With the July 31 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline coming up this Wednesday, teams are starting to make calls to other organizations to inquire on players that have been speculated to be on the trade market. At this point, most teams know whether they will be buying or selling in the next coming days. Now it’s time to just sit back and see which players will have a new home come the first of August. With the final push looming, let’s take a look at recent news on players that could be on the move.
Orioles looking to add more pieces?
The Orioles have had struggles at the DH spot this season, and that’s why they are looking for a hitter on the market to fill that void. Recently they have taken looks at Twins 1B Justin Morneau and Phillies 3B Michael Young. Young has been speculated in trade talks most of the season as he has seemed like a moveable piece for the Phillies, while Morneau’s market value has picked up of late. It has been reported that the talks are preliminary as of right now by the Orioles about Morneau. The former MVP is a free agent after this season and is currently batting .267 with 8 HR and 53 RBI. After already acquiring starting pitcher Scott Feldman earlier this month, the Orioles are also looking to add another starter. They are rumored to be in the Jake Peavy sweepstakes, along with other clubs. Adding a player like Young or Morneau and a starter like Peavy to the front of this Orioles rotation could instantly make them World Series contenders. They currently sit in third place in the AL East at 58-48.
Jake Peavy Update
Only a handful of teams remain as potential suitors for White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy. The front-runners are currently the Cardinals, Athletics, Red Sox, and as stated before, the Orioles. The Braves had interest earlier this week, but are no longer in play for Peavy. Peavy would help any contender he ends up with, as he has shown he is healthy and still has effective stuff since his return from the DL. Peavy has gone 2-0 with a 4.23 ERA since his return. He is under contract through next year as well, so whoever gets him is guaranteed at least over a year of service from him.
Joe Nathan on the Move?
With the lack of closers on the market this season, the Rangers have now decided placing their closer Joe Nathan on the market. The Rangers are clearly still contenders in the playoff race, they just believe that they can afford to trade the 38-year-old with an already strong bullpen this season. This makes sense because they could get value for an aging closer while putting their current reliever Joakim Soria into the closer’s role. Soria had closing duties with the Royals before coming to the Rangers. Another viable option could be Neftali Feliz, who is making his way back to the Rangers from injury. The flamethrower can get up to 99 MPH, with good control as well. The Rangers certainly would have options if they were to trade Nathan, whose 32 saves this year are the third most in baseball. Sources say that they are shopping Nathan for another bat to use in their potent lineup with the possible pending suspension of Nelson Cruz, who is linked to Biogenesis.
Phillies open up shop
With the Phillies on an eight game losing skid and now nine games back of the Braves in the NL East, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made calls around the league to let other teams know that he will seriously listen to offers about anyone — except the guy most hope to make an offer for — starting pitcher Cliff Lee. Apparently the Phillies will need to be seriously overwhelmed to make any kind of trade involving Cliff Lee, and they would want the potential team to eat up most of his hefty salary, two things most teams would not like to do. However, other veterans like Carlos Ruiz, Michael Young, Jonathan Papelbon, and Chase Utley are on the trading block. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins has indicated he will not waive his no trade clause if asked. Rollins obtained his no-trade clause by earning five and ten rights with the Phillies during his career. The Yankees have interest in both Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz, while the Orioles and Red Sox are considered front-runners for Michael Young, who would need to approve any deal he could be involved with in the next day or two. Chase Utley has talked about an extension with the Phillies recently, but has drawn interest from the Dodgers and Royals. Closer Jonathan Papelbon talked like a guy who wants to be traded on Sunday morning, as he stated that “I definitely didn’t come here for this.” He was later asked if he still wants to be here: “No, I would like to stay here. But if I’m going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don’t want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?” The always-expressive Papelbon is clearly frustrated and could be on the move. The Phillies are open to trading him, but it will need to be determined by other contenders if they would like to make an offer for him. The Tigers were interested earlier this month, but sources say that they have slightly backed off with the success new closer Joaquin Benoit has had. Boston has shown some interest in bringing Papelbon back, but Koji Uehara has had some success in the closer’s role as well. However Papelbon is a proven closer and is out there, so a possible trade could be on the way.
Lefties Thatcher, Lopez on the market
With the struggles that both the Giants and Padres have had this season, they have both placed their lefty specialists Joe Thatcher (Padres) and Javier Lopez (Giants) on the market. Both have fared well this season in doing a task they are asked to do when summoned from the bullpen. Thatcher has a 2.15 ERA on the season, and he has the ability to strike lefties out as he has 29 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Reports say that the Atlanta Braves have shown the most interest in acquiring Thatcher. Lopez has allowed only one earned run in his last 33 outings. His ERA is 1.42 on the season. Thatcher is the more attractive option, as he is 31 years old (5 younger than Lopez), and he is not a free agent after this season like Lopez is. Either lefty specialist would still be huge to have in the postseason run, as they both have pitched exceptionally well in their respective bullpens this season.
Cardinals unlikely to upgrade big at deadline
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has stated he will most likely not be actively involved at the trade deadline. The Cardinals currently sit in first in the NL Central at 62-39, a record good for the best in the big leagues. St. Louis has played consistent baseball all season, so avoiding a big upgrade is probably a smart way to go. The Cardinals have however been linked to White Sox players SP Jake Peavy and SS Alexei Ramirez as their next potential suitors. An upgrade at shortstop would be great for the Cards, whose shortstops this year haven’t really hit for average. An upgrade at starting pitching would be nice, but not exactly necessary. Peavy would be a great No. 2 or 3 in this rotation behind Adam Wainwright and in front of the youngster Shelby Miller.
Stay tuned for more updates on the 2013 Trade Deadline
Trades are coming soon!