With the second half of the MLB season in full swing, one huge date for every franchise is coming in just eight days.
On July 31, the MLB trade deadline will arrive with several teams looking to make deals to build for the future. Some have their visions set on the distant future while others are looking short term at a postseason run.
As the deadline fast approaches, rumors about multiple players are swirling around the league. But apparently, pitchers are all the rage in recent rumblings with myriad starters on the market.
Here's an updated look at some of the buzz around the MLB over the last few days.
Cliff Lee On the Yankees' List of Targets
Since re-signing with the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2011, Cliff Lee has been to just one postseason with the team. While he has collected a hefty amount of money from the club, the now 35-year-old has barely sniffed a chance at a World Series.
After being denied by Lee in favor of the Phillies prior to 2011, the New York Yankees are apparently still interested in his services, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. But that might come at a large price, as Brown explains:
According to sources appraised of Amaro's hopes and dreams, the Phillies would expect a team to take on Lee's entire contract. He is due the remainder of $25 million this season, another $25 million in 2015 and either $27.5 million or a $12.5 million buyout in 2016.
Brown goes on to note that Lee also has a no-trade clause that includes New York on that list. So not only do they have to convince Philadelphia to trade him, they must also wine and dine Lee—oh, then pay him over $25 million this season and next.
With the Yankees currently climbing back into the AL East standings, Lee would provide an ace to potentially fill in for an injured Masahiro Tanaka and the loss of C.C. Sabathia. Luckily, his numbers prove he has the capabilities to at least replace one of the lost starters:
The huge price tag for Lee makes this deal daunting, but when has that ever stopped the Yankees in the past? If there's any chance of getting back into the playoff hunt in Derek Jeter's final season, Lee or another ace on the market will have to be the answer.
Giants Interested in Bartolo Colon
The legacy of Bartolo Colon continues.
Some 16 seasons after his first All-Star selection at the age of 25, Colon is still chugging along for the New York Mets at 41 years old. Though he currently sits at 8-8 with a 4.12 ERA, he has provided consistency and stability in the Mets rotation.
Now, the San Francisco Giants want his services to fill in on the starting rotation. ESPNDeportes.com's Marly Rivera reported the rumors citing a source close to the situation, via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
Unfortunately, his numbers have dipped just slightly after a strong June. Over his last four starts, Colon is 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA after carrying the team last month by going 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA.
But the Giants are still apparently willing to bank on the fact that he'll return to form with Matt Cain's struggles and recent trip to the disabled list. Clearly, it's worth the risk for San Francisco as they fight with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division.
On the Mets side, they are well out of the postseason hunt—again—and have a wealth of pitching. With Matt Harvey set to return next season and Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero in Triple-A, there will likely be no need for the ageless wonder in the future.
Adding another starting pitcher or offensive piece in the minors would be beneficial in return for the 41-year-old. This one seems like an obvious deal that needs to get done for both sides.
Tommy Milone Requesting Trade Following Demotion
Following his third demotion from the Oakland Athletics in the last 12 months, Tommy Milone wants out. Can anyone really blame him?
Oakland traded for both Jeff Samardzija and Jeff Hammel earlier this month, creating a limited amount of spots in the rotation. After becoming the odd man out again with the Athletics, Milone has requested a trade, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
Left-hander Tommy Milone has asked the club to trade him, major-league sources tell Fox Sports. ... The Athletics have received trade inquiries on Milone, but the team is not eager to move him, knowing he might be needed due to injury or ineffectiveness, sources say.
Rosenthal goes on to note that Milone would have been eligible for arbitration if he was in the majors the entire season. His return to the minors now puts that in question and just heightens the reasoning for Milone to find a team that will keep him in the majors.
Since the rumors surfaced, manager Bob Melvin spoke about Milone's requests, per Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News:
I don't think there's any softening to it. I think he just wants to pitch in the big leagues. He'd much rather do it (with Oakland), but when you've had the type of success he's had and you're pitching in the minor leagues, that's not somewhere he wants to be.
... It doesn't mean he doesn't want to be here. He does want to be here. He's well thought of and respected by his teammates and he respects the situation going on here, but he wants to be in the big leagues. I don't blame him for that.
The same pitcher who registered 25 wins over the last two seasons with Oakland is now only 27 years old and putting together another great year. Here's a look at his numbers over the last three years with Oakland:
Which pitcher is more likely to be dealt?
A 6-3 record and 3.55 ERA gives any team hope that he can contribute in the postseason. There's just one problem: The A's likely won't be getting rid of him anytime soon.
Sure, they can respect his wishes, but at what cost? Milone is still 27 and has shown he can excel at the MLB level and would serve as an excellent insurance policy if any starter does go down.
Then there's the fact that the A's will more than likely be in the postseason. At 61-37, they are currently the best team in baseball and hold a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels.
The only feasible option here would be for a team to offer the entire farm for the young starter, but that likely won't be the case. While Milone might want out, it simply doesn't make logical sense for the A's to do so.
Can anyone blame them?
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