There are now less than two weeks remaining before the July 31 trade deadline and the hot stove is sizzling with rumors.
But which rumors will actually come to fruition and which will simply be forgotten?
Here’s a look at the top 50 players available [courtesy of a list I made last week] and whether or not they will actually be traded.
There’s no rationale for the Nationals to hold on to Pudge since he’s near the end of his career, will be a free agent at the end of the season and is behind Wilson Ramos on the depth chart.
If this was 2010 and Infante was leading the league in hitting, then he’d be on everyone’s wish list.
But there aren’t nearly as many takers for a veteran utility man with a .612 OPS.
Even as a two-month rental, it’s hard to see how Infante would be an upgrade for any team (unless he went back to Atlanta).
Hernandez is in the same boat as Ivan Rodriguez because he’s a veteran in the last year of his deal and is second on the depth chart, despite a .897 OPS.
He has some value, but the Reds could use more veterans in their clubhouse.
Yonder Alonso is much more likely to be traded if the Reds decide they want to go for it.
Scott’s trade value is somewhere between cash and a PTBNL (player to be named later), however even that feeble return is more than the Orioles would get out of Scott if they kept him.
The 33-year-old outfielder is arbitration-eligible next season, and there’s no way Baltimore will want to pay him close to $8 million.
Thome’s not going anywhere until he hits his 600th home run, and judging by his current pace (596), there’s almost no way he’ll reach that mark before the deadline.
Dotel has twice been traded on July 31 and odds are pretty good that he’ll continue that mini-streak this season.
The hard-throwing righty has a 3.46 ERA in 31 games and can help a team as a middle reliever.
On performance alone, Gonzalez would be one of the least attractive trade candidates in all of baseball.
The 33-year-old lefty has a 5.23 ERA in 34 games and has already given up seven home runs.
But he’s still a lefty reliever who can strike hitters out, so some team will overpay for him.
Rauch is like Dotel in that he’s a hard-throwing righty who plays for Toronto and has trade value.
However, the Blue Jays hold a $3.75 million team option on Rauch for 2012, and judging by the way he’s pitching (4.23 ERA in 39 games), they’d be foolish not to pick it up.
Even if Vazquez was to waive his no-trade clause, there’s no telling if the Marlins could find a single team willing to bite on his $7 million salary.
Veteran starters with a 5.14 ERA aren’t in high demand, so he’ll be Florida’s problem for the rest of the year.
The Padres still have to field a team in 2012, so they can’t trade everyone on the roster.
Hudson, 33, is signed to a reasonable two-year, $11.5 million contract, and he can help mentor San Diego’s young players.
Qualls, however, almost definitely will be traded.
The 32-year-old righty has been superb this season (2.60 ERA in 45 games) and is in the final year of his deal.
Any team calling GM Jed Hoyer about Heath Bell is undoubtedly also checking in on Qualls.
Burnett is not having a strong season (5.40 ERA in 11 games), and though, there are plenty of teams interested, the Nationals aren’t intent on dealing the young lefty, especially when his value is so low.
Choate, 35, might be the best lefty reliever available, and if he keeps pitching like this (0.92 ERA in 43 games), there’ll be teams lining up to get him.
He’s also owed only $1.5 million for 2012, and the Marlins have little reason to keep him.
The A’s aren’t particularly interested in keeping DeJesus, but it still takes two teams to make a trade.
Who’s going to take an injury-prone 31-year-old outfielder with a .658 OPS, even if it’s just for two months?
Keppinger is a manger’s dream because he can play multiple positions and doesn’t need to play everyday, making him the consummate role player.
Add in the fact that he’s hitting .305/.319/.416 and you get one of the most attractive trade chips in baseball.
He’s worth more to Houston as bait than as a part-time player.
Betemit, like Keppinger, is another utility player who doesn’t have a long-term future with his current organization.
He’s hitting reasonably well (.285/.345/.415) and has always had above average power, making him a good fit for a team looking to platoon one of their infielders.
Continuing on with the role players, Johnson is a fourth outfielder who is having a career year (.915 OPS).
The Cubs are going no where so expect them to get something for Johnson while they still can.
The Twins continue to insist that they’re going for it, however it’s debatable whether they need Kubel to get there.
The 29-year-old has been reduced to a utility role because he doesn’t have a position, but with an .820 OPS, he’d be of use to someone.
GM Terry Ryan could use Kubel as a trade chip to upgrade Minnesota’s pitching.
The Mets already traded one closer, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll subject their fanbase to even more depression.
Isringhausen does have value and is pitching well (3.14 ERA in 35 games), but he’s not interested in leaving New York at this point in his career.
The Rockies would happily unload Cook, who has a 5.82 ERA in six starts and has missed chunks of the season.
Normally, a GM would wait for his player to boost his value before trading him, but the Rockies don’t have that luxury.
They’ll take whatever they can get for the veteran and rebuild for 2012.
It was doubtful that the Twins would move Liriano even if they were in last place in the AL Central.
Now that they’re actually within shouting distance of the Tigers, Liriano is definitely staying put, for now anyway.
The winter could change that.
Crisp's a nice, but unspectacular player.
He’s fast, and he plays good defense and swings a decent stick.
He may not get a starting job with his new team, but he’ll definitely help any contender.
The Royals have two outfielders with expiring deals, and both are having career years.
However, if given the choice the Royals would like to hang on to Francoeur, who they could attempt to persuade to come back in 2012 on a $4 million mutual option.
Cabrera won’t be so lucky, partly because he has more trade value than Francoeur.
He’s a year younger, a switch-hitter and has better offensive numbers almost across the board.
The Royals know they can’t keep him so they might as well make him available in a trade for long-term pieces.
The Marlins are going to get tons of calls for Nunez, a 27-year-old righty with 81 saves in the last three seasons.
He has one year left before he hits free agency and should get about $5 million in arbitration for 2012—a high price for a reliever on a losing team.
There’s no pressure to Nunez, but it doesn’t make sense not to.
Why would a team still in the playoff hunt trade their closer, especially when he has a 1.95 ERA and 18 saves?
Because the Rays are smart, and they know Farnsworth is not actually this good.
This is a perfect sell high scenario.
Marquis is one of the more underrated names on the market, but with over 100 career wins, he’s also one of the most experienced.
He has a 4.05 ERA in 18 starts this season and can help a team in the back of the rotation, eating up innings.
The White Sox will wait for John Danks to return from the disabled list, but sooner or later Jackson will be dealt.
There’s no place for him in the rotation, and he has more value to the White Sox as a trade chip for another bat or prospects.
The Yankees make a move at every deadline, and this year their needs are especially pressing.
Montero doesn’t seem to have a future in New York, and he’s the No. 1 prospect in the Yankees farm system, which translates into him packing his bags by the end of the month.
The Astros may not be ready to blow up the team, but they will be very active at the deadline.
Myers has become an innings machine, and despite a 3-10 record and 4.86 ERA, he’s one of the better starters on the market.
He’s also signed through 2012 with a vesting option for 2013.
Guthrie is certainly available, but will the Orioles get the price for him that they’re looking for?
With so many of the starters on this list probably staying put, Guthrie’s name rises to the top of the target list.
Baltimore wants pitching in return.
Clippard might be the best reliever in baseball that nobody talks about.
He just made his first All-Star team after recording a 1.72 ERA in more than 50 innings, and he’s only 26!
The Nationals have made him available, but they’ll likely only part with Clippard in a deal for a bigger player like Hunter Pence or B.J. Upton.
Trades like those are best saved for the offseason.
Assuming he gets off the disabled list by July 31, Guerrero is an easy pick to get traded.
He’s still a good hitter (.700 OPS), and there’s nothing for him to do in Baltimore.
He’ll make a good addition for an offense-starved team.
Ludwick will join many of his San Diego teammates in an honorary farewell party.
The 33-year-old is not having a very good season, but his talent is squandered in a place like Petco Park.
If the Cubs can swallow some of the $4-5 million still owed to Fukudome then they’ll have an easy time trading their veteran outfielder.
Fukudome owns a .369 career on-base percentage and is a solid defender—two qualities that are surprisingly hard to come by.
Willingham is one of the most popular trade candidates, and when there’s this much smoke, there’s usually a fire.
As many as half a dozen teams are in on the 32-year-old outfielder, and it’ll just be a matter of which GM gives Oakland the best offer.
Kuroda’s making it very difficult for the cash-strapped Dodgers to trade him.
He has a full-no trade clause and supposedly won’t accept a deal to an East Coast team, and on top of that, he wants compensation for being traded.
Those are some hefty demands for a guy in just his fourth major league season, but when you have a 3.51 career, ERA people tend to listen.
If Bedard didn’t hurt his knee and land on the disabled list a couple of weeks ago, then the Mariners would probably trade him.
But with his trade value at a season-low, I expect Seattle to hold on to the lefty and attempt to re-sign him for 2012.
The hard part, however, is identifying which team will pony up to get him.
Perhaps a package deal with another one of San Diego’s prized trade chips?
Rodriguez would be a terrific acquisition for any team because he’s a lefty, talented (3.52 ERA in 16 starts) and under contract through 2014.
However, the Astros aren’t in the charity business and are demanding a king’s ransom in return for Rodriguez.
No team in baseball is that desperate.
Nolasco is in a similar position to Rodriguez, except he’s four years younger and substantially cheaper.
The Marlins have made him available but likely only to gauge what his value is.
This is another name to revisit in the offseason.
Anybody who says that he won’t waive his no-trade clause is either deadly serious or just trying to target a specific team.
In Ramirez’s case, I’m going with the latter.
Playing for the Cubs can wear you down, and Ramirez finally has a chance to play for a winning team.
The Twins seem to think that they’ll be playing baseball in October rather than watching it, and so, Cuddyer is now unavailable.
I don’t necessarily understand the reasoning considering he’s Minnesota’s best hitter (right now) and soon to be a free agent, but maybe, that’s why I’m not a general manager.
It’s true that Jiminez is available, even though he’s just 27 and might have the best stuff in baseball.
However, just because the Rockies are listening doesn’t mean a deal will get done.
It would take a fortune to land Jiminez, and not even a team like the Yankees will completely deplete their farm system.
Zambrano’s name has been floated around in trade rumors in the past, but the lifelong Cub is still in Chicago.
Don’t expect that to change this season as the Cubs would like to keep their ace for the time being, even though it costs them $18 million a season.
Beltran has two weeks to finish packing because there’s zero doubt that he’ll be leaving New York by July 31.
The six-time All-Star might be the best hitter on the market, and the Mets are asking for a top prospect in return.
They’ll get one, from someone.
Bourn is only 28 and still in the prime of his career.
He will also be a free agent in 2013, which means that he won’t be around when the Astros are respectable again.
He will get traded at some point, but July 31, 2011 feels like a year too early.
The Rays are run by some of the smartest people in baseball, and so they’ll listen to offers for their star centerfielder.
However, they would need to be blown away to part with Upton in the middle of a pennant race.
Let’s revisit this in the offseason.
Pence is an absolute stud and is only getting better.
Unfortunately for him, he plays for the Astros—a franchise that probably won’t be able to sniff the playoffs anytime this decade.
Houston knows how valuable Pence is, and they won’t trade him for just scraps.
The Astros will get better offers for their star in a year or two.
I don’t see how a nucleus of Reyes, David Wright and Ike Davis does anything in the powerful NL East.
But if GM Sandy Alderson thinks it’ll work, then more power to him.
Barring a complete reversal of fortune Reyes will finish out his season with the Mets.