Major League Baseball's trade deadline (Friday, July 31 at 4 PM ET) is approaching quickly, which means it’s time to gather the latest rumors and buzz. Which players might be on the move? Which teams are looking to buy, and which teams are trying to sell?
On Monday, SI.com's Jay Jaffe rounded up a list of the best players who will likely be available at the trade deadline, including Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies, Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds, Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers and Justin Upton of the San Diego Padres.
• Johnny Cueto had two starts pushed back this year because of elbow issues, a fact that has concerned teams looking to trade for him.
• New York radio host Eddie Coleman reports that the Mets aren’t willing to pay the roughly $3 million Ben Zobrist is owed for the rest of this season.
• The Blue Jays are not interested in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, and are focusing on bolstering their starting pitching, reports CBS's Jon Heyman. But Toronto is likely not in on Phillies starter Cole Hamels either, who is most often linked to the Dodgers and Rangers, according to Heyman.
• With the recent success of Chris Tillman, who has allowed just four earned runs in his last four starts, the Orioles are likely more in the market for a hitter than for a pitcher, Heyman reports. Though they have limited options for tradable prospects, Heyman calls Baltimore "creative."
• The Twins are closely monitoring catchers A.J. Pierzynski, Jonathan Lucroy, Derek Norris and Alex Avila as potential assistance for Kurt Suzuki behind the plate, reports Mike Bernadino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Suzuki, 31, is hitting .227 with a .586 OPS, leaving Minnesota searching for a more offensively productive catcher. The Braves are open to trading 38-year-old Pierzynski, Bernadino reports.
• ESPN's Jayson Stark asked an executive of a team interested in Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto if they observed anything to be concerned about in Cueto's most recent start. The executive responded, "Yes. Everything," according to Stark. Cueto lasted just four innings, allowed two earned runs and walked six against the Indians on Sunday.
• The Mets' search for an additional outfielder could become more deliberate if Michael Cuddyer (knee) lands on the disabled list, reports Marc Carig of Newsday Sports. The Mets have expressed interest in Justin Upton, Carlos Gomez, Jay Bruce, Will Venable and Gerardo Parra, but are not willing to include top-prospects outfielder Michael Conforto or shortstop Amed Rosario in a trade, reports Carig. As one MLB executive told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, "[The Mets] want a middle of the order OF bat who isn't going to cost anything -- in terms of dollars or players."
• If the Detroit Tigers decide to be sellers at the trade deadline, pitcher David Price and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will reportedly be available, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Both players will be free agents at the end of the 2015 season. The Tigers, according to multiple reports, have yet to decide whether to fish or cut bait, though.
• Chris Johnson of the Atlanta Braves said he hopes to be traded soon so he can get regular playing time. “From the beginning of the off-season, it's been really pretty clear that the team has no interest in getting me back to form or to give me regular playing time,” Johnson told MLB.com. Entering Tuesday, Johnson is batting .241 in 124 plate appearances this season as the Braves' backup to Juan Uribe at third base. Johnson also spent four weeks on the disabled list in May with a broken hand.
• Tampa Bay Rays general manager Stuart Sternberg said the team is unlikely to make a major move at the deadline because they're “anticipating [they're] going to be in the hunt come the end of July,” according to Marc Tompkins of the Tampa Bay Times. Entering Tuesday, the Rays are five games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees and 4 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot.
• The Los Angeles Angels are “casting a wide net” in their search for for a bat, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Gonzalez reports that the Angels would “prefer a lefthanded hitter who can play leftfield,” but are open to other options as well. According to Gonzalez, the Angels have reportedly looked at Jay Bruce (Reds), Ben Zobrist and Josh Reddick (Athletics), Adam Lind and Gerardo Parra (Brewers), Ben Revere (Phillies), Andre Ethier (Dodgers) and Nick Markakis (Braves).
• Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes the “type of trade” the New York Mets could make would be acquiring Ryan Raburn, a utility player for the Cleveland Indians. The Mets tried to sign Raburn as a free agent after the 2012 season. Sherman suggested the Mets might be willing to give up minor league infielders Gavin Cecchini or Matt Reynolds in a trade.