The non-waiver trade deadline is Wednesday, and so far, general managers are saying that there are more buyers than sellers and that’s driving up the price for contenders wanting to add players.
“It looks like now our help is going to have to come from within the organization,” says Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. “The market is tough right now.”
Trade speculation is tough to nail, here’s how it is taking shape:
* The Pirates, trying to break 20 consecutive seasons of losing, need another pitcher and bat, preferably a right fielder. Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins would be a good addition, but the White Sox’s Alex Rios and the Twins’ Justin Morneau would be ideal fits. Rios could play right field. If the Pirates acquire Morneau, they’d move Garrett Jones to right field.
* The Cardinals got Matt Holliday back in left field over the weekend, so they should have plenty of offense. The question is how much can they ride their young pitching in the final two months. Cardinals GM John Mozaliak says he’s not likely to make a trade, but are Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Mike Wacha enough to carry them down the stretch?
* Cincinnati could use another bat, but the Reds are hoping that Ryan Ludwick can give them the power they need when he returns in mid-August. Plus, the Reds will be a completely different team when relievers Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton and their pitching ace, Johnny Cueto, return from the disabled list.
* Detroit needs a closer, and word is that they are talking to the Phillies about Jonathan Papelbon. A year ago, the Tigers bullpen was not an issue as October approached. The bullpen became an issue in the postseason and continues to be a problem. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski makes a lot of July deals, so expect the Tigers to get help. Another possibility is the Cubs’ Kevin Gregg.
* Cleveland is looking for another pitcher, but getting Zack McAllister back from the disabled list is a huge help. Will Cory Kluber and Scott Kazmir, the Indians’ biggest surprises, continue to pitch well?
* Arizona needs bullpen arms. And, the D-Backs need Jason Kubel to find his power stroke. They have good depth in the rotation, assuming Ian Kennedy breaks his slump and Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill are healthy.
* The Dodgers want another bullpen arm, and given their nature, they might get another starter, just because they can.
* Oakland could another bat. Their rotation could be getting a boost from Brett Anderson’s return. And, if Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick and Josh Donaldson are good to go, they’ll have enough pop in their lineup.
* Texas is looking for a bat given that outfielder Nelson Cruz could be suspended for his alleged ties to the South Florida anti-aging clinic that got Ryan Braun in trouble.
* The Yankees and Red Sox both need a bat. The Yankees added Alfonso Soriano, who last played for them in the 2003 World Series.
* Word is that the Orioles, who have already gotten Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez, are going to be aggressive in the final days. Could they get Michael Young from Philadelphia as a DH? Could Rodriguez be packaged in a deal that brings them another starting pitcher?
* The Yankees added Soriano, but they could use another starter and a third baseman. The Red Sox could use another starter, a bullpen arm and a third baseman. Could be the Yankees and Red Sox could be targeting the Phillies’ Young. And wouldn’t it be interesting if the Orioles acquired Young as a DH and kept him from the Yankees and Red Sox?
* Tampa Bay is as close to a perfect team has there can be. Their rotation has been spectacular and Alex Cobb returns to the rotation next week, moving Roberto Hernandez back to the bullpen. The Rays have an improved offense - that’s unusual for the Rays - an air-tight defense, and as long as they find a way to keep setup reliever Joel Peralta from overuse, they’re going to be tough to beat.
* With Tim Hudson out for the season and Paul Maholm on the disabled list with a wrist injury, the Braves are short of pitching. Money is not an issue for them, but they don’t want to pay a huge price in prospects to get a top-notch starter. With Hudson gone, Kris Medlen is the only pitcher in the rotation with postseason experience. They’ll go after Peavy, Houston’s Bud Norris and Kansas City’s Ervin Santana.
* The Nationals are monitoring the trade market for another pitcher. Dan Haren’s Saturday start was good news, and Taylor Jordan has done fine. But the Nationals aren’t sure what they will get when lefty Ross Detwiler returns in a month from a back injury. The Nationals aren’t likely to trade prospects for a two-month rental, but if they can find a pitcher that stays in D.C. for a couple of years, they should make the deal.