Although the eyes of the baseball world are firmly focused on Minneapolis for the 2014 All-Star Game, team executives are working behind the scenes to finalize deals before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
With the free-agent wells drying up, the trade market is becoming the easiest place to find players who can be the missing piece of the puzzle.
A few high-profile swaps have already been made, and more will surely follow over the coming weeks.
The four players below might want to brace themselves for impending moves.
Like the Boston Red Sox as a whole, Mike Napoli has failed to recreate his magic from the 2013 season. Although his average is six points higher (.265), his power numbers have declined. Napoli's hit 10 home runs and driven in 34 runs, while his slugging percentage has dropped 50 points to .432.
The 32-year-old still has another year left on his two-year, $32 million deal, so the Red Sox might be looking to unload him now and avoid at least $16 million of that contract.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that Boston may be getting some interest.
"There have been trade inquiries made on Napoli, according to a major league source," Cafardo wrote.
He added that Napoli's inability to play frequently at catcher has somewhat diminished his trade market.
Ian Kennedy and Huston Street
With the Oakland Athletics strengthening their rotation following the Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija trade, the Los Angeles Angels are hoping to not get left behind in the division.
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Halos are looking into adding both Ian Kennedy and Huston Street:
The Los Angeles Angels, trailing the A's by 1-1/2 games, are trying to counter their division rivals by targeting both Padres All-Star closer Huston Street and right-hander Ian Kennedy, according to major league sources.
The teams have discussed Street, but their talks have yet to include Kennedy, sources say. In addition, a package deal might be difficult to complete with the Padres controlling both Street and Kennedy through 2015.
The Padres likely will trade their potential free agents, third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Chris Denorfia. They are taking offers for both Street and setup man Joaquin Benoit. But they are 'lukewarm' on moving Kennedy, sources say.
The Angels have already swapped out Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli, but adding Street would give them a much more established closer. The 30-year-old is fresh off getting named to the National League All-Star team, per MLB.com's Corey Brock:
Kennedy would be a solid back-of-the-rotation veteran starter. His 7-9 record belies what's been a good 2014 for him. A FIP of 2.92 illustrates that his success isn't solely down to pitching in Petco Park.
While the deal would lack the kind of impact that the A's additions of Hammel and Samardzija had, Los Angeles would arguably improve after roping in Street and Kennedy.
The only problem for the Angels is that they have a terrible minor league system. They don't have the pieces in the organization to work this trade, so most likely, they'll have to give up at least one major leaguer.
The Seattle Mariners have gotten little production out of right field. If they want to continue being a threat in the American League West, they've got to do better than Endy Chavez.
To rectify the issue, the Mariners are sizing up Marlon Byrd, who would waive his no-trade clause, per Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times:
The 36-year-old is continuing his late-career renaissance, boasting a slash line of .265/.316/.483 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI. His power numbers might see a slight decline in a move to Seattle, but he'd still be miles ahead of Chavez and Michael Saunders offensively.
Byrd has at least one more year left on his current deal, with a vesting option for 2016. That isn't an unwieldy contract for the Mariners, making him all the more attractive.
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