The MLB trade deadline is creeping closer and closer, and the moves of this past weekend indicate that we could see even more action before July 31 than in previous years.
The Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics got things started on the Fourth of July, as Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel went over to the A's in exchange for top prospect Addison Russell and other minor leaguers.
The New York Yankees also sought pitching help, but with the two aforementioned arms off the market, they had to settle for Brandon McCarthy. They sent Vidal Nuno back to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange.
What other players will be dealt before the deadline? Deadline acquisitions can alter the landscape of the league, and you can be sure that contending teams are looking to upgrade. Below are the latest rumors on names that could be on the move.
Now that Samardzija is off the market, David Price is the most coveted arm available. The left-hander has been dominant of late, and that won't help other teams get him on the cheap.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports wrote about one potential suitor: "The Rays are willing to deal Price within the American League East, and the Blue Jays could make a credible offer by putting forward two of their top three prospects: Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey."
The fact that the Rays are willing to deal within the division is interesting. It's rare that teams will move big players to a division rival, and especially one in the thick of a playoff race.
This could feasibly open the door for any of the AL East teams to make a move for Price. They all need pitching, and he's the best arm out there.
That said, Morosi notes that it won't be easy to get Price:
One exec observed there aren't many premium prospects (eg Addison Russell) in "buyer" farm systems; so, few teams have pieces to get Price.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 6, 2014
After general manager Andrew Friedman saw the haul Chicago got for Samardzija and Hammel, he would be wise to wait it out for a top prospect or two.
The Blue Jays can offer that, but do the other AL East teams have the trade chips? Probably not.
It seems like the Yankees have been linked to Chase Headley for years now, but they finally have a legitimate need for his services. Just take a look at the to-date production from Yangervis Solarte (who has been sent down) and Kelly Johnson at the hot corner:
|Kelly Johnson||.218/.294/.379, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 38 H|
|Yangervis Solarte||.260/.343/.393, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 63 H|
baseball-reference.com prior to play on July 7
To be fair, Headley hasn't been much better. He's slashing just .219/.297/.332 with six homers and 25 RBI. It was only two seasons ago that he led the NL with 115 RBI, however, so the Yankees could probably grab him cheap and hope he rights the ship.
That appears to be the plan, as Morosi reports that the Yankees are really interested:
Yankees are scouting Padres 3B Chase Headley regularly, sources tell @Ken_Rosenthal and me.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 1, 2014
Yankees are smart to be taking a look at Headley. If it clicks for him, you don't worry about the 1st half numbers. FA after this year.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 1, 2014
Headley would be the perfect rental for a team that is still in the playoff hunt despite multiple injuries to its pitching staff and hole after hole in the lineup.
Jacoby Ellsbury is really the only big-name position player they signed this offseason that is doing well. Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann have struggled mightily, and it shows in the inconsistencies of this lineup.
Adding Headley might not help right away, but as the weather warms up, we could see a rejuvenated hitter. Still just 30, Headley should have more than a few good swings left in him.
Teams in need of cheap power might call the Chicago White Sox in hopes that they'll move Dayan Viciedo, reports ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes:
But Viciedo just turned 25 in March, is being paid just $2.8 million this season, and would remain under a club's control through the 2017 season. Despite his underachieving performance this season, his right-handed power might be an ideal fit in Fenway Park.
Other teams have already approached the White Sox about him, including the contending Mariners and Giants, according to one major league source.
Viciedo has actually been remarkably consistent over the past three seasons, as you can see below:
|2012||.255/.300/.444, 25 HR, 78 RBI, 18 2B|
|2013||.265/.304/.426, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 23 2B|
|2014||.250/.303/.420, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 19 2B|
baseball-reference.com prior to play on July 7
He hits for good power and gives you an OPS around .730. It's not great, but the fact that he can drive in runs at the bottom of the lineup makes him a valuable commodity.
The Red Sox could definitely use his bat, but I think the Seattle Mariners are the best fit. This team is surprisingly good. To take the next step, they need some more power. Viciedo is affordable, and he can be plugged into a corner outfield spot or designated hitter right away.
All he has to do is hit the ball far. There won't be any pressure on him to do anything else. What you see is what you get with him, and that's just fine for a team like Seattle.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR