The NL West is shaping up to be one of the tightest races in baseball and it could be a race that comes down to the final few weeks of the season.
With just four days until baseball's non-waiver trade deadline, at least three teams are jockeying for position to make the trade that either keeps them on top (Padres) or puts them over the top (Giants).
For the Padres, it's been a season that only a select few predicted. For the others, this team was predicted to finish in the cellar of the NL West and be one of the biggest sellers at the deadline.
Fast forward to the end of July, and the Padres are three-and-a-half games up on the Giants and show no signs of letting that lead slip away.
Speaking of the Giants, they continue to sit in second place, unable to gain any significant ground on the Padres in the division. But you can bet that general manager Brian Sabean is looking at several deals that could possibly put his team in the driver's seat and leave the rest of the division in the dust.
In third place are the disappointing Los Angeles Dodgers, the team picked to be the front-runners by most "experts."
Manny Ramirez has been on the disabled list more than once, as have a few of their starting pitchers. It just hasn't been the year that manager Joe Torre envisioned.
While they're more than seven games back of the Padres, they could still add a piece or two to get themselves back in the race. Or perhaps they could waive the white flag and say "see ya next year."
Bringing up the rear in the division are the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. A few weeks ago it looked like the Rockies could make a surprising run to the top, as they were within a game of the leading Padres. But the team sputtered and is now eight games back.
As for Arizona, it's been a disappointing year. And after just recently trading away Dan Haren, it seems the fire sale is about to begin.
The Diamondbacks are sellers, and every buyer in baseball knows it.
So, with all that being said, there are deals out there to make and players that will be priced to move in the coming days. Here are 10 potential players that could call the NL West home for the final three months of the season.
There have been two different opinions from two different writers as far as Prince Fielder goes.
One was from Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, who thought the Giants might be able to get a deal done by offering Madison Bumgarner or Jonathan Sanchez, the same players the Brewers asked in return for Corey Hart only to see the Giants balked at the offer.
A second opinion came from ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney reported that the Giants and Brewers have not had talks regarding Prince Fielder, and he thought the team couldn't aquire Fielder without Matt Cain.
Either way, it seems like Fielder is going to stay put unless the price tag comes down.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not ruled out a chase for Astros' right-hander Roy Oswalt.
The only thing holding back the team from being a serious player for Oswalt is its lack of funds.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also weigh in on Oswalt's chances of going to LA, and says that the odds of it are "not good." Rosenthal says that NL executives told him that the Astros were asking for Major League-ready talent and prospects in return.
SI.com's Jon Heyman tweeted today that the Dodgers were one of the two teams that were the most active in trade talks for Oswalt.
Yesterday a rumor posted on Twitter sent Padre fans into a tizzy.
A local San Diego radio station reported that they had gotten a phone call about the Phillies trading Jayson Werth to the Padres for "a couple of prospects."
The deal was quickly shot down by multiple outlets, including the station where the rumor began.
According to Werth himself as well as ESPN's Jayson Stark, the outfielder does not expect to be on his way out of Philadelphia.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark another pitcher that the Dodgers have had interest in is Chicago Cubs' left-hander Ted Lilly.
The Dodgers don't have the kind of money it would take to pick up what's left on Roy Oswalt's contract, so it seems more likely that Lilly would be a better option.
Florida Marlins infielder Jorge Cantu isn't only getting interest from the Texas Rangers. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Colorado Rockies are also looking at him as well.
Today the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported that the Rockies are quietly shopping pitcher Aaron Cook. That kind of chip could definitely land them another player or two at the deadline.
The San Diego Padres are no stranger to interest in this Chicago Cubs' outfielder but his name has surfaced once again. And, again, he's been linked to the Padres.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reported today that the Padres may not make a huge splash at the deadline, but could add a few pieces here or there to add to their depth.
Two players he named were the aforementioned Theriot as well as Houston Astros' infielder Jeff Keppinger.
Corey Hart has been linked to the San Francisco Giants on several occasions, and will undoubtedly continue to be linked to them until the Brewers either trade him to another team or take him off the table.
When the Brewers were in the Bay Area several weeks ago it was rumored that the two sides were going to have discussions about Hart after the series was over.
The Brewers allegedly asked for either Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner, but the Giants weren't keen on the idea of trading either player. Though the two sides may still be talking, it's a popular opinion around baseball that Milwaukee is asking for far too much for the outfielder.
The Washington Nationals are at an impasse as far as what they're going to do about outfielder Josh Willingham and first baseman Adam Dunn.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted earlier this afternoon that the Nationals have not given Dunn or his agent a contract extension offer, leading me to believe that they are definitely shopping him.
Willingham is also getting interest from teams around baseball, and according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi that includes the San Francisco Giants.
Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, via Twitter, wonders aloud if the Padres, Dodgers, or Giants could get into the bidding for Nationals' first baseman Adam Dunn.
The Nationals looking like they were not going to trade the slugger for awhile, and instead would look to sign him to a contract extension. Well, the extension hasn't happened, so it looks more and more like Dunn is on his way out.
One problem with a potential Dunn trade: I don't see how any of the three teams could play Dunn at first base. The Padres have Adrian Gonzalez, the Giants have Travis Ishikawa, and the Dodgers have James Loney. All three players are hitting at or above the .300 mark.
The Kansas City Royals had been fielding calls for weeks about one of their outfielders. In fact, there were more teams than just out of the NL West that were interested in landing him.
That outfielder was David DeJesus. But thanks to a season ending injury, teams are now moving on to another member of the Royals—Scott Podsednik.
Three different reports—from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price, and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star—all confirmed that teams were hot on the heels of the former White Sox outfielder.
Rosenthal says the Padres and Giants could be good fits, as both have been looking for outfield depth. And you can add the Dodgers to the list as general manager Ned Coletti has also said he's in the market for an outfielder.
Podsednik is currently hitting .309 with five home runs and 43 runs batted in.