MLB Trade Rumors: Are the Hottest Trade Rumors Fact or Fiction?
With the July 31 trade deadline about to hit center-stage, rumors and speculation will be at no shortage.
This year, names such as Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Heath Bell and B.J. Upton have become the primary names associated with trade rumors. Without question, many players will be moved as the deadline approaches.
The only problem is, what rumors are worth believing?
Since the minds of many general managers around the league are anything but predictable, let's go over a few trade rumors and label them as fact or fiction.
Heath Bell Leaving San Diego?
Judging by the NL West standings, you have to figure the Padres will be sellers at the deadline.
Heath Bell, 33, seems to be San Diego's primary trade chip along with other relievers such as Mike Adams and Chad Qualls.
So far, Bell boasts a 2.61 ERA and has converted 26 saves in 28 opportunities. Teams such as the Yankees, Rays, White Sox and Cardinals will all be vying for Bell's services as a rental player with the potential to resign him after this season.
The only thing holding up a future deal is San Diego's lofty asking price.
Even so, you have to expect someone to step up and make a deal for Bell's services prior to the deadline.
Carlos Beltran Leaving New York?
The Mets were successful in dumping Francisco Rodriguez's contract by trading him to Milwaukee, and reports indicate they'll be doing the same with Beltran.
So far, New York's switch-hitting outfielder has a .287 BA, 14 HR, 59 RBI and a .893 OPS, and will only see his trade value skyrocket with the deadline nearing.
Reports indicate the Red Sox have already checked in on Beltran, as they are in dire need of a right-handed hitting outfielder capable of taking over the starting position in right-field.
Expect a deal to be completed at or near the approximate deadline, and for one team to significantly bolster their World Series-aspirations.
Jose Reyes Leaving New York?
With the K-Rod trade already completed and Beltran rumors likely to turn into reality, the Mets seem to have a clear plan in place to dump unwanted contracts in order to resign Reyes after the season.
Reyes has continually said he's not willing to negotiate a contract extension with New York during the season. But, in the event he is traded, reports indicate he would be willing to work a deal with his new club.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson isn't likely to trade Reyes during the season, so don't believe the hype surrounding the speedy shortstop.
B.J. Upton Leaving Tampa Bay?
Upton has really come into his own as of late (he's now batting .389 with 9 RBI, 3 HR and a 1.130 OPS in the month of July), and will continue to draw interest from contenders as the deadline nears.
However, the fact that the Rays are within striking distance of the Red Sox and Yankees -- they're currently just five games behind Boston for the division lead -- means that this deal may be placed on the wayside until management can figure out where they stand at the deadline.
The next two weeks should determine whether or not the Rays will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. So, for now at least, hold your horses on the Upton rumors.
Designation: Fiction (for now).
Ubaldo Jimenez Leaving Colorado?
Though he has significantly underachieved compared to his 2010 campaign, there are some rumors surrounding the Rockies' ace, particularly the Reds, reports indicate.
This season, Jimenez is 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and has just a 2.3:1 strikeout-to-walk ration to his name. Nevertheless, Cincinnati could certainly use starting pitching as the second-half pennant race heats up.
Rival GMs have been quoted as saying that a deal for Jimenez is "all but impossible," as the Rockies would be asking for too much in return for their fire-baller.
From the looks of it, the Rockies should be limited sellers at the deadline, but don't discount a possible deal for Jimenez at or near July 31.
Josh Willingham Leaving Oakland?
Willingham, 32, is in the midst of a solid season by league standards -- he's batting .249 with 12 HR and 46 RBI -- and has been drawing major interest from teams such as the Phillies and Giants, sources say.
He's a capable bat with a lot to give to any lineup, and, as most can agree, would thrive in Philadelphia's stacked (but struggling) lineup if traded.
If you needed any more convincing, ESPN's very own Buster Olney reports that Willingham is "going to be traded at some point."
Felix Hernandez Leaving Seattle?
The rumors never seem to die down.
Hernandez, the reigning AL Cy Young award winner from 2010, hasn't been as productive in 2011 (8-7, 3.19 ERA, 140 SO), but can always draw interest from contenders at the deadline.
But, as reports indicate, the Mariners don't have any plans to make Hernandez available.
So can we please stop with all this nonsense?
Hunter Pence Leaving Houston?
Pence, 28, is having a career-best season with the Astros, amassing 11 HR, 60 RBI and a .323 BA. If things keep up, teams such as the Phillies will become only more interested in his services.
Still, the Astros will be reluctant to trade Pence, who is under contract through 2013. Sources say Houston will need to be overwhelmed for a deal to go down.
The Phillies will have more than enough prospects to deal for Pence, so expect them to be in hot pursuit of Houston's prized right-fielder.
Andrew Bailey Leaving Oakland?
After sitting out a good chunk of the first half with a forearm strain, Bailey is back to business as Oakland's undisputed ninth-inning shutdown closer, amassing nine saves, a 2.25 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP.
The 6'3", 243-pounder is set to be a free agent in 2015, but that shouldn't hurt his trade value. In fact, as FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets, the A's have already received calls on Bailey. Oakland would need to be "overwhelmed" for a deal to go down, however.
This seems to be an under-the-radar rumor at the moment, but it should pick up some momentum as the deadline approaches.
But, since there have been no identifiable teams named, take caution before believing the rumors.
Designation: Fiction (for now).