Several star players have already switched teams ahead of MLB's trade deadline, but as the Aug. 1 cutoff continues to approach, rumors are still swirling around some pieces who could potentially make a huge impact down the stretch.
While quality starting pitching is difficult to come by, top-notch relievers are still available, and there is no shortage of big bats on the market. The price could be steep in many instances, but contenders have the ability to load up for a deep playoff run.
With trade possibilities coming down to the wire, here is a look at some of the top players on the market and the latest rumors and speculation regarding their status.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is in the midst of a resurgent season, as he made his first All-Star team since 2012.
Bruce entered play Sunday hitting .265, which is his best batting average since 2010, along with 25 home runs and a National League-leading 80 RBI.
The 29-year-old veteran brings big-time power from the left side of the plate and is the type of player who several playoff contenders could use in the middle of the lineup.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the New York Mets are among the teams that have been in talks to acquire Bruce, but a deal was "not close" as of Saturday.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network added that a few more teams are in the hunt for Bruce, although the Baltimore Orioles aren't among them:
Despite Bruce's production, ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Reds aren't necessarily looking for top-notch prospects as a return:
That may have something to do with the fact that Bruce can become a free agent following the season. Per Spotrac.com, the Texas native has a $13 million club option for 2017 with a buyout of just $1 million.
Bruce's up-and-down play in the two years prior to 2016 may give the team that acquires him some pause in terms of exercising the option, but he is an ideal rental based on how he is performing.
The Mets are in need of an offensive boost in particular, and if they don't make a move for someone of Bruce's ilk, the reigning National League champions could be on the golf course come October.
Brian McCann has long been one of Major League Baseball's best offensive catchers, but with the New York Yankees hovering around .500 and B-Mac suffering through a tough season, he could be on the move.
According to Heyman, the Yanks have spoken to the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves regarding McCann, but no deal appears imminent.
McCann would be a significant addition for a Texas team that has had question marks behind the plate all season long, while a deal with Atlanta would send the seven-time All-Star back to the team he began his career with.
Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, however, there is a disconnect between what the Yankees and Braves want to get out of the deal:
Atlanta seemingly wants McCann back in the fold at a discounted price without having to give up much, which wouldn't necessarily make a ton of sense for a Yankees team that doesn't need to accumulate dead salary.
New York loses some bargaining power in that it boasts strong catching depth with Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, so teams across the league are well aware that the Yankees would like to create more playing time for them.
McCann isn't having a great year entering Sunday with a .235 batting average, 15 home runs and 41 RBI, but he hit a career-high 26 home runs last year and has been among the best run-producing catchers in baseball for more than a decade.
The Yankees may not get much in return, but if they can orchestrate a trade that allows them to get out from under the bulk of his remaining contract, it would be a major step in the right direction as it relates to their retooling efforts.
Oakland Athletics lefty Rich Hill has been among the most dominant starting pitchers in baseball this season when healthy, but injury issues have clouded his status ahead of the trade deadline.
Hill is on the disabled list due to a blister on his pitching hand, but Heyman reported there is still significant interest in him.
Per ESPN's Jim Bowden, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed that his team is keeping tabs on Hill as well as every other starter who is available via trade.
Hill is 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP this season to go along with 90 strikeouts in 76 innings. The 36-year-old boasts a dominant breaking ball, which has made him a valuable commodity after years of toiling in bullpens across the majors.
The Boston native had four great starts for the Boston Red Sox late last season and parlayed it into a rotation spot with the A's, and he may have a chance to pitch in the playoffs if he gets healthy and a team takes a risk on him.
While giving up anything for a pitcher with blister issues is a gamble, Hill will be a free agent at the end of the season, which means the monetary and term investment would be minimal.
Hill has had ace-type stuff for the majority of the season when healthy, and if his injury allows him to be had for a discounted price, he could prove to be the biggest steal of the deadline.
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