News

MLB: Buyers and sellers spar for deadline deals

MLB: Buyers and sellers spar for deadline deals

BASEBALL: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Photo: Reuters/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Visions of acquiring a difference-making player for this season or possible future stars stir the imagination of Major League Baseball fans ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.

Teams are free to wheel and deal until 4 p.m. ET July 31 with contending teams keen to bolster a run for the postseason, while also rans look to unload pricey players in return for prospects who might someday blossom into stars.

Rumors are rampant, with Boston Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester becoming a prime figure in deadline scuttlebutt after last year’s World Series winners scratched him from Wednesday night’s scheduled start against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With the struggling Red Sox (48-59) 12 games off the pace in the AL East and Lester (10-7, 2.52 ERA) poised to become a free agent in the offseason, it was widely expected the southpaw would be dealt to a contending team.

Another top-flight pitcher, David Price (11-7, 3.08 ERA entering Wednesday’s games) of Tampa Bay, has loomed as a prominent candidate for a trade by the small-market Rays after a dismal start that left them 24-42 by June 10.

The Rays, however, have burned bright since and after having won 11 of their last 12 games stood 53-54 and seven games behind the division-leading Orioles pondering their postseason chances.

A possible rebuilding phase for Colorado, with an NL-worst 43-63 record, has seen vaunted Rockies hitters Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez mentioned as possible trade targets of teams aching to add offensive punch for the stretch run.

Teams in the middle of the pack, meanwhile, were weighing their odds about whether to become buyers, sellers or bystanders come the trade deadline.

The big-spending New York Yankees (55-51 and two games out of a wild card berth) and the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (60-47), would be expected to open up their checkbooks for an impact player if the price in prospects was not judged as too high.

It could be a lively deadline market with a host of teams with reasonable postseason aspirations.

In the National League, Washington clung to a half-game lead over Atlanta in the East, while Milwaukee was one game ahead of Pittsburgh in the Central with St. Louis another half-game back.

While Atlanta and Pittsburgh currently held the wild card berths, four other teams were within four games of a wild card.

The Dodgers led the San Francisco Giants by three games in the West.

American League races are close in the East and West, while Detroit appears relatively comfortable with a five-game edge in the Central.

Baltimore holds a 2 1/2 game lead over Toronto in the East, and West-leading Oakland hold the same margin over the Los Angeles Angels.

AL wild cards are held by Toronto and the Angels, with five other teams within five games of them.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Saturday’s NHL Playoff Results

FILE - In this file photo taken Sept. 17, 2012, the NHL logo is seen on a goal at a Nashville Predators practice rink in Nashville, Tenn. The NHL eliminated 16 more days from the regular-season schedule Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, and if a deal with the players' association isn't reached soon the whole season could be lost. The league wiped out all games through Dec. 30 in its latest round of cancellations. Negotiations between the league and the players' association broke off last week, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Sunday the sides are trying to restart talks this week.

Lightning rebound to even series against Red Wings Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop stopped 24 shots for his first NHL playoff…

in Sports

NBA Playoffs: Warriors survive scare, Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Bulls decisive over Bucks, Rockets beat Mavs

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Stephen Curry gestures against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter of Game 6 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Stephen Curry scored 34 points with an MVP-worthy performance, and the Golden State went up big before holding off New Orleans.

in Sports

NHL player Jarret Stoll arrested in Las Vegas

File Photo: Jarret Stoll at the 2014 ESPY's. 
Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

The two-time Stanley Cup winner was arrested Friday for suspected cocaine possession at the MGM Grand Hotel's Wet Republic pool complex.

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

roseanne

A walk down Hollywood's memory lane.

in Sports

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has bypass surgery

FILE - This April 1, 2014, file photo shows former Los Angeles Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at an NBA basketball ball game in Los Angeles. Abdul-Jabbar is recovering after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery. A hospital statement on Friday, April 17, 2015 says Abdul-Jabbar had the surgery on Thursday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The doctor who performed the surgery, says the 68-year-old former NBA and UCLA star is expected to make a full recovery.

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is recovering after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery.

Bellingham Traffic