Clearing The Bases
With the big trades that went down on Monday you would’ve thought it was deadline day, but no, the non-waiver trade deadline is actually a week from today at 4pm EST. Detroit beat the clock by trading SP Jacob Turner and a couple of minor leaguers to Miami for SP Anibal Sanchez and 2B Omar Infante. Great deal for Detroit here as it solves one of their biggest problems, middle defense, and helps lengthen their starting rotation. I have a feeling they will run away with the American League Central now, after sweeping the White Sox over the weekend they may have already been in the process of doing that, but now with Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Sanchez, and Max Scherzer in the rotation, they are clearly taking aim at the Yankees, Rangers, and Angels for best team in the AL. The Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners. A no lose trade by New York as they gave up two below average prospects. Ichiro is nowhere near the player he used to be, but he does provide the Yanks with a replacement for Brett Gardner and will allow Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones not to be overused.
Now let’s take a look at the other major players before the trade deadline.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Pretty obvious that the Dodgers need bats. Outside of a center or left fielder, they can use an upgrade at any other position. Problem is the price is pretty high on these types of players and the Dodgers aren’t loaded with an abundance of prospects to deal. What they do have is cash and could take on another team’s bad contract. The Cubs Alfonso Soriano comes to mind, but that may be to much cash for any team to take on. The Padres Chase Headley would fill a need but San Diego may not want to trade within the division. This might not be a need the Dodgers can fill until the off-season.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox need pitching help and they need it now. It seems unlikely that they will acquire one of the big names on the market. Cole Hamels looks likely to stay in Philly. No way the Rays trade James Shields inside the division, and Zach Greinke may not be best fit in Boston. Boston’s best bet actually may be Jon Lester and Josh Beckett fixing their problems and pitching up to their talent level. They also have Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey returning from the disabled list sometime next month. Those two would be the definition of rolling the dice however. Boston’s rotation may be a problem that can’t be fixed until the off-season.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies have been trying hard to re-sign SP Cole Hamels before the deadline. Rumors have it they have offered Hamels a six-year deal in excess of $130 million. This would seem to indicate that Hamels and Philly are close and he will be off the market. If however they can’t have this deal sealed, signed, and delivered by this weekend, they will once again have to market Hamels. He certainly would bring a handsome return as everyone would want to acquire this ace. Smart money says he stays however. Still the Phils have other players to sell including outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. Have a feeling Pence only gets traded if and when the Phils do indeed sign Hamels. They have to shed salary somewhere.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers bullpen has just imploded for the second consecutive game turning what should’ve been an easy win into a loss. What’s more important about tonight’s game however is the return of SP Zach Greinke. Greinke thru 7IP, had 5Ks and only allowed a run on three hits, looking really good. This outing should squash any fears opposing GMs had about his being skipped in the rotation to rest. Greinke has had some psychological issues in the past which could limit the teams that want to acquire him, but he would be a really good consolation prize for those teams that don’t get Hamels. More good news for the Brewers is that SP Shaun Marcum had a good bullpen session today. Seems unlikely they could trade him however as he hasn’t pitched since mid-June with an elbow injury. Still you never know. Could 3B Aramis Ramirez also be on the block?
Miami Marlins: They already started their fire sale with the trade of Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. Probably not the message you want to send to your fans in the first season of a new ballpark. Who’s next? Josh Johnson’s name has been thrown out a few times today but Miami stated their intent was only to trade Sanchez or Johnson, not both, of course if they are blown away by an offer, it shouldn’t shock anyone if Johnson finds his way out of town. Could Hanley Ramirez be dealt? Sure, why not. This is not the same HRam of years past. His numbers have been steadily declining for years and if Miami can find someone willing to pay for the Ramirez of 2008 rather than the player he is now, than away he should go. Marlins are also trying to do all they can to trade Heath Bell. That move just hasn’t worked out. Hear the Giants are interested.
Texas Rangers: With the loss of SP Colby Lewis due to Tommy John surgery, we know the Rangers are going to be in the market for a pitcher. They also have the prospects in the minors to get a deal done. Have to believe either Greinke or Hamels lands here. The Rangers won’t trade super prospect Jurickson Profar, but anyone else is game. It’s World Series or bust for this team.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins don’t have any pitching to deal that anyone would be remotely interested in, but they do have some bats. Justin Morneau may interest a few teams as he looks to be recovered from his concussion problems, but the player that might generate the biggest haul as far as prospects would be OF Josh Willingham. Willingham is having a monster season, proving that you can hit for power in Target Field. Question is, do the Twins want to trade a player who can help them in the future.
Oakland Athletics: Hard to believe that the A’s could be buyers, but indeed they are. They are right in the thick of the wildcard race in the AL. They know they need offense. They have been in on Hanley Ramirez and Chase Headley. Still, hard to believe they will part with anything useful to acquire a top name player.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are the type of team that will deal with reality. They know things aren’t looking good for them this season no matter how close they are to the wildcard. Still have no idea when 3B Evan Longoria will return and they have really been feeling his absence over the past month. Should they decide to trade out they have some interesting pieces. James Shields is already rumored to be possibly headed to the Angels and teams that believe BJ Upton may just need a change of scenery to realize his potential are sure to give TB a call.
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