Wednesday's MLB trade news and views

The MLB trade deadline is nearing, and speculation is heating up across baseball. Here is what our writers are hearing today:

Complete trade deadline coverage

Trade Deadline Daily: July 28

Stark's take: Teams that have spoken with the Reds about Aroldis Chapman report that they've been asked for either their three or four best prospects, depending on the club. So other than the Yankees, who continue to monitor all big bullpen arms on the market, virtually every team that inquired on Chapman has turned in another direction.

Among the clubs that have been linked to him in recent days: the Giants, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Nationals. But sources say none of those teams is still seriously pursuing him, and there is widespread doubt that Reds owner Bob Castellini really wants to move him.

Crasnick's take: The Orioles are emitting a vibe that they won't be doing anything earth-shattering at the trade deadline. Baltimore would love to add an impact bat (e.g., Justin Upton or Carlos Gonzalez). But potential trade partners are asking for young starter Kevin Gausman and Mychal Givens, who was converted from the infield to the pitcher's mound in 2013 and has 167 strikeouts in 155 minor league relief innings.

The Orioles expect Gausman to slot into their rotation next season and Givens to be part of the bullpen if Darren O'Day and Tommy Hunter depart through free agency. So they can't afford to part with any pitching depth to chase a wild-card berth. Injury setbacks to top prospects Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy have made it even more imperative to hang on to whatever talented young pitching they have in their system.

Stark's take: Teams that have been speaking with the Padres say they're about to get "super-active" and think they're positioning themselves to make a "huge deal."

Besides Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy, who are expected to be traded in lower-level deals this week, the Padres have been talking extensively about moving Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, James Shields, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and others.

"Ross is the guy they least want to move, because they control him for two and a half years," said one exec whose team has kicked the Padres' tires recently. "But their problem is they completely depleted their system last winter. And you're not going to rebuild your system by trading Benoit and Kennedy. You do that by making huge deals. And I expect them to make a huge deal to try to get back some of what they lost."

Stark's take: Executives of two clubs in the starting-pitching market wonder whether the Padres' glut of available starters is becoming a problem for the Phillies. The Rangers, for instance, have made a strong run at Tyson Ross. The Cubs have interest in Ross and Andrew Cashner. And the Yankees, Astros and Red Sox are also believed to be talking to the Padres.

"So what happens," asked one exec, "if the Rangers get Ross, the Dodgers get someone like David Price and Hamels won't go to Houston? What do the Phillies do?"

Good question. So it's still far from impossible, say clubs that have spoken with the Phillies, that they wind up holding on to Hamels for now, and try to move him again in August and/or this winter.

Crasnick's take: Now that the Blue Jays have added Troy Tulowitzki, they're focused on addressing their biggest need -- a starting pitcher. Sources said Toronto is casting a wide net and considering all the available options -- Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Mike Leake, Yovani Gallardo, Dan Haren and Mike Fiers. "Pretty much everyone is an upgrade,'' said one Jays watcher.

Cole Hamels isn't a fit because the Jays are one of his no-trade teams. Toronto would certainly inquire on David Price if he were to be made available, but might have trouble putting together a trade-worthy package after depleting their farm system in the Tulowitzki trade. Chicago's Jeff Samardzija has been on Toronto's radar for a while, but the chances of him being traded appear slimmer by the day.

Crasnick's take: The Astros bolstered their rotation with the addition of Scott Kazmir, but they still hope to have another move left in them. They've discussed Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit and Francisco Rodriguez as potential bullpen options, and they have their eye on Tyson Ross and Jeff Samardzija for the rotation. Houston might also add an outfield piece if the price is right.

San Diego's asking price for Ross is extremely high, and Samardzija might be staying put now that the White Sox have gone on a hot streak, so Houston GM Jeff Luhnow might have to focus on adding a reliever. The Astros have also made a sincere offer to the Phillies for Cole Hamels. But there's no indication that Hamels will waive his no-trade protection to pitch in Houston, so that appears to be a futile pursuit.

Stark's take: That sound you heard at about noon Eastern time was the Phillies' leverage on Cole Hamels slipping away. The Dodgers still have interest in trading for starting pitching despite their deal for Mat Latos, according to teams that spoke with them after that trade report. But they're now expected to position themselves to wait until closer to the deadline and see whether they can deal for that second starter on their own terms.

They've checked in on the likes of Hamels, David Price, Yovani Gallardo, Mike Leake and others. But the first reaction of three execs I surveyed was the same: The Phillies are in trouble now.

"They have too many teams in on Hamels now who don't have to do this," said one exec. "And at the deadline, what makes you act is urgency."

Baseball Tonight podcast: Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian discuss the teams under the most pressure to make a deal at the trade deadline. ListenListen