Sadly, the weather outside has been hotter than the rumor mill has been in baseball this season.
With more teams full of false hope that they can make a deep playoff run, only a handful of general managers are willing to sell—and those who are have set the asking price so high that it's scaring some potential buyers away.
But with just over 24 hours to go before the non-waiver trade deadline hits, the gloves are off, the price tags no longer matter and general managers are about to get down to business.
Things are about to get very interesting for each of baseball's 30 teams.
Here's a look at the hottest news for each club as we prepare to enter the final day of business before the deadline hits.
*Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are current through games of July 29.
Adding A Second Left-Hander to the Bullpen
According to Fox Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder, adding a second left-hander to the bullpen mix to take some of the workload off of Tony Sipp's shoulders is Arizona's main need as the deadline approaches.
While Scott Downs and Matt Thornton have already been traded, there's still a handful of southpaw relievers for the Diamondbacks to target, a group that includes Chicago's James Russell, Miami's Mike Dunn, Milwaukee's Mike Gonzalez and Seattle's Oliver Perez.
Veterans On the Block
MLB Network's Peter Gammons reports that the Diamondbacks have been shopping both outfielder Jason Kubel and right-handed starter Ian Kennedy in an attempt to free up payroll, though Gammons notes that moving one—or both—wouldn't give the team enough payroll flexibility to make a run at Chicago's Jake Peavy.
Kubel, 31, has been mired in a terrible funk since the 2012 All-Star break, hitting .217 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI over that span. After hitting 30 home runs in 2012, Kubel has only five this season and has struggled badly against right-handed pitching, something he's never had an issue with before.
Kennedy, 28, has gone 18-19 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.34 WHIP since finishing fourth in the 2011 NL Cy Young Award voting. This season, he's pitched to a 5.22 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, the worst numbers of his career.
So far, there have been no reports of any team having even the slightest bit of interest in either player.
McCann Isn't Available
After the Braves acquired the left-hander they were looking for in Scott Downs, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Texas Rangers called Atlanta to inquire about the availability of starting catcher Brian McCann.
As expected, Atlanta isn't interested in trading its All-Star backstop despite the presence of Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird, who both filled in admirably for McCann earlier this season while he recovered from shoulder surgery.
While the odds are high the Braves will lose McCann to free agency after the season, trading him while the team is in the thick of a pennant race makes absolutely no sense.
What About the Rotation?
Brandon Beachy struggled badly in his first major league start of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. The 26-year-old needed 84 pitches to get through 3.2 innings of work, allowing Colorado to put eight hits and seven earned runs on the board.
While Jake Peavy is too expensive for Atlanta's taste, as reported by ESPN's Jayson Stark, you can bet that the Braves will be linked to nearly every starter on the market over the next 24 to 36 hours, especially with Tim Hudson out for the season.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal unloaded a barrage of information regarding the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, reporting that the Orioles were still in the running for Minnesota's Justin Morneau, Philadelphia's Michael Young and Chicago's Jake Peavy.
None of that is overly shocking, as the Orioles have been linked to all three players at one point or another over the past few weeks. What was shocking, however, was Rosenthal's revelation that the Orioles would consider trading top prospect Dylan Bundy.
Jim Duquette, Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations, was quick to dispute Rosenthal's report, telling Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com: "That probably came from someone who wants to trade for the player."
Even if there were some truth to the Bundy rumor, there's no chance that the Orioles would include him in a deal for any of the three veterans that they are rumored to have interest in.
Fill Two Holes in One Fell Swoop?
Boston has engaged Philadelphia in talks about both third baseman Michael Young and LHP Cliff Lee, but according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are not willing to include its best prospects in any deal, even for someone of Lee's caliber.
While an unnamed National League executive speculated to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that Lee winds up in Boston, its hard to see how that happens without it including prospects like Xander Bogaerts in a deal.
A deal for Young and not Lee seems far more realistic at this point, with Boston not having to add significant salary to its payroll or surrender substantial prospects to acquire the veteran infielder rather than the veteran southpaw.
What About Jake Peavy?
ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that Boston is willing to take on all of the remaining money on Jake Peavy's contract or give up higher-quality prospects to acquire the veteran starter from the White Sox, but not both.
Peavy is a far bigger injury risk than Lee, but he's younger and far less of an investment, both in terms of salary and the prospects that it will take to acquire him, which might make him the preferred choice between the two in Boston.
Trade The Shark?
While the Cubs are willing to trade right-hander Jeff Samardzija, they aren't willing to listen to offers for the 28-year-old.
According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Cubs are basically telling interested parties that they have free reign over that team's minor league system. They can pick and choose whomever they like to build an acceptable package.
No team is going to go for that, and thus, Samardzija isn't going anywhere.
Is Nate Schierholtz The Next To Be Dealt?
ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers cites an unnamed league source who believes that's the case, and it's hard to argue against that train of thought.
Schierholtz has been linked to a number of teams on the rumor mill for weeks, and while he's not a superstar, there isn't much that he can't do. Arbitration-eligible through next season at what should be a reasonable price (he makes only $2.25 million this year), he's one of the biggest bargains on the market.
While Peavy likes Chicago, he wants to pitch for a contender and would welcome a trade, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. The problem, however, is that unless Chicago lowers its asking price, Peavy may not get his wish.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported Monday evening that the White Sox were telling teams that they were going to keep Peavy and build around him, but nobody believes that's anything but a poor attempt by Chicago to try and gain leverage in negotiations.
The White Sox are going to have to lower their expectations to get a deal done, but with Peavy wanting out, it would be surprising if he wasn't pitching elsewhere this weekend.
Texas is out of the running for Rios, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and considering Chicago's asking price, I can't blame them.
ESPN's Jayson Stark says that Chicago is asking for two top prospects plus a third piece in exchange for Rios, who is due $12.5 million in 2014 and has a $14 million team option on his deal for 2015. Chances are that Rios eventually gets traded, but not until the offseason.
In what is a bit of a surprise, the Reds called San Francisco to inquire about outfielder Hunter Pence, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
While talks apparently didn't get far, Pence seems like an odd target for a team that has Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo occupying two outfield spots and Ryan Ludwick on a rehab assignment to reclaim his place in left field.
Unless there's an injury to Bruce or Choo that nobody knows about or the team believes Ludwick is going to be limited once he returns, there doesn't seem to be any real juice behind the team's inquiry.
Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti hasn't hidden the fact that the team needs to add another left-handed reliever to the bullpen mix, something he acknowledged yet again in a question-and-answer session with MLB.com's Joel Hammond.
One name to keep an eye on is Colorado's Josh Outman. The Indians have had serious discussions with the Rockies about obtaining him, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Outman, 28, has pitched to a 4.42 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 38 innings of relief this season, walking 13 batters while striking out 42.
Outman would be an upgrade over Rich Hill, who has posted a 6.35 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in just over 28 innings of work for the Indians this season.
It was just about two weeks ago that Colorado owner Dick Monfort issued a letter to season ticket holders telling them that the Rockies would not surrender their best prospects to rent a starting pitcher for a few months.
So far, the team has lived up to its owner's word, and the rumor mill has been quiet since Monfort's letter, with the lone exception being Cleveland's previously mentioned interest in left-handed reliever Josh Outman.
Detroit's focus continues to be on strengthening its bullpen, but the team is not looking to add pieces to the eighth and ninth innings, content to go forward with Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit in those roles.
Instead, the Tigers are targeting middle relief. After trading for Houston's Jose Veras on Monday, Detroit is still keeping the lines of communication open with San Francisco in regards to Javier Lopez, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.
But CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says that Detroit has competition for Lopez, who has pitched to a 1.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 25 innings of work this season, and it's fair to wonder just how much the Tigers will be willing to trade to acquire him after already adding Veras to the mix.
It's very possible that acquiring Veras was the only move that Detroit will be making at the deadline, something that general manager Dave Dombrowski told Joel Sherman of the New York Post shortly after the deal was made official.
While he's a back-of-the-rotation arm on a contender, Bud Norris remains a relative bargain at $3 million this season and he's likely to stay that way over the next two seasons as well. He is eligible for arbitration through 2015.
Still, the the rumor mill has slowed down considerably when it comes to Norris, with only the Atlanta Braves being linked to the 28-year-old recently—and the experts can't even agree on that.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman says that the Braves interest only intensified after Tim Hudson's season-ending injury, while ESPN's Jayson Stark says that Atlanta was never really that high on Norris to begin with, citing his lack of big-game experience as a primary reason.
With multiple teams in the hunt for a starting pitcher, it would be surprising if Norris were still a member of the Astros after the deadline passes on Wednesday.
Winners of six in a row and eight of their last 10 games, the Royals have moved within five games of a Wild Card berth and finds themselves in the thick of the playoff race once again. The Royals will listen to offers for right-handers Ervin Santana and Luke Hochevar, but the team isn't selling.
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan explains that should the Royals agree to deal Santana and/or Hochevar, Kansas City will be expecting multiple pieces in exchange for them that can help it win this season.
There wasn't much in the way of news on the rumor mill surrounding the Angels heading into the final few days before the trade deadline to begin with, and after Monday's trade of veteran reliever Scott Downs to Atlanta, the mill has run dry.
Despite making players like second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar available, Ken Rosenthal reports that things are going to remain relatively quiet for the Halos over the next 48 hours or so.
Bullpen Help Coming From an Unlikely Source?
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 30 at 4:46 p.m. EST
Jim Bowden of ESPN reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Brian Wilson to a minor league deal.
The hottest rumor in Los Angeles doesn't involve a trade, but a free-agent signing, with Bowden calling the Dodgers one of the three front-runners to land former San Francisco closer Wilson.
Recovering from Tommy John surgery in April of 2012, Wilson auditioned for teams recently and has received offers from multiple clubs. But according to CBS Sports' Scott Miller, Wilson "has an affinity for Los Angeles," which would lead you to believe that the Dodgers would be his first choice.
Cliff Lee Deal Not in the Works
After submitting a waiver claim on Cliff Lee last August, it was widely assumed that should Lee hit the market again this season, the Dodgers would be one of his most ardent suitors.
But that isn't the case, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, who says that the Dodgers and Phillies have not discussed a deal involving Lee recently.
Things would be a lot more interesting in Miami these days if the Marlins were looking to trade Giancarlo Stanton.
But they're not, which leaves us to ponder the fate of Justin Ruggiano, a fourth outfielder on a contending team who is going to get hardly any playing time now that prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick have arrived in South Beach.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the latest to link the Texas Rangers to the 31-year-old outfielder, though he ranked Ruggiano pretty low on the Rangers' wish list as the deadline approaches.
Miami doesn't have to move Ruggiano, as he makes just over the league minimum and the Marlins actually need someone just like him to help mentor the youngsters and provide quality, reliable play off of the bench when needed.
While the Brewers have a pair of starting pitchers in Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse that contenders have varying degrees of interest in, the team's bullpen has generated the most buzz as we get closer to the trade deadline.
The Diamondbacks, Tigers and Dodgers had scouts following the Brewers around recently, per a report by CBS Sports' Danny Knobler. They were looking at right-hander John Axford and left-hander Mike Gonzalez.
Neither reliever has had a terrific season, and expectations of landing a prospect like Nick Delmonico, who the Brewers got from Baltimore in exchange for Francisco Rodriguez, need to be tempered.
Still, there is a deal to be made for one or both relievers, though the Brewers may need to lower their asking price as the market becomes more crowded with middle relief help.
Despite hitting only .180 with a .618 OPS in July, Minnesota has received "numerous calls" on first baseman Justin Morneau, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, who cited a major league source.
Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities believes Morneau 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. Still, teams like Toronto are calling to see what it would take to put a deal together.
Seeing as how he doesn't fit into the Twins' long-term plans, it would be surprising if the team didn't just accept the best offer it can get for him and look to the future with a new face at first base.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that nothing has changed when it comes to the Mets and their two biggest trade chips, outfielder Marlon Byrd and closer Bobby Parnell.
The team isn't actively looking to move either player. It values both incredibly high and, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, is seeking a "Zack Wheeler-type prospect" in exchange for Parnell, a price that no team is going to be willing to pay.
Sherman goes on to say that the Mets have been disappointed in the trade market this season, as they were hoping that players like Eric Young Jr., Daniel Murphy and John Buck would generate some interest.
They haven't, and with time quickly ticking away, the chances of someone making a move for one of those players seems to be slim to none.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tells MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that the Bronx Bombers may not be done reinforcing the roster after acquiring Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs late last week.
One potential target is Philadelphia's Michael Young, who the Yankees have checked in on previously only to be told that he wasn't available. We know that is no longer the case, with Young officially on the block, and he'd represent a massive upgrade at third base for the club.
It's fair to speculate that San Francisco's Hunter Pence, Seattle's Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse and nearly every other corner infielder and/or outfielder with power who hits the market is someone who the Yankees would have interest in acquiring.
After pursuing Chicago's Jake Peavy, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Oakland has dropped out of the running for the veteran starter and instead will focus its efforts on bolstering its bullpen and middle infield—specifically at second base.
The problem Oakland is going to run into is that there simply aren't a whole lot of quality middle infielders available. Philadelphia's Chase Utley would have been ideal, but he's not available.
Jonathan Papelbon could be wearing a different uniform on Thursday morning.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies have finally decided to start selling off pieces, though the team will not trade Domonic Brown, Cole Hamels or Chase Utley. Everyone else is up for grabs, though the chances of some players getting traded are far greater than others.
According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, not only are the Phillies not willing to pick up any of the more than $70 million that remains on Cliff Lee's contract, but they are expecting a massive return.
"He's (Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.) telling people it'll take you three or four best prospects, plus you'd have to take all the money," one executive told Heyman.
Another put things more bluntly: "You'd have to give up your first born, second and third born, too."
While the Phillies and Red Sox are reportedly involved in discussions revolving around Lee and Michael Young, it's far more likely that Lee stays in Philadelphia while Young heads out of town.
The market for Young isn't quite what it was two weeks ago, as the Dodgers no longer have a glaring need for him and a reunion with the Rangers isn't in the cards. The Yankees have been linked to him previously, while teams like Baltimore and Oakland could have interest as well, given his versatility.
For weeks, the talk has been about Pittsburgh making a run at the Cubs' Nate Schierholtz or the White Sox' Alex Rios, but ESPN's Jayson Stark says that first base, not right field, may be where the Pirates look to add.
Specifically, Stark says that Minnesota's Justin Morneau would be a logical addition for Pittsburgh, and with the former MVP on the block and set to become a free agent after the season, he would appear to be the perfect kind of addition for a small-market club like the Pirates.
Apparently, San Diego was quietly working on a "big move," one that a source tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick only has about a 25 percent chance of happening, so the team has switched its focus to moving some of its relievers, namely Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher.
MLB.com's Corey Brock reports that San Diego is seeking young, controllable starting pitching in any deal, and with multiple teams chasing after Gregerson, you have to like San Diego's chances of landing that pitcher in exchange for the veteran reliever.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday that the San Francisco Giants would begrudgingly listen to offers on some of its veteran pieces, specifically Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez and Hunter Pence.
Multiple teams have been linked to Lopez already, which is no surprise given his outstanding performance in relief this season and the number of contenders looking to bolster their bullpens.
As for Lincecum and Pence, the Giants plan on making the pair qualifying offers at the end of the season, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who says that's one of the reasons why the Giants have such a steep asking price for both players.
The most likely scenario is that Lopez gets traded while Pence and the "Freaky Franchise" remain in San Francisco.
Seattle isn't selling, a strategy that CBS Sports' Jon Heyman agrees with. I can't argue with it either.
The Mariners have gone 15-8 this month, and only Detroit (137) has put more runs on the board than Seattle (125). General manager Jack Zduriencik needs the team to show progress this season or risk losing his job, and the same can be said for manager Eric Wedge and his coaching staff.
Of the players that would generate the most interest, Mike Morse has been injured and has little value on the market, while Kendrys Morales has been fantastic and is a piece the Mariners would like to hang onto past this season.
No team in baseball has as much depth as St. Louis does, and it's that depth that ESPN's Jayson Stark says could find the Cardinals selling off some pieces in the next 48 hours, pointing to recently recalled left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski as a candidate to be dealt.
In a separate piece, Stark says that the Cardinals are likely out of the Jake Peavy sweepstakes after trying to work out a deal for only him and a package deal that would have sent him and shortstop Alexei Ramirez to St. Louis.
Tampa Bay wasn't expected to do much of anything as the trade deadline approached, so it was a bit of a surprise when the Rays pulled off a deal with Chicago to land setup man extraordinaire Jesse Crain on Monday afternoon.
If a similar deal comes around where the Rays can improve a position without surrendering anything significant, then I'd imagine that they'd pull the trigger on it.
But those deals are typically few and far between, so don't be surprised if we hear nothing else out of Tampa Bay until after the deadline passes.
After acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs, the rumor mill seemed to kick into overdrive when the Rangers were involved, with Texas being linked to nearly every big name available regardless of position or contract status.
At one point, we were hearing that the Rangers were thinking about trading their All-Star closer, Joe Nathan, to make room for some of the injured arms that they expect back in August.
But general manager Jon Daniels has put that all to rest with his comments to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
We'll talk about anything. That's our jobs, but talking about something and having it happen are very different things.
I don't expect to make any trades, but things have a way of changing. Our biggest acquisition we've made already. Beyond that, any other acquisition basically will be playing better.
Despite the Blue Jays being linked to Minnesota's Justin Morneau by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, I go back to what Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca last week—that he's in no rush to make more moves to try and salvage what has been a disappointing season:
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 nearly 10 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.
If Washington does anything at the deadline, it might look to tweak its bench between Tuesday and Wednesday, something general manager Mike Rizzo talked about briefly with Amanda Comak of the Washington Times:
If we could tweak or improve certain spots on the bench, I think that would be one place that we would attack. But we’ve got ourselves a pretty talented group of guys that we’re committed to and we like where we’re at.
While it's clear that the team could use another starting pitcher, with Taylor Jordan on an innings limit and Ross Detwiler sidelined with no timetable for a return, the Nationals will not trade away its best prospects for a rental, and Rizzo doesn't foresee any "splashy trades" in the team's future.