With the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline looming, many teams are starting to make their annual calls around the league in search of players that can help them in a playoff push. Let’s take a look at some players who have jumped in trade talks more recently as the season progresses to the July 31 deadline.
Garza to Rangers: Done Deal?
Sources say that the Texas Rangers are close to acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs for “a strong package of prospects”. It has not yet been confirmed what pieces the Cubs are going to give away, but it has been confirmed that this deal is 99% complete. There is however reportedly 6 players involved, including prospect Mike Olt of the Rangers. Olt is a third baseman in the Rangers system and has potential to turn into a star player.
Boston Scouting Young, Rios, Ramirez, Peavy
With the Red Sox in the battle for the AL East crown, chances are they will look to add pieces in order to stay in the race. Recently, they have scouted both Michael Young of the Phillies and Alex Rios of the White Sox. The White Sox have made it clear that they would trade anyone not named Chris Sale or Paul Konerko, but the Phillies are in a more different situation. They will open the second half the season at 48-48, and are still trying to decide if they will be buyers or sellers. The Red Sox have had interest in Young for months, and Young would be a great fit at the hot corner for them. The Phillies just might pull the trigger on the 36-year-old if they are given an offer they just can’t refuse. Young’s contract expires after this season, and the Phillies just might decide to try to get some value on the market for him and rebuild at third for the 2014 season. If they still keep playing better baseball, then they will most likely buy. However, they can still move a guy like Young without completely becoming sellers to get some sort of value. A second option for Boston if they can’t reel in Michael Young is Aramis Ramirez. The Brewers third baseman is hitting .271 with a .359 on base percentage which will appeal many teams. He is also under control through next year, which makes him just as attractive as Young, who could possibly just be a rental. The Red Sox could also be looking to bolster their pitching staff. They have reportedly turned their interest to Chicago starter Jake Peavy, who will come off the disabled list very soon. The team is likely to scout his next few starts once he has returned.
What will the Phillies do with Young, Utley, Papelbon?
The Phillies will come right out of the gates at .500 once the second half begins. This next week and a half may decide which players are still in Philadelphia once the deadline has come and passed. Many teams have called asking about the availability of Michael Young, Chase Utley, and Jonathan Papelbon, all key players that could help another team win. The questions is, will they be moved? These next 11 days or so should help tell the Phillies organization which way to swing towards. If any move occurs, it will most likely be involving Michael Young. He only has this year left on his deal and has just seemed like a moveable piece all season. One that will most likely not happen, or at least be hard to pull off, is one involving second baseman Chase Utley. They Royals and Dodgers, among others, have expressed interest in the longtime Phillie. However, Utley is the heart and soul of this team, and it just seems like it would be hard to get him out of a Phillies jersey. Closer Jonathan Papelbon is a hard one to figure out. If the Phillies continue to play good baseball he will obviously stay, but what if they fall off? He is the only constant in that Phillies bullpen so it wouldn’t make sense to trade him if they became sellers. On the other hand, money is always involved in trade talks. He is still due another $39 million over the next 4 years assuming his vesting option kicks in come 2016 (55 appearances). That’s all for a guy who is already 32 and is clearly not the same closer he used to be velocity wise. It’ll be interesting to see if the Fightin’s decide to keep the core they have and add on, or decide to start a rebuilding process.
Bud Norris, not Garza, now on Boston’s Radar
Talks with the Cubs about Matt Garza have now gone awry for the Red Sox, as they now turn their attention to another pitcher on the trading block, the Houston Astros’ Bud Norris. Norris is 6-8 with a 3.63 ERA on one of baseball’s worst teams. He has very good stuff and would be a very easy deal for Boston to take on as he is owed $3 million this season. The 28-year-old righty will be a free agent after this season, but if the Red Sox did acquire him, he could finally get a taste of what it’s like on a winning team for the first time in his career. That could sway him to re-sign after this season if all things work out. Norris could certainly step into this rotation and take over the No. 4 spot right behind Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Clay Buchholz, when he gets back. A rotation like that could certainly help the Red Sox win another AL East division championship.