Updating Top Suitors for MLB Trade Deadline Impact Targets

Karl Buscheck@@KarlBuscheckContributor IIIJuly 29, 2014

Updating Top Suitors for MLB Trade Deadline Impact Targets

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    With the MLB trade deadline looming, it's going to be a busy week for general managers like Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Philadelphia Phillies.

    There aren't a ton of sellers on the market with so many teams still hanging around in the wild-card races. Of course, that doesn't mean the trade block is devoid of front-line starters or impact bats.

    Jon Lester has supplanted David Price as the top available ace. It seems as though Matt Kemp could be nearing the end with the Dodgers after all. Plus, there are the Troy Tulowitzki rumors to debunk now that the All-Star shortstop has been spotted in the Bronx. 

Cliff Lee Is a Potential Target for an August Trade

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    July 31 won't mark the end to the torrent of rumors and speculation involving Cliff Lee.

    The Philadelphia Phillies starter is a lock to clear waivers because he has $48 million left on his contract, as Buster Olney of ESPN explains. The Yankees have been frequently linked to the veteran, and they have the means to absorb Lee's deal. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, a "high-level Phillies scout" attended a recent game in New York.

    One club that is not in the mix is the Boston Red Sox. As Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports, the team has "not made any inquiries" about the 35-year-old.

The Los Angeles Dodgers 'Viewed as Likely Landing Spot' for Jon Lester

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    According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, there are still six teams in the mix for Jon Lester. The contenders are the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays.

    Boston's manager John Farrell has decided to scratch Lester from his scheduled start for Wednesday night, according to ESPN Boston. Instead Brandon Workman will get the nod for the Red Sox.

    "I think in light of all the uncertainty surrounding John Lester, it's probably in everyone's best interest that he not make that start so Brandon will be recalled," said Farrell. 



    Jon Lester has suddenly become the most talked-about pitcher on the trade market.

    According to ESPN's Buster Olney, "There's a growing expectation from rival execs that Lester is going to be traded before the deadline." Olney adds that the Los Angeles Dodgers "are viewed as [the] likely landing spot" for the reigning World Series champion's ace.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes that the Seattle Mariners have checked in on the starter, while Jon Morosi of Fox Sports also puts the Baltimore Orioles in the mix.

    Back in Boston, designated hitter David Ortiz definitely doesn't want to see Lester moved.

    "Hopefully it doesn't happen. Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game and that's a keeper," said Ortiz, via Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.

    Another executive suggested to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the Dodgers could deal prospect Joc Pederson to the Red Sox in exchange for the left-hander. Of course, Pederson isn't the only outfielder who Boston could be targeting.

The Boston Red Sox Are 'Considering' a Trade for Matt Kemp

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    Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston tweets that the Boston Red Sox are definitely in on Matt Kemp—just maybe not right now.

    "You can be sure if Sox think he's healthy, they'll have interest in the offseason."



    Matt Kemp's tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers could be nearing its end.

    Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston cites a "club source" who explains that the Boston Red Sox are thinking about trading for the disgruntled outfielder. As Edes reports, Kemp could be a "major piece" in a swap for Lester.

    However, there are financial complications.

    "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," Edes wrote.

    As Edes points out, the 29-year-old still has approximately $118 million left on his contract, which runs through 2019.

Jonathan Papelbon Will Only Waive His No-Trade Clause If Closing for New Team

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    Jonathan Papelbon is making things difficult for the Philadelphia Phillies.

    As Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, the right-hander will only agree to a trade if he's guaranteed to be the closer with his new club. An even more important question is whether anybody wants the reliever at all.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that "Papelbon's market seems light, if existent." Heyman mentions the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants as teams in the market for relief help.

    As Heyman notes, any of those teams would have to take on a ton of money to acquire Papelbon. The reliever is owed the balance of his $13 million salary this year, another $13 million in 2015 and a vesting option for the same amount in 2016.

Tampa Bay Rays 'Still Mulling' a Potential David Price Deal

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    According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Tampa Bay Rays could be ready to sell David for a monster return. Nightengale suggests that the Rays could net Oscar Taveras and Shelby Miller from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for the 28-year-old. As one executive puts it to Nightengale, such a move would spark a "clubhouse mutiny" in Tampa Bay.



    For months, David Price has been the biggest prize on the trade block.

    Now, it's appearing increasingly unlikely that the left-handed ace will even be going anywhere at all. Thanks to a 16-5 July, the Rays are right in the mix for the second wild-card spot. According to Rosenthal and Morosi of Fox Sports, they are "still mulling whether they will even trade Price."

    Rosenthal and Morosi label the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Seattle Marines as possible landing spots for the 2012 AL Cy Young winner, and they suggest that even the Chicago Cubs could make a run for Price.

    Based on the way manager Joe Maddon's squad has been piling up wins, Price won't be going anywhere.

Philadelphia Phillies Set 'Astronomical' Price Tag for Cole Hamels

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    The Philadelphia Phillies are willing to take calls for Cole Hamels, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

    However, as Stark explains, "the price is astronomical," as the Phillies are asking for a given club's top three to four prospects.

    Then there's all the money.

    The left-handed starter is pitching in just the second season of a six-year, $144 million deal. Stark reports that the Phillies are only willing to eat $10 million of that fortune.

    According to Fox Sports' Morosi, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have the "best chance" of acquiring the 30-year-old. Stark also reports that the Boston Red Sox have inquired about Hamels.

Colorado Rockies 'Adamantly Opposed to Moving' Tulowitzki or Gonzalez

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    The Colorado Rockies have no plans to ship out either Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, as Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports.

    Stark cites rival teams who say Colorado's ownership is "adamantly opposed" to trading either the shortstop or the outfielder, "at least for now." That's a highly important qualifier right there at the end. The injured Tulowitzki recently showed up at a New York Yankees game, which sparked plenty of rumors that the Bronx could be his next stop.

    With Derek Jeter set to retire at the end of the season, Peter Botte and Stephen Lorenzo of the New York Daily News described the Yankees as a "potential candidate" to acquire the shortstop should he ever hit the market.

    According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals are teams "to watch out for" on the Tulowitzki front this winter.


    Note: All stats and videos courtesy of MLB.com. All salary information Cot's Baseball Contracts on BaseballProspectus.com.

    If you want to to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.