Yup, this is a trade rumors article without a lead photo of Jose Reyes. Believe it, baby.
As we hit the meat of June, trade rumors really start taking on a level of legitimacy.
Here are nine MLB trade rumors with such seriousness.
This is traditionally a time of year when teams go on runs, both good and bad, and the standings begin to take on some value. The contenders distance themselves from the pretenders and open even larger leads on the teams that plain stink.
As an interesting aside, I couldn't find a good, solid rumor on a big-name starting pitcher, a position that many a contending team (cough, the Yankees) would love to shore up heading into the playoff races of August and September.
So speculate on that development if you care to. In any event, here are nine trade rumors that have legs.
Upton, a Virginia native and Ryan Zimmerman’s childhood friend, is considered an excellent defensive center fielder but is having a down year at the plate, hitting .230 with seven home runs and 28 RBI.
However, according to the source, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo believes a change of scenery would help Upton’s career.
Upton is in a contract year, and the Rays might look to maximize on what appears to be his declining value and cut their losses with one of their franchise cornerstones.
Desmond Jennings is waiting in the wings, after all.
Furthermore, Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com astutely writes that that Rays won't need to stink to be sellers this summer.
The Yankees' rash of relief pitching injuries assures that fresh bodies will populate the New York bullpen before July is out.
The Nationals' Tyler Clippard has been a strong relief arm in recent seasons, and sending him to the Bronx for a package of prospects would be a solid move for Washington, which is still working on building a contender in a feisty NL East.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests that Clippard would "fit in well with Yankees or Phillies."
The recent loss of Joba Chamberlain for the year with Tommy John surgery may just give the Yanks the extra incentive they need to go out and get an arm like Clippard.
Just Tyler Clippard? Why stop there? If the Yankees have the chance, they, of all teams, will assuredly bite on a chance to net two new bullpen arms if such an opportunity is afforded.
Of course, Kerry Wood would not be a stranger to the Bronx, as he was a deadline acquisition by New York last season.
Wood was solid as a Yankee and he's been solid this year back with his old team, the Chicago Cubs.
It's funny; the Yankees must have thought they had their relief situation locked up with Rafael Soriano and, yikes, Pedro Feliciano.
Yankees' GM Brian Cashman probably wishes he could have a do-over on that thought process, huh? (But Cliff Lee is ever so distracting!)
It was a gimme, however, that New York would decline Wood's option for 2011, which was set at $11 million.
As a free agent, Wood wanted Chicago, and the Cubs gave him $1.5 million. This hometown discount now stands to make Wood a desired man.
So New York might end up getting Wood in the end however and perhaps before too much damage has been done, considering the long list of bullpen arms on the Yankees' DL.
Padres' closer Heath Bell will likely be traded, but where to?
On May 31, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Cardinals were among the teams checking on Bell, however, in the weeks since then, rookie Fernando Salas has looked stronger and stronger as St. Louis' closer.
No further trade rumors have been reported. Perhaps Bell is no longer on the Cardinals' radar. But perhaps not.
Regardless, Bell has to be on lots of team's radars right now, and he stands a very good chance of getting moved this summer.
Could Boston send Marco Scutaro to San Francisco, either for some prospects or for bullpen help?
With Freddy Sanchez possibly out for the season, the question now isn't so much with whether the Giants' would bite on such a deal as it with whether the Red Sox feel they can afford to lose Scutaro.
Scutaro recently returned from a DL stint, during which the Red Sox brought up utility man Drew Sutton from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Sutton filled in serviceably, getting some starts with Jed Lowrie's recent shoulder issue. With Sutton, perhaps the Red Sox feel they have the infield depth to be able to expend Scutaro.
There hasn't been any serious chatter about a Scutaro deal so far this season, however, this is a deal that could make a lot of sense for both clubs, particularly if Scutaro continues to look sharp in whatever at-bats he gets over the next month.
ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine reports that Aramis Ramirez would like to stick with the Cubs and would, at least at this juncture, not elect to waive his no-trade clause.
However, Ramirez is in the last guaranteed year of his contract. However, it is also a very bad contract.
So even if the Cubs want to move Ramirez they might have a tough time finding suitors who won't want Chicago to be a hefty chunk of the rest of Ramirez' deal.
If the Cubs were to receive a sweet package of prospects in return for Ramirez though, perhaps a compromise could be reached.
Regardless of the status of Alberto Callaspo's left hamstring, the Angels would be savvy to take a serious look at Ramirez.
Callaspo is no long-term solution at third base. And while a soon-to-be 33-year-old Ramirez isn't either, he would be an attractive candidate for a two- to three-year deal next offseason.
Yeah, so the rumors surrounding Jason Kubel aren't exactly flying yet, as you might have guessed from my copout on this slide title.
But the rumors should be flying. Presuming Kubel (foot) is fully healthy when he returns from a 15-day DL stint later this month, he's a very attractive left-handed hitting option.
In the hopes that his suddenly hapless Twinkies might re-sign Kubel after 2011, Adam Krueger of the blog The Bat Shatters wrote the following last Friday:
Kubel has the 11th highest OPS (.883), the 11th highest batting average and the eighth most HR against right-handers...among all of the outfielders in baseball.
Boom. This guy's done his homework on Kubel, and you can bet some AL front offices are too.
It's still a little early to know which teams might want Kubel the most, however, he may very well find a home with say, a more competitive AL Central team, before July has come and gone.
Jose, Jose-Jose-Jose, Jose, Jose...
Has any player's trade potential been more discussed and parsed out so far this season?
Everyone, including myself, has written about the Mets moving stud shortstop Jose Reyes, who is receiving $11 million this season, his final year under contract with New York.
Things are lining up perfectly for a Reyes deal. He's playing very well, the Mets aren't really contending and, most importantly, they don't stand to be offering juicy long-term deals anytime soon.
Enter the Tampa Bay Rays. Other teams will surely want Reyes as well, however Tampa might just be the team with the minor league depth to offer the Mets the most.
Reyes would be an obvious upgrade over Reid Brignac, so, if the price is right, Reyes could even conceivably be with the Rays beyond 2011 if he does indeed wind up there.
While Reyes is getting all the trade rumor ink, his teammate Carlos Beltran is also developing into a likely trade candidate.
Beltran entered this season with question regarding his productivity and durability given his recent health.
The centerfield tandem of Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez hasn't been very productive thus far. Beltran's .287./.371/.507/.878 line would be a solid offensive upgrade for a team looking to stay abreast with the high-powered offenses of division foes Cincinnati and St. Louis, ranked first and second in the NL respectively in runs scored.