Major League Baseball’s trade market has been rather quite during the first half of the season, but with the All-Star break right around the corner and the trade deadline now three weeks away, things could be picking up in the near future.
Lately, several squads out of the National League East are reportedly eyeing deals with a host of players in mind.
For starters the Florida Marlins, who own the second-worst record in the majors, are resigned to the fact that the playoffs are a pipe dream and will entertain offers for pitchers Mat Latos, Dan Haren, and Brad Hand, as well as reserve infielder Jeff Baker, according to the Miami Herald.
Latos, Haren, and Baker will all be free agents after this season, but the first two represent the most value to contending teams. The 27-year-old Latos has only gone 3-6 with a 4.90 ERA and 67 strikeouts this season, but he could fair better with a squad that could actually provide run support, unlike Miami’s 26 th ranked offense.
Former All-Star Haren’s done much better despite the Marlins lack of bats, with a 6-5 mark and a 3.34 ERA over 17 starts this year. The lefty Hand has appeared in 23 games, and notched a 5.80 ERA but contending teams can always use a lefty-arm out of the bullpen.
Turning to the Philadelphia Phillies, it appears closer Jonathan Papelbon could be getting impatient. In the midst of an excellent first-half with 14 saves and a 1.65 ERA in 31 appearances, Papelbon told MLB.com that he’d be disappointed if he wasn’t traded.
“The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is,” Papelbon said. “And that’s to be with a contending ball club.”
Papelbon’s been on the block for most of the season, but his contract and perhaps too-high an asking price from the Phillies have stunted a trade thus far. The 31-year-old and now six-time All-Star has a $13 million vesting option for 2016 if he finishes 48 games this season, but MLB.com also reported Philadelphia is willing to take on more salary if it can swing more top prospects for Papelbon.
Though ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported earlier this week that Toronto, the Chicago Cubs, and Texas, among others, were all speaking to Philadelphia about Papelbon, but that top executives Pat Gillick and or Andy MacPhail nixed a possible deal.
And earlier this week, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted the Atlanta Braves are open to trading outfielder Cameron Maybin.
Acquired by Atlanta from San Diego in April, the 28-year-old’s enjoying his best all-around season with eight home runs, 43 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and a .295 batting average over 76 games. He’s also currently riding a nine-game hitting streak, but teams around the league believe the Braves are hoping to sell Maybin high.
Lastly, count the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, and Detroit Tigers as those intrigued by adding Chicago White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija, according to the Boston Globe. The report went so far as to call Samardzija as one of the more “desirable” pitchers available and that he could be the first starter traded prior to the deadline.
Yet, after his complete-game shutout Thursday night, Samardzija actually hinted he might not want to be traded, even with Chicago sporting a 39-44 record. The team Samardzija blanked, the Blue Jays, are one of several teams potentially vying for his services before the deadline, according to ESPN.
The eight-year veteran’s numbers are down this year, with a 5-4 record and 4.33 ERA in 17 starts, but his 97 strikeouts to only 22 walks show Samardzija’s still a valuable pitcher in a contending rotation.
“We need to keep playing well and hopefully let them know we’re here and we need a whole year,” Samardzija said to ESPN.