Big teams, big names coming up at trade deadline

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The Major League Baseball trade deadline is fast approaching, and plenty of big names already are on the move.

Carlos Beltran is headed to San Francisco, bolstering the reigning world champions for another run at the title and Colby Rasmus is out of Tony La Russa’s dog house in St. Louis and on his way to Toronto.

With the deadline looming Sunday, there are still a lot of big decisions to be made and big stars who could be getting changes of scenery.

The New York Yankees are in second place in the AL East, three games behind Boston, which almost assuredly means they will be active. The Yankees could be in the market for a quality starter with Phil Hughes struggling and a left-handed reliever to help them chase down the Red Sox.

“If we make moves, we feel that it’s to better the club and I can’t tell you that we’re going to make any moves,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Our club has got to where we are with the pieces we have and we’ve done a good job. Will we tweak it? I don’t know. Past history has shown the Yankees have done everything they can to tweak the club to make it better.”

Other teams in baseball’s upper echelon like the Red Sox and Phillies will likely be active in the trade market.

Several other teams in limbo have difficult decisions to make. The Minnesota Twins are six games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. They have a history of late-season surges, but must make a decision soon if they are going to be buyers or sellers this time around.

The Cleveland Indians are in a similar boat. One of the biggest surprises in baseball this season, the Indians trail the Tigers by just two games. They were looking for current help in the outfield with Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo on the disabled list, but didn’t want to give up any of their prized young prospects like infielders Jason Kipnis or Lonnie Chisenhall to do it.

Manager Manny Acta said recently that it would be “an understatement” to say the team needs some help down the stretch, and the Indians made a move on Thursday by adding Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome for a pair of minor league players.

And what about the Cincinnati Reds? They’re five games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central _ and St. Louis just picked up right-hander Edwin Jackson, too _ but some help in the rotation or the outfield could put them right back in the picture.

“We’re still buying. … We’ve got a lot of things cooking, but nothing close,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said Wednesday.

The Texas Rangers saw what a big deal can do last year when they got Cliff Lee from Seattle and rode him to the World Series.

Here’s a quick-hit look at some of the moves that could be made this year to try to accomplish the same goal.

PLAYERS ON THE MARKET:

_Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Colorado Rockies: 27-year-old Dominican is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA, a down year after last year’s brilliant effort (19-8, 2.88). But his strikeout numbers are still overpowering and he has a very manageable contract, making him an attractive target. Good fits? Yankees, Reds.

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