The 2013 MLB Trade Deadline is on the horizon, as mere hours separate us from the most important mark of the midseason. With the non-waiver deadline set to pass at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 31, that has countless teams in a frantic rush to find quality players to fit onto their rosters.
The question is, what's the latest buzz surrounding the top stars on the open market?
There are more than a handful of big names being listed as available, which has the MLB preparing for a potentially significant change. From former Cy Young award winners to top-tier All-Stars, we've heard it all.
Here's where they may end up.
Michael Young: Texas or Philadelphia
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Philadelphia Phillies have made third baseman Michael Young available for trade offers. This has instantly peaked the interest of numerous teams, as the seven-time All-Star remains a lethal hitter at the age of 36.
Unfortunately for 29 MLB teams, there's only one franchise that Young, in possession of a no-trade clause, would accept departing Philadelphia for.
Young previously played for the Texas Rangers from 2000 to 2012.
During his time with the Rangers, Young hit above .300 in seven separate seasons, including 2005, when he won the batting title. Young also won a Gold Glove award in 2008, two home All-Star Game MVP honors in 2006 and helped Texas to back-to-back World Series appearances.
He also has six seasons with at least 90 RBI and nine with at least 30 doubles.
Young's status as a pure hitter is no secret, and in 2013, he continues to play at a high level. He's currently hitting .279 with eight home runs, 34 RBI, 18 doubles and a surprising three triples.
It's also worth noting that, just as news broke of Philadelphia bringing up his replacement from the minor leagues, Young hit a two-run homer.
Source: Phillies plan on calling up 3B Cody Asche. Points to Michael Young being traded today.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2013
Unfortunately, the Phillies' hands are tied until he approves of a trade.
Unless the Rangers decide to make an offer, Young will remain in Philadelphia for the rest of the season. With Young in the final year of his contract, receiving $6 million from the Phillies and $10 million from Texas, that might not be such a bad thing.
Otherwise, the Phillies' best bet is that Texas looks to get some bang for its buck.
San Francisco Raising Prices
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the San Francisco Giants are shopping Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez and Hunter Pence. This has put some Giants fans in a frenzy, as Lincecum and Pence are two of the local fans' favorite players.
Per Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle, that deal will only be executed if the Giants are offered a "serious haul."
Also, from what I hear, #sfgiants are not close on any deal for Pence or Lincecum, not motivated to move them for less than a serious haul.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 30, 2013
Pence played a major role in San Francisco winning the 2012 World Series title, making clutch plays in the field and at the plate. In 2013, with the Giants well-below .500, Pence has maintained his level of aggression and passion for the game.
Thus far, he's hitting .277 with 24 doubles, four triples, 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 105 games, also going a perfect 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts.
Lincecum, meanwhile, has gone from a two-time Cy Young award winner to a pitcher struggling to piece together consecutive quality starts. The 29-year-old is currently 5-11 with an ERA of 4.61, but he turned heads on July 13.
Having lost his past four decisions, Lincecum threw a complete game no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, striking out 13 batters.
Lincecum has now struck out at least 10 in three of his past four games and eight or more in five of his past seven. The story of his season, however, is the outing that followed his no-hitter, when he threw 3.2 innings of eight-run work.
Even still, the Giants believe he can turn his career around.
If a team is willing to deal top prospects and a first-round draft choice, the Giants may budge on Lincecum or Pence. Chances are, that won't happen, as both become free agents at season's end.
As for Lopez, who has 45 appearances and a 1.42 ERA, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Jim Bowden of ESPN that he plans to have Lopez on the roster once the trade deadline passes.
Cliff Lee to Boston Off
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Phillies ace Cliff Lee would be "happy" to join the Boston Red Sox via trade. Just as the talks appeared to heat up, however, another report cooled them down.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reports that Boston and Philadelphia are no longer in talks.
Red Sox are no longer involved in trade discussions with Cliff Lee according to source #NotHappening— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2013
Don't expect Lee to be moved elsewhere.
Heyman had previously reported that Boston was willing to pay the hefty price tag of three top prospects to acquire Lee. While he may be a genuine superstar, Boston's ultimate decision proves that Philadelphia has created a cost too high for any team to pay.
As great as Lee is, we're still surprised to know that.
The Phillies don't appear to be going anywhere in 2013, sitting at 50-56 and trailing the first place Atlanta Braves by 11.5 games.
Experiencing one of their worst cold stretches of the season and still uncertain about Roy Halladay's future, dealing a star for prospects makes sense—especially when Lee could get something close to but not quite at the level Philadelphia has requested.
Lee is presently 10-4 with a 3.04 ERA and a WHIP of 1.01. He's struck out 131 batters, averaging more than seven innings thrown per game. In other words, the four-time All-Star and 2008 Cy Young award winner isn't slowing down.
All signs point towards the Phillies keeping those elite numbers in Philadelphia.