Once Tuesday night's All-Star Game is over, the next calendar date the baseball world will look to is the July 31st trading deadline. We've already seen one significant move completed with the Texas Rangers' acquisition of Cliff Lee.
Nevertheless, there are a number of deals still to be made with impact players to be had at every position. Whether it is on the mound or in the field, the following players will get looks before the deadline simply because they are the best available at their position or their roles.
Roy Oswalt has waffled on the idea of leaving Houston, but the right-hander no doubt wants to join a team that is in a better position to win. He is signed through 2011 with a $16 million option for 2012 ($2 million buyout). Any team who trades for Oswalt will be on the hook for a lot of his contract unless they can pull a cost-sharing deal with the Astros.
Oswalt's price tag could be a deterrent for a team like the Twins seeking a starting pitcher, but the desperation of the Tigers and/or the Mets for another arm could persuade them to make the deal regardless of cost.
Ted Lilly is in the midst of a very disappointing year given his 3-8 record and 4.08 ERA. Nevertheless, teams are still interested in acquiring the left-hander who may simply benefit from a change of scenery.
Lilly, who is a free agent pitcher at the end of the season, could cost fewer prospects if the trading partner is willing to eat most of, if not all of, the remaining of Lilly's $12 million salary for 2010 (roughly $6 million).
The Mets have been the team most closely associated with Lilly, but do not discount the Tigers or the Padres who may seek a veteran presence to get them through the end of the season.
The talk surrounding Corey Hart picked up in recent weeks as he headed into the All-Star break as one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Hart, who is hitting .288 with 21 home runs and 65 runs batted in at the break, is being pursued by the Rays, Padres, and Giants.
Hart is under team control through 2011 and will be in arbitration after 2011, which is a very inviting situation especially for financially tight teams like the Padres and Rays.
The Giants have started to back off in recent weeks under concerns that Hart is playing well above his natural talent level and that a drop-off is likely in the second half. Nonetheless, Hart is the most sought after outfielder on the market.
Prince Fielder is one of the best young sluggers in the game and though he is after a down year (by his standards), he will likely command a robust package including a front line starting pitching prospect and corner, power bat from any trade partner.
Teams hunting Fielder have to keep in mind that he is a free agent after this season and will almost assuredly test the market.
Fielder isn't being actively shopped like others on this list, but the Brewers are listening to offers. Teams may be scared away at the premise of renting Fielder whose agent, Scott Boras, has made it abundantly clear that he will ask for Mark Teixiera money this offseason for Fielder.
There are numerous teams looking for infield help (or simply another bat). Ty Wigginton’s name has so far been the hottest rumor on the hot stove. At .252 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI, Wigginton isn’t having the most productive season.
However, the remainder of his $3 million owed this season and impending free agency make him a very hot commodity.
Wigginton is being looked as a stopgap in Philadelphia until Chase Utley's return and later filling as a second base/third base bench player to serve behind Utley and the recently injured Placido Polanco.
The Yankees and Angels have also expressed interest in Wigginton to serve as a utility option.
Mike Aviles doesn’t offer much in the way of raw production, but he is hitting .305 in a utility role for the Royals. So why so high up the list despite two home runs and 13 RBI? There are many teams looking for middle infield insurance and Aviles is the best one remaining on the market.
Wigginton may be the most sought after infield "contact" bat, but Aviles can defend better than Wigginton at all three positions. Avilies is being looked at by the Rockies, Mets, Angels, and Phillies as a gap-filler to fill in for injured starters like Troy Tulowitzki, Chase Utley, and others.
Everyone needs bullpen help which is why Matt Capps, the best closer available on the market, is so high up the list.
Capps is having a career season for the Nationals, who may be willing to part with him if they can get promising young arms in return. Given his status on the market, the price tag could be hefty for Capps. Combine that with the fact that Capps is under team control for 2011.
Capps, who has 23 saves and a league-leading 37 games finished, does not want to be traded. But given the slim market for closers out there, the Nationals may decide to take advantage of his value.
There aren't many true set-up men on the market seeing as teams are holding onto their eighth innings guys like gold. One name that has popped up in recent days is that of Athletics reliever Michael Wuertz.
Wuertz had a career season in 2009 when he struck out 102 batters in 78 2/3 innings. Wuertz has been a disappointment this year, tossing only 17 2/3 innings in 24 appearances. His drop-off may be attributed to a heavy workload the year before, but that is not dissuade a team like the Yankees who are after Wuertz to solidify the back end of their bullpen ahead of Mariano Rivera.