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Latest on MLB Trade Deadline Rumors

by Photo of Sam Cohen

What the future holds for Lester, Lackey, Price, and more.

Latest on MLB Trade Deadline Rumors

I don't know about other baseball fans, but July 30th and 31st and two of my favorite days during the season. With the trade deadline set for the 4:00 PM tomorrow, general managers around baseball are currently scrambling to either trade for impact players or trade away impact players, depending on where their teams are in the standings.

While last season's trade deadline was somewhat boring, this year's market appears to be quite the opposite. Big names like David Price, Jon Lester, Matt Kemp, and others have been involved in trade rumors throughout the year and by the end of tomorrow, the MLB landscape may look very different.

Let's take a look at some of the rumors we are hearing about the top names on the market. Included are the teams that are trying to negotiate a deal for each player and the likelihood that the player is traded.

Jon Lester

Props to anyone who said that the Red Sox would be eleven games under .500 by the end of July, though I don't think there are many of you out there. The Sox are most definitely not going to be playing in October this season and thus, they are shopping their ace pitcher Jon Lester.

From the looks of it, the Sox plan to trade the lefty in the next day. Lester was scratched from his start yesterday, which basically means that the team believes he will not be in Boston for much longer. Lester would be a rental player, as his contract expires at the end of this season, but that doesn't mean he will come cheap. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald believes that the Red Sox will require two elite prospects to get Lester. Giving up two elite prospects for a rental player is definitely overpaying, but Lester is a proven ace who has won two World Series rings.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported yesterday that the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Pirates are the front-runners for Lester right now. He also tweeted that the Oakland A's are in the mix, though the A's already made a huge trade for two starting pitchers a couple weeks ago and it would be shocking if they gave up even more top prospects for another top pitcher.

The Pirates might have the best farm system in baseball, but general manager Neal Huntington has always been reluctant to trade top prospects. The Dodgers and Cardinals seem like the most likely landing spots for Lester and both teams are not afraid to make big trades. The Cardinals have a future star outfielder in Oscar Tavares, who the Red Sox would certainly ask for in a deal. While the Cards just traded for Justin Masterson, he has struggled this season in Cleveland and has a lot of injury questions. With Michael Wacha's shoulder injury and Shelby Miller's poor play, St. Louis could really use a great pitcher, so getting Leser would still make a lot of sense.

As for the Dodgers, they have a lot of great prospects in their farm system including Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. The team also has an extremely expensive Matt Kemp, who would make sense for the Red Sox if the Dodgers ate most of his remaining salary. If Lester went to L.A., the team would essentially have three ace pitchers on their staff in Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Lester. Lester is certainly the biggest name to follow for the next day and a half.

Also keep an eye on the Orioles. While trading Lester to a team that plays in the same division might not be what the Red Sox want to do, the Orioles are all in on winning this season and need an impact pitcher. The O's are definitely a dark horse candidate.

John Lackey

Lester's teammate, John Lackey, is also involved in a lot of trade talks. He isn't as good as Lester is, but he is a very solid pitcher who carries a $500,000 club option in 2015, which makes him extremely sought after. He is also in the midst of his second consecutive great season, so his value may be close to as high as Lester's is.

Rosenthal tweeted that the Indians and Marlins are among the teams interested in Lackey, which would make sense since these teams still have a small chance this year and definitely hope to compete next season. The Royals are also being linked to Lackey.

I am sure that the teams inquiring about Lester are also interested in Lackey as a back-up plan. The fact that he is under team control next season and for a very low price has to appeal to many teams and it seems likely he will be gone by the end of tomorrow as well.

David Price

The Rays are the hottest team in baseball, posting the best record since June 11th. The team was the worst in baseball before mid-June and it seemed all but certain that they would trade David Price and Ben Zobrist. Now, that might not be a certainty.

While Rays' GM Andrew Friedman is definitely not afraid of making huge moves, I just can't see why he would want to trade Price. The team has played amazing baseball and these players have put everything they have on the field, as they never stopped fighting even when they were 18 games under .500. Why would Friedman trade the best player on the team away after all of that?

I don't believe Price will be traded but if he is, fans can assume that the teams in on Lester are also in on Price, since both are left-handed aces. Since Price is a top-five pitcher in baseball today, there are other teams including the Mariners, Angels, Giants, and Marlins. Price is also under team control for 2015, so his value is sky high.

A team would have to blow the Rays away in order to get Price, but anything is possible. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that a source told him that the price for Price is 200 percent of his value, so take that for what it's worth.

Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios

The two best right-handed bats on the market are Phillies' outfielder Marlon Byrd and Rangers' outfielder Alex Rios. The markets for both players are very unclear, but my guess would be that one of these players is traded by Thursday.

Byrd is having a good season, hitting .270 with 20 home runs and 60 RBI. He is under team control until 2017, so that should bring his value up a bit. That being said, the Royals and Mariners were reportedly interested in Byrd at one point, but both clubs are no longer interested. Jim Bowden tweeted on July 22nd that the Reds have been talking to the Phillies about Byrd, but it is unknown if those talks are still alive.

As for Rios, his trade market also included the Mariners and Royals, though the Royals appear to be uninterested now. Rosenthal reported the Reds are checking in on Rios, as are the Yankees and Giants. Rios is playing very well this season, though his four home runs leave a lot to be desired. We will have to wait and see if the Rangers hang on to him or not.

Another post will be coming tomorrow updating you on baseball's biggest trade rumors. Baseball could look very, very different in the next few hours! Stay tuned.

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