While Major League Baseball's All-Stars take the field on Tuesday night to celebrate the game, there are a lot of players anxiously waiting to find out where they will be after the July 31 trade deadline.
This is the time of year where fans and players are in perfect sync, pulling their hair out and biting their nails trying to determine if the latest rumor being floated out there is true or just due diligence by the team.
As we know from past years, most of what we see over the next two weeks will be a lot of smoke with little fire. That said, there's a lot more smoke rising that needs to be talked about. Here are the hottest rumors floating around the MLB world.
Bartolo Colon Available for the Taking
Even though the New York Mets have had to dip into their pool of starting pitchers this season, general manager Sandy Alderson isn't above making a bold move for a pitching-needy team if the price is right.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Colon has been put on the trade market ahead of the July 31 deadline.
Although general manager Sandy Alderson has suggested a surplus of arms can quickly be depleted through injury, the Mets do have an excess at the position.
Given the premium price that teams place on pitching, Colon makes a nice low-risk alternative if the Mets don't overvalue him. The right-hander is three months into a two-year, $20 million contract, which is very reasonable for a starter who has been roughly league average in 2014.
Whether it's to a division leader or a borderline playoff contender, Colon does represent a solid fallback plan for teams this summer. His success will be tied to the park and defense behind him, because the stuff doesn't miss bats (127 hits allowed and 89 strikeouts in 121.2 innings), so an NL team or AL team in a big park would be the best options.
Chase Headley Maybe, Possibly Traded This Time Around
The San Diego Padres missed their window to maximize Chase Headley's trade value following the 2012 season, when the third baseman finished fifth in NL MVP voting, because they convinced themselves that outlier season was real and everything that had come before was a mirage.
Two years later, Headley's OPS has dropped 229 points since that breakout season. That's hardly what he was hoping for in a contract year, nor does it give the Padres much leverage in trade discussions.
Those trade discussions are happening, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, with one of the surprise teams in the first half:
Talks between Padres, Blue Jays on Chase Headley remain ongoing, source says. Toronto's need increased in light of Encarnacion injury.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 7, 2014
Headley doesn't exactly fill Toronto's need for a hitter with Edwin Encarnacion on the disabled list. What good does a player with a .646 OPS do? In case you thought Headley's numbers were skewed down by Petco Park, his OPS is lower on the road (.643) than at home (.649) in 2014.
The Padres have to do something with Headley this time around, unless they assume that this disastrous season will lower his value so much that they can afford an extension now.
The Blue Jays can use help at third base, especially with Brett Lawrie also on the disabled list, but if they want to make a serious playoff run, any move has to be impactful. Headley doesn't fit that bill anymore.
Huston, We Have a Problem...
Speaking of the Padres, their most likely trade chip this summer seems like Huston Street. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the 30-year-old is on the market with the Los Angeles Angels keeping a close eye on him:
The Angels are among the teams looking at Padres star closer Huston Street, who still seems likely to be traded even after upper management expressed a desire to bring him back to San Diego next year.
We know the demand for relievers is high this time of year, and interested teams don't have to give up impact prospects for relievers.
Which potential move will have the most impact on the second half?
Of course, we are talking about San Diego. This is a franchise that continued to put a high price on Heath Bell's head seemingly every year from 2007-11, so who knows what's going to happen with Street.
The Bell situation did happen under a different regime—led by Kevin Towers from 2007-09, who is now doing a bang-up job in Arizona—but the Padres don't have a general manager at the moment after firing Josh Byrnes on June 22.
Street's been fantastic for the Padres this season with a 1.09 ERA, 0.758 WHIP, 18 hits allowed, 34 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 innings pitched. However, he doesn't come cheaply at $7 million this season and, if an acquiring team doesn't just want a rental, a $7 million team option for 2015.
The Angels need to address their bullpen this summer, ranking 20th in strikeout-to-walk ratio and 24th in relievers ERA this season. They have the motivation to make a move, currently sporting the second-best record in baseball, but finances and what they might give up are unclear.
After all, the Angels have been able to put together a 57-37 record thus far even with those bullpen struggles. How vital is it to add an expensive arm to that group?
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