August 2, 2021

Clearing The Bases

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Unless you’re not all that big a baseball fan, you know the non-waiver trade deadline is this Sunday at 4PM.  It’s a major league team’s last chance to fix a problem on their roster before players must pass through waivers in order to be traded.  Trades seem to be harder to work out in this day and age because most teams don’t want to give up their young prospects.  Years ago prospects were traded fairly quickly as teams would always trust a proven veteran who can give them production now rather than a prospect who might help later.  Also with the internet, twitter, facebook, and any number of baseball sites, even the casual fan knows the names of their team’s top prospect and may not be all that forgiving if a trade ends up being a complete bust.  Fan backlash seems to have more than a few general managers afraid to pull the trigger on a deal for fear of losing their job if they don’t win the trade.

The Milwaukee Brewers struck early in acquiring Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets a few weeks ago, and today we saw the Cardinals give away Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays.  We will look at 12 teams that could be big players come the trade deadline.  Some bigger than others.

  1. Boston Red Sox:  The Sox are pretty much a lock to make the playoffs either as a division or wildcard winner, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some holes.  They have suffered a number of injuries to their starting rotation so far this season (John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Daiske Matsuzaka).  Pretty impressive for the Sox to still be in first place with all of these injuries this season.  Lester and Lackey have returned, but Buchholz may still be 3-4 weeks away and Daiske is gone for the season.  Starting pitching would seem to be an obvious need but unless they want to pony up the huge asking price for the Rockies Ubaldo Jimenez, it’s unlikely they will be able to land a pitcher who is a difference maker.  A right fielder could also be a target if the team feels that Josh Reddick is not the man for the job.
  2. New York Yankees:  The Yankees starting pitching staff outside of CC Sabathia seems to be held together with scotch tape.  AJ Burnett could easily throw a 2-hit shutout as he could walk the opposing team around the bases.  Bartolo Colon is far from a physical specimen and seems unlikely to make it through the next two plus months without another injury.  Freddy Garcia tops out at about 88-89 MPH which means he is getting it done with mirrors.  Phil Hughes still hasn’t found those extra MPHs on his fastball and Ivan Nova may not be someone you want to trust in a pressure situation.  Problem is, just like the Sox, they may have to overpay for a quality starter, and the only player who fits that description right now would be Jimenez, and even if you were willing to give up the prospects it would take to acquire him, you have to ask yourself, why are the Rockies willing to give up a top pitcher with a good contract?  Could there be an underlying injury?  The Yankees should also be in the market for a left-handed reliever as Boone Logan has been nothing short of terrible this season, Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte are unlikely to return this season, and JC Romero is a work in progress.  Don’t count the Yankees out as far as a bat either as their DHs have been pathetic this season and if you can’t improve your pitching, than you had better try and outslug the other team.  Of course benching Jorge Posada, even as bad as he’s been, could be a public relations nightmare that the Yankees would prefer to deal with during the off-season.
  3. Detroit Tigers:  Whichever team makes the best deal in the AL Central could end up being the favorite to win the division.  The Tigers are in the market for a starting pitcher and have been linked to Hiroki Kuroda.  Not a big upgrade, but would provide them some depth at the back of the rotation.  They took care of their third base needs, sort of, with the acquisition of Wilson Betemit from Kansas City, but he’s not the type of player that will make a huge difference in the pennant race, but he is an upgrade over Brandon Inge.
  4. Los Angeles Angels:  The Angels are always a threat under manager Mike Scioscia but the pieces they need, third base and shortstop, just aren’t going to be available at the deadline.  Jose Reyes could’ve been a perfect fit atop the Angels lineup but the Mets have decided to hold onto him.  Although the Angels could certainly use some help, and they have been linked to Heath Bell, it seems unlikely that they will be able to pull off a big trade by the deadline.
  5. Texas Rangers:  The Rangers may be as close to a complete team as there is in the American League.  Their offense can out score anyone, although they were linked to Carlos Beltran, but that would seem like overkill, and their starting pitching, although not as good without Cliff Lee, is certainly deep, and could be good enough to get them through October.  The question is their bullpen.  Will they pony up the needed prospects to trade for Heath Bell, and if they do, would they make Bell the closer or the setup man to Neftali Perez?
  6. Philadelphia Phillies:  Originally we heard a few weeks ago that the Phillies weren’t on the same page as to who they wanted at the deadline.  Manager Charlie Manuel wanted a right-handed hitter to platoon with Dominic Brown while the general manager wanted another reliever for the bullpen.  It seems the Phillies found the price to high for Heath Bell and Carlos Beltran, and are now in negotiations for the Astros’ Hunter Pence.  Looks like Manuel may get his wish after all.
  7. Atlanta Braves:  The Braves were very much interested in Carlos Beltran but now that he has been dealt to the Giants, they may have to set their sights on the next tier of outfielders, Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham.  The Braves wouldn’t give up any of their top four pitching prospects (Julio Tehran, Arodys Vizcaino, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado), so the Mets sent Beltran elsewhere.  Curious move by the Braves as Beltran would’ve been perfect for that lineup especially after injuries to Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Jordan Schaeffer.  Where is the offense going to come from.  Perhaps they will make a run at BJ Upton.
  8. San Francisco Giants:  The Giants made the move that the Braves wouldn’t, giving up a top pitching prospect, Zach Wheeler, for Beltran.  That may be the last move they make although there have been rumors that Jonathan Sanchez has been made available.
  9. Tampa Bay Rays:  The Rays have fallen out of the playoff picture over the past 10 days or so and look to become sellers rather than buyers.  BJ Upton is very much on the market and is expected to be dealt before the deadline, it seems the Rays just don’t believe who will ever become the star they once thought he would and may be tired of his act.  His salary will also do nothing but increase and the Rays may feel like they can’t afford the contract he could be awarded in arbitration.  The Rays also sent James Shields name out there last week but then quickly took it back, but now we hear the Reds are after Shields and may offer the top prospects that the Rays are looking for.  Best guess is Shields doesn’t get dealt, but the Rays may deal one of their lesser starters like a Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis.
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates:  The Pirates could certainly use some reinforcements but have announced they won’t mortgage their minor league system to get a star.  The Pirates may be bargain shopping once the big names go off the board.
  11. Cleveland Indians:  Like the Pirates the Indians also aren’t going to trade away any of their top prospects but could certainly use an outfielder with the health of Grady Sizemore and Sin-Soo Choo up in the air.
  12. Minnesota Twins:  The Twins seem to be a team that doesn’t want to give up on the season even though their 6.5 games out of first place in the AL Central.  To bad as the Twins would have some interesting trade pieces in Michael Cuddyer and Francisco Liriano.

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