Trade Deadline Rumors Heating Up In Final Week

With roughly five days until trade deadline pandemonium ends at 4:01 p.m. Friday, teams are scrambling to make landmark deals that could carry them into October. The Royals, Astros, and Mets have struck first, but who else intends on buying big before July 31? We examine the leading bids and current activity to expect as trade deadline crunch week begins.

Hamels Pursuit Down To Dodgers, Rangers?

Chicago Cubs probably lost their pursuit of an incredibly lefty who no-hit them Saturday -- the first against the Cubs in 50 years. With his trade value imminently skyrocketing as we speak, one can only speculate what draft picks, cash, or trade slots Ruben Amaro Jr. will command in return before the trade deadline. Teams interested would control Hamels through 2018, with an option of $20 million for 2019. His next scheduled start would come Thursday against Atlanta, although it's being reported Hamels will probably report to his Arlington, Texas, headquarters before then. Yanks won't throw away top prospects for Hamels, so any speculation that New York is in the running should be silenced.

Chicago Cubs Standing Pat?

They're not going to "back down" from their original plans, although David Price and Cole Hamels are probably unrealistic scenarios after this weekend. In fact, losing to Philadelphia probably reinforced their plans to gradually nurture their young players into burgeoning powerhouses, so don't expect them to land someone prepared to help them win immediately, given their farm system is highly stocked and would cost Chicago dearly if they seriously ran towards big names. Likely trade deadline grabs would include Mike Leake, Tyson Ross, Gerardo Parra, or maybe (just maybe) Papelbon.

Kansas City Still Buying?

Johnny Cueto cost Kansas City three lefties, but their trade deadline goals were met. Cueto became their ace overnight, but don't think Kansas City has completed their mission. Hitting help couldn't hurt, although many batting stats are within reach of, or at, Top 10 status. Someone like Ben Zobrist could immediately platoon anywhere, which may be prudent given several injuries are slowing down run production of late.

Kimbrel Heading Out?

Toronto, Washington and (quite possibly) Houston are actively pursuing Craig Kimbrel. This comes as little surprise, since San Diego is hosting an unprecedented fire sale. Kimbrel, best known for his overpowering arm with Atlanta, hasn't had much success in San Diego, given there's been few save opportunities arising. Washington would probably suit Kimbrel best, and would either platoon with Drew Storen or lock down the 8th in close games. The Nationals and Blue Jays are also rumored landing spots for Papelbon.

Expect either today or Tuesday to render new hope for teams vying for playoff appearances. Just don't expect landmark moves from "bubble" teams like Chicago before the trade deadline.

[Photo by David Banks / Getty Images Sport]