Garza, Hamels, Dempster, Willingham, Liriano Drawing Heavy Interest As Trade Deadline Nears

Ramon Hernandez, Colorado Rockies

It’s no secret that the Mets primary (yes, I said primary) is Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez. But getting him is not going to be as easy as you think according to Ken Rosenthal. Sometimes, veteran players have more value to their present club than they would in a trade, he says, and Hernandez is one such player as he is helping rookie Wilin Rosario with his game-calling and receiving. So, while the idea of trading Hernandez to say, the Mets, seems logical enough, the Rockies aren’t sure it would be best for Rosario. They would move Hernandez, but only at their price.

Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are still hoping to get a nice package for right-hander Matt Garza although they’ve lowered their expectations a great deal from last year when they sought a Gio Gonzalez type return. Rosenthal believes the Cubs still could get a significant return because of he’s still under contract for 2013 and the acquiring team would be eligible for a draft pick at the end of that season. The Mets have yet to show any interest, but that might change if Matt Harvey fails to impress today.

Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs

Buster Olney of ESPN says that with a little more than two weeks until baseball’s trade deadline, 10 teams have shown legitimate interest in acquiring Dempster’s services for the remainder of the season, according to industry sources. Those clubs include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves. Yep, no Mets among the suitors. Dempster is 5-3 with a league leading 1.86 ERA and his 1.02 WHIP is the NL’s third best. If the Braves get him, meaningful games in September may be just a fantasy for the Mets.

Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies still think they can get Hamels to sign an extensaion, but for now they are the only ones who believe that will happen. The Yankees are breathing hard down their necks and are very tuned into the situation and they are expected to make a huge play for Hamels according to the New York Post. The Yanks will most likely keep Hamels from bolting for free agency if they do end up landing  the 28-year old left-hander. The Angels, Dodgers, Rangers, Pirates, Tigers, Marlins, and Giants are also interested and have scouts following Hamels’ starts. The Yankees are also very interested in Justin Upton which will scare off any potential interest from the Mets on that front.

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins

Francisco Liriano is drawing lots of attention and scouts from the Yankees, Blue Jays, Braves, Reds, Padres, Nationals and even the Mets have all been in attendance at Target Field in recent weeks on days Liriano has pitched. Seems like the Nationals want everybody these days. Mets aren’t the type of team that likes competition in the market place so don’t expect anything to come out of this except a ticket for a plane ride home to flushing for the scout.

Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

According to Phil Mackey of ESPN, one high-ranking American League front office executive said Josh Willingham is “definitely” the Minnesota Twins’ most valuable trade chip should they choose to move him. Willingham entered Sunday hitting .268/.382/.567 with a team-leading 22 home runs and 64 RBIs. The Twins have not made Willingham “off-limits” to potential suitors, but they are not actively shopping him either. The 33-year-old slugger will earn $7 million per year through 2014.