A team-by-team look at the trade market as deadline week begins
Boston wants an outfielder; the Yankees are looking for a top starting pitcher
The Tigers are focused on adding a starting pitcher, possibly Aaron Harang
Carlos Beltran is likely to wind up in the NL but it may not be in Philadelphia
So far, the slowest-moving trade market in history has featured one big deal (the Mets' salary dump of Francisco Rodriguez), one small deal (the Tigers' pickup of Wilson Betemit), and one very serious logjam.
Several teams have been caught in limbo between buyer and seller (the Rockies, Rays, Twins and Nationals among them, though the Twins look like buyers and the Nats and Rockies possibly sellers now). A couple others aren't desperate, as they are extremely likely playoff entrants already (the Phillies and Red Sox, in particular, who are also on the cusp of the $170 million luxury tax threshold).
But of course, trades will be made, as they always are. It's just that almost all of them will take place this week. Here's a rundown of what the 30 teams, listed by their division standing, are trying to accomplish before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Red Sox: They were perusing the outfield market even before J.D. Drew was destined for the disabled list. They'd like the Mets' Carlos Beltran, but he appears ticketed for a National League team. They could also just go for a part-time outfielder, provided they find a righthanded-hitting one they like, so Oakland's Josh Willingham and Kansas City's Jeff Francoeur could be possibilities. They've checked in on the better starting pitchers who could be dealt, including the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez and the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda, as a couple thought-to-be minor injuries (to Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz) have created a bit of concern in their rotation. They could also use a lefthanded reliever, and the Marlins' Randy Choate and perhaps Oakland's Craig Breslow, a Yalie and Connecticut product, are two who could be had in an otherwise weak market.
Yankees: They would love a top-flight starting pitcher, but were turned off after hearing Colorado's asking price for Jimenez (Jesus Montero plus Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Ivan Nova), were told flat-out that the Rays' James Shields is unavailable, know Orioles owner Peter Angelos won't trade Jeremy Guthrie or anyone else to them and don't like the contract of Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, leaving them with the possibility they may have to do without one. Derek Lowe could be a possibility for them or the Red Sox if the finances can be worked out with Atlanta, but right now things don't look all that promising on the starting pitching front. They'd like a righthanded hitter who's a utlityman (the Rockies' Ty Wigginton would work), and a lefty reliever, with the return of ex-Yankee Choate a distinct possibility.
Rays: They have shown almost no inclination they'd trade Shields, as competitors hoped. A Rays source said they'd "have to be overwhelmed'' to consider it. But with promising young outfielders like Desmond Jennings coming up from the minors, the talented but frustrating B.J. Upton is on the block. The Braves, Brewers and Giants fit among the contenders, and the Nationals reportedly like him even though they are mostly a seller.
Orioles: Guthrie is likely to go somewhere, and so are a few relievers. Koji Uehara is the most attractive of those, but Mike Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg are also candidates for trade. They've gotten calls on outfielders Adam Jones and Nick Markakis but don't seem ready for that type of overhaul. It's possible Mark Reynolds could go, though (the Angels and Reds are among teams that might look at third base).
Blue Jays: They sometimes have surprises up their sleeves, but their most likely moves would be trades of their relievers, including Jason Frasor, Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel.
Tigers: GM Dave Dombrowski has in the past added one hitter and one pitcher (two years ago it was Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn), and he could do the same this time. Their chances to land Shields are nil, so they appear focused on Guthrie, the Padres' Aaron Harang or one of the two available Mariners starters, Jason Vargas or Doug Fister. Dombrowski already acquired Betemit, who needs only to stay awake to keep out-hitting the man he replaced, third baseman Brandon Inge, who has a .178 average.
Indians: They need an outfielder, preferably a righthanded- hitting one, and have shown interest in two ex-Indians, Coco Crisp of the A's and Ryan Ludwick of the Padres. They also could use a starter and have checked in on Kuroda and Harang.
White Sox: GM Ken Williams is known for his major surprises, and as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported, they've talked to the Cardinals about young, multitalented outfielder Colby Rasmus. He's struggling right now, though not as badly as high-priced White Sox regulars Adam Dunn and Alex Rios. They are a rare team with an extra starter, so they have one to peddle, and that will surely be Edwin Jackson, who's been pitching well lately but is a free agent after the year. Power-hitting outfielder Carlos Quentin's name has come up in talks, though that would weaken their disappointing offense.
Twins: They told teams they were going to go for it recently. Reports link them to Uehara.
Royals: They don't seem anxious to trade either Melky Cabrera or Francoeur but should consider a trade for at least one of them. They've received calls from NL teams on former Rockie Jeff Francis, but aren't getting hits on the slow-throwing Bruce Chen yet, despite his decent stats (5-3, 3.30 ERA). Closer Joakim Soria is back on his game, with a 0.45 ERA in 18 outings since the start of June, but his contract, which has three years of club options from 2012-14, has long been perceived by them as too good to trade.
Rangers: They are trying for Beltran, who's unlikely to accept a trade to an A.L. club, even a very good one. Their stash of excellent prospects will help their overall cause, but the prospect-heavy team is said unlikely to part with their very best prospect, 18-year-old shortstop Jurickson Profar, advanced pitcher Martin Perez or just-bought outfielder Leonys Martin. They also have tried hard to land an established righthanded reliever for the bullpen and have talked quite a bit about Padres closer Heath Bell. Tyler Clippard is another they've discussed, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. They might shop lefty Arthur Rhodes (.206 batting average by lefthanded hitters) to help them get the righty. Their starting pitchers are on a roll lately, but it's hard to count them out of anything.
Angels: They want a hitter, preferably a lefthanded-hitting one. Third base is an area of interest, and they are reportedly high on the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez, though he's a righthanded hitter and is said to be unlikely to approve any trades. They've also looked at their bullpen and have shown interest in bringing Bell 75 miles up the road.
Mariners: They could try to deal starters Fister and Vargas, plus Erik Bedard if he shows he's healthy, and closer Brandon League. There have been reports they've showcased Chone Figgins. But good luck with that. There isn't much call for a .183-hitting leadoff man.
A's: Willingham, a victim of Oakland's pitcher-friendly park, is arguably the second best hitter after Beltran who'll be dealt. The Indians, Pirates and perhaps the Reds could be among the possibilities there. David DeJesus and Conor Jackson aren't helping matters with off years. Hideki Matsui hasn't gotten any hits from teams as of a few days ago, but he's starting to heat up. Among their relievers, they seem like they want to hang onto Grant Balfour, but Michael Wuertz, Brian Fuentes and Breslow could be had. The A's don't want to deal any of their excellent young starting pitchers.
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