Odds of Each Top Remaining MLB Trade Target Being Dealt on Deadline Day
With the non-waiver trade deadline set to expire Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET, the hours ahead have the potential to make or break the season for teams with playoff aspirations.
This year, there’s a chance at least one ace will be dealt before the deadline, as left-handers David Price, Jon Lester and Cole Hamels reportedly have been made available by their respective teams.
As for hitters, trade rumors surrounding Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Zobrist just won’t go away. Both players, like the aforementioned pitchers, have the potential to make an immediate impact for a contender, possibly even a team going through a rebuilding process.
And let’s not forget that every trade deadline has its surprises, as a lot can change between now and Thursday—injuries, previously off-limits players being made available and reactionary trades—to influence whether a team is a buyer or seller.
Based on the latest reports, here are the odds of each top MLB trade target being dealt before the deadline.
It was reported Tuesday night that the Tampa Bay Rays are “talking and willing” to trade David Price, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While it’s been expected for some time that Price would be traded before the deadline, the news still is somewhat surprising given the Rays’ current hot streak and steadily improving playoff chances.
Of the three left-handed starters said to be available in the upcoming days—the others being Lester and Hamels—Price has the potential to generate the greatest return due to his additional year of team control through 2015.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today posits that the Cardinals, who previously expressed interest in Price, as per Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times, could offer the Rays a player package featuring top prospect Oscar Taveras and struggling right-hander Shelby Miller, as well as a 2015 first-round compensation pick. Though it’s a move that makes sense for both teams, it’s also hard to envision either club reaching an agreement on deal of that magnitude before Thursday’s deadline.
We'll know more after Wednesday, with Price scheduled to start against the Brewers, but I think the left-hander stays put.
Chances of Being Traded: 40 percent
With rumors swirling in anticipation of Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline, Red Sox manager John Farrell has announced Lester has been scratched from his Wednesday start, according to Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com, via Twitter.
Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reported via Twitter that the Blue Jays, Mariners, Brewers Cardinals, Dodgers, Orioles and Marlins have expressed interest in Lester, while Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com added that the Athletics and the Braves also are in the mix.
The Red Sox are seeking two high-end prospects—one of the two being an elite prospect, ideally—in a deal for Lester, according to Nightengale. Lester is owed $4.3 million for the rest of the season and is set to become a free agent this offseason, so it’s conceivable that many of the aforementioned teams could make a run at the left-hander in the next day and a half.
Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports believe the Pirates are a dark horse to land Lester, suggesting that the team could offer a prospect package centered around switch-hitting outfielder Josh Bell. However, MLB.com’s Tom Singer notes that Pittsburgh is unwilling to move prospects Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Jameson Taillon, Bell or Austin Meadows in a deal for Lester, though Alen Hanson and JaCoby Jones could be in the mix.
Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com believes there’s less than a 50 percent chance Lester is dealt before the deadline. However, the interest the Red Sox have received thus far from so many teams—as well as the fact that Lester been already been scratched from Wednesday’s start—suggests otherwise.
Chances of Being Traded: 60 percent
On Tuesday, we learned the Phillies are making Hamels available, as per Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, via Twitter, but that the team’s asking price is steep. He also notes that of the nine teams not on Hamels’ no-trade list, the Dodgers and the Cardinals are the two most likely to take a run at the 30-year-old.
However, according the ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, the Phillies are making it difficult to negotiate a reasonable trade.
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. And given that, one AL executive said, the asking price is "just not realistic." While clubs basically look at Hamels as a guy the Phillies clearly don't want to trade, they remain frustrated that the Phillies don't factor in all the money that would be assumed when they ask for every team's top three or four young players.
Therefore, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s report, via Twitter, that the Phillies haven’t had any “meaningful dialogue” and “received no offers” for Hamels thus far isn’t surprising.
My best guess is the Phillies only made Hamels “available” in order to reap the benefits of last-minute demand for an ace should Price or Lester be traded before the deadline.
Chances of Being Traded: 30 percent
Troy Tulowitzki has come up in more and more trade rumors as of late, which mostly is a result of the Rockies misspelling his name on a stadium-giveaway shirsey and him being seen taking in a game at Yankee Stadium. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, though, the Rockies are not prepared to deal their star shortstop before the deadline.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported earlier in the month that Tulowitzki met with Rockies officials and gave them a “subtle blessing” to trade him but that he still was unlikely to be dealt. Tulo is owed $104 million over the next five seasons.
Sherman also notes that the Mets have checked in on Tulowitzki, just in case he’s made available in the coming days, and he suggests the Cardinals could emerge as a suitor.
Chances of Being Traded: 10 percent
Zobrist, like teammate Price, could draw a huge return for the Rays should they make him available before the deadline.
Peter Gammons mentioned last week in a radio appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show (transcript courtesy of WEEI’s Ryan Conor) that the Mariners were close to acquiring Zobrist, but the Rays’ recent success has likely forced the team to reconsider. If the Rays ultimately make him available, he adds, it will happen within the 48 hours leading up to the deadline.
In the event that the Rays do decide to trade Zobrist, the San Francisco Giants are said to be one of “multiple teams” interested in his services, according to Morosi, via Twitter. He also reports that the Giants had scouts watching the Rays over the weekend.
The Rays can remain competitive without Price, but trading Zobrist would give the impression that the team is conceding the season. Therefore, I don’t expect the Rays to deal Zobrist before the deadline.
Chances of Being Traded: 20 percent
Contract information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.