Aces abound in trade deadline market

July, 23, 2012
7/23/12
1:05
PM ET

Getty ImagesZack Greinke and Cole Hamels are two of the pitchers that could be traded before the deadline.
The major league baseball trade deadline is just eight days away (July 31 at 4 ET). We get you ready for all the rumors and deals that will dominate the watercooler talk this week, starting with a preview of the pitchers likely to be moved before the deadline.

Ryan Dempster
Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Why trade him?
Dempster is a free agent at the end of the season, and at 35 years old is not part of the Chicago Cubs rebuilding plan. His stock has never been higher.

Why acquire him?
Dempster is having the best season of his career (MLB-best 2.11 ERA), though his performance may not be sustainable with a .245 BABIP and 84 percent strand rate. However, he has significantly reduced his walk rate (career-best 6.9 percent) and had a 33-inning scoreless streak this season.

Matt Garza
Why trade him?
Garza is young and a good pitcher, but there’s the possibility he will become expensive before the Cubs are relevant again. He could help jumpstart the rebuilding process by infusing the organization with much-needed youth and upside.

Why acquire him?
Not only is Garza effective, but he’s one of the few starters on the market a team could control beyond 2012. Garza is also well-tested against the toughest division in baseball, with a 23-15 record and 3.34 ERA in 56 games vs the AL East.

Zack Greinke
Why trade him?
Greinke is a free-agent at season’s end, and will likely be too expensive for the Milwaukee Brewers to retain. He is having his best season since his Cy Young campaign of 2009, and could be the premier pitcher on the market.

Why acquire him?
Though his ERA has fluctuated between a high of 4.17 and a low of 2.16 since 2009, Greinke’s underlying performance has been much more consistent. Over the last four seasons, his FIP of 2.82 is surpassed only by Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.

Cole Hamels
Why trade him?
Hamels is a free agent at the end of the season and could cost north of $125 million to re-sign. That could be a burden for the Philadelphia Phillies, who have a total of $104 million committed to six players in 2013.

Why acquire him?
Hamels has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since 2010. No pitcher on the market has been more productive than Hamels over the last two-plus seasons.

James Shields
Shields
James Shields
Why trade him?
The Tampa Bay Rays are always watching their payroll and Shields has club options of $9 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014. He would be a pitcher with two years of team control left in a market where most of the attractive options will be free agents at season’s end.

Why acquire him?
Shields has been among the most durable pitchers in baseball with the sixth-most innings pitched among major-league pitchers since 2009. Though his 4.39 ERA this season is nearly two runs worst than last year (2.82), he has been hurt by a poor Rays defense behind him. His BABIP of .339 is the third-highest in the AL and well above his career mark of .302.

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