With the non-waiver MLB trade deadline days away, the rumors are beginning to ramp up in volume.
Teams are furiously working behind the scenes to hammer out the details before July 31 comes and goes. There are a few big names who could be on the move, only adding to the intrigue. Who doesn't love an All-Star changing uniforms midseason?
Read on for some of the most recent updates surrounding this year's trade market.
The Cleveland Indians are probably a little happy those extension discussions with Justin Masterson went nowhere. Whatever term or phrase describes the opposite of a contract year, that's what the 29-year-old is enduring.
His 5.51 ERA is the highest of his career. That's not all chalked up to bad defense, either, because his 4.08 FIP is less than impressive, while his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second-lowest (1.66) of his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
With Masterson's deal set to expire, the Indians are looking to cash in. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported Cleveland hopes to bolster its starting pitching depth:
Sources: Indians very willing to move Justin Masterson. FA to be due back Friday from DL. Looking for young, controllable starting pitching.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2014
Trading away Masterson is a sign from management that making the playoffs this year is too lofty a goal, and it would be hard to argue with that belief. The Indians were 6.5 games out entering Monday night and have been too inconsistent to be considered a possible postseason team.
Masterson's value has dropped since his impressive 2013 campaign, but Cleveland could probably find somebody to bring him on for the stretch run.
Would you like to have Cole Hamels in your starting rotation? Of course.
Would you like to pay Hamels $20 million to be in your starting rotation? Cue the slow backtrack into the bushes Homer Simpson-style.
Teams continue to ask the Phillies about Cole Hamels, and report that A) they will listen but B) the price is astronomical. Hamels has four years left on his contract after this season, at $22.5 million a year. And the Phillies have told teams they're willing to take on $10 million of that. But that still means any team dealing for him would be on the hook for $20 million a year.
'That has to count for something,' [one] exec said [of Hamels' contract], 'if you're assuming all that salary. But Ruben wants his doors blown off in order to trade him. And you don't get your doors blown off if this kind of money is attached. It doesn't work that way.'
Hamels is having a good year, but for $20 million a year, you should be paying for an ace, not to mention that you'll have to pay an arm and a leg to get him in the first place. Nobody will meet the Phillies' asking price if they're only going to eat $10 million of his deal.
If Philadelphia is serious about trading the left-hander away, then it will have to decide whether it wants to get prospects or be completely off the hook from Hamels' contract. The team can't have it both ways.
Troy Tulowitzki and Noah Syndergaard
Troy Tulowitzki caused a bit of a stir when he was shown at a New York Yankees game on Sunday.
"It’s a short drive from Philly," the All-Star shortstop explained, via Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. "I’m with my family. I wanted to see (Derek) Jeter play one more time."
Rumors that Tulo followed with "I've made a huge mistake" are unconfirmed.
The timing of his appearance at Yankee Stadium seems awfully coincidental, considering his status with the Colorado Rockies remains up in the air. Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported that the Rockies aren't considering a trade now, despite plenty of interest from potential suitors:
On Troy Tulowitzki: Teams have called Rockies to express interest, source confirms, but team has no plans to move him -- at least, not now.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2014
David Lennon of Newsday reported that the New York Mets might be out of the running and that, for the moment, Noah Syndergaard is off-limits:
Obviously, Tulo is great fit for #Mets. And yet, still think have to be very leery of dealing too much good young pitching these days.— David Lennon (@DPLennon) July 28, 2014
Told that #Mets will not include Syndergaard in any type of deal. Can always change, but that's thinking at this moment.— David Lennon (@DPLennon) July 28, 2014
New York is smart to value Syndergaard so heavily. Despite his struggles in the minors, he has the stuff necessary to become a No. 1 starter in the majors.
Still, if Tulowitzki's made available to the Mets, they should seriously consider throwing the 21-year-old right-hander in. Pitchers are so unpredictable in terms of career trajectories, especially with the rash of Tommy John surgeries.
Tulowitzki is a known quantity and is the best shortstop in the league by a somewhat wide margin.
At least the Mets look like they'll have plenty of time to think it over, with Colorado sticking with its star, at least for now.