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07/27/12 10:00 AM ET
So much more may happen before Trade Deadline
Many possibilities remain with Greinke and Dempster available, teams vying for deals
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
Well, let's see here ...
Ichiro Suzuki is a Yankee, and that still sounds strange; Cole Hamels is a Phillie for the foreseeable future; Wandy Rodriguez is in the Steel City, Brett Myers is on the South Side, and the Astros are younger than ever.
But wait, there's more.
The Marlins opened a fire sale, trading Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit and former franchise face Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers mere months after their big free-agent foray and mere weeks after landing Carlos Lee. Jim Thome's big bat went to Baltimore, Jeremy Guthrie and Jonathan Sanchez swapped unsightly situations and Kevin Youkilis is wearing a new color of Sox.
Oh, there was also that 10-player trade between the Astros and Blue Jays. That was fun.
Add it all up and, sure, you could say this has qualified as a busy swapping season. And the amazing thing is we still have five days to go before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
We are entering, then, what could be a wild weekend, as teams continue to jockey for position in the division and Wild Card races.
The buzz? There's plenty of buzz. Let's take a look at the top 10 trending topics:
After the Brewers made an offer north of $100 million that went untouched, the likelihood of a trade seemed stronger than ever. Though he later clarified his remarks, telling MLB.com it was "a possibility," general manager Doug Melvin removed all speculation from the equation by telling USA Today that Greinke will definitely be traded. Greinke, after a 10-day "recharging of the batteries," put on a show for opposing scouts Tuesday night, and he's the top starting talent known to be on the block. So the suitors, including the Rangers, White Sox, Angels and Braves, are lined up ahead of his scheduled Sunday start, which seems doubtful to come in a Brewers uniform.
The Marlins' ace is another potential difference-maker down the stretch, and he's under contract through 2013. Given that Miami's course in the Deadline department is already clear, it would surprise no one to see Johnson get dealt, and, as with Greinke, interest is high. The twist with Johnson is the contractual control, which could prompt even those who aren't necessarily contenders to get involved in the bidding.
What we have here, apparently, is a failure to communicate. The Cubs and Braves seemed to believe they had a deal worked out for Dempster, sending Randall Delgado to Chicago, but Dempster, who has 10-5 veto rights, preferred to play for the Dodgers and the Braves backed out. Now the Cubs have a prickly situation on their hands with a guy who had been expected to get dealt quickly. They lost a lot of leverage, but recent reports suggested a move to the Dodgers might be imminent. The Cubs could also move Matt Garza and Paul Maholm.
The Rays are an especially difficult team to predict in these situations, but they have a valuable trading chip in Shields, who is having a sub-par year but is under contractual control through 2014, and they might be inclined to take advantage of their rotation depth and use Shields to plug other holes. The Angels have reportedly shown the most interest.
His stuff is great. His consistency? Not so much. But with a 3.68 ERA over his last 11 starts, dating back to May 30, he's attracting interest two months away from free agency. Those who don't want to -- or can't -- pay the price for Greinke might see him as a tolerable trade option.
Are they buyers or sellers? We still don't know for sure, but they've been hovering around .500 in a deep division and seem to be in need of a stabilizing starter if they're going to have any shot at succeeding in the postseason. They could just as easily go into sell mode, in which case they could deal from their outfield depth. It's also possible Josh Beckett could be dealt.
They locked up Hamels for the long run, but given the amount of money they have invested in Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard, it's not out of the realm of possibility that they'll try to make some moves to free up payroll space. Maybe they'll dangle Lee, maybe they'll move Hunter Pence ahead of his final arbitration year. But Shane Victorino is definitely available.
It's crowded up there. Teams like the Orioles, A's, Indians, Cardinals and D-backs are trying to determine how aggressive to be at this point. It's a difficult balance, made all the more complicated by the allure of those second Wild Cards.
The Padres pulled a power hitter off the block when they locked up Carlos Quentin, but Headley, who is under control through 2014 and could help quite a few teams at the hot corner, has reportedly drawn a ton of interest.
Big questions for clear contenders:
Will the Nationals go after an impact starting pitcher, knowing they're going to shut down Stephen Strasburg? Will the Reds make a move to try to account for the absence of Joey Votto. Will the Yankees acquire a third baseman with Alex Rodriguez out? Will the Giants find bullpen help? Will the Rangers find a new No. 1 starter? We could go on and on and on. Because as much action as we've already had, it could be that we're just getting started.