The hours are dwindling until Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is here.
We’ve already seen a few big trades the last couple of weeks. The Chicago Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers, Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles and Alfonso Soriano to the New York Yankees. The Miami Marlins also dealt Ricky Nolasco to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those are just a handful of transactions, and there are sure to be more before Wednesday afternoon.
The rumor mill has been scorching hot the last week or so. There are plenty of teams out of the playoff hunt that may be willing to give up their stars in order to replenish the farm system and hope for the best in the coming years. But even though some teams are out of contention, they may look to hang on to what they currently have.
The franchises still in contention are seeking that final piece of the puzzle in order to lock up the division or earn a wild-card berth. It appears that nearly every team in the league is going to be active toward the deadline in one way or another, which should result in a fun couple of days.
Here's all the information that any baseball fan needs to know, including the biggest rumors and predictions for where the game’s best will end up come Wednesday night. Who will get traded and who will be staying put at the trade deadline?
Date: Wednesday, July 31
End Time: 4 p.m. ET
Where Will Peavy Land?
Jake Peavy is easily the top starter on the market this summer, and it seems likely that the White Sox—who could lose 100 games for the first time since 1970—will ship him off to another team. But general manager Rick Hahn is asking for a ton in return for the right-hander, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
The Red Sox and Athletics are two of the teams with interest in the righty, and Passan writes that Hahn is seeking Xander Bogaerts or Addison Russell—each organization’s top prospect—in exchange for Peavy. The price tag for the starter will likely drop before Wednesday, executives told Passan.
Chicago likely won’t be helping any team looking to land Peavy financially, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN, and that could be a big deterrent:
Peavy is 8-4 on the season and currently has a 4.28 ERA through 13 starts. He’s struck out 76 batters through 80 innings of work and has walked just 17. He figures to be a big part of a contending team’s rotation down the stretch and he would definitely help both Boston and Oakland make the postseason.
Boston has been without its ace, Clay Buchholz, since June 8. It’s unclear as to when the right-hander will be able to pitch for the Red Sox this season, if at all. The Red Sox are struggling to stay atop the AL East and could really use a starter like Peavy to fill the void left by Buchholz.
Oakland is in a little bit of a different situation. Bartolo Colon has been outstanding for the A’s this year, as he’s 14-3 with a 2.54 ERA. He might be in trouble, though, as he’s been linked to the Biogenesis scandal. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that many believe Colon will avoid discipline, though, according to his sources.
Neither Boston GM Ben Cherington nor Oakland GM Billy Beane would be foolish enough to give up a top prospect in exchange for Peavy no matter how badly either team needs him. Keep in mind that the righty has only started 20 or more games in a season once since 2008. His injury issues and contract status won’t land the White Sox a No. 1 prospect.
Prediction: Traded to Boston Red Sox
Will Texas Trade Nathan?
Joe Nathan is having a stellar season for the Rangers, his second with the club. He’s been successful in 32-of-34 save opportunities and has only allowed eight earned runs in 41.2 innings of work on the year.
But he might not be saving games for Texas for much longer.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports the Tigers and Rangers have talked about Nathan:
Detroit is certainly a team that could use Nathan in the back end of its bullpen. The Tigers have struggled to find a consistent closer for most of the year, and have been using Joaquin Benoit—who’s usually a setup man—in the ninth. Benoit has yet to blow a save in 10 chances and currently has a 1.50 ERA.
The Tigers would need to give up a lot to land Nathan from the Rangers, and it might not be a worthwhile deal. With Benoit pitching just fine in the closer role at the moment, the need to trade for a closer doesn’t seem so urgent. Detroit definitely would be in better shape with Benoit in the eighth and Nathan in the ninth, though.
Jim Bowden of ESPN speculates another destination for the All-Star closer:
This trade would definitely be interesting, but it doesn’t seem very likely to happen. Andre Ethier has stayed healthy the entire year, but has struggled at the plate. In 101 games, he’s hitting .265/.346/.396 with seven home runs and 36 RBI. Matt Kemp has only played in 62 games this season and has hit worse than his teammate.
Ethier may be better off with another team, and the Rangers could certainly use him. Texas is ranked 17th this season in terms of WAR for outfielders, per FanGraphs. He’d be an upgrade over David Murphy in left field, who’s batting .225/.282/.377 with 11 home runs in 99 games this season.
There’s no question that the Dodgers could use Nathan as well. The team’s bullpen is the 22nd best in baseball this year in terms of WAR, per FanGraphs. Brandon League couldn’t handle the closer duties, as his ERA currently stands at 5.17. Kenley Jansen has been the team’s best reliever, and he’d likely pitch the eighth with Nathan in L.A.
Prediction: Stays with Texas
What Will the Phillies Do?
The Phillies are an absolute disaster, as they’re currently seven games under .500, 11 games behind the Braves in the NL East and are losers of eight in a row. But general manager Ruben Amaro doesn’t appear to want to sell many of his coveted pieces at the moment—or at least before Wednesday’s deadline.
Michael Young and Cliff Lee are two of the more attractive players on the Phillies, but only one of the two is up for grabs, per Buster Olney of ESPN:
Young is a versatile infielder who is hitting .277/.342/.402 with seven home runs and 32 RBI through 98 games this season. The Rangers, Red Sox and Orioles all have interest in landing Young, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Yankees are calling on Young as well.
Another Philadelphia infielder, Chase Utley, might be on the move as well. The second baseman is hitting .274/.337/.498 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI through 76 games this season. Olney reports that Amaro might not be looking to trade Utley, as the team is looking to sign him to an extension:
The Phillies need to do something to improve for the short or long term quickly, unless their closer might request a trade. Jonathan Papelbon scolded the Phillies recently, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com: “I definitely didn’t come here for this,” Papelbon said.
Papelbon did state that he wants to stay with the Phillies, though. “No, I would like to stay here. But if I’m going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don’t want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?” Those are some strong words from the right-handed reliever.
Even though Papelbon ripped the Phillies for their poor play, don’t expect to see the team trade him before Wednesday afternoon. The franchise would likely ask for a ton to deal him, and he’s still owed $26 million over the next two seasons and there’s a vesting option on his contract for $13 million in 2016.
Prediction: Young Traded to Yankees; Lee, Utley and Papelbon Stay Put
All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are current through July 28. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts and all injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.