The 5 Moves Most Likely to Happen Before the MLB Trade Deadline
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With all of the swirling reports on the precipice of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, sometimes it feels as though every player in baseball has been involved in a trade rumor or two.
But as all fans have learned from past deadlines, just because a player is rumored to be available—or not available, for that matter—it doesn’t mean that his fate has been sealed.
It’s fair to say that, despite the volume of minute-to-minute reports, most of the players mentioned in Jon Heyman or Buster Olney tweets will not be traded.
Below are the five most likely moves to happen before the MLB trade deadline.
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A Jake Peavy trade appears to be imminent. Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago’s update was so matter of fact, that it read more like the lyrics of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” than a traditional rumor report.
The team involved has yet to surface, but it could be any one of the Atlanta Braves (Mark Bowman of MLB.com), Oakland Athletics (John Hickey of the Contra Costa Times), Baltimore Orioles (Jon Heyman of CBS Sports) and even the Seattle Mariners (Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports).
Levine also mentioned the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers in his report.
Most importantly, the Chicago White Sox are motivated to move their star pitcher—so at this point, it’s more a matter of which suitor ponies up the best package.
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UPDATE: Monday, July 29, by Paul Mueller
The Tigers have acquired Jose Veras for Danny Vasquez and a player to be named later.
-- End of Update --
Jose Veras has enjoyed his best career year in 2013—which also happens to be the first time he’s ever closed. Veras, 32, has posted a 2.93 ERA (versus a 140 ERA+), a 1.00 WHIP, a 3.14 K/BB and 19 saves.
Needless to say, the Houston Astros couldn’t be more pleased. When the team signed the right-hander to a one-year, $1.85 million deal, it was with the hope of Veras emerging as a trade asset.
As Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe states, teams might not view Veras as a closer upgrade due to the comparatively pressure-free environment in Houston. Still, the Tigers, Red Sox, Dodgers and Braves have all shown interest.
Even if Veras is marketed as a setup man, the Astros could still receive a nice return—especially since he has a team-friendly $3.25 million option for 2014.
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Kevin Gregg is one of the two remaining Chicago Cubs assets who will become a free agent after the season.
Considering the Cubs have already dealt Carlos Marmol, Scott Feldman, Scott Hairston, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, Gregg (and Nate Schierholtz) will be suiting up for another team in August.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein himself echoed this very point in Bruce Levine's report: "We will be hearing from [teams] on the guys who we don’t control after this year. It would make more sense moving [them]."
Like with Jose Veras, suitors will more likely view Gregg as a setup man (or middle reliever) than as a closer.
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Nate Schierholtz was a good sleeper candidate going into 2013, but few people thought the 29-year-old would actually have a career year. Schierholtz has posted a park-adjusted 135 OPS+ and 14 home runs as a full-time player for the Chicago Cubs.
Because he is an impending free agent, it’s a lock that the Cubs will want to trade the outfielder to the highest bidder.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates’ priority might be acquiring Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox, according Bruce Levine, Schierholtz would be the cheaper addition.
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The Philadelphia Phillies are on pace to miss the playoffs for the second straight season. Unlike the Chicago Cubs, however, the entire Phillies roster is not for sale.
Young, 36, has posted a solid park-adjusted 104 OPS+ and an 8.8 percent walk rate for the Phillies in 2013. The third baseman has not been great in field, however, gloving an abhorrent minus-15.2 UZR/150.
At this point in his career, Young is a designated hitter—which is likely what the Phillies have been shopping him as.
The Baltimore Orioles could be a nice fit, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, as the team is currently using an unknown quantity in Henry Urrutia. Other potential targets include the Red Sox and Rangers.