MLB Trade Deadline 2014: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Coveted Veterans

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MLB Trade Deadline 2014: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Coveted Veterans
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

A few of baseball's most reliable veterans could be on the move by Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.

MLB's deadline is one of the most exciting in all of sports. Teams use the deadline to make their last-ditch efforts to bolster their rosters and make runs at the playoffs. Given the fact that no team is perfect, nearly every organization is involved in trade whispers prior to the deadline.

There are multiple veteran players that could find new homes this week. While the chances of a trade vary for each star, the fact remains that they are garnering plenty of interest.

Below are the latest trade rumors surrounding these players.

 

Ben Zobrist

GAIL BURTON/Associated Press

While David Price is the Tampa Bay Rays' top trade piece this month, Ben Zobrist has drawn quite a lot of interest as well.

Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reports that Zobrist is drawing heavy interest from at least one team:

The San Francisco Giants could certainly use a boost in the infield. Dan Uggla and Joe Panik are currently taking care of most of the work at second base, a position Zobrist has experience playing.

Zobrist's utility makes him one of the more valuable players in all of baseball. He can handle either corner outfield spot, second base, shortstop and the corner infield spots in an emergency. Needless to say, his value is high as a result.

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The Rays could ask for a good haul in return. He's hitting .268/.358/.409 on the year, so that will also boost his overall value.

A team like the Giants has the prospects to deal, even after giving up two for Jake Peavy. Panik himself could be involved in the deal, along with an arm like Clayton Blackburn. Of course, it might take major league talent as well.

Zobrist is a good fit for the Giants. They aren't far from making a real push through the National League despite the Los Angeles Dodgers' best efforts to spoil their fun. Zobrist is another bat to help along the way.

 

Jonathan Papelbon

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Philadelphia Phillies are upping their efforts to deal closer Jonathan Papelbon:

The Phillies are telling teams they'd absorb a portion of the $18 million remaining on closer Jonathan Papelbon's deal if they are interested in trading for the closer.

Papelbon's market seems light, if existent, after both the Angels and Tigers filled back-end bullpen needs with Huston Street and Joakim Soria, respectively.

Throwing in dollars is probably the only way the Phils are going to draw interest in their closer. Looking around the league, not many more teams need an impact arm in the back end of their bullpens. The ones that do either aren't in contention or don't have the talent to trade.

Papelbon has been great this season, saving 25 games in 28 chances. His ERA of 1.83 is on pace to be his best mark since 2006. His WHIP of 0.880 would be his best since 2007.

A fire sale probably isn't in order in Philadelphia despite the team's aging roster and losing record. General manager Ruben Amaro has been insistent in the past on not dealing their top players, but will this be the year that he finally decides to sell?

 

Chase Utley

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Phillies are certainly a team that could sell. If Papelbon moves, then Chase Utley could as well.

Then again, The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo made his readers aware about how Utley may not go anywhere:

Right now it doesn’t appear that Utley is going anywhere because he can invoke his 10-5 rights and it looks as if he wants to remain in Philadelphia. But there’s time. And it hasn’t stopped teams such as the Blue Jays and Giants from taking their best shot, and they likely will through the end of the month.

Utley is the perfect piece for a team in the mix for an offensive-minded second baseman. He's slashing .291/.354/.433 with eight homers and 50 RBI on the year. The 35-year-old has consistently been one of the game's top-performing middle infielders, and despite his 10-5 rights, he'd be wise to consider moving on.

The Phillies are far away from contending again. Utley likely has no more than five years remaining. It's even hard to see Philly competing then.

Moving to a team close to contention would be enough to get him another championship before retirement. The Giants, should they fail to grab Zobrist, make sense for Utley. In fact, many teams do.

Given his loyalty to the city of Philadelphia, Utley isn't likely to move. There's still a chance, however.

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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