MLB: Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox

Ranking the most likely MLB trade deadline moves

The MLB rumor mill is buzzing with speculation—a clear indication that the trade deadline (July 31, 4 p.m. ET) is just around the corner. As is the case with every season, there are the proverbial buyers and sellers. Some clubs are looking to add key pieces for a pennant run, and others are placing more emphasis on next year and beyond.

Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane made the first move earlier this month, acquiring Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs. More recently, the Giants traded for former Red Sox starter Jake Peavy over the weekend. There will no doubt be significant player movement between now and the impending deadline. But who’ll be switching uniforms and how significant will these potential deals be? Let’s take a look at the hottest rumors and attempt to make sense of them.

5. Troy Tulowitzki (not Carlos Gonzalez) to New York Mets
The Rockies shortstop has seen his team struggle, and even had to endure the team’s promotions department botching up his name upon giving away t-shirts to fans at Coors Field. It’s still unclear where he wants to go. But the signs are there that New York is a definite possibility.

The Mets are slowly rebuilding and have a stash of young pitchers—including some already on the major league level. What they lack is offense—specifically a quality shortstop and a power bat in the outfield.

Thus, Colorado comes into play. While the talk of Carlos Gonzalez going to Flushing has died down lately, the chatter regarding Tulo is still prevalent. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Mets are willing to send touted pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, among other names.

And if nothing goes down by Thursday, there remains a chance for a deal in the offseason.

4. Jon Lester (not Cole Hamels or David Price) to Los Angeles Dodgers
It almost seems unfair for the Dodgers to add another star pitcher to their stable of stout arms—especially another left-hander. But that seems to be L.A.’s plan, as they have the resources (and the payroll) to do so.

Cole Hamels, David Price and Jon Lester have all been mentioned as possibilities to don Dodger Blue. The choice, right now, is for the Red Sox southpaw. The two teams hooked up on a blockbuster deal two years ago that proved beneficial for both sides. There’s a good chance it may happen again.

Lester is a free agent following this season, so Boston GM Ben Cherington would likely rather gain pieces in exchange for his services now instead of losing him on the open market this coming winter.

As written by CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, the Dodgers can fulfill the Sox’s need for an outfielder—whether it be with prospect Joc Pederson or the struggling Matt Kemp.

Obtaining Lester would make a Dodgers staff that is arguably the best in the National League even more formidable.

3. Asdrubal Cabrera to Toronto Blue Jays

If Toronto wants to overtake Baltimore in the AL East, it’ll need to make a few upgrades. A left-handed pitcher would be ideal—maybe Cole Hamels from Philadelphia.

The Jays could also use some depth in the infield. Apparently, the idea of landing Alex Rios from Texas have faded. A stronger possibility is trading for the Indians’ Cabrera.

With just a .249 batting average and an on-base percentage that’s hovering around .300, the 28-year-old shortstop can be utilized more for his fielding than his offense. However, a change of scenery can sometime do wonders to a slump at the plate.

It also makes sense for the Indians to bid adieu to Cabrera, as they have their eye on bringing up minor league standout Francisco Lindor (hitting over .360 with Triple-A Columbus).

2. Chris Denorfia to Seattle Mariners
Chris Denorfia’s numbers don’t suggest a highly sought-after trade deadline piece. Playing for the offensively-challenged San Diego Padres, Denorfia is an embodiment of the team’s struggles with the bat.

Denorfia is currently batting less than .250 with just one home run and 16 RBI in 88 games played. That said, being traded would not be a headline move. Rather, it would be a role player adding depth and trying to help a contender in certain situational spots. And since he’s a soon-to-be free agent, it’ll likely be a two-month rental.

Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Kansas City and Toronto have all expressed interest in his services. Ultimately, it’ll likely be the Giants who get the deal done and add the right-handed outfielder.

The options Bruce Bochy would have include platooning him with either Gregor Blanco in center field or Tyler Colvin/Michael Morse in left field.

1. Alex Rios to….any team interested in his services?
Based on the bevy of rumors that feature his name, it would be a real surprise if Alex Rios remains property of the Texas Rangers. And with so many teams linked to him, it’s hard to truly determine his future landing spot.

The 33-year-old outfielder (batting .301 with four homers and 43 RBI) has a no-trade clause—and one of the teams on that clause is the Yankees. That hasn’t stopped New York from showing curiosity, despite the impasse and his declining numbers.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Sunday that the Mariners, Giants and Reds are also in the mix for Rios. Toronto was a possibility this weekend, but the chance of striking a deal has died down.

One thing is for sure: Rios will be changing addresses come Thursday afternoon. And this process won’t be foreign to him. After all, he came to the Rangers last August from the Chicago White Sox.

Brian Wright

About Brian Wright

With over a decade's worth of sports journalism experience, MLB Lead Writer Brian Wright has been featured on Bleacher Report, SB Nation, as well as The Washington Examiner, and is currently a staff writer with the Stafford County Sun (VA). While attending Virginia Tech, Brian covered Frank Beamer's Hokie football teams (among other sports) for the school's daily campus newspaper. As a lifelong die-hard New York Mets fan, there is very little chance Brian will be an unbiased reporter come October.

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