Odds of Each Top Remaining MLB Trade Target Being Dealt on Deadline Day
With Major League Baseball's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline just hours away, the clock is ticking for general managers around the league.
For the sellers, the risk of holding on to an asset too long is becoming more real by the second. For buyers, the idea of keeping a top prospect in lieu of making a big run towards October may be ridiculed by the local media and fans.
On Tuesday, business picked up. The arrival of Jake Peavy in Boston, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, shakes up the starting pitching market, leaving few impact arms to be sold to many suitors in need of front-line pitching.
With several potential Biogenesis suspensions looming, holes could form on contending teams within days.
How will each buyer and seller go about their business today? Here is a snapshot of which players might get moved over the course of the trade deadline countdown.
Cliff Lee, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies: 10 Percent
With the Boston Red Sox now out of the market for a starting pitcher, Cliff Lee's tenure in Philadelphia looks much safer than it did just 24 hours ago.
Of course, when dealing with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, nothing can be ruled out.
The notion of the head of a franchise changing direction from buying to selling after a bad week shows how unpredictable and unprofessional Amaro can be.
To be fair, he's trying to win and preserve a special era of Phillies baseball. On the other hand, he's allowed the team to crumble on his watch.
Lee doesn't have to be moved and can certainly help the Phillies win in 2014 and beyond. If Amaro chooses to revisit a Lee deal, suitors will emerge in the winter.
Unless a surprise deal is in the works away from mainstream reporters, Lee is likely to continue his reign as the Philadelphia Phillies' ace.
Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox: 20 Percent
If not for a foot injury that forced Alex Rios out of action on Tuesday, the odds of his departure from Chicago would be higher. Of course, if the injury is as minor as it appears to be, Chicago should still be able to move their star outfielder.
An honest look at the White Sox organization should signal that a rebuilding effort is necessary. Rios, who has 36 extra-base hits this season, is 32 years old and a free agent after the 2014 season. His effectiveness can be enhanced on a contender, but it's wasted on a poor White Sox team.
If Chicago doesn't move on from Rios now, his value diminishes every minute he remains in Chicago beyond the 2013 trade deadline. Next year, he'll be another year older and closer to free agency.
With the New York Mets showing little interest in moving Marlon Byrd, according to of Newsday, the market for a right-handed outfield bat is thin. In theory, Chicago could exploit that for a decent return and a jump-start on a bright future.
Bud Norris, RHP, Houston Astros: 75 Percent
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that the writing is on the wall in Houston for Bud Norris.
Norris, the nominal ace of the Astros rotation, was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles, per CBSSports.com. In the aftermath of hugging his teammates after departing his home start last week, the 28-year-old right-hander is more likely to be pitching for a winning team on Thursday than continuing his work in Houston's rebuilding effort.
Unlike Matt Garza, Norris isn't close to free agency, and unlike Cliff Lee or Jake Peavy, Norris isn't overly expensive right now or in the next few seasons. Of course, he doesn't have a track record of big success before 2013 either, and he has never pitched in a key game in the major leagues.
However, Norris has posted a 3.93 ERA while providing valuable innings for the wretched Astros.
In Houston, the future remains for 2015 and beyond. In order to maximize the talent in the Astros' system, Norris must be moved at his peak value.
Michael Young, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies: 50 Percent
Philadelphia's call-up of third-base prospect Cody Asche from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, per Stephen Pianovich of MLB.com, signaled to the baseball world that Michael Young's time was up for the NL East pretenders.
However, a trade may not be imminent for Young, who has a no-trade clause in his contract including every team except the Texas Rangers, so he will have to approve any deal.
If he chooses to forgo his veto powers, the AL East could come calling, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com on Twitter. Boston, New York and Baltimore all could use a player of Young's caliber, versatility and leadership for a drive toward the postseason.
While the 36-year-old is far from the 200-hit machine of his youth in Texas, his ability to hit left-handed pitchers at a high level over the course of his career and play both first and third base will make his availability too much to pass up if the price is right.
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Los Angeles Angels: 30 Percent
Rumors of Howie Kendrick's departure from the Angels do not seem to point to an imminent deal, but Bleacher Report's Jason Martinez noted that assembling a trade package for the 30-year-old second baseman would be a worthwhile exercise on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, the trade of Alberto Callaspo to the Oakland Athletics provided even more weight in the Kendrick market.
Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com tweeted that Grant Green, the second baseman acquired from Oakland in the Callaspo deal, is reminiscent of the player Howie Kendrick once was during his younger days in the Angels' system.
If a suitor is found on deadline day, Kendrick's successor may already be in place in Los Angeles.
With the team in selling mode, moving a second baseman on the wrong side of 30 years old could help restock a barren Angels farm system with new and inexpensive talent.