Every year at Major League Baseball's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, there are players who have been considered "available" for months. However, many of them end up spending the rest of the season right where they started.
In some cases, the market simply is not good enough to justify a trade. Other times, baseball's front offices simply get cold feet and decide they do not want to make a deal.
There is certainly pressure that comes with making any move at this level. A bad decision could cost people their jobs while staying put seems like the safer alternative.
Those factors will add up to keeping a number of pitchers from going anywhere even though they have been considered as being on the trading block.
Phil Hughes, New York Yankees
Although Phil Hughes was once considered a key part of the future for the New York Yankees, things have not gone according to plan. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2010, he has failed to finish with an ERA under 4.00.
Last season, the pitcher was inconsistent while posting a 16-13 record with a 4.23 ERA. He is no longer inconsistent this year, as he is generally bad on a daily basis. He is 4-9 with a 4.58 ERA and the Yankees are considering trading him before letting him go in the offseason.
The problem with this situation is that it does not appear that any other team wants him, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com:
Source: As of yesterday, the #Yankees had not received a single trade offer for RHP Phil Hughes.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2013
It is obviously impossible to trade a player if no one wants him. Still, New York can get on the phone and start requesting low-level prospects in return.
At this point, however, it seems as though he will remain property of the Yankees for the rest of the year.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Like Hughes, fans were expecting more out of Tim Lincecum at this point in his career.
After winning two NL Cy Young awards in his early 20s, he has struggled mightily over the past two years.
This—combined with the San Francisco Giants falling to last place in the NL West—has made the pitcher available, according to Rosenthal.
Just because the Giants are "entertaining trade offers," it does not mean that a deal will be completed. Lincecum has been a big part of two World Series titles and it would be an emotional moment for fans to see him leave.
General manager Brian Sabean will obviously make a trade if he is blown away by an offer, but it will not be too easy to get him to part with the veteran pitcher.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the club would like to keep Lincecum as well as outfielder Hunter Pence:
Lincecum and Pence are in their walk years. But the Giants are interested in retaining both, and their current intention is to offer them the roughly $13.8 million tender, which at worst would assure a draft pick between the first and second rounds if either signed elsewhere.
This is a decent strategy to help the club remain competitive for the future without giving up its shot at the present.
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
After suffering an eight-game losing streak, it is clear that the Philadelphia Phillies are ready to give up on the season and sell anyone of value.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, the team is willing to trade anyone besides Dominic Brown, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels.
This means that Cliff Lee would be available although it does not seem like a trade will come easy:
As for Cliff Lee, nothing really has changed since the all-star break when we reported that the Phillies prefer to keep Lee and pair him with Hamels at the top of the 2014 rotation, but that preference could be bought off with a huge return of top prospects. In other words, a team can get Lee if they blow the Phillies away. If not, he stays.
The 2013 market has seemed to have a similar theme across the board. Few teams are willing to part with their top prospects, let alone multiple prospects.
In addition, Lee has been one of the few players actually performing well in Philadelphia. Despite some recent struggles, he is still 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA and represented the team in the All-Star game earlier this month.
Finally, the pitcher's contract would be hard to move without the Phillies paying a lot on the remainder of it. He signed a five-year, $120 million deal before the 2011 season and Philadelphia will not want to give him money to play for another team for the next couple of years.
All signs point to Lee returning next season for the Phillies.
Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox
A few days before the trade deadline, it was assumed that Jake Peavy would be sent somewhere. The player even brought his packed bags to the White Sox locker room on Sunday, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN.com.
However, the Oakland Athletics have dropped out of the race, according to Rosenthal:
#Athletics off Peavy, moving onto other pursuits - bullpen, middle IFer. Will dangle some of players they would have traded for Peavy.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2013
Buster Olney of ESPN.com then reported that the White Sox changed their minds regarding the pitcher:
The White Sox are telling other teams they're going to keep Peavy and build around him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 29, 2013
This seems like an interesting turn of events considering that Chicago is currently in last place in the AL Central at 23 games under .500. At this stage, it makes sense for the White Sox to trade off their assets in order to bring back anything of value.
Considering Peavy has an injury history that has seen him make over 20 starts just once since 2008, there is even more reason to trade him. However, it appears as though the White Sox will keep the veteran as part of their future.
Chicago could still make a move and is actually skipping his start on Tuesday, July 30, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, but any moves seem unlikely at this point.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.