The MLB deadline is quickly approaching and contenders around baseball are attempting to upgrade their rosters for the stretch run. As is the case every single season, there are a ton of rumors leading up to the deadline. Here is our attempt to sift through some of the rumors in order to make your day a tad easier.
Right now, Matt Kemp is a backup plan for the Mariners. But their interest is very real. Idea would be to transition him to DH eventually.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2014
The Dodgers are apparently willing to move this former All-Star prior to the deadline on Thursday. As Passan reported, the Mariners are very interested in Kemp’s services. If a deal is agreed to, he would likely be utilized as a corner outfielder for the remainder of the year in Seattle before making the transition to centerfield next season.
To say that Seattle needs an upgrade at the plate would be an understatement. It currently ranks 26th in baseball in runs scored and is 11 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the AL West. In order for a deal between Seattle and Los Angeles to go down, there would have to be a third team send something of value to the Dodgers in return for Kemp.
Sox interest in Kemp independent of decision to trade Lester. You can be sure if Sox think he's healthy, they'll have interest in offseason
— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) July 29, 2014
Boston and Los Angeles have had discussions about both Kemp and Red Sox starter Jon Lester. It seems that a deal with those two players as centerpieces makes the most sense at this point. Though, it must be noted that the Dodgers would likely have to send other pieces in a potential deal.
Speaking of Lester, he was scratched from his start on Wednesday by manager John Farrell.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) July 30, 2014
Farrell pointed to the distraction of trade rumors, but there has to be more to it. Pitchers are always thrown to the bump when trade rumors exist. Lester had previously indicated he would be willing to return to the Red Sox as a free agent, even if a trade were to be worked out in the next day or so. That could very well force Boston to move him in order to get some quality prospects in return. After all, Boston is just playing out the string this season. Losing Lester for a couple months wouldn’t be a big deal.
According to Sean McAdam of Comcast Sports Net New England, multiple teams have called the Red Sox about Lester.
St. Louis, Seattle, Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dodgers are widely thought to be in on Lester, but industry sources say the Red Sox also have received interest from another handful of clubs, led by Milwaukee, Atlanta, Oakland and Toronto.
A deal involving Jon Lester could be imminent, with STL, PIT, LAD, TOR, BAL and OAK involved in talks. Latest: http://t.co/x246VeMiMz
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) July 30, 2014
Outside of the favorites, St. Louis and Los Angeles, it appears that the biggest wildcard here is Oakland, who seems to be willing to almost literally bet the farm on a championship this season. Jay Jeffe of Sports Illustrated outlines how a deal might be able to go down between Boston and Oakland for Lester.
It’s still a longshot at this point. If we were to bet money on a deal going down with Lester prior to the deadline, the Cardinals and Dodgers have to be considered frontrunners. St. Louis could offer up a package that includes starting pitcher Shelby Miller and top prospect Oscar Taveras. While the Dodgers might be able to part with either Kemp or top prospect Joc Pederson as well as a couple other young players.
In any event a deal including Lester is imminent at this point.
Speaking of the Dodgers, they have reportedly discussed the possibility of acquiring Philadelphia Phillies staff ace Cole Hamels, but the negotiations went nowhere due to what Bob Nightengale indicated was an astronomical asking price.
Yet, according to one-ranking official directly involved with the talks, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently asked for Hamels. They were told the price would be three of their top prospects – center fielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias.
Obviously, the Dodgers weren’t interested in a deal with this framework. Unless Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. lowers his asking price, Hamels is unlikely to be moved by the deadline.
The Cleveland Indians could very well be in full scale selling mode at this point.
Perception of the Indians continues to be that they are ready to move Asdrubal Cabrera, as written last week, and Justin Masterson.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 29, 2014
After losing seven of their last 10 games, the Indians sit two games under .500 and closer to last place than first place. Justin Masterson, who is set to be a free agent following this season, is in the midst of a disappointing year. He’s 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 2014. Masterson is also on the DL and can’t be activated until Friday. This means that any deal that takes place would have to be after the non-waiver deadline on Thursday.
Asdrubal Cabrera, a valuable potential shortstop target on the open market, is hitting just .249 on the year. Despite his struggles at the plate, Cabrera is drawing some interest.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2014
With Brett Lawrie currently injured, a deal for Cabrera could make sense for the Blue Jays. The San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees have also been mentioned as possibilities for Cabrera.
In an interesting turn of events, the Houston Astros may be willing to move one of their young starting pitchers. After initially indicating they were unwilling to move one of their young starters, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow had this to say to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
We do seem to have an excess of pretty good young starters so we wouldn’t rule anything out,” Luhnow said Monday. “We’d have to get back a big-league piece, preferably a bat, in a package that makes sense for the future and present.
The young arms that Luhnow is talking about includes Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Jarred Cosart. While that seems foolish on the surface, the lack of premier arms on the market could net the Astros a major return.
After it seemed that the Tampa Bay Rays were unwilling to move David Price due to a recent emergence into the playoff race, there seems to be some indications that they are willing to trade the staff ace.
courage test: rays source says "talking and willing" to trade david price. http://t.co/8vOiez2hJV
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2014
The asking price for Price may very well be too high for other teams, especially considering Tampa Bay is suddenly right back in the playoff race.
Here are some other rumors from this morning.
mariners, yanks among teams looking at willingham. http://t.co/3PIew1S0gu
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 30, 2014
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2014
Many folks noting that Marlon Byrd is available, as arguably best hitter on market. Still: .321 OBP, 125 Ks in 411 at-bats. Good; not great.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2014
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 29, 2014
Check out our up-to-date MLB trade deadline tracker for deals as they happen.