There are just days to go until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and activity is picking up. More and more teams are getting clearer ideas of 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 Deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, we'll be checking in on the trade news around baseball, with help from MLB.com's reporters. The countdown continues.
White Sox packed for uncertainty
As the White Sox prepared for another getaway day Sunday, it was apparent that some might be getting away more than others during their upcoming road trip.
Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, and to a lesser degree shortstop Alexei Ramirez and several relievers, have been the names most discussed in trade rumors in recent weeks.
"It's just an anxious time," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who as reported by MLB.com's Cash Kruth was part of a 2003 Deadline deal. "You, as a player, you don't really know what's going on. You don't get a whole lot of information."
Peavy came to work prepared Sunday with multiple bags packed, just in case.
"The rumors have been there enough that he's just prepared," Ventura said.
Said Peavy, as reported by ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine: "It is sad to think that this is probably my last day in here. We all realize the reality of the situation and I am prepared with that to happen soon."
Monday morning, Levine reported that injured reliever Jesse Crain was close to being dealt to the Rays in a complicated three-way deal, so perhaps the rumblings for the White Sox have only just begun.
Rios has been linked to the Pirates and Rangers, with Peavy linked to the Red Sox, Cardinals, Orioles and A's -- and perhaps the Braves, perhaps not. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted Sunday that the Braves are not "in the mix," and MLB.com's Mark Bowman wrote that the Braves remain focused on bullpen help, writing that while they might have lingering interest in Peavy, the priority remains a veteran reliever such as the Angels' Scott Downs or the Cubs' James Russell.
Sure enough, the Braves landed the left-handed Downs in a Monday deal with the Angels.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweeted Sunday that the asking price for Peavy is higher than what the Cubs got for Matt Garza, and that while the White Sox are seeking top prospects, teams in the running figure the "price will come down and see Sox taking multiple instead. Need depth."
MLB.com's Jane Lee reports that the A's aren't willing to part with pitchers Dan Straily and Sonny Gray, or shortstop Addison Russell, Oakland's 2012 No. 1 Draft pick -- names mentioned as players Chicago covets -- and they'd need the White Sox to absorb most of Peavy's owed salary of upwards of $24 million through 2014.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted that the Sox aren't willing to absorb any of the salary owed to Peavy, and that combined with health concerns is making Peavy a tougher sell.
Nathan on table for Rangers?
The Rangers' search for a right-handed bat for their outfield has been well-documented, and for all anyone knows, they could come up empty. But it appears they might be willing to put closer Joe Nathan into the discussion.
Rosenthal of FOX Sports cited sources late Saturday that say the team is considering the possibility of dealing their All-Star closer. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan confirmed that with a Major League source of his own, who said it has been talked about a little -- "doubt it happens," the source said, but they'll listen if someone "really values" him.
The Rangers have been reported to be scouting Rios of the White Sox and numerous others in their search for offense, and Nathan would figure to be a significant bargaining chip. He's signed through this season with a club option for 2014.
Rosenthal notes the Tigers, Red Sox and Dodgers are among the teams seeking to upgrade their late-inning relief. Then again, none of those appear to be dangling the type of offensive player the Rangers seek, at least not yet.
Norris remains on notice
Apologies to Peavy, but if there's any player heading into the final days of the Deadline season who is ready for something, anything, to happen one way or another, it's got to be the Astros' Bud Norris, whose name has been bandied about social media like a Kardashian this summer.
Norris, considered a solid middle-of-the-rotation addition for a contender, has been linked to numerous teams throughout this year's process, and as MLB.com's Brian McTaggart relayed on Sunday, his manager has talked with him about it.
"I explained this to Bud in several conversations in which we've had as it relates to this whole trade rumor: 'The best thing you can do is go out and play,'" Astros manager Bo Porter said Sunday. "I don't have a crystal ball, Bud Norris doesn't have a crystal ball. None of us are psychic. We can't predict what's going to happen. Is there a probability? Yes, because he's a commodity which other people would like to have, but at the same time, he's a commodity for us as well."
Norris, who is 0-2 with an 8.47 ERA in his last three starts, is scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Baltimore. Porter hopes the chats have helped, regardless of the pitcher's address come August.
Phillies still a mystery
Will they sell, or will they just sign? The Phillies have been the antithesis of the Cubs this Deadline season, thus far -- the Cubs rumored to make all kinds of trades and actually making them, the Phillies rumored to be making all kinds of trades and making none.
But they haven't been quiet, agreeing to a six-year, $48 million deal with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and apparently sitting down to work out a contract extension with Chase Utley rather than make him the trading season's most intriguing chip. Still, it's hard to peg exactly what the Phillies might do, and their recent slide in the standings makes it a little harder to believe the roster will remain intact through the Deadline.
Michael Young remains a possibility, even if a Rangers reunion is "not going to happen," as two sources told MLB.com's Sullivan on Saturday. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted Young is among several players the Phillies are willing to discuss, but that pitcher Cliff Lee -- subject of three career Trade Deadline deals already -- is not one of them.
What will they do? As Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki this weekend, "I don't think it's a decision that's been made whether we're necessarily buyers or sellers yet. I think we'll consider all things that are proposed or we propose."
After the Phillies dropped their eighth straight game Sunday, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon told Zolecki this isn't what he signed on for, and while he doesn't want to be traded, he has a take on what the Phillies need to do to get back toward championship form.
"It's going to take, in my opinion, a lot," he said. "And in my opinion, I think it's going to have to be something very similar to what the Red Sox went through a couple years ago. From top to bottom."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com.