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MLB trade deadline to come and go quietly?

Price may be among big names to avoid trade
Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images

The MLB trade deadline is about to come and go on July 31. After weeks of rumors and speculations, the trade deadline can potentially make or break the teams that make the biggest moves in their quest for a playoff berth or more. However, there's an even better chance that when the deadline passes at 4 p.m. est, the biggest names bandied about will stay right where they are.

The main speculation has revolved around aces David Price, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Yet at this point, the only one truly likely to be traded is Lester, although it's still up for grabs who will take him from the Boston Red Sox. With his low ERA this season for the last place Red Sox and his playoff experience, Lester could be the final arm that some lucky team needs to reach October and beyond.

Price may stay behind with the Tampa Bay Rays because they suddenly have a shot at October. While Price may have to be moved in the offseason anyway, the Rays have gotten close enough to the AL's second wild card berth -- despite still being under .500 -- to make one more run with him.

However, Price himself didn't help Tampa Bay in his final pre-trade deadline start on July 30. He suffered his first loss in over a month, as the Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Rays by 5-0 thanks to a dominant Yovani Gallardo. If Price does stay, he and Tampa Bay need to be much better in all of his starts.

Other than the Red Sox, the team most under the microscope is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are in desperate need of a fire sale to start over, yet have too many big contracts to move people like Lee, Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and many more.

Because Lee is still shaking off rust after a DL stint and because the asking price for Hamels is so high, there's a good chance the Phillies will stay quiet today. 36-year-old slugger Marlon Byrd may be the only one the Phillies are able to trade, as he could be the biggest hitter to switch teams, with Lester as the biggest arm.

Will there be a bigger blockbuster to define this trade deadline? Although most signs lean towards no, there's still several hours left for some daring general manager to change things.

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