Okay, first off, a quick primer. Remember that July 31 means very little as far as trades go. July 31 simply means that any player acquired had to have passed through waivers already. Some major trades have happened in the last few years in August, including pieces like Jeff Francoeur, Brian Fuentes, Pedro Feliz, Derrek Lee, and Mike Fontenot last year alone and bigger names like Billy Wagner, Carl Pavano, Ivan Rodriguez, Greg Maddux, and Adam Dunn in recent years. Below the jump is a sampling of the trade market out there by position. It is by no means exhaustive. If there is a major piece missing, feel free to let me know, and I'll plug it in!
Teams in need: Giants. The loss of Buster Posey has left the Giants with a major offensive hole, seeing as they relied on him for a significant piece of their offense. Eli Whiteside has held down the fort thus far, but a veteran that could fill the role for this year and possibly part of next year as well would be a wise choice.
Players available: Ramon Hernandez, Cin; Miguel Olivo, Sea. With a minimal trade market for catchers this season, there will likely be little movement in the position, but Hernandez would provide excellent value for a contender and would open up the position for the plethora of catching prospects in the Reds system.
Prospects being shopped: Jesus Montero, NYY; Ryan Lavernway, Bos. Montero has stagnated this year after being sent back to AAA, and his bat slowing has scared off some suitors. Lavernway is a Montero-lite who also likely isn't going to stick at catcher defensively, but his bat should play.
Teams in need: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Arizona. Three surprise contenders really round out the first base market, which could be advantageous for those looking to move a big bopper because the teams have good prospects to offer, though for all three, it would be poor decision-making to offer too much with solid prospects coming at the position.
Players available: Carlos Pena, ChC; Derrek Lee, Bal. Pena has performed as expected this year, low BA, very good power, and his big power bat would fit excellent somewhere like Pittsburgh. Lee has improved as of late, but how much he still has in the tank could hurt his overall trade value.
Prospects being shopped: Jon Singleton, Phi. Singleton has a ton of hitting ability, but he hasn't locked into one position in the minors, splitting time between outfield and first base. His name pops up often in trade rumors, but it is yet undetermined if the Phils would move him in a deal.
Teams in need: None. No contending team has a major hole at second, but of course that doesn't preclude them from dealing for the position.
Players available: None. Well, plenty would be available at the right price, but we haven't heard rumors on any 2B moving because of the lack of need from contenders at this time.
Prospects being shopped: Alexi Amarista, LAA. Along the lines of current 2B Howie Kendrick, Amarista isn't going to have a lot of counting stats, but he's a line drive hitter who should put up solid batting averages and plays solid defense.
Teams in need: Pirates, Brewers. Sadly, both expected 3B to be a strength for them this season. Pittsburgh has less to worry about with a solid prospect about to return in Pedro Alvarez. Milwaukee may have seen the end of the good story of Casey McGahee.
Players available: Edwin Encarnacion, Tor; Aramis Ramirez, ChC. Ramirez is going to be VERY expensive for anyone he's traded to, but Milwaukee already shrewdly negotiated a similar trade expense with Francisco Rodriguez, so that may not scare them off.
Prospects being shopped: Will Middlebrooks, Bos; Zack Cox, StL. Two solid prospects who have hit AA this year and done well with that adjustment. Certainly desireable assets for anyone trading with the Red Sox or Cardinals.
Teams in need: Diamondbacks, Braves, Brewers, Reds. The list is lengthy, but I'd rate the Diamondbacks who are the only ones in desperate NEED of a shortstop after Stephen Drew's season-ending injury. They may crank up the offers to include Jarrod Parker or Tyler Skaggs to possibly pry away Reyes.
Players available: Marco Scutaro, Bos; Jose Reyes, NYM?; Raffy Furcal, LAD; Jason Bartlett, SD. Obviously, if the Mets are serious about not moving Reyes, this is a pretty ho-hum class. All solid players with their warts, but each could help out in the right situation.
Prospects being shopped: Andrelton Simmons, Atl. Texas may put Jurickson Profar on the market for a HUGE piece, but otherwise, there aren't a lot of shortstop pieces being dangled in rumors, at least not any that rate as true impact prospects.
Teams in need: Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Giants. The corner outfield/centerfield need is really semantics. Guys can move pretty easily as needed. The Giants and Phillies would each like one more bat, though they may end up bidding up each other for the services of their ideal guy.
Players available: Carlos Quentin, ChW; Torii Hunter, LAA; Vernon Wells, LAA; Michael Cuddyer, Min; Delmon Young, Min; David DeJesus, Oak; Josh Willingham, Oak; Carlos Beltran, NYM; Logan Morrison, Fla?; Alfonso Soriano, ChC; Reed Johnson, ChC; Kosoku Fukudome, ChC; Hunter Pence, Hou; Jonny Gomes, Cin; Ryan Ludwick, SD. A lot of bench/4th outfielder types in this list, but some guys for change of scenery (Young) and some for roster cleaning purposes (Cubs OFers) may come cheaper than what they should. Pence and Beltran are clearly the class of this list, and they could bring their teams very good return for simple reason of scarcity of available bats of their calibar.
Prospects being shopped: Josh Reddick, Bos; Domonick Brown, Phi; Yonder Alonso, Cin; AJ Pollock, Ari. While the other three are by no means slouches, Brown's inclusion in trade rumors shows how serious Philly is to acquire a big bat. He would be a coup for any team that could acquire him.
Teams in need: White Sox, Braves, Reds. Once again, most of these teams have an outfield need that could move to corner depending on what they could acquire.
Players available: B.J. Upton, TB; Coco Crisp, Oak; Colby Rasmus, StL; Marlon Byrd, ChC; Michael Bourn, Hou; Dexter Fowler, Col. Some very intriguing options here based on youth, talent, and availability. If Rasmus is made available, he could bring back the starter that the Cardinals desperately need. Bourn and Fowler would seem to have similar games, though Bourn has realized his at the MLB level and Fowler has only shown flashes of that so far. Upton would be a major piece if he's truly available, but the Rays are known for desiring a king's ransom to trade away their top pieces.
Prospects being shopped: Starling Marte, Pit; Gorkys Hernandez, Pit; Logan Schafer, Mil; Gary Brown, SF. Other than Brown, this is a pretty boring list, though a solid one defensively. Brown has the chance to be a leadoff hitter with solid speed and defense at the major league level very soon, and he's being asked about often when the Giants shop for a bat.
Teams in need: Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Pirates, Cardinals, Brewers. Depending on who was out there, this could include basically every team. The Yankees and Red Sox look to bid up each other for any big names that hit the market.
Players available: James Shields, TB; Edwin Jackson, ChW; Vance Worley, Phi; Carl Pavano, Min; Derek Lowe, Atl; Javier Vazquez, Fla; Brett Myers, Hou; Wandy Rodriguez, Hou; Hideki Kuroda, LAD. Shields is the big name here, but there are a number of guys who will become "available" as we get closer to the trade deadlines. Shields has fantastic stuff, and he would be a dominant starter in the NL if he could be grabbed by any number of teams. Wandy looks to be the bidding piece the Red Sox and Yankees will both be after, but we'll see who else ends up available.
Prospects being shopped: Manny Banuelos, NYY; Mike Minor/Randall Delgado/Arodys Vizcaino, Atl; Andy Oliver, Det; Robbie Erlin, Tex; Jarred Cosart, Phi; Trevor May, Phi; Jeff Locke, Pit; David Holmberg, Ari. Those teams with depth in their minor league pitching can offer the better prospects, as evidenced by Atlanta's players and the perceived availability of a talent like Banuelos. Pitching prospects are always a desired asset, and this list could expand to some of the top level guys if a better bat was put onto the market, like a Matt Kemp.
Teams in need: All! No bullpen seems enough at this time of the year, so every team would certainly be interested in a possible upgrade to their 'pen.
Players available: Kyle Farnsworth, TB; Jon Rauch, Tor; Octavio Dotel, Tor; Koji Uehara, Bal; Matt Capps, Min; Grant Balfour, Oak; Brian Fuentes, Oak; Jason Isringhausen, NYM; Sean Burnett, Was; Leo Nunez, Fla; Kerry Wood, ChC; Matt Lindstrom, Col; Mike Adams, SD; Heath Bell, SD. Bell is the clear top level talent here, especially for those teams needing a closer. There are a good mix of veteran arms for the stretch run to help any club's needs at the right price, of course.
Prospects being shopped: Jake McGee, TB; Bryce Stowell, Cle; Zach Putnam, Cle; Addison Reed, ChW. Cleveland will likely dip into their depth of bullpen prospects to fuel any trading they do at the deadline, but Reed is a VERY intriguing young pitcher who flashes simply dominating stuff.