MLB Rumors: Analyzing All the Latest Whispers, News and Speculation
If you love rumors, speculation and banter about the Major League Baseball trade market, it's your time of the year. With less than a month remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, talk is ratcheting up within every front office around baseball.
The time is now to improve contending teams, dismantle losing groups and for general managers and owners to chose paths that will define the short- and long-term future of each organization around the sport.
As trade talk flies, Bleacher Report is here to unearth the best rumors, dissect the ramifications and bring perspective to the season thus far.
Here is what you need to know about the latest banter surrounding the game right now.
Yankees Could Be Sellers
Since the start of the 1994 season, the New York Yankees have attacked each trade deadline as if an impending postseason appearance was hanging in the balance. The words "seller" and "Yankees" simply don't go together and haven't for two decades. With a business model that is reliant on winning, New York's front office doesn't punt away seasons.
Now, with Masahiro Tanaka hitting the disabled list with elbow inflammation, perhaps that philosophy is altered. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post described, the Yankees simply can't withstand a long-term absence from Tanaka.
If the rookie starter misses significant time, it's likely that the team will fall below .500 and out of the AL East race for good, allowing the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays to battle for the crown.
Over the next three weeks, pay close attention to Tanaka's elbow. If bad news arrives, perhaps a forward-thinking executive could pry a David Robertson or Hiroki Kuroda from New York's roster.
Red Sox Receiving Interest in John Lackey
As the Boston Red Sox continue to spiral out of control and into the depths of the AL East, selling could become inevitable for the defending World Series champions. With a deep reserve of young, ascending starting pitchers in the big leagues and flying through the minors, veteran arms could be moved soon.
Jake Peavy (86 ERA+) is a likely candidate, but the Red Sox are receiving interest in a more impressive performer, per Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. If the team does agree to part ways with John Lackey (104 ERA+), the veteran could bring back a solid return.
Not only is Lackey a proven playoff winner, but the 35-year-old represents a rare and unique bargain for the 2015 season. Due to missing a year because of Tommy John surgery during his Red Sox tenure, Lackey's contract includes a team option for just $500,000 next season.
Even with his age, a league-average starter with Lackey's credentials would normally garner millions of dollars, making his potential availability intriguing for any contender in any market.
Mets Open to Moving Bartolo Colon
Despite a losing record, the New York Mets have a surplus of young, ascending pitching talent within the organization. From Matt Harvey to Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jacob deGrom and a slew of minor league prospects, projecting the 2015 Mets rotation is a difficult task without including 41-year-old Bartolo Colon.
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets aren't looking to become aggressive sellers this month, but Colon is available for the right price. With young arms ready to arrive to Citi Field, Colon's veteran presence may not be needed for long in Queens.
If he is truly available, almost any team in need of pitching help would be wise to inquire about a durable innings-eater who recently ran off a seven-start run with a 1.58 ERA, per Baseball-Reference.
Giants Open for Business
On Sunday, June 8, just over one month ago, the San Francisco Giants were 21 games over .500 (42-21) and 9.5 games up on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Since then, the team has gone 7-20 and allowed the Dodgers to run past them atop the division.
If the Giants are going to rebound and qualify for October, reinforcements may be needed to fortify the roster. General manager Brian Sabean certainly sounds like an executive who's willing to do what it takes to put his team in the postseason, per Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
“We’ve told everybody that everybody we have is in play,” Sabean said. “There are no untouchables in our organization.”
If that's true, expect to hear contenders offer star players in exchange for the Giants' best prospects and future stars, including highly touted starting pitcher Kyle Crick.
Orioles Monitoring Jorge De La Rosa
Without the benefit of a single addition, the Baltimore Orioles may be able to survive a war of attrition to win the American League East. In New York and Toronto, injuries to stars like Tanaka and Edwin Encarnacion, respectively, have shifted the balance of power in the division to Baltimore.
After suffering through early season injuries to Chris Davis and Matt Wieters (season-ending surgery), along with extended disabled list time for Manny Machado's recovery from a 2013 knee injury, the Orioles are the healthy, ascending team as the All-Star Game approaches.
Despite that distinction, reinforcements, especially when it comes to starting pitching, would be a welcomed addition to Buck Showalter's staff. According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are monitoring Colorado Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, potentially in preparation for a deal later this month.
De La Rosa, 33, would be expected to pitch better away from the hitter's heaven of Colorado's Coors Field, but his 2014 numbers tell a different story.
In 46.0 innings on the road, De La Rosa owns a 5.87 ERA, raising concerns about his viability in any park.
Perhaps that's why FanGraph's Dave Cameron categorized De La Rosa a "below average pitcher" and questioned why the Rockies would expect a big return for the lefty.
Unless otherwise noted, statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs and are accurate entering play on July 9. All contract figures are courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts at Baseball Prospectus.
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