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Scary night for injuries might finally set off MLB trade season

Several injuries to key players may have altered the way teams are looking at deadline deals.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A rash of injuries to potential trade targets and key players on contenders have potentially changed the way several teams are approaching the trade deadline. Here is a look at how each injury shapes things:

Alex Gordon

Gordon left the Royals' 9-7 win over Tampa Bay in the fourth inning with a groin injury, an injury that could keep him out for "months" according to reports out of Kansas City. Gordon will undergo an MRI to assess the severity of the injury.

Gordon was hitting .280/.394/.459 with 19 home runs and positive defensive metrics in 77 games prior to his injury and was selected by fans to start the All-Star Game for the first time, losing him for an extended period of time would certainly be a blow to the Royals, who are currently 49-33 and lead the AL Central by 4½ games.

If Gordon's injury is as bad as feared, it puts the Royals firmly in the market for a corner outfielder, and with their deficiencies at second base and in right field, could put them in the race for the Athletics' Ben Zobrist. Reds outfielder Marlon Byrd would be an option for Kansas City, as well.

Scott Kazmir

There seems to be good news after Kazmir left Oakland's game against the Yankees after just three innings with left triceps tightness, as he told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser that he could make his next start in five days if needed.

If the injury is worse than feared, it would take one of the bigger names off of the trade market for starting pitcher, not to mention the damage it would do the the A's faint playoff hopes. Removing Kazmir from the trade market would increase the value of and competition for other available pitchers, such as the Phillies' Cole Hamels and the White Sox's Jeff Samardzija.

Justin Upton

Upton did not participate at all in the Padres' 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh, as he was a late scratch with a sore left oblique, according to Padres beat reporter Corey Brock:

After a blockbuster offseason, the Padres have disappointed with a record of 39-48 that has them 9½ games out in the NL West and 8½ games behind in the Wild Card race, and there has been talk of a fire sale in San Diego, one that Upton may be a part of.

If Upton misses any amount of time, his absence could push the Padres further down the standings and toward the seller's route, however, if the injury is too severe having Upton as part of the sale may not be an option.

Austin Jackson

Around the same time as Upton was scratched from the Padres lineup, Jackson left the Mariners game against Detroit in the fourth inning. However, there was no trade in the works, as Mariners beat writer Andrew Erickson reported that Jackson left the game with back spasms.

With a 39-46 record that has them nine games behind Houston in the AL West and seven games out of a wild card spot, the Mariners could look to move Jackson, whose contract expires at the end of the season. He could be an interesting option for a contender as a bench bat or a platoon player in center field, as he has an .851 OPS against left-handed pitching this season.

Jason Hammel

Hammel pitched just one inning for the Cubs tonight before leaving the game with what the team called "hamstring tightness." He will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, according to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago:

Hammel has a 2.86 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 103⅔ innings over his first 17 starts this season for a Cubs team that was already in the market for starting pitching. If he misses any extended amount of time, that would likely push Chicago even further into the market for an arm as they push for their first postseason berth since 2008.