The first dominoes of the 2015 MLB trade deadline fell on Thursday when Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez were both dealt to contenders. The trades could affect a few moves that are made around the league over the next week.
Kazmir was one of the most coveted players on the market, pitching to a 2.38 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 18 starts this season. With the Houston Astros acquiring the veteran and making the first big trade, Kazmir could be the first of a few top pitchers that gets sent to another team.
David Price and Johnny Cueto find themselves in a similar position to that of Kazmir. Both are in the final year of their contracts, and because their respective teams might have trouble making the playoffs, they could be dealt by July 31.
The Detroit Tigers are only four games out of the wild-card race, but their best player is injured and they are under .500 through 95 games. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Price won’t re-sign with the team in the offseason, so Detroit could be looking to make sure they don’t lose him for nothing. With the trade deadline still seven days away, the Tigers aren’t expected to make a final decision on what to do with Price until next week.
Houston had been named as a team that might try to acquire Price, but they migh have moved on after trading two prospects for Kazmir. That leaves the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays as potential suitors, according to Rosenthal. Chicago might have the most interest, considering they want another pitcher and have what it takes to get a deal done.
Cueto might be out of the Cincinnati Reds’ price range in the offseason, and they are longshots to make the playoffs. They are 8.5 games out of the wild-card race, and they trail the first-place St. Louis Cardinals by 18 games in the National League Central.
The Dodgers and New York Yankees have been reported among the multiple teams interested in Cueto, and the Kansas City Royals have now been added to the list, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The defending American League champs need help in the rotation since Jason Vargas has been put on the DL and Yordano Ventura was sent back down to the minor leagues.
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija is also without a contract for next season, playing for a team that won’t make the postseason. The team is reportedly willing to trade the right-hander, who has gone 7-5 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 2015. Chicago has reportedly had discussions with Toronto.
Cole Hamels has been in trade rumors since last year, though the Philadelphia Phillies have proven that they are in no rush to trade their best starting pitcher. Teams might have to trade more to acquire Hamels than they would for other available pitchers because he is under contract for the next three seasons.
Despite his 3.91 ERA this year, Hamels has been one of the NL’s most consistent starters over the last few years. He never failed to pitch at least 200 innings and strike out 194 batters in each season from 2010-2014, totaling a 3.00 ERA.
With an average salary of $22.5 million per season, Hamels doesn’t have the most attractive contract. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers and Texas Rangers are the favorites to land Hamels, though the Cubs and Boston Red Sox remain possibilities.