With July more than half over and the All-Star break fully in the rearview mirror, a single topic dominates baseball these days: the approach of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Clubs are sorting out whether they're buyers or sellers and trying to assess how new Draft-pick compensation rules affect their valuation of players, all while also trying to, you know, win ballgames.
From now until the July 31 Deadline, we'll be checking in on the trade news around baseball, with help from MLB.com's reporters. The countdown is under way.
Brewers ready to sell? The Brewers have a lot of interesting pieces, from Zack Greinke to Francisco Rodriguez. Teams are waiting to find out if either or both are available. And now that Milwaukee stumbled out of Cincinnati on the heels of a three-game sweep, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy is writing that the lost weekend could mean it was the "last gasp before general manager Doug Melvin starts selling."
"We're a distant fourth right now, and we should be," left fielder Ryan Braun said. "All three of those teams have played better than us. They just have. The ability is there, we just haven't executed."
Now we'll see where some of that ability might end up. Greinke has been mentioned in a lot of rumors and is a free-agent-to-be, but clubs might wait to see what Ryan Dempster fetches before anteing up for a higher-priced option such as the Brewers' former Cy Young Award-winning right-hander. Rodriguez has reclaimed the closer role in Milwaukee, but could be dealt anyway. Aramis Ramirez also is a possibility for a trade, McCalvy writes.
"We'll see what happens," Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke said after the sweep, "but this sure set us back."
Butler a Pirates possibility? MLB.com's Dick Kaegel unearthed a proposed deal from the pen of John Perrotto of InsidePittsburghSports.com, who cited sources that said Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington tried to land Kansas City folk hero Billy Butler by trading Triple-A left-hander Justin Wilson.
Wilson brings solid but not spectacular Minor League numbers (7-4, 4.27 ERA) to the conversation, but Perrotto intimates that the Royals might be considering him as a long-term closing option. This would be particularly intriguing if the Royals deal the very-much-talked-about-lately Jonathan Broxton. This one seems a bit far-fetched, but stranger things have happened.
Extension Street? The Padres locked up one of their players who was suspected of being traded in outfielder Carlos Quentin. And now they're expected to do the same with their closer, Huston Street.
According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, talks to that effect are in the early stages, according to sources, but that Padres GM Josh Byrnes has been told he can go ahead and extend these contracts if he so chooses despite an unfinished ownership transaction.