With July more than half over, and the All-Star break over, a single topic will dominate baseball conversation over the coming weeks: the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Clubs are sorting out whether they're buyers or sellers and at what price in either case, all while also trying to, you know, win ballgames.
From now until the July 31 Deadline, we'll be checking in on the trade news around baseball, with help from MLB.com's reporters. The countdown is underway.
Another Garza update: As of midnight ET, Matt Garza was still a Cub. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are still working diligently to acquire the right-hander, but it looks like any move won't happen before Saturday.
There was one small actual development in the Garza saga on Friday. He threw a bullpen session, meaning he likely wouldn't be available to make a start until Monday.
So if the Rangers wanted him to start for them on Saturday, that's probably off the table. That doesn't mean he couldn't be traded to Texas. It could even be imminent. But with Ross Wolf scheduled to take the mound for the Rangers on Monday, there had been some speculation that a Garza deal could lead to him getting that start.
That possibility seems to be no longer in play.
Rios not going anywhere: We are living in a new era. When Alex Rios was removed from Friday night's White Sox game, Twitter lit up with speculation that he would be dealt. A Pirates prospect was pulled from his game at about the same time, and the dot-connecting quickly reached warp speed.
Except none of it was what it looked like. There was no connection between the two moves. And Rios was pulled not because he had played his last game with the Sox, but because he didn't leg out a ground ball.
Rios, of course, could yet be traded. He could even be traded to Pittsburgh, which could use a corner bat. But he's owed a lot of money over the next two years, and he's not having a great year, so it's not at all a given.
Mostly, the events served as a reminder that in 2013, it's wise to make sure we have sufficient information before jumping to conclusions.
Ramirez won't rush: There seems to be a dearth of power bats on the market, making the potential availability of Aramis Ramirez quite noteworthy. Ramirez is signed through 2014 with a '15 mutual option, which might dissuade buyers since he's already 35, but he's remained productive.
However, Ramirez is currently on the disabled list due to a left knee injury, which obviously could hurt his trade value. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reported Friday that while Ramirez may be close to returning from the DL, there's not going to be any rush.
Instead, even with the Deadline 12 days away, the goal will be to get Ramirez fully healthy and effective. If that means fewer games before the Deadline, so be it.
Besides, Ramirez's deal is hefty enough that if Milwaukee needs to wait until August to deal him, he seemingly would have a good chance to clear waivers.
Crain makes progress: Another injured player who will draw interest when and if he's healthy is the White Sox Jesse Crain. The veteran right-hander is having a tremendous year, but he's sidelined due to a shoulder injury.
But MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports that Crain threw from about 70-80 feet on Friday, the first time he's thrown in about a week. It's still hard to envision Crain being ready to join the active roster before July 31, since he has yet to throw off a mound, but he's progressing.
Crain, 32, is in the final year of a three-year contract with the Sox. If he's healthy, it would make little sense for Chicago not to trade him.
Dickerson on the move: One player who does appear bound for another location is Baltimore outfielder Chris Dickerson. The lefty-swinging outfielder was designated for assignment when the O's called up Henry Urrutia.
MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reported that the Orioles are trying to work out a trade of Dickerson. Manager Buck Showalter seemed to indicate that Dickerson could be headed someplace where he'll get more playing time than he's getting in Baltimore.
Dickerson, who spent the previous two years with the Yankees, has a lifetime .263/.340/.408 line in 304 big league games.
Matthew Leach is a national reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach.