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Rays in no rush to deal Price

The good news for Rays fans is that the Rays are on a hot streak and have moved to within 7 1/2 games of first place in the American League East. The bad news is that there still are four teams in front of them.

Thus, the fate of David Price remains in question.  At the very least, it’s fair to speculate that the Rays will wait until the July 31 trade deadline to make a move.  By doing so they can see where they stand at that point.  Joel Sherman of the New York Post quotes an quoted an executive, who spoke about the Rays’ situation by saying: “I think they take it down to the wire.  That allows them to make sure they know who they are while making a couple teams sweat to the end that one of their competitors are going to get him. … It wouldn’t surprise me if Price actually ends up a July 31 decision.”

–Bill Chastain

No bites on Colon — at least not yet

Multiple published reports this week stated that the Mets have not received much interest on Bartolo Colon, their 41-year-old starter who is available on the trade market. That may be partially because teams are waiting to see what happens with David Price, and partially because Colon is 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA over his last four starts.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made it clear last week that he would be hesitant to become a seller at the deadline, but if the team’s recent slide — three straight losses after winning nine of 11 — continues, things could change rapidly. Colon is due $11 million next season in the final year of his contract.

Should the Mets become full-blown sellers, second baseman Daniel Murphy is also a prime candidate to be traded. A first-time All-Star, Murphy has one more year under team control and should make around $8 million through arbitration — a hefty sum for a Mets team that has seen its payroll hover from $85-95 million in recent seasons.

–Anthony DiComo

Orioles seeking starters and bullpen help, casting wide net

ANAHEIM— The Orioles are casting a wide net leading up to this year’s Trade Deadline and it’s no secret that the club is looking for both rotation and bullpen help. They’re exploring some interesting ways to get there.

According to industry sources, Baltimore has dangled right-hander Miguel Gonzalez in potential trade talks  with at least three clubs, including San Diego, with the thinking that the Orioles could potentially land a starter in return. One interesting name that has come up in preliminary talks is Padres starter Ian Kennedy. Kennedy’s stock has never been higher as he’s pitched to a 3.26 ERA in 21 games and he’s under team control —as an arbitration eligible— in 2015.

The uncertainty in dealing with San Diego, who traded closer Huston Street to the Angels over the weekend, is that the front office is undergoing massive changes. However, it’s believed that assistant general manager A.J. Hinch is itching to get a few deals done before the organization officially hires a new GM.  Gonzalez, who is coming off back-to-back eight-inning starts, isn’t a guy the Orioles necessarily want to part with but he could be moved to the bullpen when injured Ubaldo Jimenez is deemed ready to return.

Baltimore is also one of several clubs with interest in A.J. Burnett, a potential fit that would make sense given that the O’s expressed interest in Burnett this winter.  While Burnett has a no-trade clause it does not include Baltimore, sources confirmed to MLB.com, and he lives in nearby Monkton, Md.    The O’s were linked to Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa earlier this month, although reports were that Colorado was asking for a steep price tag that includes right-hander Kevin Gausman and hasn’t come down much.

The Orioles are also seeking a sixth or seventh-inning reliever type to help bridge to Darren O’Day and closer Zach Britton along with a left-handed hitter. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Monday that he’s been in contact with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette regarding trade scenarios but typically Duquette doesn’t bring up specifics until talks become serious.

“He’s brought up one player’s name to me,” Showalter said of Duquette’s conversations with him regarding trade possibilities. “But I know, I think Dan is in tune and wired to everything that may be out there. And more importantly the cost to get it. What price? not only financially but what we look at is what it takes away from us. Not only here but below.  Everybody’s price right now compared to what it would be two hours beforehand. [Now], it’s like “we would never do that.” Two hours before the deadline, it’s “Oh, we did do that.” There’s a bit of poker being played.  I don’t dwell on it to much because I like our people and I don’t like, I know Dan doesn’t either, giving someone away that fits where we are and where we are going.”

Duquette has been hesitant in the past to deal any of the organization’s top prospects, and by all accounts it doesn’t look like his stance has changed. The Orioles have been able to acquire some attractive pitching depth in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues however, which make a trade or two more plausible.

Showalter said despite the down year for the American League East, and the O’s current first-place status, the organization isn’t tempted to go all-in at the expense of its future.

“There’s two thoughts of that [thinking]..how did we get there?,” Showalter said of his current group, which entered Monday with a three-game lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays. “I think we got a pretty good grip of who we are and who we are not.”

 

–Brittany Ghiroli

Marlins weighing whether to buy or sell

ATLANTA –- The Marlins are striving to get back to .500 at a time trade rumors heat up.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31, and Miami is weighing whether to make an major moves.

Plenty of ground needs to be made up as they sit in fourth place in the National League East.

“For all of us who have been around as players, that’s this time of year,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said. “This time of year there is always a lot of speculation about guys — trades, and all that stuff.”

Closer Steve Cishek has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate, although the Marlins have told teams the right-hander is not available. Lefty reliever Mike Dunn is another potential candidate who could be moved.

If Miami gets hot, the club may become buyers. They’ve been surveying the market for a controllable starting pitcher, and a speedy second baseman.

The direction could turn in a number of ways in the next week to 10 days.

If the Marlins have a successful seven-game road trip to Atlanta and Houston, chances are the club won’t part with established players. If not, and an offer is enticing, then in all likelihood, Miami will listen.

Redmond says all players can do is focus on their task at hand.

“It can become a distraction if you make it a distraction,” Redmond said. “Guys have just got to focuse on doing their jobs, and playing one game at a time. You can’t get too caught up on what you read and what you hear.”

Joe Frisaro

Pirates have eyes on Philly. But is it for A.J.?

Seeking potential rotation insurance for Gerrit Cole’s extended absence with a sore lat and an erratic Francisco Liriano, the Pirates have their eyes on the Phillies — as has been reported — but not necessarily on A.J. Burnett.

The Pirates were singled out as one of the clubs that scouted Burnett’s start on Friday — against the Braves. However, according to a reliable club source, the scout that night in Citizens Bank Park is assigned to the Braves, so he just “ran into A.J.”

However, the Braves have left Philadelphia but the Pirates still had a scout in Citizens Bank Park — for Cliff Lee’s Monday night start, the left-hander’s first since going on the DL on May 21 with a strained left elbow. Lee is a popular target of shoppers: As many as 10 teams reportedly are on site to check him out.

For the Bucs to get seriously involved for either veteran, the Phillies would have to cover the majority of the salaries owed them.

Burnett is still owed all of his $7.5 million signing bonus, the first payment of that due on Dec. 15, and the prorated portion of his $7.5 million salary for 2014. He also has a $1 million buyout on his $15 million  mutual options for 2015.

Lee’s contract calls fro $25 million this season and next, with a whopping $12.5 million buyout of his 2016 option of $27.5 million.

Tom Singer

For the Cards: Is the Price right?

After wrapping up a series in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon, the Rays jetted to St. Louis, where they arrived about the time the Cardinals took the field to face the Dodgers in a Sunday night. Among those in the stands for the Sunday night game was David Price, who, along with Evan Longoria, tweeted pictures of watching the game from seats in left field.

It’s ironic, of course, given the steady dose of speculation about Price potentially landing in St. Louis for a pennant race before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Cardinals will not, however, see how Price fares in Busch Stadium this week, as the Rays’ rotation did not line up to feature him in St. Louis.

As the Trade Deadline nears, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has played his cards close to the vest, though it is known that the Cardinals have been evaluating the starting pitching market. Price, who is making $14 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible again next year, is considered the gem of that group.

The cost (in talent, as well as dollars) of landing Price will be exceptionally high given that the Rays lefty will not be free-agent eligible until after the 2015 season. The Cardinals have the young talent to make the swap, but they also have to decide whether such a trade would be in their best interest for both the short- and long-term. If the Cardinals can get a commitment from Price to sign beyond 2015 that would make the cost much more palatable.

There is also the question of whether the Rays are ready to punt on this season to build up for the next. Though the Rays were 18 games under on June 10, they have made up substantial ground over the past five weeks and now sit just six games out of a postseason berth. That certainly doesn’t position them as definite sellers.

– Jenifer Langosch

Report: Royals eyeing OF Alex Rios

If the Royals are looking to buy before the Trade Deadline in an attempt to keep up with the Tigers in the AL Central, they could be looking to bolster their outfield, CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman is reporting. 

Heyman wrote Monday that Kansas City is looking to add to its offense by trading for Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, who for five years played for the division rival White Sox. 

Rios has appeared in 96 games this season for the Rangers — after being dealt from Chicago to Texas on August 9 last year — batting .302 with four homers, 42 RBIs and eight triples. His .765 OPS this year is 78 points higher than Kansas City’s team OPS (.687), which is second-to-last in the American League.

The Rangers are paying Rios $12.5 million this season and hold a $13.5 million club option on the 33-year-old for 2015.

– Joey Nowak

 

Cubs not ready to pay for Price

At the All-Star Game, Tampa’s David Price said Chicago “would be the coolest city to win a championship in right now.” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer feel the same way, which is what enticed them to join the Cubs.

On Monday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote that the Cubs should pursue Price and deal some of the team’s top prospects for the pitcher. The Cubs do need starting pitching, but they are not contenders this year, and most likely not in 2015 either. How does Hoyer feel about the rumors?

“I don’t really pay attention,” Hoyer said Monday in a radio interview on The Game 87.7. “There are going to be a lot of rumors about our players and our acquiring good players because of the good talent we have in the Minors. I think we’ll be lumped into the rumors. We just sort of ignore them.”

The Cubs got a jump on the market by dealing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on July 4 to the Athletics for a package of prospects, including talented shortstop Addison Russell, who hit two home runs Sunday, including a grand slam, and finished with six RBIs at Double-A Tennessee.

The Cubs do have depth at middle infield in the Minor League system. But there also are no guarantees as to how the prospects will develop, and when they’ll be ready. Hoyer would not comment directly on the Price talk; it’s the Cubs’ policy not to discuss other teams’ players.

– Carrie Muskat

Indians targeting top-of-rotation arm

The Indians have been linked to Rays lefty David Price in trade rumors since last season and the club continues to monitor the ace’s market, according to multiple reports of late. In a recent video, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal cited a team employee who believes Cleveland’s current chances of landing Price sit at less than one percent.

In a recent chat with reporters, Indians GM Chris Antonetti said that the team is looking for players under club control beyond 2014.

“We’ve spent a lot of energy on fits for acquiring guys that we’d have control over beyond this year,” Antonetti said, “not just guys that would just be here for the balance of the year.”

Antonetti also hinted that Cleveland might be looking to make a big splash.

“For us to improve, we need to improve upon a higher standard,” said the GM.

According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Giants have shown interest in Indians shortstops Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Aviles. Cabrera will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season, but Cleveland being in contention might lead the club to hesitate to part with the two-time All-Star.

–Jordan Bastian

 

Street is gone … now what?

As expected, the Padres made their first move Friday when they traded closer Huston Street to the Angels as part of a six-player deal that netted them four prospects.

Could this be just the tip of the iceberg as far as moves before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline for the team?

The Padres have been getting a lot of hits for weeks on third baseman Chase Headley, reliever Joaquin Benoit, pitcher Ian Kennedy and outfielder Chris Denorfia.

They could move some of them in deals. Heck, they could move all of them. The most likely candidates are Headley (a free agent after this season) and Denorfia, as the team already has four outfielders under contract for 2015 — Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable and Seth Smith.

Headley, two years removed from leading the NL in RBIs (115), could get a decent return, but only if the Padres sent some if not all of his remaining salary (likely $4 million or so) with him in a deal.

Stay tuned, things could get interesting in the next 10 days or so.

– Corey Brock

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