The July 31 MLB trade deadline is fast approaching, and each franchise currently finds itself in one of two categories: It's either a buyer or a seller. While contenders are looking to acquire top-tier talent in an effort to make a push for the playoffs, gutter-dwellers are aiming to offload players and their corresponding lucrative contracts.
This time of year is always interesting, as you just never know which familiar faces will wind up in new places. That's what makes speculation so fun.
Let's take a look at a few possible scenarios based on a few of the latest rumors to surface around the Web.
Cole Hamels to Boston Red Sox?
This scenario shatters the mold of what we're used to seeing prior to the trade deadline. Boston is sitting at 47-55 and in the cellar of the AL East; however, it appears the team is looking to buy.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweeted the recent news about a potential trade for Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels:
This report is a bit surprising since Matt Lombardo of NJ.com reported Wednesday that Philadelphia had "zero interest" in trading the pitcher.
Hamels is arguably Philadelphia's biggest trade chip. Despite owning a 5-5 record, the southpaw is having a solid season. He's currently maintaining a 2.72 ERA, allowing 102 hits and 40 runs while striking out 125 batters.
One issue here could be Hamels' current contract. He's in just the second year of his six-year, $144 million deal, according to Spotrac.com.
New York Mets to Offload Bartolo Colon?
With a 48-54 record, the Mets should be looking to reload for next year. One way to get things headed in that direction is to unload pitcher Bartolo Colon's two-year, $20 million contract.
Colon has been solid at times this season, holding a 4.03 ERA, allowing 135 hits and 63 runs and striking out 100 in 20 appearances. However, he's 41 years old and most likely isn't in the team's long-term plans.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported exactly what the Mets are willing to do in an effort to ship the pitcher elsewhere:
We are also told, via sources, that the Mets are willing to eat approximately $2 million what remains on Colon’s two-year, $20 million contract ($11 million next season). And given Colon’s current level of performance, it is not crazy to think he could find a one-year, $9 million deal this winter, if he were a free agent. Yeah, he’s 41, but he ain't pitching like it.
MLB tweeted some stats proving that Colon can still dish it:
There's not much of a market out there for Colon right now due to several names rumored to be available. However, once the deadline creeps closer and options are limited, certain teams could look to the aging veteran to fill a roster void.
Kurt Suzuki on the Move?
Minnesota Twins veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki could be on the move, as a couple of catcher-needy teams are rumored to be interested. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals "are among teams showing trade interest."
The Cardinals are missing Yadier Molina, who is out until roughly September with a thumb injury. The Orioles are in a similar situation after losing Matt Wieters for the season due to issues with his elbow.
Darren Wolfson of ESPN.com tweeted what the Twins are looking for in return:
While Suzuki may be considered a short-term option for these teams, he brings plenty to the table. This season, he's batting a career-high .308 while accumulating 91 hits, 19 doubles, two home runs and 40 RBI. On the defensive side, he boasts a .994 fielding percentage, having committed just three errors and allowed two passed balls.
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