There were 21 teams across Major League Baseball entering play Wednesday that were either in first place or within 10 games of first place. That means there could be plenty of buyers as the trade deadline approaches, which is perfect for those squads looking to sell off their assets with an eye toward the future.
The only question remaining now is which players actually get moved by Thursday.
With that in mind, let’s take a glance at some of the latest rumors from around the league.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports filled fans in on the latest regarding Asdrubal Cabrera:
Sources: Indians have discussed Asdrubal Cabrera with Blue Jays and Giants this week. Not clear if either deal is viable now.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 30, 2014
The Cleveland Indians were 6.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central entering play Wednesday, but they already traded Justin Masterson. It doesn’t appear as if they will be buyers at the deadline, although it doesn’t necessarily mean they are giving up on the season because there was a health risk involved with Masterson.
Still, if Cleveland trades Cabrera as well, it may be time to focus on LeBron James and Johnny Manziel.
As for rumored pursuers, the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants are both in second place in their respective divisions. Adding a solid bat like Cabrera, who has a history of production, would certainly help down the stretch.
However, he is only hitting .248 on the season with nine home runs and 40 RBI. He is a career .270 hitter who usually has more pop in his bat, so perhaps a change of scenery would do some good.
Whichever team lands Cabrera will certainly hope that’s the case.
Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star provided an update on John Lackey:
The Red Sox are said to be seeking a power arm in exchange for John Lackey, and the Royals prize theirs (Zimmer, Manaea, Almonte, etc).— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 30, 2014
Lackey has dipped into the fountain of youth this season for the Boston Red Sox and sports a 3.60 ERA, 11-7 record, 1.23 WHIP and 116 strikeouts. It is certainly understandable from Kansas City’s perspective that it likes those young arms, and it’s always important to have an eye on the future in baseball.
Still, how often does Kansas City actually have a chance at a postseason run?
It may be time to give up a prospect or two as the Royals try to hunt down the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in the race for the second wild-card spot.
Lackey would provide a boost for a rotation that already ranks ninth in the league in quality starts. The saying goes that you can never have too much pitching, and it may be in Kansas City’s best interest to test that out down the stretch this year.
Dan Connolly of the The Baltimore Sun noted that Emilio Bonifacio may be heading to the Royals:
Orioles are not in on Emilio Bonifacio. Hearing he is headed to the KC Royals. But def not Os.— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) July 30, 2014
What should the Royals do at the deadline?
As we just mentioned in the Lackey section, it may just be time to go for it if you are Kansas City. Bonafacio certainly isn’t a complete game-changer, but he can be a valuable and versatile piece in a postseason run. He is hitting .279 for the Chicago Cubs with 14 steals and speed in the outfield, so there is certainly room for him in the Royals lineup.
From Chicago's perspective, this makes total sense.
The Cubs are not going to compete this year or (probably) next year, so any young talent they can get back in trades right now will help in the future.
General manager Jed Hoyer commented on the strategy, via Patrick Mooney of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago: "You’re sort of trying to find a dance partner on the 30th and 31st. People cast a wide net early and then they sort of hone in on what they think is realistic. As you get towards (Wednesday) evening, people want to make deals and they’re a little more willing to sort of pair up."
The Cubs are certainly looking for a number of dance partners at the deadline this season.
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