Trade rumors, in-depth player analysis, history, power rankings and a wide range of MLB news and notes from the FanSided baseball network.

With apologies to Andy Williams, the most wonderful time of year isn’t Christmas – it’s the six weeks before the MLB trade deadline.

As the major league season enters the dog days of summer, regardless of whether a team is in first place, jockeying for position in the Wild Card race, or slumping through the worst record in the big leagues (sorry Phillies fans), every baseball fan has an opportunity to speculate about moves his or her favorite team will make in late July. Which teams, players and prospects could be included in a blockbuster deal that makes this year the year? What tired veterans will be shipped out of town to make way for the organization’s top prospect? What players are available, and what trade is likely (or hopefully) to occur before the deadline passes?

Our team sites on the FanSided MLB network love to engage in those discussions, and many offer an in-depth analysis as to who should stay and who should go. Some even get together to hash out ideas.

For instance, the good folks at Dodgers Way and Motor City Bengals had a back-and-forth on a potential deal that would send slugger J.D. Martinez to Los Angeles for Joc Pederson and a prospect. Elsewhere, the Cubs have struggled on the mound (and Call to the Pen floated the possibility of trading ace Jake Arrieta). Cubbies Crib made the case that the defending World Champs should target A’s starter Sonny Gray, and not Chris Archer (at least if the Rays would ask for mega prospect Eloy Jimenez).

Of course, as Rays Colored Glasses pointed out, we’re not even sure whether or not Tampa Bay will be buyers or sellers at the deadline – though if they sell, RCG has some thoughts on bullpen targets. Perhaps, they could do both – a concept Redbird Rants laid out for the Cardinals. The team at Redbird Rants also debated what to do with Kolten Wong, and whether or not to trade him this summer.

The Cardinals already parted with Matt Adams, who has nevertheless been a hot name in trade circles, especially since Freddie Freeman is scheduled to return to the Braves lineup around the All-Star break. However, Tomahawk Take (which earlier gave an in-depth look at the teams that may make a run at Adams) explored the news of Freeman’s move to third base, which would allow Atlanta to keep Adams’ bat in the lineup.

Could the Mets and Pirates make a starting pitching swap? Rising Apple sees the Bucs as an option for Matt Harvey, and hopes the Dark Knight would bring back Gerrit Cole. The Pittsburgh right-hander had previously been mentioned with the Astros, but as Climbing Tal’s Hill noted, Houston’s starting pitching looks pretty good right now, and the ‘Stros may not need to enter the trade market this summer like we all thought last winter.

Speaking of the winter, the Twins never pulled the trigger on a deal to send Brian Dozier to the Dodgers, but Puckett’s Pond believes it might not be too late – especially if Minnesota falls out of contention. And, didn’t the Rangers just trade for Jonathan Lucroy (that deal happened at the 2016 deadline)? Nevertheless, Nolan Writin’ explored the possibility of getting rid of the All-Star catcher less than one calendar year after he arrived in Arlington.

Finally, be on the lookout for comprehensive guides to the 2017 MLB trade deadline, like this one at Yanks Go Yard that covers five moves the Yankees should make, a preview of the Nationals trade deadline needs by District on Deck, or a complete rundown of the AL Central (and others to come) from Call to the Pen.

You need thoughts on trades? We’ve got plenty.

MLB news and notes from the FanSided network

Of course, the discussions on the FanSided baseball network dive into more than trade possibilities. Our site experts and contributes cover every angle of the club. For example, Kings of Kauffman offers one of the most entertaining series previews and breakdowns you’ll find anywhere, like this one published ahead of the Red Sox’s visit to KC, and also had a chance to see what Elliot Johnson is up to these days.

It doesn’t get much more diverse than that, folks.

Around the network, Venom Strikes dug into the data for Brandon Drury’s hot start at the plate and made note of five under the radar players that have had an impact on the team’s success this season. On a similar note, Rox Pile explained how Gerardo Parra has been a major contributor in the Rockies’ run, even if he’s not healthy enough to play.

The rival Giants, on the other hand, have been bad. As Around the Foghorn so eloquently put it, San Francisco’s offensive numbers are gross. On that note, it’s time to come to grips with the 2017 Giants.

Home runs are on the rise across baseball, so it shouldn’t be a shock to see Clayton Kershaw’s home runs allowed on the rise. However, as Call to the Pen suggests, the long ball has recently plagued the lefty. At Rum Bunter, the crew took a look at Pirates pitchers Trevor Williams, who does not allow much hard contact, and Chad Kuhl, who has been better this year than his numbers might indicate.

Two names you never expected to see in the same headline? South Side Showdown asked whether Tommy Kahnle or Estaban Loaiza had a bigger breakout. Jimmy Nelson is definitely in the midst of a breakout season, but Reviewing the Brew wondered if Nelson has what it takes to be the ace in Milwaukee.

A pair of catchers in the AL West is also in the midst of a breakout. Sodo Mojo analyzed Mike Zunino, while Halo Hangout graded Martin Maldanado’s performance in his first season in Anaheim.

Remember those preseason predictions we all like to make? Wahoo’s on First did the honorable thing and revisited them. Puckett’s Pond also took a look back in time and ranked the best Home Run Derby performances by Twins players.

And what better way to remember the good ole’ days than to talk about a few of a franchise’s all-time greats? Blog Red Machine explored the legacy of Pete Rose in Cincinnati. The team at BoSox Injection compared David Ortiz to Ted Williams, and also dreamed of what would have happened had Roger Clemens never left the Red Sox.

In another dream scenario, the crew at Jays Journal (who are also hockey fans, no doubt, and watched closely during the NHL Expansion Draft) wondered which players the Blue Jays would protect if the MLB had an expansion draft this offseason.

Reds fans probably pinched themselves after the club selected flamethrower/shortstop Hunter Greene No. 2 overall in the MLB Draft, though tough decisions must now be made as to Greene’s future. The Phillies are certainly looking ahead, which makes That Ball’s Outta Here’s farm system report a must read. Furthermore, how can the Phillies regain the love from fans in Philadelphia?

Finally, the Padres have disappointed San Diego plenty over the years, but the Sonoran Dog at Petco Park? Delicious, according to Friars on Base.

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