The 2014 MLB trade deadline is Thursday, July 31, and rumors have continued to swirl around some of the top players in the league.
With the Philadelphia Phillies reportedly drawing interest for Jonathan Papelbon, teams calling the New York Mets about Bartolo Colon and the Chicago White Sox facing a dilemma with Gordon Beckham, the coming days could get very interesting.
Here are the latest rumors as baseball approaches the trade deadline.
Jonathan Papelbon and the Philadelphia Phillies Bullpen
The Philadelphia Phillies brought in closer Jonathan Papelbon to be the anchor of the team’s bullpen as it continued to fight for another World Series championship. Unfortunately, the team has fallen apart and the Phillies continue to slide out of contention.
While players like Chase Utley came out and voiced their support of the team, Papelbon had no problem telling Ryan Lawrence of Philly.com that he wouldn’t mind being traded and playing for a contender.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Philadelphia is drawing serious interest from several teams about members of the bullpen, including Papelbon:
It almost sounded like a sales pitch, which was interesting because scouts from Kansas City, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto have been in town for two days now. All those clubs are monitoring the market for relievers. Sources say the Royals are very interested in Phillies relievers (read: Bastardo). The Tigers are keeping an eye on Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon. Pittsburgh and Toronto have also been connected to Bastardo.
Antonio Bastardo is a solid left-handed reliever, but he doesn’t have the experience or the game-changing ability that Papelbon possesses. In 41 appearances this season, the Phillies closer has a 1.96 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 23 saves and just three blown saves.
Now that Detroit has traded for Joakim Soria, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com, teams like Pittsburgh and Toronto have a better chance at landing an elite closer like Papelbon as long as the asking price isn’t too high.
For a Philadelphia team clearly ready to rebuild, the Phillies must take the best deal available and start replenishing its farm system.
Teams Interested in Bartolo Colon?
One of the most interesting names on the trade block is New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. After a stellar outing on Wednesday night (just under seven innings of a perfect game), the trade chatter is heating up.
In a report from Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, he writes, “Citing a source close to Bartolo Colon, ESPNDeportes.com's Marly Rivera reports that the San Francisco Giants have expressed interest in acquiring the 41-year-old right-hander.”
Matt Carig of New York Newsday shared more details about the rumors surrounding Colon:
Told teams have started calling the Mets about Bartolo Colon, though nothing's close. Mets gauging market; don’t seem inclined to eat money.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) July 22, 2014
With a year left on his deal, any team looking to add depth and stability to a starting rotation would be wise to consider an investment in the veteran.
Few teams will be willing to pay top dollar for a short-term, 41-year-old pitcher like Colon, but there should be several franchises in contention willing to move a mid-level prospect in a potential deal.
This season has been solid for Colon, who has managed a 4.03 ERA, a 9-8 record, 100 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP, and he would fit nicely into the role of fourth starter in an elite rotation. Now it’s just a matter of time before New York finds the right offer.
Chicago In Tough Spot with Gordon Beckham?
Like the Phillies in the National League, the Chicago White Sox are fading fast in the American League playoff hunt, and it may be time to deal second baseman Gordon Beckham if the franchise can find a trade worth making at the deadline.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the White Sox will reportedly have to eat part of Beckham’s salary to help a deal come to fruition:
Gordon Beckham is making $4.18m this year, and some evaluators believe White Sox will have to buy down at least some $ to move him pre-7/31.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 23, 2014
Beckham started the year on fire, racking up a .306 batting average in May and adding four home runs. The success has slowed, though, as he is only hitting .224 now and had three home runs in June and July.
The hefty $4.18 million price tag will make it hard for any team to invest too heavily in the 27-year-old infielder. If the White Sox are willing to eat some of his salary, though, any club with a long-term need at second base would be wise to take the educated risk on Beckham.
The upside and potential from a player as young as Beckham could help him blossom into an elite player with the right development and surroundings. The best-case scenario for all parties involved would be a pre-trade deadline move.
*Stats via MLB.com.