Will your favorite player still be on your favorite team when the 2014 MLB non-waiver trade deadline passes by on Thursday?
There are a bevy of big-name players involved in legitimate trade rumors right now. Some of the game's top pitchers could change teams, as could arguably the game's best shortstop. A lot goes in to making trades for players of this caliber, however, so there are no guarantees with several days still to go until the deadline passes us by.
That said, don't get caught by surprise if a deal is struck. Below you'll find the latest rumors surrounding three of the top available stars.
Boston Red Sox ace Jon Lester is a free agent after the season. The Red Sox are struggling. He's one of the top left-handers in baseball.
All of these things would point to a trade, no?
ESPN's Buster Olney hears that many executives expect Lester to switch teams in the coming days:
There's a growing expectation from rival execs that Jon Lester is going to be traded before Jdeadline; LAD viewed as likely landing spot.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 28, 2014
The 30-year-old is enjoying arguably his best season to date. He owns a 10-7 record with a 2.52 ERA (2.62 FIP), 1.119 WHIP and 149 strikeouts in 143 innings. Lester has been the ace that Boston has needed through this difficult campaign, but now it might be time to capitalize on his talents and bring in a nice haul.
ESPN's Gordon Edes first reported the Los Angeles Dodgers' interest in Lester, and he later reported that the two sides were considering a swap of Lester and Matt Kemp. Edes broke down a major roadblock en route to a trade:
Making a trade problematic is Kemp's contract; the Dodgers would have to be willing to eat a considerable sum for the deal to make any sense for Boston to make it. They might be willing to do so for a pitcher of Lester's magnitude, though again, with no assurances that Lester would be no more than a two-month rental, that also would seem to limit how much the Dodgers would give. The Sox would almost certainly prefer a package built around [Joc] Pederson.
The Red Sox hold all the cards in this scenario. They don't have to trade their home-grown ace. He's a free agent after the season and still might re-sign with the team. Plus, the American League East is wide open. While they are bottom-dwellers right now, the Red Sox could presumably go on a super-hot streak and make a climb up the division.
There's a chance Lester goes, but it probably isn't as high as Olney reported.
Prediction: Stays with Red Sox
The Milwaukee Brewers are no strangers to acquiring top-flight pitchers at the deadlien. CC Sabathia and Zack Greinke were both acquired for playoff runs in recent memory, and the team is looking to add another big name to their list of deadline moves—David Price.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi report that the Brewers are in on the Tampa Bay Rays' ace:
Will Price move?
"The Brewers are among the teams to express interest in Price, according to major league sources. Their inquiry was akin to putting their 'foot in the water,' one source said."
Prior to the All-Star break, the thinking was that Price would certainly be on the move. The Rays were uncharacteristically bad, and Price is a trade chip that can completely overhaul a farm system.
Since the break, however, the Rays are red hot and Price is even hotter. On the season, Price owns a 3.08 ERA (2.96 FIP), 1.039 WHIP and 183 strikeouts in 163.2 innings. He is, unquestionably, the top lefty in the American League right now.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding his status on the market, there are multiple teams believed to be in the mix. Aside from the Brewers, Morosi thinks the Dodgers have a good shot:
Yes, when asked on @FOXSportsLive to offer my prediction on David Price trade, I said he would be traded by Thursday . . . to the Dodgers.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2014
USA Today's Bob Nightengale heard that the St. Louis Cardinals could net the ace:
We won't know exactly what happens until Thursday. He could very well stay with the Rays, but you never know with players of his caliber.
Prediction: Traded to Cardinals
The top impact bat on the market, Troy Tulowitzki would bring a huge haul back to the Colorado Rockies. But, wait. Is he or isn't he on the market? Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan broke down Tulo's status:
The St. Louis Cardinals expressed significant interest in him last offseason. They continue to reach out to the Rockies, as have the New York Mets, who are prepared to offer top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in a deal for 29-year-old. And the response is: Not yet. We’re not ready to deal him. We want to hear it from him.
Which is to say: We want him to be the bad guy, not us. It’s a ludicrous way to run a business, of course, and it highlights how little confidence the Rockies have in themselves to make the sort of a deal that reinvigorates and re-energizes a ball club in desperate need of both.
When the Rockies decide they are ready, trading Tulowitzki is a smart move. Honestly, it's a move that should require little thought. He's obviously the face of the franchise, but the franchise hasn't won consistently during his time there.
The potential to bring back top-tier prospects for their shortstop should make the Rockies stop and think. To make it easier for them to decide, Passan went to Twitter to help them out:
Which is why a hypothetical deal for Troy Tulowitzki for Syndergaard, perhaps Kevin Plawecki (whom Rox like), Montero, one more kid works.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2014
Of course, a lot of that potential package hinges on the willingness of the Mets, notes Passan:
Big question with the Mets -- always the question with the Mets -- is whether the Wilpons are ready to spend for Tulo. That's still unclear.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2014
The Mets haven't had a capable player man short since Jose Reyes left for the Miami Marlins. The position has been a black hole for the team for years. Adding Tulo would instantly make the Mets playoff contenders next year, especially with a rotation headlined by Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and others.
Prediction: Stays with Rockies, but moves during offseason.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR