The rumor mill is starting to increase its revolutions per minute, and teams are starting to officially explore and shop for players that may be available by the upcoming trade deadline.
Among the big names are the starting pitchers, specifically David Price, Jeff Samardzija, and Jason Hammel, who all appear to be actively involved in trade discussions between their respective organizations and potential suitors.
Trades, international signings, rumors, conjecture, hearsay, sources; Here is a roundup of all the news that was:
Reds sign Cuban pitcher Raisel Iglesias
Iglesias is smallish, 5'11" and 165 pounds, and he doesn't boast electrifying velocity, but his advanced repertoire could help him reach the Reds bullpen this summer. He worked in the 88-92 mph range in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but his velocity was between 92-95 mph during the Cuban National team's US tour.
Daniel Murphy drawing interest from Blue Jays and Giants
Both the Giants and Blue Jays rank towards the bottom of baseball in terms of production from the keystone despite currently sitting on top of their divisions. Brandon Hicks hit .172/.289/.339 for the Giants before being replaced by the recently called up Joe Panik, who profiles more as a utility player than a regular second baseman. The Blue Jays, who had a scout in Miami to watch the Mets this weekend (possible coincidence), have mixed-and-matched the likes of Steve Tolleson, Munenori Kawasaki, and Brett Lawrie to little avail.
Pirates, Angels swap Jason Grilli and Ernesto Frieri
This move is a very interesting one, as it serves as a change of scenery for two previously-effective right-handers who have lost their closer roles this season. Both have seen their ERAs balloon this season after being excellent over the last few years, so it appears that the teams hope that a new location for each will help them get back into form.
Blue Jays interested in infield help
Ben Zobrist is an interesting proposition, if the Toronto front office is willing to swallow the bitter pill of what Tampa is going to ask for him. He would be a supreme fit for the Blue Jays, in that he can play second and third, along with covering the corner outfield on off-days for Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera.They might be able to get Emilio Bonifacio back from the Cubs, if they wanted to. He wouldn't be much of an upgrade, but he'd still be better than the Kawasaki/Tolleson platoon as it stands now.
Huston Street, Joaquin Benoit drawing interest
According to Heyman, the list of teams looking for bullpen help at the deadline will probably include the Angels, Tigers, Blue Jays, Orioles, Marlins and Brewers. Each team is currently in contention but has seen some struggles in its bullpen, meaning that a late-inning reliever like Street or Benoit could be very valuable for the season's stretch run.
Angels kicking tires on David Price and Jason Hammel
While their starting pitching has been adequate, if unspectacular, the Angels are 12th in the AL in pitching WAR and have struggled out of the bullpen so far this season. Presumably, the idea would be to bring in a starting pitcher and move someone to the bullpen on a full-time basis, most likely Hector Santiago or Matt Shoemaker.
Blue Jays: Trade for Jeff Samardzija has "zero chance"
Heyman notes that the Blue Jays would have a tough time extending Samardzija, who has a 2.53 ERA over 103 innings this year. He has already declined a reported 5-year, $85 million extension from the Cubs.
If Toronto decides to pursue pitchers that will be free agents after the year, they could still end up negotiating with the Cubs in an effort to acquire Hammel -- who is pitching effectively as well (2.99 ERA) -- or Jake Arrieta. The latter has been as unexpectedly good as the former, if not more so. Arrieta is striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings, and has put up a 2.05 ERA in 57 innings.
Rays prepared to move David Price
The 2014 team has been beset by injuries and ineffectiveness, and the young core that has become the cornerstone of the Rays franchise has been eroded to a degree. Though the team still has a healthy farm system to draw talent from, the core at the major league level is not as strong as it was in 2007 and 2008, or is at least not as healthy as it was then.One of the ways the team could correct their talent shortfall is, as they have done so well in the past, to move on from some of their veteran players, and they appear to be ready to move on from David Price.