MLB Rumors: Analyzing All the Latest Whispers, News and Speculation

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIJuly 24, 2014

MLB Rumors: Analyzing All the Latest Whispers, News and Speculation

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    It’s go time, people. Only seven days remain until MLB's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and the speculation regarding the fates of several prominent players is reaching a crescendo.

    The fact of the matter is that with each passing day, the list of MLBers rumored to be available grows in number. One drawback to the sheer weight of information is that it varies broadly from verifiable reports to pure hearsay.

    So what new bits of gossip that made their way around MLB over the last seven days are there for us to dissect?

    As a standard note, this won't be an all-inclusive list. That would take a novel's worth of reading to digest. Rather, we'll examine some of the juicier bits.

    With that noted, let's take a look at the latest whispers, news and speculation around the game.

Are the Miami Marlins Selling or Not?

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    Dave Tulis/Associated Press

    There is conflicting information regarding what the Miami Marlins are looking to do.

    One opinion is that they will unload talent. Brad Johnson from MLB Trade Rumors recently summed up Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal's thoughts on what general manager Dan Jennings might be looking to do:

    The Marlins are leaning towards selling. Closer Steve Cishek may be the most likely to be dealt. He's earning $3.8MM this season and will only get more expensive in his next three spins through arbitration. The Marlins may prefer to rely on a less expensive closer and get something back in the process.

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman echoes that sentiment. While noting that the Marlins "have been hoping to be buyers," he opined, "It appears pretty unrealistic they could sneak into the playoffs."

    MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, on the other hand, believes the club is intent on seeing this thing through—for the time being, at least.

    "The Marlins, for now, are committed to staying the course," Frisaro wrote. "They're striving to string together some wins and get back to .500 by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline."

    For his part, president of baseball operations Mike Hill has said that he doesn't think his club is "out of it by any stretch of the imagination" and is looking to add a starting pitcher, per the Miami Herald's Manny Navarro. And if the Marlins are going to find an edge in the NL East, it will be by adding to their rotation.

    Pragmatically, it seems the window for contention this season closed when Jose Fernandez went down. That said, the Marlins have a young enough roster that if Jennings can add a starter who has multiple years of club control left, acquiring one may not be the worst idea, even if they don't make the postseason this year.

What's Next for the New York Yankees?

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The New York Yankees entered play Wednesday 4.0 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East and 1.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot.

    Not bad considering that 80 percent of the Opening Day starting rotation is currently on the disabled list or done for the season and the offense is struggling to find consistent run production.

    General manager Brian Cashman knows this, of course.

    He added Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this month in an effort to boost results. To this point, the right-hander is pitching admirably, posting a 1.42 ERA with 12 strikeouts and a 1.263 WHIP in 12.2 innings pitched.

    Cashman is also targeting Chicago White Sox left-hander John Danks, per CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. As Heyman noted, the two teams "may be in only the early stages of talks," but that the Yankees are still trying to upgrade is promising.

    Offensively, the club just acquired third baseman Chase Headley and cash from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula. To be sure, if the Yankees can get anything out of Headley, the deal is a good one, but how much he will contribute is entirely unknown.

    It would make sense for Cashman to improve infield depth and add an outfielder, but for the time being, starting pitching needs to be the focus.

What's Going on with the Colorado Rockies?

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    Dan O'Dowd, everyone.
    Dan O'Dowd, everyone.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    When it comes to blunt—yet appropriate—criticism, few in the business deliver their message as succinctly as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    Here is his take on the Colorado Rockies:

    The Colorado Rockies are a mess, on and off the field. And eventually, something has to give.

    The team, decimated by injuries, has collapsed after a promising start, losing 35 of its last 53 games, including six straight.

    Owner Dick Monfort said in a recent radio interview that he assigned responsibility to Bill Geivett, who is the senior vice president of major-league operations.

    And manager Walt Weiss has grown frustrated due to his philosophical differences with Geivett and the team's unusual front office structure, major-league sources say.

    Weiss, who took over as manager for the 2013 season, signed a three-year extension last October through 2016. He is not looking to leave the Rockies, sources say. But his dissatisfaction reflects the growing sense in the industry that the organization is reaching a breaking point.

    True, the organizational dysfunction can't be addressed at the trade deadline, but holding on to players who have value when the season has deteriorated into an unmitigated disaster would be a mistake. Frankly, no one on the roster should be deemed untouchable, as the Rockies have proved once again that they are not ready from an organizational standpoint to become perennial contenders.

    Pitchers LaTroy Hawkins and Jorge De La Rosa, for example, should be shipped out as soon as possible. It would also be a good idea for general manager Dan O'Dowd to begin exploring potential packages for guys like Carlos Gonzalez and Drew Stubbs, among others.

    Simply put, it should not matter how many years of club control a player has left—no stone should be left unturned. If there isn't significant movement in the next week and beyond, it will be a step backward.

The Philadelphia Phillies Are Willing to Trade Cole Hamels (Not Really)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The rumors surrounding Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels are anything but clear.

    On July 17, for example, The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo laid out several reasons why it makes "perfect sense" for the Red Sox to try to acquire Hamels. From every angle, the idea he put forward made sense.

    The next day, however, WEEI's Rob Bradford wrote that the Phillies are "currently showing no inclination" to trade Hamels. Bradford also added that the Red Sox and Phillies hadn't had any recent discussions regarding the pitcher.

    OK, then.

    Three days after that, Cafardo cited a source in saying of Hamels, "if the Phillies get a taker on the full contract and they get three top prospects, he's gone, and Hamels, according to another major league source, wouldn't mind."

    If we take that last quote to be an accurate assessment of the Phillies' current thought process (it likely is), then it is safe to say Hamels isn't going anywhere.

    Sure, if the teams struck a deal, the Red Sox would assume the rest of Hamels' contract as a matter of course. But to also throw in guys like Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and another top-tier prospect makes no sense. It's just bad business.

    All told, there isn't a team that will give Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. what he wants. And that is fine with him.

Is the Shoe Going to Drop in Boston?

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Speaking of the Boston Red Sox, general manager Ben Cherington has his hands full.

    What, for example, will he do with Koji Uehara? The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo recently tweeted that while Uehara is "in great demand," the Red Sox "would like to hold on to him."

    Now, if the Red Sox want him in their bullpen next season, that's fine. That shouldn't preclude them from trading him this year for a couple of prospects. After all, the chances he signs another deal with the club this offseason are likely the same regardless of where he finishes the season as long as there is communication between his agent and management.

    Cherington also has to deal with Jon Lester. There is certainly a contract impasse, and the way things are going, the Red Sox may end up entering next season with a rotation that does not include the left-hander.

    True, that may not be the worst thing in the world given the pitching talent the club has in the minor leagues. Regardless, Cherington is going to have to solidify a plan in the coming days.

    And then there are the trade rumors involving Jake Peavy, who is still a target of various clubs, including the St. Louis Cardinals, per CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Even if the GM doesn't pull the plug on the season altogether, moving Peavy is a good idea considering that he is a luxury in the rotation and could bring back a player to cover an area of need.

    Winners of eight of their last 10 games going into action Wednesday, the Red Sox can take the next week in a few different directions. More than likely, though, Cherington will wait until after the trade deadline and orchestrate a couple of waiver deals in August.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Wednesday, July 23. Transaction, injury and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information from Cot's Contracts.

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