With the Midsummer Classic approaching, the MLB rumor mill is alight with trade embers.
Much of the attention at this point is leveled in the World Cup and the NBA's direction, but the MLB just so happens to be in prime form in the rumors department thanks to the notorious month of July that often sees major names shipped to new locales.
There are, at least allegedly, some blockbuster deals that may go down, or stars who may incite a mega deal at some point over the course of the next month.
For now, here is a look at the latest rumblings from around the league in the infancy of the summer's wildest month.
David Price on the Move...But When?
It seems to not be a matter of "if" David Price gets dealt, but "when" the move goes down, and with what franchise.
Floundering away at the bottom of the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays have little use for the 2012 AL Cy Young winner, who is set for free agency sooner rather than later. The last year of his contract pays him $14 million.
Outside of pointing to the fact stars are not typically dealt in early June, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman cites executives who believe the Rays will take their sweet time in making a deal come to fruition:
That's why several executives around the game polled on this subject expect the Rays to wait until late July to pull the trigger on a Price blockbuster. A surprise deal can happen at any time, of course, but execs on teams expected to be in it say they would be stunned if it happened anytime in the next week or two. The mini sendoff was nice, but probably not necessary.
It's a strange, apparently widely held thought about the situation. At 37-49, the Rays are not close to turning things around, and each game they hang on to Price, the better his chances are of injury or a collapse that hurts his value.
Dragging their feet in this situation makes little sense. Price's stock may never be higher after recording five starts in the month of June with a 2.27 ERA, 54 batters fanned and five free passes.
It sounds like this one will play out slowly, but don't be stunned if something develops quickly.
Brandon McCarthy Somehow Drawing Interest
Considering Baseball Prospectus has the Arizona Diamondbacks ranked near the bottom of MLB in defensive efficiency, it is no wonder some of Brandon McCarthy's numbers are downright miserable.
But apparently, plenty of teams around the league understand that the issue is the defense around the pitcher, not the pitcher himself. In fact, McCarthy is one of the hottest names out there at the moment. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has the scoop:
Brian Kenny will love this: #DBacks’ McCarthy drawing trade interest despite 1-10 record. ERA is 5.38, but FIP is 3.99. Plus: 80Ks, 18 BB.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 25, 2014
But wait—McCarthy's actually at a 2-10 record and 5.11 ERA now. Despite some putrid, basic metrics, even he understands there is a chance he gets shipped out of the desert, as captured by Fox Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder:
It certainly seems likely, but if I am still here at the end of September, then great. It is a place I enjoy.
At this point, you become an asset the other way. Right now as a Diamondback, sometimes your best value is your future value and what they can get for you. I totally understand that side of the game. You accept it as reality, but it is not something I sit and worry about all the time, check every rumor. Just let it happen, and when I get a phone call and that happens, there you go.
Surely content to begin a rebuild and not willing to pay McCarthy the full extent of the $10.25 million salary he is due this season, it makes loads of sense that the Diamondbacks will entertain trade offers for a player who is somewhat unexpectedly drumming up interest on the market.
Jason Hammel is Coveted, to Say the Least
There are a couple of things not at all surprising about the Chicago Cubs. For one, the team is 36-46. Two, they have a tradeable asset teams around the league would love to get their hands on; as a bonus, he's a heck of a rental.
That rental is starting pitcher Jason Hammel, who is already halfway into the one-year, $6 million deal he signed with the Cubs.
So Hammel is cheap, but here is the other caveat—he's elite.
Hammel is in the midst of a career year, touting a 7-5 record, a 2.98 ERA and 97 strikeouts. Even better, he has a career-high strikeout-to-walk ratio. An expanded look at his last few years confirms the notion:
In other words, it's not shocking to hear a scout say that "You could argue that Hammel is the most sought-after player, positional or pitcher, in the trade market right now,” per The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
Plenty of contenders will surely come knocking. The Toronto Blue Jays apparently have interest, as per Heyman, as do the Seattle Mariners, according to The Chicago Sun-Times (via Rosenthal). More suitors may emerge, but one has to think they better do it quickly—the Cubs could very much use any future assets obtained and won't hesitate to pull the trigger.
If Hammel isn't moved soon? Watch for him to be one of the biggest names for the duration of next offseason.
Salary and contract information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.