We're under a week to go until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and activity is picking up. More and more teams are getting clearer ideas of whether they are buyers or sellers -- and at what price in either case -- all while also trying to, you know, win ballgames.
From now until the Deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, we will be checking in on the trade news around baseball, with help from MLB.com's reporters. The countdown continues.
Braves set starter sights high
The Braves can't really replace Tim Hudson, a concept made clear by manager Fredi Gonzalez when he said he wanted the popular starter in the dugout as soon as physically possible -- Gonzalez jokingly said he might even let him manage a game or two. But Atlanta suddenly has a rotation spot to fill, and the club is aiming high as it looks outside the organization for possible options.
MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported Friday that the Braves were inclined to get in the mix for right-handers Jake Peavy or Ervin Santana, as opposed to other starting options like Houston's Bud Norris. Bowman notes that while a lefty reliever remains a priority for Atlanta, the team is looking at getting a frontline starter after Hudson went down with a fractured ankle earlier this week.
Peavy, an Alabama native like Hudson, who carries some of the same qualities as a competitor, is an intriguing possibility -- with $4.8 million remaining in salary for this year and another $29.5 million due over two more years, Peavy comes at a price, but at least it is a controlled cost. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted Friday that the Braves were indeed a "wild-card" entry in the Peavy sweepstakes, with the Cardinals, Red Sox and A's as the other clubs in the running, in his estimation.
Santana is a free agent at season's end, and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star quoted one Royals official as saying, "We're not trading him unless we're offered something we can't refuse." Dutton said that would be something higher than the deal the Cubs got out of trading Matt Garza.
Bowman also mentioned the Braves might ask the Brewers about veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse.
Cubs aren't done listening
After dealing away Scott Feldman, Garza and now Alfonso Soriano in a big sell-off of veteran talent, the Cubs are happy with what they have accomplished in those trades. But that does not mean they are finished.
As MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports, the Cubs are still in listening mode and have a couple of players who have attracted trade rumors if not real interest in outfielder Nate Schierholtz and reliever Kevin Gregg. As Muskat notes, the Cubs certainly have not closed up shop for the summer.
"There are some things we'd like to explore, and if we can find the right fit and bring value back to the organization, sure, we would be [interested]," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Friday. "We've had a very active July. We set out to be proactive, especially with starting pitching."
Muskat also spoke with Schierholtz about the trade possibilities Friday night, and while returning to AT&T Park for the first time since his trade last year to the Phillies, the Bay Area product remained focused on what is turning out to be his finest season to date.
"I haven't spent a second thinking about [being traded]," he said Friday. "Every year, you hear so many names thrown around. ... I can't control it. If you go a week worrying about it and you don't get traded, it's a lot of worry for nothing. I love it here, and I'd like to stay a Cub. Hopefully, I don't go anywhere."
Antonetti: Lots of buyers out there
Indians GM Chris Antonetti would like to make a move or two, but he says in a report by MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that the market remains a bit of a logjam.
"As we've looked at the 30 teams," Antonetti said, "you can make the argument that there are 24, or maybe even 25, teams that are either buying or at least holding on to players, and only a select handful of teams that are willing to trade off Major League players.
"It's further complicated for us that at least one, if not more, of those teams that are willing to sell players are in our division."
Pirates might have to seek relief
The news on Jason Grilli's forearm strain was not the worst, but it was not great for either the Pirates or their All-Star closer. Good news: He will not need surgery. Bad news: Grilli will only be able to rest and rehab the next 10 days, and his injury generally keeps a player out four to eight weeks.
With all that in mind, the team, hoping to follow through in contending in the National League Central after two seasons of fading away, might jump into the market for relief help, as several reports have speculated.
Meanwhile, reports persist of the team's interest in a right-handed power bat such as Giancarlo Stanton or Alex Rios, although ESPN's Jayson Stark adds that the Bucs might not be as impressed with Rios as has been reported. Stark adds that the team has inquired about Justin Morneau of the Twins, who wouldn't fill the right-handed bat, but he would be an intriguing addition.
Could the Mariners be buyers?
The hottest team in baseball at the moment still has a hill to climb to get into playoff position, but there are some who believe the Mariners could go from possibly selling to possibly standing pat to possibly buying.
Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com tweeted Friday that Seattle has had "high-level" scouts watching Peavy this week, which Morosi pointed out in his tweet is "the sort of thing a 'buyer'" would be expected to do.
Gregerson popular choice
Every Trade Deadline season, relief pitching is at a premium, and it appears Padres setup man Luke Gregerson is one of the more popular choices for teams looking for late-innings help.
Stark writes that the Phillies are among the teams, quoting an executive who deals with the Phillies as saying they have "talked a lot" about a trade that would send multiple prospects to San Diego, but Stark also cautions that the Phils would prefer not to part with top players in their system.
Heyman, meanwhile, tweeted that the Padres are "getting more hits" on Gregerson than on closer Huston Street.
As for Gregerson, he spoke with MLB.com's Corey Brock, who pointed out that the reliever has seen a few fellow San Diego staff members moved at the Deadline over the years, such as Peavy and Mike Adams.
"It's something you see every year. Teams move players around to try to get the best team you can. You don't see too many guys stick around in one place that long," Gregerson said. "For me, I'm not going to worry about it or think about it."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com.