of the AL West lead and not much closer in the wild-card race.
Now is the time to sell high on Oliver Perez, the most experienced arm in Seattle's bullpen, because of his impending free agency and rock-solid 12.2 K/9. Meanwhile, trading Joe Saunders would clear space for a stud pitching prospect such as James Paxton or Taijuan Walker, according to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times.
Who's staying: Charlie Furbush, Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales and Tom Wilhelmsen
This won't be a fire sale, however. Baker points out that Jack Zduriencik's job as general manager is in jeopardy if the M's crater in the second half. That could lead him to turn away suitors for controllable relievers like Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen.
Seattle could be behind the Houston Astros or looking down at the Oakland Athletics, and Raul Ibanez still wouldn't be on the trading block.
He isn't just a power-hitting left fielder; the 41-year-old is a respected leader in his third stint with the organization, John McGrath of The News Tribune explains, not to mention a Branch Rickey Award nominee (h/t MLB.com). Receiving a decent prospect would not justify surrendering two more months of Ibanez's intangibles.
First baseman Kendrys Morales is more than a decade younger and viewed as an important piece of Seattle's future. By retaining Morales through the summer, the team can make him a one-year qualifying offer, tweets Jon Heyman, thus linking him to draft-pick compensation and giving them the inside track to re-sign him long-term.
St. Louis Cardinals (Buyers)
Who's coming: Chris Denorfia and Alexei Ramirez
Let the posturing begin!
Despite Danny Knobler's report that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox have scouted one another and discussed a blockbuster involving Jake Peavy and Ramirez, general manager John Mozeliak shrugs off the possibility.
From Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Mozeliak said it's "probably not likely" that the Cardinals will make a move before the deadline. "Right now," he added. Things change. Conversations change. Deadlines have a way of reducing prices. And so on. A few days before making the move last season for Edward Mujica, Mozeliak had a similar feel -- but then the Marlins came a-calling with an offer that the Cardinals would happily do.
He's understandably hesitant to surrender multiple top prospects, so expect upcoming trade talks to focus solely on Ramirez. The Cards frankly need to upgrade at shortstop, as Pete Kozma has contributed just two extra-base hits in the entire month of July. Assuming Mozeliak wants to keep right-hander Carlos Martinez, he could still build a formidable package around Joe Kelly or Kolten Wong.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the condition of Yadier Molina's knees have improved, which could spell the end for Rob Johnson's usefulness on the roster as a third-string catcher. Chris Denorfia of the San Diego Padres would be a splendid fit as a true platoon partner for center fielder Jon Jay.
Tampa Bay Rays (Buyers)
Who's coming: Nobody
Dating back to 2008 (when this franchise became relevant), the Tampa Bay Rays have never made big splashes at the non-waiver deadline. Chad Qualls (2010) and Ryan Roberts (2012) were brought in during past Julys to add depth to the 25-man roster, and we won't even see anything that significant this time around.
The Rays have enviable pitching depth. The few soft spots in their lineup—such as shortstop Yunel Escobar and catcher Jose Molina—compensate with stellar defense.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. This ancient cliché applies to the Rays, who, with a 17-3 record since Independence Day, should definitely stand pat. At the least, don't expect them to offload anyone unless it benefits them.
Texas Rangers (Buyers)
Who's coming: Marlon Byrd
Byrd slashed .295/.352/.468 with 40 home runs in three years with the Texas Rangers. Judging by his 2013 performance, those days aren't far behind him.
Averaging only 2.5 runs per game since the All-Star break, the Rangers desperately want more power. Lance Berkman's possible retirement—per Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News—is pressuring Texas to act fast.
Who's staying: Joe Nathan
The Rangers have considered using Nathan as a trade chip to strengthen their lineup. Jon Paul Morosi tweets that they discussed him with the Detroit Tigers, and Evan Grant wonders if they could target left-hander Drew Smyly in such a deal.
Instead, expect the team to land Byrd without weakening the bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays (Sellers)
Who's going: Nobody
Bleak as things may seem for the Toronto Blue Jays, there's always next year. General manager Alex Anthopoulos won't make any moves to compromise his team's 2014 championship aspirations.
Like that anonymous GM was telling Buster Olney, "few pure sellers" can be found this summer.
Who's staying: Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson
According to Anthopoulos, Johnson was his initial target during offseason talks with the Miami Marlins (h/t Christopher Wilson of Blue Jays Nation). The deal eventually expanded to include 12 players, and ironically, the imposing right-hander has been the most disappointing of all the players involved.
Aside from a 9.4 K/9, his 2013 stats are horrific: 6.08 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, .289 BAA in 74.0 IP. And he's making $13.75 million (Miami covering only $2.5 million).
Even after padding his stats with a complete-game shutout on Thursday, Mark Buehrle has nothing to brag about. His 94 OPS+—which adjusts for the rigors of the Rogers Centre—is the worst mark of his 14-year career. That bodes poorly for the aging southpaw, who has $37 million coming his way in 2014 and 2015.
Nobody will touch either of them at the deadline, though Anthopoulos would likely love to sell them.
Washington Nationals (Buyers)
Who's coming: Bud Norris
The controllable right-hander fills out the starting rotation as the Washington Nationals attempt to eat away at a large deficit in the NL East race.
There's plenty of uncertainty at the back end. Manager Davey Johnson tells James Wagner of The Washington Post that Ross Detwiler needs another month for his back to recover, and Amanda Comak of The Washington Times reminds us that rookie Taylor Jordan is fast approaching his innings limit.
Acquiring Norris doubles as a preventive measure, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the rival Atlanta Braves have the hots for him.