The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is today at 4 p.m. ET, as contenders look to bolster their squads for a potential run at October.
From now until the Deadline, we'll be checking in on the trade news around baseball, with help from MLB.com's reporters. The countdown is underway.
Trading post: Wednesday's day-before-the-Deadline fireworks included Justin Masterson being traded by the Indians to the Cardinals for outfielder James Ramsey, the Cubs getting left-hander Felix Doubront for a player to be named and the Dodgers officially getting infielder Darwin Barney from the Cubs. But the biggest deal of all happened Thursday morning:
A's win Lester derby for Derby champ: With the scratch of Jon Lester from his scheduled Wednesday start, it was clear in Boston and around the rest of the Major Leagues that it was on. Sure enough, that was the case, as Oakland landed Lester on Thursday morning for Home Run Derby champ Yoenis Cespedes.
WEEI first reported the pieces of the deal -- outfielder Jonny Gomes will head back to Oakland in the trade -- which MLB.com has confirmed. The Red Sox will also be sending cash to Oakland, while Boston will receive the second pick in the Competitive Balance Comp B round in next year's Draft.
In other news as of late Wednesday:
Hamels time? Another lefty ace, Cole Hamels of the Phillies, has been in the middle of trade buzz for the last month, and this week brought the news that the Phillies had indeed made him available. The other part of that news, however, was that Philadelphia was looking for astronomical returns in any Hamels deal.
According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki on Wednesday, don't expect Hamels to be traded. Sources told Zolecki that the Phillies "have had no substantive talks with any team about him. That includes the Dodgers."
Zolecki added that the Phillies "haven't gotten particularly close to the finish line in any trade discussions" despite having plenty of good players on the block, including A.J. Burnett, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo.
Boni on the move? Late Wednesday afternoon it appeared that Cubs second baseman Emilio Bonifacio would be traded. He was not in the Cubs' lineup and manager Rick Renteria was quoted by ESPN Chicago as saying it would be "prudent" to keep him out of the game.
By nightfall nothing had been announced, and various reports had the Giants, Reds, Royals and Orioles as possibilities for Bonifacio's next team.
Ready for Rios: Another player who could be changing uniforms soon is Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, who has been rumored to be on the wish lists of teams including the Reds, Royals, Giants and Indians.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that conversations between teams regarding Rios were "gaining traction," so it would be wise to stay tuned.
Rios left Wednesday night's game vs. the Yankees in the fifth inning because of a bruised left quad. Rios was hit by a pitch from New York starter Hiroki Kuroda in the third inning. He played one inning and then was taken out as a precautionary measure.
The latest on Lackey: Lester might not be the only big-time Red Sox starter on the market. Veteran right-hander John Lackey could very well follow his teammate out the Fenway Park door if the price is right for Boston, according to multiple reports.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweeted that the Indians are interested in Lackey and that the Brewers and Angels are not. Reports earlier in the week also listed the Dodgers, Royals and Marlins as possibilities. Lackey, of course, is attractive to teams because he has a 2015 club option with the Red Sox at the league-minimum salary because of a clause that was triggered when the Texan had Tommy John surgery.
Not sleeping on Cotts: Don't be surprised if the Rangers deal left-handed relief specialist Neal Cotts by this afternoon, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Royal rumblings: The Royals would like a starting pitcher, and according to Rosenthal, Kansas City might try to swing a deal for Ian Kennedy of the Padres, although the Marlins and Pirates and perhaps a few other teams are interested in the San Diego right-hander.
Lackey is a possibility, as is Bartolo Colon on the Mets, and Kansas City has also been linked to Burnett, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
Detroit doings: The Tigers also might be interested in starting pitching, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck, even though most of the talk about the Tigers has been geared toward adding relief help.
Beck wrote that Detroit could decide to swing a deal for a starter and move Drew Smyly back into the bullpen.
The Price is wrong? Remember David Price? About a month ago, he was the top guy being discussed as the centerpiece of a monster Deadline deal. Then the Rays started playing like a postseason team, and the talk died down.
ESPN's Jayson Stark talked to an executive who said that the Rays still could trade Price, but it would have to be such a no-brainer of a deal for Tampa Bay that they couldn't possibly say no to it.
Byrd's flight: Wednesday's latest on Byrd came from Stark, who said the Mariners are no longer interested in the right-handed power bat but the Yankees still are. The Royals are another team that has been mentioned as possibly having interest in the veteran outfielder.
Carter available: In the middle of the day on Wednesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Astros have made power-hitting first baseman Chris Carter available in trades.