The 2014 MLB trade deadline is just a few hours away, and the rumors surrounding last-second deals have the baseball world buzzing.
With teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres being labeled as potential deadline sellers, many fans expect monster deals to come from each club. Unfortunately, many organizations are choosing to not make any moves on Thursday.
Here are the latest rumors as the trade deadline approaches.
Philadelphia Not Moving Cole Hamels?
The Philadelphia Phillies (47-61) are faltering in the National League East, and the team must begin building for the future by becoming sellers at the deadline. While there are many players on the roster worth moving, one star the team has little intention of trading is Cole Hamels.
As one of the franchise’s most reliable starting pitchers, Hamels has been a mainstay for years. He helped lead the team to a World Series in 2008 and has been the picture of consistency and reliability.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Philadelphia has little interest in trading Hamels:
Source: #Phillies have received no offers for Hamels, nor have they made any specific requests. No meaningful dialogue.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
Source describes a trade of Hamels as the “least likely” of all the deals #Phillies are considering.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
Hamels has been the ace of the Phillies rotation and has been everything the team could hope for in a starter. With a 2.55 ERA, a 6-5 record, 133 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP, Hamels has helped the team avoid long losing slumps and has afforded Philadelphia the chance to win almost every time he takes the mound.
The problem is the team around him has faltered and failed to support him with offensive production.
As if the Phillies desire to hold on to Hamels wasn’t enough, there are few teams in the league that would be willing to take on his monster contract. He is scheduled to make $22.5 million per year through 2018.
If Philadelphia wants to move Hamels this offseason or even next season, the team will likely have to eat a chunk of his contract in the process.
Tampa Bay Staying Quiet at the Deadline?
Just like the Phillies, the Tampa Bay Rays are slipping out of serious contention in the American League and should be sellers at the deadline. Fans and experts have seen in the past, though, that the Tampa Bay organization does things its own unique way.
The Rays sit at 53-55 this season and fourth in the AL East. There are plenty of targets like David Price or Ben Zobrist for teams to call about, but the franchise looks to be content leaving the core of players intact.
In a report from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Tampa Bay is unlikely to make a deadline deal:
One exec whose team talked to #rays Tuesday got a strong sense they won't be moving anybody significant at deadline.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 30, 2014
Tampa Bay deserves credit for having faith in its current team, but they should write this season off as a loss and start retooling for 2015. The Rays are eight games back in their division and 5.5 games back in the wild-card chase.
The decision to not make any big deals is proof Tampa Bay is gunning for a playoff berth.
If the Rays can get third baseman and offensive leader Evan Longoria hitting the ball consistently and get even more production out of outfielder James Loney, there is a chance the team could steal a wild-card spot.
Add in some consistent pitching from David Price and the entire staff, and Tampa Bay could make everyone look like fools.
San Diego Holding on to Joaquin Benoit?
One of the top pitchers reportedly on the market heading into the trade deadline was San Diego Padres closer Joaquin Benoit. With the market for closers limited and several quality players still available, San Diego likely wasn’t getting the offers it was asking for.
According to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, the Padres have decided not to trade Benoit:
An official with a rival club says his read is that the #Padres will not deal Joaquin Benoit.— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) July 31, 2014
After playing the role of setup man, Benoit was promoted to closer when San Diego traded Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels. Whether it’s the eighth or ninth inning, Benoit has been lights-out, racking up an impressive 1.88 ERA, 51 strikeouts and a 0.84 WHIP in 43 innings.
The Padres should be in a position to sell at the deadline, sitting at 48-59 on the season and third in the NL West, but the team will not deal Benoit for a minimal return. San Diego holds his contract for two more seasons, and the team understands there is no rush to get a trade done now.
Benoit could be traded this offseason, but likely not before the deadline.
*Stats via MLB.com.