Trade talk should heat up in baseball’s 2nd half

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TRADE BAIT: Several big names figure to be trading places by the end of the month as teams look for that extra edge to push them into the postseason.

_Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners: Seattle has been adamant that it is not considering moving King Felix. But if they ever would, now may be the time. The 26-year-old is 6-5 with a 3.13 ERA and is signed through 2014. He’s already topped 1,500 innings pitched in his young career and the Mariners appear nowhere close to contending.

_Francisco Liriano, LHP, Twins: Got off to a horrendous start to the season and was moved to the bullpen. But it’s what have you done for me lately, and the lefty who will be a free agent this winter is 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA and .175 opponents’ batting average since rejoining the rotation. Last-place Twins need young assets, and Liriano may be best trade chip.

_Cole Hamels, LHP, and Shane Victorino, OF, Phillies: The Phils already moved Charlie Manuel favorite Jim Thome. Now these two mainstays, who are eligible for free agency at the end of the season, could be available for the right price.

_Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres: Any team looking for some proven power should consider Quentin, who topped 20 homers in each of the past four years for the White Sox. In his first season in spacious Petco Park, Quentin has just seven homers and could benefit from a change of scenery.

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KEY INJURIES: These guys better get healthy if their teams expect to have a chance to play into October.

_CC Sabathia, LHP, Yankees: On the disabled list with a strained left groin, the Yankees desperately need their horse back at the top of the rotation. With Andy Pettitte out until late August at the earliest with a fractured left ankle, big No. 52 is more important than ever in New York.

_Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays: Longoria is on the shelf with a torn left hamstring that could keep him out for a while. In the meantime, the Rays will try to stay within shouting distance of the Yankees and the wild card without their leader.

_Kemp, OF, Dodgers: He has emerged as perhaps the best player in the game, a “five-tool guy” who has given the Dodgers their swagger. But he’s played in just two games since May 14 because of a strained left hamstring, the kind of injury that can linger if it’s not taken care of properly.

_Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals: He has shown no ill effects coming off Tommy John surgery, which will make the second half all the more intriguing for the Nationals and their young flamethrower. GM Mike Rizzo has said that the team intends to hold Strasburg to an innings limit and will shut him down once he reaches that point to try to avoid another major arm injury. But if the Nats are in contention for a title, will they be able to hold true to that?

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AP Sports Writers Larry Lage in Detroit and Paul Newberry contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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