Thursday's MLB trade news and views

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The MLB trade deadline is nearing and speculation is heating up across baseball. Here is what our writers are hearing today:

Complete trade deadline coverage

Stark's take: The Rangers have had hits on Mitch Moreland, but they aren't showing any real interest in moving him. One exec said they'd "have to be blown away" to trade a guy who has hit 16 home runs, makes only $2.95 million, and can't be a free agent until after next season. Other teams say the Rangers are actually looking for long-term buying opportunities. So the only player they'll probably wind up selling is Yovani Gallardo, because he's three months from free agency.

Stark's take:Asked what the Astros were pursuing, one AL exec replied: "Every rental." Two other names they're said to have checked in on besides Cueto: Jeff Samardzija and Dan Haren. And given GM Jeff Luhnow's quotes about looking for someone who can start a playoff game, David Price would join that group if the Tigers decide they're sellers.

Stark's take:Despite reports that the Tigers are now "sellers," other teams report they've been told they won't make up their mind on whether to sell off players like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes until at least after this weekend.

The Tigers are currently 10 games back of the Royals in the AL Central, but only four games behind in the wild-card race. So this week is "huge" for them, said an executive of one interested team.

"Where they stand Sunday will determine where they go on Monday," the exec said.

Stark's take:It appears to be a strong possibility the Phillies won't be able to trade Jonathan Papelbon before the deadline.

Several sources have confirmed the Phillies were apparently so close to moving Papelbon last month they were telling teams to make their best offer. Then they abruptly pulled back, apparently to wait for the hiring of Andy MacPhail as team president. Now, however, there are indications they may have missed their best window. The Cubs have called up Rafael Soriano. Toronto is moving Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen. The Dodgers are prioritizing trading for starting pitching. And Papelbon's $13 million vesting option for 2016 remains a major hurdle.

Crasnick's take: A rumor surfaced that the Toronto Blue Jays have interest in Miami's Mat Latos. But one baseball source said there's no validity to it. Toronto is looking for a starting pitching upgrade and might consider Latos' Marlins teammateDan Haren, who is also available. But the Blue Jays have had no talks with the Marlins about Latos.

Toronto has been very careful to maintain a positive clubhouse mix after the offseason additions of Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, and is wary of bringing in Latos -- who wore out his welcome during previous stops and has not won many fans in the Marlins' clubhouse.

Crasnick's take: Meanwhile, Toronto continues to prioritize starting pitching over bullpen upgrades. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija are on the radar, and the Jays are keeping their mind open to a multitude of options. Toronto would also like to upgrade its bullpen, but that's clearly No. 2 on the priority list behind improving the rotation. In other words: Don't expect Jonathan Papelbon to be heading to Canada anytime soon.