We're more than one-third of the way through the 2011 MLB season, and the calendar turning to June can mean only one thing for baseball fans: the start of Hot Stove season.
Sure, there are trade rumors and rumblings at the beginning of the year, but this is when all the real deals start to go down.
In this slideshow are the Top 50 MLB pitchers—from young prospects to role-filling relievers to established aces—who could be traded at or before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Let the speculation begin!
In Vazquez' triumphant return to the National League, he's posted a 6.50 ERA in 12 starts. Not exactly the comeback he was hoping for.
A change of scenery could be what he needs—it worked out in 2009.
There's no room for Sonnanstine in the Rays' rotation, and at age 28, the Rays might decide it's time to give up on him.
If Tampa trades for a bat, Sonnanstine could be the bait.
It's a walk year for Gonzalez, and the Orioles are going nowhere fast. It doesn't make any sense for them to hold onto him.
Sure, he's got a 7.36 ERA, but someone will take a flier on a guy with a 4.12 xFIP.
Davies' contract is up at the end of the season, and the Royals have no future use for a man with a 7.46 ERA—he'll be on the block for sure.
His 4.74 xFIP shows he's been decent, but he's historically underperformed his peripherals.
Look for the Pirates to sell off all the veterans who aren't part of their future, and Beimel is sure to be one of them.
He's got a 5.40 ERA right now, but he had a 3.40 ERA last season.
Gomez, 23, is a decent young pitcher—useful, but he's not a future ace by any stretch.
For now, he's important to the Indians as pitching depth, but they could include him in a deal for a better starter at midseason.
The Blue Jays may be exceeding expectations this year, but they're not going to make a serious run at the AL East in 2011.
Camp's in a walk year, and a solid relief pitcher could fetch at least a prospect or two at the deadline.
The Twins aren't likely to deal Blackburn—he's a building block for the future.
But—in the words of TwinkieTown.com's Jesse Lund, "he’s affordable and he’s riding a career year...now would be the time to shop Blackburn."
The Twins will be quite busy at this year's deadline, and Capps is one of the most likely to move.
Capps might not be a closer anymore, but someone will bite for a decent arm with late-inning experience.
Chen's pitching better than he has in years, and someone looking for last-minute rotation help will bite on a half-season rental.
No use keeping him in Kansas City for the rest of the year.
Like Gomez, Talbot is essential to the Tribe's success right now, if only for depth purposes.
But if the Indians upgrade their rotation, Talbot could be an appealing trade chip to a rebuilding team.
The Blue Jays' reliever sales will continue with Francisco, who has a 6.06 ERA in this, his walk year.
Normally, Francisco is a solid, if not elite closer or late-innings man. Someone will see that in the next few weeks.
The Twins have made Slowey available, and with a 3.96 FIP and 3.91 xFIP so far, he might not be worth giving up on yet.
He's under team control through 2013, so he could be a solid back-end starter for two-and-a-half years.
Marquis was awful last year, struggling to stay healthy and posting a 6.60 ERA when he did.
In 2011, he's completely turned things around, improving his control and posting a 3.84 ERA to date.
For years, Broxton was one of the most dominant closers in the game. He started slipping last year, but he's completely fallen apart in 2011.
As the Dodgers fall out of the NL West race, some team will decide it's worth taking a flier on a fixer-upper relief ace.
Seems like Doubront's name has been popping up in trade rumors for years, but somehow he's managed to stick in Boston so far.
He hasn't looked great in his brief stint in the majors this year, but he had a 1.66 ERA at Triple-A before his call-up, and there's no reason to doubt his strong potential.
Aardsma isn't going anywhere imminently because he hasn't pitched in the majors this year, but Seattle's closer has 69 saves since 2009.
If he can't get healthy or the Mariners stay in contention, he won't go, but there's a realistic chance he won't be in Seattle much longer.
With Ryan Vogelsong now emerging as the Giants' fifth starter, Zito has gone from overpaid to unnecessary.
The Giants would have to eat a significant amount of money in such a deal, but it could be worth it for a team desperate for an innings eater.
If the Rays fall out of the race, they'll start trading away bullpen arms.
With a 3.80 ERA so far, Cruz could definitely appeal to a team in need of relief in relief.
Blanton has been lurking as a dark-horse trade candidate for months ever since the Phillies landed Cliff Lee.
With Philadelphia's offense struggling, they could deal Blanton—currently the best No. 5 starter in the game—for a bat.
The Cubs look right around the corner from a massive rebuild; they could start by trading Dempster to a wealthy contender.
Sure his 6.32 ERA is ugly, but he has a 3.54 xFIP and a 3.85 ERA last season.
Nathan has been awful this year, posting a 7.63 ERA and losing his closer's job. He'll be looking to redeem himself in the second half of his walk year.
It's easy to forget that Nathan was one of the—if not the—best closers in baseball before he sat out the entire 2010 season.
Pavano isn't the star we once thought he was, but he had a 3.75 ERA last year and currently owns a 3.90 FIP.
He'd be a perfect veteran addition for a rotation in need—just as he was for the Twins in 2009.
Fuentes isn't the lights-out reliever he once was, but he's not as bad as his 4.05 ERA would suggest.
Given the A's' recent slide and his feud with manager Bob Geren, Fuentes might not be in Oakland much longer.
The Padres' offseason acquisition is looking better than he has in years—he's 6-2 with a 3.77 ERA.
He's got an option for 2012 which could make the Padres less likely to deal him, but that would also drive up his value to another team.
Peralta broke out in 2010, posting a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings for the Nationals. Now he's posting a 3.77 ERA for Tampa Bay.
If the Rays aren't in contention in a few weeks, other teams will be very interested.
The prototypical innings eater, Garland has thrown at least 190 innings nine years in a row.
He's past his prime, but he posted a 3.47 ERA in 2010, and the Dodgers could turn him into a couple much-needed decent prospects.
Coffey has been phenomenal this year, posting a 2.38 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched.
The Nationals would get a lot more from trading him than they would by holding onto him for the rest of his walk year.
Francis has quietly pitched quite well so far this year, posting a 3.89 FIP and 3.86 xFIP in 13 starts to date.
His contract is up after the season, so unless he wants to re-up with Kansas City long-term, it doesn't make sense for the Royals to keep him around for the next few months.
The Yankees have pretty much given up on Chamberlain as a starting pitcher, but it might not really be too late for the 25-year-old right-hander.
Chamberlain has a 2.83 ERA out of the bullpen; if the Yankees look to make a midseason upgrade, he could be bait.
Garland isn't the only innings-eater available; Hernandez is in a walk year and the Nationals aren't going to the playoffs this season.
Some contender will jump for a guy with a 3.69 ERA in just under 300 innings since the start of last year.
Farnsworth hasn't done much to date—the 35-year-old has a 4.31 career ERA.
But in 2011, he's been a completely different pitcher, posting a 1.29 ERA and allowing only one walk in 21 innings.
The White Sox have a glut of starting pitchers, and Jackson, who's due for a huge arbitration raise, seems like the most likely Chicago starter to be traded.
Ignore the 4.50 ERA—his 3.44 FIP would make the 27-year-old a fantastic addition to any contender.
Atlanta has a ton of pitching but a lineup with some massive holes.
If the Braves stay in contention, they could deal Lowe for a bat; if not, they could try to move him for prospects.
Jackson is the most likely White Sox pitcher to be traded, but with Chicago under .500, he might not be the only one.
Buehrle's got a 3.95 ERA, a fantastic glove, and he's pitched 200 innings 10 years in a row—someone would be willing to snatch him up.
Yet another Chicago pitcher who could be moved, Peavy has been phenomenal when healthy—he has a 2.97 FIP in five starts this season.
Injuries are always an issue for the 2007 NL Cy Young, but if he can stay on the mound, he'll fetch a good prospect or two at the deadline.
Soria's been awful in 2011—he's got a 5.33 ERA in 27 innings pitched—but don't let that make you forget he notched 238 saves from 2007-10.
If the Royals make him available, they'll surely get a very nice package in return.
Maholm hasn't been particularly special in his career, but he's breaking out in a big way this year with a 3.66 ERA in 12 starts.
He's under team control through 2012, but the Pirates aren't likely to be contenders by then.
Say what you want about Rodriguez' salary or off-field issues—K-Rod is one of the best closers in the game.
Teams looking for midseason bullpen help will have few better options than Rodriguez.
Zambrano's got a hot temper and he's bad for clubhouse chemistry, but there's no denying the guy can pitch.
In spite of his off-field troubles he's got a 3.98 ERA this season, and he's only one year removed a 3.33 mark.
Guthrie's had his struggles, but Baltimore's ace has a 3.79 ERA in 45 outings since the start of 2010.
He's under team control through 2012, but he's in for a hefty arbitration raise this winter, and not every team could afford to add him to the payroll.
Papelbon seems to have worn out his welcome in Boston, and with Daniel Bard waiting in the wings, he could be expendable at midseason.
Such a deal would be unlikely, but I guarantee some rumor involving the Red Sox closer will surface before the end of July.
A midseason trade-ee last year, Lilly isn't an ace, but he's a good bet for a high-three's ERA and more than his fair share of innings down the stretch.
Whoever acquires him will have a very solid middle-of-the-rotation starter locked up through 2013.
Bedard missed the entire 2010 season, but he posted a 2.82 ERA in 15 starts in 2009 and he's got a 3.46 ERA in 2011.
If Bedard can keep fears about his health at bay, the Mariners could get a healthy return from him within the next few weeks.
Heath Bell gets all the love, but his setup man is one of the best bullpen arms in all of baseball.
Since 2009, he has a 1.38 ERA in 130.1 innings pitched. A late lead is safe with him.
Santana isn't a likely candidate to be traded since he has yet to throw a pitch this season, but if he comes back healthy, there's a chance the Mets could try to deal him.
Say what you want about his durability, but he's thrown over 1,500 innings since 2004 with a 2.87 ERA.
Kuroda's name doesn't get thrown around much in discussions about the best pitchers in baseball, but he's got a 3.46 ERA this year—and that's actually better than his career mark (3.58).
Given the Dodgers' financial problems and their dismal chances of their contending this year, keeping a high-priced player in his walk year isn't a good idea.
Since taking over the closer's role for the Padres in 2009, Bell has been arguably the best reliever in baseball; his 5.1 WAR ranks second in that span, and his 7.77 WPA puts him atop MLB the leaderboards.
His name has been popping up in trade rumors for years—could the Padres finally make a deal this summer?
A Greinke deal is admittedly pretty unlikely—the Brewers emptied their farm system for him this winter, and one would assume they intend to keep him until his contract expires after the 2012 season.
But if Milwaukee falls out of contention, the team could start to sell. It's not inconceivable that the 2009 AL Cy Young could be traded yet again.
A year ago, Haren was one of the biggest names to be moved at the Trade Deadline. Could he earn that title twice in a row?
The Angels are stuck in neutral and don't look like they'll be able to turn their season around.
Haren's under team control through 2013, but at this point, Los Angeles might be better off with prospects than with Haren.
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