MLB Trade Rumors: Possible Landing Spots for MLB Stars on the Move
With the calendar turning to July, it's officially time to kick off the whirlwind season that is the Major League Baseball trade deadline.
The non-waiver deadline is at 4 p.m. ET on July 31st, though transactions can still be made up until Aug. 31st for players who are placed on waivers.
This deadline figures to be very different from past years because there are so many teams that are bunched together and believe that they still have a chance at the postseason that we probably won't see a lot of action, at least not involving major players.
The most intriguing name on the market is New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who is arguably the National League MVP right now. He is set to be a free agent at the end of the year, and with the Mets' financial problems, it will be very difficult for them to resign him.
It would be in the best interest of the franchise if they moved him because of all the uncertainty and a need to add impact talent to a thin farm system.
But with the Mets sitting at .500 as of this writing and "only" 6.5 games out of the wild card, they may not want to wave the white flag on the season by trading their best player. It is New York, and it's hard to sell those fans on a rebuilding project.
This is a seller's market, so the pickings will be slim. Other than a bunch of relievers being moved, it sure doesn't sound like anything big will happen.
But this is baseball, and you just never know what will happen if teams get desperate enough. Every year there always seems to be one major deal that comes out of nowhere to shock everyone.
We shall see if there is one of those kinds of deals in store for us this year.
Two hours ago, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Boston Red Sox had contacted the Oakland Athletics about acquiring pitcher Rich Harden and outfielder Josh Willingham. Harden spent the first half of this season rehabbing an injury and only recently made his return. In five starts, he has gone 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.
Since making his debut in 2003, Harden has developed a reputation as a reliable strikeout pitcher. However, there is a catch. Since 2004, Harden has never thrown more than 148 innings in a season due to a number of injuries that have basically put the kibosh on his once-promising career.
Once thought to be a top prospect, Harden has spent the past two seasons playing on one-year deals and has been on the disabled list for each of those seasons. Thus, the fact that the Red Sox want to acquire him to bolster their rotation is just ridiculous thinking on GM Theo Epstein's part.
With the Yankees nipping at their heels, the Red Sox have once again gone into desperation mode. Instead of looking at the market closely and be willing to trade prospects for a reliable arm, Epstein is instead looking to buy cheap and take a risk on a player whose stuff will get knocked all over the place in the AL East. Seriously, I'm starting to think that he would sign a chimpanzee if it could throw a ball across the plate.
More importantly, say that Harden gets hurt again once he comes to Boston. He has a history of taking a while to recover from even the most insignificant of injuries and with the Red Sox looking to get back to the playoffs, him going down could sink the team.
As a Yankees fan, I kind of hope this trade happens. Yet, I am also a competitor and if the Yankees are to go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox over the season's final two months, the division shouldn't be handed to them on a silver platter. Thus, Boston trading for Harden is just plain dumb.
Last night, the Houston Astros fire sale began. All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for a pair of prospects. Next on GM Ed Wade's chopping block could be another former All-Star, outfielder Michael Bourn.
He isn't a huge offensive threat, but Bourn is dangerous in a way that is rare among players these days. Much like Willie Mays Hayes of Major League fame, he wears teams down with his legs. Over the past two and a half seasons, Bourn has led the majors in steals (61 steals in 2009, 52 in 2010, 39 in 2011) and has played stellar defense in centerfield.
According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, the Cincinnati Reds are a team that has shown significant interest in Bourn. Were he to head north to Cincinnati, both he and current Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs could form a powerful 1-2 punch at the top of that lineup.
In a sense, the Reds could become one of the fastest teams in all of baseball.
Look at it this way. The Reds could trade someone like Chris Heisey or an outfield prospect to the Astros for Bourn. Upon arriving, he would become the leadoff man and Stubbs would move into the No. 2 spot as well as shift to left field from center.
This lineup change makes complete sense. Both hitters are solid contributors when it comes to getting on base and even though he is only batting .251, his occasional flashes of power with the bat make him a solid No. 2 hitter. On top of that, he already has 26 steals this season and is on pace to shatter his career high of 30, set last year. If that combination doesn't scream speed, I don't know what does.
The odds of this trade happening are 50-50, as the Reds are not the only team in on Bourn. Still, if it does indeed happen, the Reds could be primed for a miracle run to another NL Central title.
The Philadelphia Phillies already made one of the biggest splashes of this 2011 MLB Trade deadline by trading four prospects to the Houston Astros for All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence.
Pence was arguably the best outfielder on the market, and he fits in with the Phillies better than Carlos Beltran would have.
He’s much cheaper as well.
Now with a right handed bat in the outfield, Philadelphia looks to have their stagnate offense rejuvenated by Pence’s energy. Look for his charismatic attitude and play to make stars like Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley step their games up.
While that addition is great, the Phillies front office isn’t done yet, and MLB insider Jayson Stark said on twitter:
Next #Phillies move might not be for an arm. Still have interest in HR threat off the bench like Jason Giambi. Even asked on Thome. #trades.
The idea of more offense from anywhere is a positive addition, but having a player like Jim Thome or Jason Giambi off the bench would be a nice ace in the hole.
The Phillies would be better off with Thome slugging off the bench, but even Giambi would be an improvement over Philadelphia’s current squad.
With more bullpen help needed, the Phillies would be smart to add another reliever and go it with the offense they have now that Pence is in the mix. San Diego is still shopping Heath Bell, and it may be time for the Phillies to move some pieces to bring another back-end reliever into the fold.
Check back for more on the MLB regular season as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s Baseball Page to get your fill of MLB.
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a rough 2011. All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford left for the Boston Red Sox and home run threat Carlos Pena departed for the Chicago Cubs. Long story short, the two guys who protected Evan Longoria in the lineup are now gone and the team is in third place in the AL East.
Save for Longoria, the Rays' top power bat in the lineup has been outfielder BJ Upton. The 26-year-old has proven to be a home run threat and has great speed to go with it, and his arm in the outfield isn't bad either. Yet, his impatience at the plate is a major issue as he is batting just .228 this season with a .310 OBP.
Still, despite his flaws, Upton has been brought up in various trade talks, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark. While some may think it's crazy that the Rays would trade him, I can understand why.
As much talent as Upton has, he also has a major attitude problem. He argues with umpires regularly, clashes with his coaches and just displays a surly disposition in general. The Atlanta Braves reportedly have him on their radar, but Upton is the last thing that team needs.
The Braves' greatest need is in the outfield, but there are many outfielders available who are far better than Upton. He is the kind of player who always tries to murder the ball instead of trying to get on base, and the team needs a patient hitter who can be a mentor to the younger players.
On top of that, Upton would be a clubhouse cancer in Atlanta. Keep in mind, he wouldn't be a rental player. He is under contract for two more seasons and if he underachieves with the Braves, he could prove very hard to move.
That all being said, as attractive as Upton's talents may seem, he isn't worth trading prospects to get. His attitude is a big risk and with what he brings to a team, he'll either be big hit or a giant whiff. Given the Braves' place in the Wild Card standings, he is a risk they cannot afford to take.
There is no team in Major League Baseball that is in worse shape financially then the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the organization still claims they are not dumping salary.
Los Angles can play coy all they want, but the world knows about the team’s financial woes, and this move would help alleviate some of those issues.
Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is a solid fourth or fifth starter, and any team in the playoff hunt would kill for an arm like his in the rotation. The problem is that Los Angeles needs the pitching, so saying that this would be anything but dumping money is untrue.
With the Trade Deadline Sunday afternoon, Colletti indicated he might need to present Kuroda with a destination by Saturday. "I'm not going to be able to spring it on him at 12:30 Sunday," he said. "He needs time to contemplate what he wants to do." Colletti said he's "under no orders to shed salary." Kuroda is owned about $4 million this year and will be a free agent after this season.
Kuroda will make a good back of the rotation addition to any team on the edge of contending, and the Dodgers can not only shed the salary they are desperately trying to avoid, but they can get some solid long-term prospects for the franchise.
While the prospects will be a great addition, it’s all for not if MLB and Frank McCourt figure out how to keep one of baseball’s hottest commodities alive.
The fact that it has gotten this bad shows both how incompetent Frank McCourt’s divorce has left him, and how little Bud Selig really knows about the everyday actions of each club.
Way to go Bud Selig.
Check back for more on the MLB regular season as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s Baseball Page to get your fill of MLB.
In 2009, Derrek Lee was 34 years old and had an MVP-caliber season. As the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Lee hit .306 with 35 home runs and 111 RBI. Then, a year later, his performance did a complete 180.
He split 2010 between the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves, batting just .260 with 19 home runs and 80 RBI, hitting just .251 with Chicago before being traded. This past offseason, he signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles with the hopes that he could get his swing back.
Needless to say, Lee has not had a good season.
After signing a deal worth $7.25 million, Lee has hit just .248 with 12 homers and 41 RBI. Given how the Orioles are dead last in the AL East and 21 games out of first place, GM Andy MacPhail could end up having a fire sale. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Lee could be one of the players moved.
Sadly, any team that trades for Lee would be in for a rude awakening. The big first baseman turns 36 in September and it seems pretty obvious that age has caught up with him. On top of that, his new team would probably be on the hook for his remaining salary.
That all being said, while Lee might still have some pop, he just isn't the same player anymore. Teams looking to acquire a big bat for a playoff push should shy away from Lee. Simply put, having him on the team is just too much of a risk.
2010 was a season to forget for Chicago White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin. He hit 26 homers and had 87 RBI, but he hit a dismal .243. It was a far cry from his 2008 campaign, when he hit .288 with 36 home runs and 100 RBI.
This season, however, Quentin is back. He is batting .261 with 20 dingers and 62 RBI, essentially being the only bright spot in the team's lineup save for first baseman Paul Konerko.
The White Sox are currently 52-52 and third in the AL Central, three games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers. They certainly have a shot at clinching the division, but trading Quentin for a top pitching prospect could be just enough to give the team that extra push. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Atlanta Braves are interested in Quentin and many other outfielders.
Seeing as how the Braves are currently first in the NL Wild Card race, an extra power bat could give them the ability to go far in the playoffs. At this point, most of the team's offense comes from three players: catcher Brian McCann, rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman, and infielder Martin Prado. Adding a bat like Quentin would provide some protection from the .206-hitting Dan Uggla, who I won't even get into.
Throw in the team's incredible young pitching with the offense to back it up, and the Atlanta Braves could easily make it as far as the NLCS instead of just the NLDS.
For the longest time, the St. Louis Cardinals were thought to be the dark horse in the discussions to acquire San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell.
In one of the wildest moves of the offseason, the Cardinals dealt embattled outfielder Colby Rasmus and three other players to the Toronto Blue Jays for former White Sox starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzcepczynski and several other pieces.
With Rasmus only being 26 years old and looking to bloom as a star in the Majors, the only explanation for this deal would be that the Cardinals know something about Rasmus no one else does.
MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal reports to Fox Sports:
The addition of Jackson enables the Cardinals to bump righty Kyle McClellan to the bullpen. The team is now focusing more on middle-infield help; shortstop Ryan Theriot has a .424 OPS in his past 105 plate appearances. The Cards’ pursuit of Padres closer Heath Bell seems closed; Rasmus was a central part of those discussions, sources say.
With so much potential, St. Louis moved Rasmus under a cloud of suspicion, but in return they got a great deal. The Cardinals needed a starter and with two more arms for the bullpen, the team looks to be making a push for a deep playoff run.
This deal means the odds of the Cardinals landing Bell at the trade deadline is very small, but the idea of Bell with St. Louis may be viable when he becomes a free agent in the offseason.
Along with Rasmus, Toronto ate a lot of misused contracts from the Cardinals, making it easier for St. Louis to make a big splash in next year’s free agency market by going all in for Heath Bell.
Check back for more on the MLB regular season as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s Baseball Page to get your fill of MLB.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a complete and utter mess right now, and the team will essentially be gutted within the next year or so. One name that has been thrown around all month long is that of pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. In 2011, Kuroda has gone 6-13 despite a 3.11 ERA. He's a great pitcher, but the Dodgers' offense gives him next to no support.
At this point, the two teams that appear to be most in the mix for the Japanese right-hander are the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. According to a tweet by ESPN's Jim Bowden, the Dodgers are talking with the Red Sox about sending the pitcher to Boston for a prospect.
Simply put, the Red Sox need to acquire Kuroda if they want to clinch the AL East. That entire rotation is hit or miss after Josh Beckett and considering how hot the team's offense has been as of late, Kuroda could easily go undefeated for the rest of the season. Throw in his expiring contract, and this guy can basically be acquired for pennies on the dollar, depending on which prospects are involved.
However, if the Red Sox choose not to acquire Kuroda, then they are setting themselves up for something with which they are all too familiar: a standings comeback by the Yankees. It's certainly going to be interesting as to what happens with Kuroda in the next 24 hours, for he surely has the potential to be a season-changer for whoever acquires him.
Insert the ominous music here because the front office of the Seattle Mariners has sent scouts to both the Triple-A and Double-A Boston Red Sox affiliates.
This usually means that a trade in imminent, and in this case, it looks like the Red Sox are going hard after Mariners starting pitcher Erik Bedard.
Bedard is just coming off the disabled list, but the situation is so dire in Boston that a risk as large as this is needed to continue contending in the tough American League.
MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal is reporting to Fox Sports:
Boston's primary focus could be left-hander Erik Bedard, who has not pitched since June 27 because of a strained left knee but will come off the disabled list Friday night to pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox are “all over” Bedard, one source said, and both the Sox and New York Yankees are expected to scout Bedard on Friday night.
The only way that this story could get any more interesting is if the New York Yankees lose out on Ubaldo Jimenez and turn their sights to Bedard.
Imagine a bidding war between division rivals that will see one vastly overpay for a starting pitcher who is a third starter at best. There is no more fitting end to the trade deadline drama than two of the richest teams fighting over the pitching equivalent of table scraps.
If the Red Sox want to improve their chances of heading to the World Series this year and beyond, they would halt their pursuit of Bedard and go all in with Ubaldo Jimenez. Plus, stepping on the Yankees toes is always fun.
Let's be honest, folks. The last place Houston Astros are in the midst of dumping salary and by the end of the season, the team will look 100 percent different. This approach became evident last night, when GM Ed Wade shipped star outfielder Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies for prospects.
Next on Wade's "players to trade" list could be pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, and one team that could potentially show interest in the stocky lefty is the New York Yankees. As a Yankees fan, I feel it is my duty to make this next statement. Making Wandy Rodriguez a Yankee is quite possibly the stupidest move team GM Brian Cashman could make.
Let's start with the age factor. The Yankees rotation needs to get younger as 4 of the 5 starters are over 30. Acquiring the 32-year-old Rodriguez is the last thing the team needs.
On top of that, Rodriguez isn't exactly what one would call a great pitcher. He is 7-7 on the year with a 3.47 ERA, which isn't bad considering how horrible the Astros have been this season. Still, looking at his career numbers, Rodriguez isn't really the type of pitcher the Yankees need.
Think about it. Rodriguez has never won more than 14 games since debuting in 2005 and as a finesse pitcher, his stuff just welcomes contact. On top of that, he will be extremely hit or miss as the Yankees' offense has proven to be inconsistent at times.
That being said, Rodriguez is not the best option for the Yankees. Throw in his bad contract ($7.5 million salary this year), and no further evidence is needed as to why this trade shouldn't happen.
The New York Yankees need starting pitching to make a serious push for another World Series, but they are hitting a major roadblock in their pursuit of assistance through trade.
While the Yankees are pushing hard to acquire Colorado Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, the teams can’t get on the same page, and time is running out.
Jimenez started last season on a great pace, but the second half started to show the warts on Ubaldo’s game. Now with Jimenez struggling, the asking price is too high for the Yankees.
It is about a failure to communicate between two organizations. I have heard that talks with Colorado have been more contentious than cordial, with the Yankees expressing concerns about Jimenez’s health. Colorado has wanted two of the Yankees’ top three prospects (Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Jesus Montero) plus Nova, a key for the Rockies because he could go into the rotation instantly to replace Jimenez. The Yankees, at best, would build a trade around Montero or, maybe, Betances, but vow not both.
This is a deal that must get done for the New York Yankees because of the lack of consistent starting pitching the team has behind All-Star C.C. Sabathia.
While many will say that Jimenez won’t offer any more consistency than A. J. Burnett, there is no way the two should be compared. Even at Ubaldo’s worst, he is twice the pitcher Burnett is right now.
The Yankees need to swallow their pride and give up whatever they have to in order to make this deal work. Teams like the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox will be making moves, and it will be up to the Yankees to do so as well.
There is a startling truth in Major League Baseball, whether you like it or not. The Yankees and Red Sox always get their men. That, for once, does not seem to be the case.
Both teams are looking at all possible angles to secure an innings eater for a late season push. They need an arm they can feel safe in throwing on the bump during the post season, securing another October for their respective franchises.
The name that gets bandied about the most between the two is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda. The Japanese pitcher is unheralded, but stout. His 3.11 ERA makes him the most desired 6-game winner in baseball.
The only problem is Kuroda has a full no-trade clause that he is happily exercising. More often than not, teams like the Yankees and Red Sox would throw cash at the problem, and have the player see the light.
The old tactic is not working, and Kuroda remains in Dodger blue. If you think that a trade is inevitable, think again.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe writes how dire the outlook is for the two teams to get their man.
Kuroda has little desire to leave the Dodgers and would invoke his no-trade clause to block deals to the East Coast. There have been similar reports by other media outlets. Quite often, these issues vanish when the proper financial incentive is applied. But in this case, Kuroda is not using his leverage to get a few more dollars. He legitimately does not want to leave southern California.
There is something to be said for a player that cares little for money. Kuroda has a home with the Dodgers, and he values that.
We often see players swayed by a more lucrative offer. An extension with the Yankees or Red Sox would be far more than the bankrupt Dodgers could afford. It may not make fiscal sense, but I applaud it.
This is the first, and most likely last, we will see of the two evil empires failing to get their man. The surprises keep coming in this wild week of trade rumors and speculation.
Hunter Pence is no doubt a great talent, but he will never get as much media attention as he is getting right now. The Astros star is the object of two team’s affections, and they are neck and neck in getting him.
The Phillies are desperate for a right fielder. After the defending champion San Francisco Giants pulled off the Carlos Beltran trade, their desire to get a bat increased. They have been throwing the kitchen sink at the Astros, and it seems to be working.
The Phillies are not the only game in town though. The Atlanta Braves remain a dark horse to get the prized right-handed slugger. They have showed no will to meet the Astros’ demands earlier in the week, but may be changing their tune currently.
It seems ever more likely that a deal will come down this weekend. The question is who will win the tight race. Ken Rosenthal tweeted this hopeful post late Friday, “Sources: #Phillies, #Astros progressing toward Pence deal. #tradedeadline #MLB.”
However, at the same time, Buster Olney was getting news on the Atlanta Braves front. Here are two tweets that show they are not out of the race yet.
From an evaluator: Braves looking to be creative and do a Hunter Pence deal. Still talking. #trades. The question for the Braves/pence is whether they can get creative enough, fast enough, to beat out the Phillies. #trades
It now seems that a Pence deal is imminent. If you read between the lines, it would seem the Phillies are in the lead by a nose.
You can almost hear the clamor behind the scenes as the Braves try to get the bat they feel will put the over the top.
Hunter Pence has been a star for the last few days. It is only fitting that his acquisition come down to what looks to be a dramatic finish.
There is a fury of activity amongst teams vying for top-end talent before the trade deadline ends July 31st. One of the biggest prizes is Ubaldo Jimemez. It seems the current market will be very good for the Rockies.
Jimenez is coming off one of the best years any Rockies pitcher has ever had. However, teams are struggling to put a high price on a pitcher who has done nothing but struggle this year. Questions abound as to whether Jimenez is truly an ace.
That question must be answered quickly because the Rockies consider him a frontline starter, and they want just compensation for such a player.
Those in the market for an arm do not see it that way. The Yankees and Red Sox have balked at such a sentiment, but they may have to reconsider. A third team has entered, and they are raising the stakes.
Ken Rosenthal tweeted this telling sign later Friday:
Sources: #Tigers strong interest in #Rockies' Jimenez. Willing to include Turner in deal. Do not want to subtract from big-league club. #MLB
Turner is very highly thought of in baseball circles. He ranks 13th in Keith Laws Top 50 Prospects. Law writes that Turner has, “an electric arm and shows above-average control as a 20-year-old in the Double-A Eastern League. He could see the majors later this month and would outperform Charlie Furbush.”
Before today, the Yankees and Red Sox were pushing back from the table when they felt the Rockies demands far outweighed Jimenez’s potential.
This news immediately ramps up the market value on the Rockies’ ace. We may see both teams considering a similar increase in their offer as they struggle to find a decent arm for the late season push.
The Rockies picked the right time to consider offer to Jimenez. You never want to see a talent like him go, but his values will never be as high as it is this week.