The MLB trade deadline is nearing, and speculation is heating up across baseball. Here is what our writers are hearing today:
Jerry Crasnick's take: The David Price acquisition is a huge gamble by Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos, who already took a big bite out of the Blue Jays' farm system by acquiring Troy Tulowitzki earlier this week. But the Blue Jays were already in go-for-it mode with the offseason acquisitions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, and now they're betting that two huge trade deadline pickups can elevate them above a crowded AL wild-card pack. With the arrival of Price, the Jays can at least take comfort in knowing they have a bona fide ace to start that wild-card game. Price is hoping his short stay in Toronto will be a memorable one.
Stark's take: Those teams also say the Chicago Cubs are working feverishly to make a major deal for a controllable starting pitcher, and that their No. 1 target is Tyson Ross of the San Diego Padres. They also have talked to the Padres about Andrew Cashner as a fallback if the price on Ross gets too steep.
While Starlin Castro isn't a perfect fit for San Diego, the Padres have been trying to upgrade in the infield since last winter. So both Castro and Javier Baez, two players the Cubs have spoken about with multiple teams, would at least be players of interest.
Texas is only four games out in the wild-card race (albeit with seven teams in front of the Rangers), and GM Jon Daniels is telling teams he'll hang on to Gallardo if he doesn't get an offer to his liking.
If the Rangers don't move Gallardo, they can give him a $15.3 million qualifying offer and collect a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. Or he can accept it and return to Texas for one year.
With Hamels and David Price having switched teams, Gallardo, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Mike Leake and Ian Kennedy are among the prominent starting pitching names still being mentioned in trade speculation.
Stark's take:Other teams continue to report the Padres are gearing up for what the same exec described as "a really thorough dismantling -- and I think it will happen pretty quickly. Once one domino falls, I think they'll go deal after deal."
Other clubs now view Justin Upton, Andrew Cashner and Joaquin Benoit as the best bets to get traded, with Craig Kimbrel "likely" to get dealt, in the words of one exec, and a better-than-even chance that Tyson Ross also gets moved.
Those teams also get the vibe that the Padres are having more trouble than anticipated finding a taker for Upton. "Of all their guys, he's the one they're pushing most," said one of the execs quoted above.