As the MLB trade deadline approaches, the rumors continue to swirl around the league surrounding more than a few key hitters and pitchers.
There have already been a few trades before the trade deadline, but the biggest move so far came at the beginning of July. After so many rumors, the Chicago Cubs finally traded Jeff Samardzija to the Oakland Athletics as the A's attempt to make a legitimate run in the American League.
With the trade deadline set for July 31, there are bound to be a few more trades over the next week-and-a-half, so let's take a look at some of the recent rumors.
Tigers Looking for Bullpen Help
The Detroit Tigers may be on the top of the AL Central, but their bullpen could use some help, and the team is reportedly trying to add a relief pitcher before the trade deadline to give it some much-needed support.
Jon Morosi from Fox Sports tweeted that the Tigers are showing interest in Philadelphia Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, but the team is also looking at a number of relief pitchers, including Jonathan Papelbon:
According to FanGraphs, the Tigers have the fourth-worst bullpen with a 4.40 ERA. The team lacks a lot of talent coming out of the bullpen, but an addition such as Bastardo could give it a big lift, as its entire pitching staff ranks just 22nd in the majors with a 4.01 ERA despite a 54-41 record.
Bastardo has been a solid reliever for the Phillies in 43 appearances this season, posting a 3.30 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and 53 strikeouts. He's been a reliable lefty throughout his career with the Phillies, and that's something that the Tigers could use in their bullpen.
Red Sox Reportedly Interested in Cole Hamels
Despite ranking fourth in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox are just seven games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the division lead. Because of that, you can expect them to be making a push for a key player or two to try to make a run in the division.
Because of the struggles of both Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox are in need of another starting pitcher, and that may mean trading for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. According to Nick Cafardo from The Boston Globe, the Red Sox may make a move for Hamels:
The Red Sox sent their top pitching scout, Eddie Bane, to watch Hamels before the break. The Phillies have scouted the Red Sox' major and minor league teams all season. One major league source said 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.
At 30 years old, Hamels continues to pitch at a very high level. He has just a 4-5 record but has posted an ERA of just 2.83 with 115 strikeouts and just 96 hits allowed. Opposing hitters are batting just .231 against him, and it looks like he'll continue to play at a high level for at least the next few years.
However, Hamels won't be cheap. According to Spotrac, he is just on the second year of a six-year deal worth $144 million. At the same time, the Red Sox will have to be reportedly willing to give up a few key prospects in their farm system, which could hurt the team's long-term success.
Still, if the Red Sox are determined to make another playoff push, it'll be hard for them to pass up on a player such as Hamels.
Chase Headley Drawing Interest
It's been a surprisingly rough season for San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley, but considering what he's done for the past few seasons, a number of teams are apparently interested in trading for the 30-year-old.
Jon Morosi tweeted on Saturday that the Toronto Blue Jays were among the teams in ongoing talks with the Padres about acquiring Headley:
Through 77 games, Headley has surprisingly struggled. He's currently hitting just .229 with seven home runs, 32 RBI and 1.4 wins above replacement, the lowest mark he's had since 2009. His OPS of .651 is also the lowest since 2007.
Still, Headley has proved in recent years that he can be a top-tier player, as he ended up with 31 home runs and 115 RBI while posting a .874 OPS in 2012 while winning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. The Blue Jays must feel like Headley can be an upgrade over Juan Francisco as they attempt to compete with the Orioles, Red Sox and New York Yankees for the top spot in the AL East.
Even though he's had a rough season so far, if Headley can turn things around, then whoever is able to land him before the trade deadline will be getting a key player at third base.