In an unexpected move, the Yankees added a middle-of-the-order bat in Alfonso Soriano.
Once one goes, they all go: the domino effect.
There is a clear order of interest for teams aiming to land winning pieces before the deadline. The most-discussed names like Michael Young and Jake Peavy are teetering atop a tower waiting to crumble.
If and when high-profile names begin to be dealt, teams will resort to second choices and other options to fill the holes on their contending clubs.
The Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs are known to be (or have been) sellers while playoff hopefuls such as the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves scuffle to land their top-choice talent in a weak trade market.
A handful of deals have already been completed as we approach the 24-hour countdown to the 4 p.m., July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Let's see how those will affect the potential blockbusters that are on the horizon.
All stats are courtesy of FanGraphs.
Perkins has been lights out for the Twins in 2013.
Bolstering the bullpen is on the to-do list for many teams at each trade deadline. Relievers are affordable and easily moved pieces that provide considerable pitching depth. A solid reliever can be the difference between two to three additional wins in close games down the stretch.
Four significant relievers have already been dealt: Francisco Rodriguez (26.2 IP, 1.35 ERA, 10 saves) has joined the Baltimore Orioles, Jose Veras (43 IP, 2.93 ERA, 19 saves) was added to the Detroit Tigers, Scott Downs (30.2 IP, 1.76 ERA) hopped leagues to the Atlanta Braves and Jesse Crain (36.2 IP, 0.74 ERA) relocated to to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Each of those relievers has joined a team in hot division races. Downs and Crain were two of the top relievers up for grabs in 2013, so with those two arms taken, names like Glen Perkins of the Minnesota Twins and Kevin Gregg of the Chicago Cubs become more attractive.
The asking price for Perkins will likely be high, and deservedly so, especially with a sparse trade market for back-end relievers. A team like the Red Sox, who have lost two closers (Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan) and a setup man (Andrew Miller) for the season, could impress the Twins with a prospect package.
There is a good chance Kevin Gregg will be moved very soon, as he will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Cubs' closer has a 2.68 ERA and 22 saves on the season but has notched a 5.73 ERA with two blown saves and 11 walks over his last 10 outings.
Other relievers that may move by Wednesday evening are Seattle Mariners' left-hander Oliver Perez, who has thrown his way to a 2.35 ERA and 52 strikeouts in just 38.1 innings pitched. Teams like the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers, despite acquiring Carlos Marmol, are still seeking bullpen help.
Luke Gregerson (43.1 IP, 2.91 ERA) of the San Diego Padres may also be on the market. A possible landing spot for him is St. Louis, whose biggest weakness (if any) is a thin bullpen.
Will Peavy be dealt before the deadline?
Building off the rumors of Cubs closer Kevin Gregg being transplanted, the team clearly isn't done wiping out the current roster for continued prospect growth.
With players still available for trade, general manager Theo Epstein stated that the team will remain active through tomorrow evening. Per Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com: "If we do anything, it will probably be closer to the deadline."
The Cubs have already made five deals since the beginning of July, including trades featuring much sought-after starting pitcher Matt Garza and power bat Alfonso Soriano. With Garza and starter Ricky Nolasco (now with the Dodgers) already gone, certain names have begun to garner more attention in the past week.
White Sox starter Jake Peavy has been a heavily debated topic. ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Estes claimed the Red Sox, Athletics and Diamondbacks were among the teams interested in the right-hander. The question remains, however, just how much a team is willing to part with to acquire an injury-prone starter with a mid-4.00 ERA and a high walk rate. Peavy is the best starting arm left on the market, but don't be surprised if a deal isn't agreed upon by the deadline.
Bud Norris of the Astros has also been a name surfacing in the past month. The Braves were thought to be the front-runners for Norris' services, but Jayson Stark refuted that claim last week.
Norris has a 3.93 ERA in 126 innings pitched for the "nowhere road" Astros this season. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, there are still a considerable number of teams interested in Norris, including the Red Sox, Pirates, Phillies, Rangers, Giants, Dodgers and Orioles.
The Royals' Ervin Santana (138.1 IP, 3.06 ERA) is another available arm, yet after a six-game winning streak that has return Kansas City to a .500 record (51-51), Jeff Passan tweeted that the Royals asking price for Santana has risen. The team now wants players that will help them contend this season.
Even Michael Young is sick of hearing about Michael Young rumors.
There haven't been any significant trades that would initiate the domino effect for Michael Young, but there is one off-the-field deal that may catalyze his movement. That is the impending suspensions for those linked to Biogenesis.
Teams like the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers are preparing to be damaged by the upcoming suspensions. If the Yankees want to be a viable playoff contender, Luis Cruz cannot be a long-term solution at third base. Alex Rodriguez is gearing up for a return, but it looks like the MLB is going to cancel his reunion with the majors.
The Tigers are likely going to lose shortstop Jhonny Peralta and the Rangers will be without All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz.
Each of those three teams could utilize the bat and veteran experience of Michael Young. The Yankees would benefit immensely from trading for Young, as AL East rivals Red Sox and Orioles have also been noted by Gordon Estes as interested in the third baseman's services.
The O's are secure at third base with Manny Machado but could use a solid hitter in their DH spot. The Red Sox could upgrade their infield depth by placing Young at third, keeping Stephen Drew at shortstop and moving rookie Jose Iglesias to the bench amidst a slow start to the second half in which he is just 4-for-32.
Jayson Stark suggests the Phillies are listening to deals from any and all teams, so Young is almost a guarantee to be moved by tomorrow evening.