MLB Trade Rumors: Trade Deadline Buyers and Sellers

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Trade Deadline Buyers and Sellers

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    Just four days from the July 31 trade deadline, there are still a number of big-name trade chips on the market, and with two wild-card spots up for grabs in each league, there are more teams looking to buy than ever.

    While most teams have a good idea of whether they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline entering the All-Star break, for some teams it is a decision that is made in the days leading up to the deadline. 

    As we enter the final days of the trade month, here is a look at where each MLB team stands and whether they will buy, sell or hold at the deadline.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Sell

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    Record: 49-50, third in NL West

    The Diamondbacks were the surprise team of the postseason last year, but their inability to match that success this year with a nearly identical roster has made them one of the bigger disappointments in the league.

    Diamonbacks owner Ken Kendrick said that it is a "reasonable assumption" that they will not move right fielder Justin Upton this season (via Scott Bordow, The Republic), even though the team was shopping the 24-year-old earlier this offseason.

    They've already traded third baseman Ryan Roberts and could now look to move Stephen Drew in the days ahead, as a handful of teams are reportedly interested (via Fox Sports). 

Atlanta Braves: Buy

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    Record: 54-44, second in NL East

    If the playoffs started today, the Braves would be the second NL wild card by 1.5 games over the Cardinals and two games over the Dodgers.

    Adding a starter appears to be the team's No. 1 priority, as injuries to Brandon Beachy and Arodys Vizcaino and ineffectiveness from Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor has left them in need of a reliable arm.

    After a trade to acquire Cubs' right-hander Ryan Dempster fell through (via Fox Sports), the team now appears to have their sights set on Brewers ace Zack Greinke.

    They are not the only team vying for his services, as they, the Rangers, Angels and White Sox also reportedly have serious interest (via Jayson Stark, ESPN), but the Braves have plenty of MLB-ready prospects with which to make an enticing trade package.

Baltimore Orioles: Cautiously Buy

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    Record: 52-47, second in AL East

    Currently just 1.5 games back in what is a crowded AL wild-card picture, the Orioles have been the surprise team of 2012, and they remain in a good position as we approach August.

    The team has already made a pair of small moves in acquiring veteran slugger Jim Thome and middle infielder Omar Quintanilla, but they have their sights set on adding a starter to fill out their inconsistent, young rotation.

    An executive with another big league club said the the team was reportedly "going hard" after Zack Greinke earlier on in the month (via Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun), but they aren't willing to mortgage their top prospects for a shot to win this season, with Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado as untouchable as any minor leaguers in the game.

    Instead, the team is reportedly looking at lower-cost options like Francisco Liriano and Bartolo Colon (via Jon Heyman,, as well as hitters who have on-base skills, including Padres third baseman Chase Headley.

Boston Red Sox: Hold

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    Record: 49-50, fifth in AL East

    It's been a tough season for the Red Sox, and while they are currently just 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot in the American League, there are eight teams ahead of them in the crowded AL wild card picture.

    The team has already had what amounts to a pair of huge additions with the return of outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford from injury, but they are still on the outside looking in as far as a playoff spot is concerned.

    Starting pitcher Josh Beckett has seen his name pop up in trade rumors of late, but according to a major league source, there is "nothing close" as far as him being moved (via Rob Bradford,

    Buster Olney recently said that he feels the Red Sox will stand pat at the deadline, and I think that is their best course of action at this point.

Chicago Cubs: Aggressively Sell

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    Record: 40-57, fifth in NL Central

    While many teams have a tough decision to make on whether or not to be buyers or sellers when the trade deadline approaches, the Cubs entered the season knowing they would be among the league's biggest sellers in July.

    They have yet to pull off a deal at this point, but starters Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are among the most talked-about arms on the market and could both be gone come August.

    Aside from those two, Alfonso Soriano, Bryan LaHair, Jeff Baker, Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm and Shawn Camp could all potentially be moved in the right situation.

Chicago White Sox: Buy

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    Record: 53-45, first in AL Central

    The White Sox entered the season expecting to begin rebuilding after a down season last year, but they have remained right in the thick of things in the AL Central and are currently a half-game up on the Tigers for first in the division.

    They already filled a glaring hole at third base by acquiring Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox and helped shore up their bullpen by acquiring Brett Myers from the Astros, and they may not be finished.

    GM Kenny Williams is never one to shy away from pulling the trigger on a big move, and one suggested scenario (via Fox Sports) has the White Sox trading Gavin Floyd for prospects that they then flip to the Brewers for Zack Greinke.

Cincinnati Reds: Buy

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    Record: 58-40, first in NL Central

    The Reds have managed to keep winning, even with superstar Joey Votto on the shelf, and they currently hold a two-game lead over the Pirates and 5.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central.

    The team's biggest need at the deadline, without question, is a leadoff hitter who can get on base ahead of the trio of Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.

    Zack Cozart (.290 OBP) and Drew Stubbs (.298 OBP) are currently hitting No. 1 and 2 in the lineup, and they are a big reason why Votto has just 49 RBI despite his terrific numbers.

    According to Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the team recently turned down a deal that would have landed them Shane Victorino for setup man Logan Ondrusek, but the Phillies center fielder could still be a potential fit down the road.

    The team has also "kicked the tires" on Denard Span of the Twins (via Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports), but Victorino or fellow Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre are viewed as more realistic options at the moment.

Cleveland Indians: Hold

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    Record: 50-49, third in AL Central

    The Indians are still only 3.5 games out in the AL Central, but as the Tigers have put things together and the White Sox continue to play well, they seem to be on the outside looking in.

    The team's biggest need since the beginning of the season has been a right-handed bat to offset a lineup that features seven left-handed hitters and two switch-hitters.

    However, Buster Olney tweeted that they are now reportedly only looking at players who are controlled beyond this year, as they look to improve the team for the long haul, not necessarily for a playoff push.

Colorado Rockies: Sell

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    Record: 37-60, fifth in NL West

    The Rockies have been among the worst teams in all of baseball this season, as they have been unable to overcome a terrible starting rotation and an injury to superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

    They swapped under-performing starters with the Royals earlier this month when they shipped Jeremy Guthrie to Kansas City for Jonathan Sanchez, but that was a lateral move at best and has little significance, with both pitchers headed for free agency at season's end.

    As for remaining trade pieces, infielder Marco Scutaro is the most likely to be dealt (via Troy Renck, The Denver Post), with the Rays and Nationals among the teams interested in him.

    Catcher Ramon Hernandez and first baseman/pinch-hitter Jason Giambi could also be moved, while relievers like Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle don't look to be going anywhere (via Jayson Stark, ESPN).

Detroit Tigers: Hold

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    Record: 53-46, second in AL Central

    The Tigers have rebounded from a rough start to the season and are among the hottest teams in baseball right now as they sit just a half-game behind the White Sox in the AL Central.

    The team's two biggest needs were another starter and a second baseman, and they filled both of them in acquiring Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Marlins for top pitching prospect Jacob Turner. beat writer Jason Beck tweeted that it does not look like they will pursue any further deals between now and the deadline, as GM Dave Dombrowski said, "We're set at this point."

Houston Astros: Sell, If They Have Anything Left to Sell

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    Record: 34-66, sixth in NL Central

    The Astros entered the season looking to sell off their remaining veteran pieces as they continue to work towards rebuilding the franchise.

    They have done just that so far, moving Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and Carlos Lee, and as a result they don't have much left in the way of movable pieces.

    They are reportedly willing to deal anyone other than second baseman Jose Altuve (via Jayson Stark, ESPN), and they still may pull off something in the days ahead if it means making the team better in the long run.

Kansas City Royals: Sell

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    Record: 41-57, fourth in AL Central

    The Royals have failed to take the next step forward this season, held back by a poor starting rotation and disappointing performances from Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur.

    Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the team has made closer Jonathan Broxton, reliever Jose Mijares, infielder Yuniesky Betancourt and outfielder Francoeur available.

    Of that group, Broxton has the most trade appeal and is the most likely to be dealt, with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN putting the odds at 60-40 that he's moved.

Los Angeles Angels: Hold

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    Record: 54-45, second in AL West

    The Angels have rebounded terrifically from a slow start, and they now look to be in a good position to be playing in October.

    The team is in the market for a starting pitcher and still in the running for Zack Greinke (via Jayson Stark, ESPN), but with a rotation of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana and Garrett Richards, they don't necessarily need to make a trade.

    According to Alden Gonzalez of, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says that the the team will likely opt to look in-house for pitching help down the stretch. Gonzalez reported that a team source said that the asking prices are too high for them to be a serious contender for the top names on the market.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Aggressively Buy

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    Record: 53-47, second in NL West

    The Dodgers weathered the storm of being without their top two hitters, as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were both on the DL at the same time. They currently sit two games out of the second NL wild-card spot.

    The team already pulled off a big move in acquiring Hanley Ramirez, but they are still looking to add a starting pitcher and more offensive firepower.

    The team has been linked to nearly every starting pitcher who has hit the market, and most recently they appear to favor Cubs starter Matt Garza over teammate Ryan Dempster (via Jon Heyman, CBSSports).

    One way or another, the Dodgers appear ready to make another move, as GM Ned Colletti said the team is "far from done," as tweeted by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

Miami Marlins: Sell

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    Record: 45-53, fourth in NL East

    The Marlins entered the season with high hopes, as they ushered in their new stadium by adding Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano and Heath Bell.

    Instead, they have fallen flat, and once they decided to sell, they moved quickly and have traded Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez in the past week.

    They team will likely continue to deal, and starter Josh Johnson could be the next to go, as the Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays and Royals have all reportedly shown interest (via Jayson Stark, ESPN).

Milwaukee Brewers: Sell

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    Record: 44-54, fourth in NL Central

    The Brewers were hanging on the fringe of contention heading into last weekend, but a sweep at the hands of the Reds was the start of a current seven-game losing streak, and they are now 10 games out of the second wild-card spot.

    With that, the Brewers are now reportedly ready to sell (via Danny Knobler,, and they have one of the best trade chips on the market in ace Zack Greinke.

    The Rangers, Angels, Braves and White Sox are the four serious suitors for Greinke (via Jayson Stark, ESPN), and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that one source believes Greinke will be moved before Cubs starter Ryan Dempster.

    Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart could also draw interest, but the Brewers would have to be blown away to deal them (via Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

Minnesota Twins: Sell

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    Record: 40-58, fifth in AL Central

    The Twins have struggled all season, due in large part to a pitching staff that has posted an AL-worst 5.00 ERA on the season.

    They have some appealing trade pieces, but according to Jayson Stark of ESPN, their asking prices are "pricey" for Justin Morneau, "more pricey" for Denard Span and "it made me laugh" (said one exec) for Josh Willingham. These demands will likely keep the three in Minnesota.

    On the other hand, starter Francisco Liriano could be on his way out, as the Angels and Orioles remain interested in the left-hander (via Jon Morosi, Fox Sports). Jayson Stark of ESPN said he has a "nearly 100 percent" chance of being traded.

New York Mets: Small-Scale Buy, Small-Scale Sell

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    Record: 48-51, third in NL East

    The Mets have gone 5-15 in July, as they have endured a rough slide after a terrific first half had them eyeing a postseason spot.

    Despite that, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted that Mets assistant GM John Ricco said the team is still in the market for a backup catcher and relief help as they are eyeing small-scale moves.

    Joel Sherman of the Post tweeted that they could also look to sell some players, including Scott Hairston and Tim Byrdak, as they look to improve the team for 2013 and beyond.

New York Yankees: Buy

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    Record: 59-39, first in AL East

    The Yankees have overcome injuries to their starting rotation and closer Mariano Rivera to post the best record in the American League to this point.

    However, they were recently hit by the injury bug again when Alex Rodriguez had his hand broken by a Felix Hernandez pitch. While Eric Chavez is a short-term option, he is likely not capable of playing the position every day at this point in his career.

    That has left the team in the market for a third baseman, and Marco Scutaro was named as one possible option (via Jayson Stark, ESPN). Chase Headley and Aramis Ramirez are also on the market, but the Yankees may not want to pay the price to acquire those guys.

Oakland Athletics: Buy

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    Record: 53-45, third in AL West

    The A's have been as hot as any team in baseball since the All-Star break, and they have positioned themselves to make a serious run at a playoff spot.

    The left side of their infield is in the most clear need of improvement. Shortstop is a particularly glaring hole currently manned by Eric Sogard and Brandon Hicks.

    After missing out on Hanley Ramirez, the team will now turn their attention to Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar and possibly Jimmy Rollins (via Danny Knobler,

Philadelphia Phillies: Sell

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    Record: 45-54, fifth in NL East

    The Phillies have been surprisingly bad this season, as they have dealt with injuries to a number of superstar players and spun their wheels since said players have returned.

    Their biggest trade chip was Cole Hamels, but he re-upped with the team on a massive six-year, $144 million contract.

    Joel Sherman tweeted that, according to one AL executive, the signing of Hamels "means Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence are pretty available." While both of those players will have a high asking price, the Phillies could be pushed to move one of them to shed some payroll.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Buy

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    Record: 56-42, second in NL Central

    The Pirates have used a fantastic pitching staff and the performance of MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen to put themselves in a great position to at least post their first winning season since 1992.

    The team has already pulled off a big move in acquiring Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros, and as a result, they could look to move Kevin Correia, who was moved to the bullpen as a result of the acquisition.

    From a buying standpoint, the team could certainly stand to add another bat, and they have been linked to Chase Headley, although the Padres' asking price is high (via Buster Olney). Last year they added Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee, so they could opt for some lower-cost veterans in the days to come as well.

San Diego Padres: Sell

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    Record: 42-58, fourth in NL West

    The Padres are rebuilding, but they opted to re-sign outfielder Carlos Quentin and are trying to do the same with closer Huston Street.

    However, they are still in a position to sell, and they have one of the most sought-after trade chips in third baseman Chase Headley. Their asking price for him is high, as he is controlled through 2014, but nonetheless the market is "extremely strong" for him (via Jon Heyman, CBSSports).

    Jon Morosi tweeted that reliever Luke Gregerson could also be moved, as he represents one of the better setup men on the market and has been pitching particularly well of late.

San Francisco Giants: Buy

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    Record: 55-43, first in NL West

    The Giants have used a fantastic starting rotation and a vastly improved offense to emerge as the class of the NL West, as they currently lead the Dodgers by three games in the division.

    Shortstop remains a weak spot, but the team seems ready to proceed with Brandon Crawford manning the position. Instead, upgrading their bullpen is the team's biggest need in the coming days, as Santiago Casilla has faltered of late in the closer's role.

    Casilla did an terrific job filling in for Brian Wilson until the calendar turned to July, as Casilla has converted just three of seven save chances and posted a 5.14 ERA on the month.

    The team has shown interest in Indians closer Chris Perez (via Fox Sports), but he may not be realistically available. Danny Knobler tweeted that outside of that, the team does not look to be interested in Jonathan Broxton or Francisco Rodriguez, but they will continue to look for answers in the bullpen.

Seattle Mariners: Sell

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    Record: 44-57, fourth in AL West

    The Mariners are in the midst of a rebuild, and with one of the better farm systems in all of baseball, they have the pieces to be a serious contender in the not-too-distant future.

    This season, however, they will look to sell their veteran assets. That began with the team moving Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees.

    Felix Hernandez is a fun name to bring up, but it's fellow starters Jason Vargas and Kevin Millwood who are more likely to be on the move.

    The Orioles, Tigers and Royals all reportedly had interest in Vargas earlier this week (via Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe), while Millwood is a low-cost veteran on a one-year deal, for which the Mariners would likely take whatever they can get.

St. Louis Cardinals: Hold

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    Record: 53-46, third in NL Central

    The Cardinals managed to overcome a number of significant injuries in the first half, and after the run they made down the stretch last season, they appear to be in a solid position moving forward.

    With Chris Carpenter lost for the season and Jaime Garcia on the DL, the team has kicked the tires on some starting pitchers, as they could look to pull off a move similar to the one they made last season to acquire Edwin Jackson.

    However, GM John Mozeliak recently said there is no urgency for the team to add a starter with Garcia on the comeback trail and the rotation performing well even in his absence (via Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Tampa Bay Rays: Sell James Shields, Hold Everyone Else

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    Record: 51-48, third in AL East

    The Rays have suffered from a serious lack of offense this season, and without Evan Longoria in the lineup, the team has lacked the punch to make a serious run in the AL East.

    Starter James Shields is their top trade chip, and it was originally reported that whether they were buyers or sellers, they would be willing to listen to offers for Shields (via Danny Knobler, CBS Sports).

    The Dodgers, Rangers and Angels all have interest in Shields (via Knobler), and while the impeding return of Evan Longoria could put the Rays back in a position to contend, they'll likely still listen to offers for Shields.

Texas Rangers: Buy

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    Record: 58-39, first in AL West

    The Rangers have seen the gap between them and the Angels and A's closed in recent weeks, but they remain one of the favorites in the American League and still have a five-game lead in the division.

    The team's starting rotation has been hit hard by injuries, and with Colby Lewis lost for the year and Roy Oswalt battling back injuries, the team is all but certain to acquire a starter at the deadline.

    Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweeted that the team could be working on something big, such as acquiring Zack Greinke or Josh Johnson, while Buster Olney tweeted that the team could also look into bringing back Cliff Lee.

Toronto Blue Jays: Buy

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    Record: 49-49, fourth in AL East

    The Blue Jays have also been hit hard by injuries to their starting rotation this season, but they have had enough offensive firepower to stay competitive, and they could make a run with some pitching help.

    J.A. Happ was acquired from the Astros, but the team will likely still look to add a starter in the next few days, and they have been linked to Marlins starter Josh Johnson (via Jayson Stark, ESPN), as well as White Sox starter Gavin Floyd in a potential three-team trade involving Zack Greinke (via Fox Sports).

    On the selling side of things, the team is looking to move shortstop Yunel Escobar to clear the way for prospect Adeiny Hechavarria (via Joel Sherman of the New York Post).

Washington Nationals: Buy

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    Record: 59-39, first in NL East

    The Nationals were a trendy pick to make a playoff push entering the season, and they have lived up to those expectations and then some thanks to a phenomenal pitching staff and the emergence of rookie Bryce Harper and contributions from players like Steve Lombardozzi.

    Ian Desmond recently hit the DL with a torn oblique and will miss significant time, and as a result, the team is in the market for an infielder (via Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post).

    The team has been linked to Rockies infielder Marco Scutaro, Nick Punto, Jamey Carroll and a reported list of 15 to 20 infielders (via Troy Renck of The Denver Post).