|Names Abound in Rumor Mill|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on July 07, 2010
The rumors are flying and trades are in the air. Admittedly this is still the foreplay to what looks to be an intriguing July. Only a couple of minor deals, such as Bengie Molina to an already offensively potent Texas Rangers and Russell Branyan to the Mariners have actually been consummated. That doesn't mean that the phones of General Managers around baseball have been all that quiet, nor has the rumor mill.
Thus aside from Cliff Lee there is little certainty as to who will be playing for another team after the All-Star break. All-Star closer Matt Capps and possibly Adam Dunn are good possibilities as is Chone Figgins who's been an expensive failure for the Mariners.
As always July is about assessing who needs what, and who is shopping for prospects, both at the low levels and those who are almost Major League ready. Certainly the list of buyers is pretty straightforward. Everyone needs pitching, except maybe the Yankees, who might still acquire some, Twins and Rays (and strangely enough maybe not the Padres), and plenty of teams could use a bat or two to boot.
They buyers list is pretty straightforward. In the AL the Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Tigers, Rangers and Angels are all shopping, albeit not all for the same thing, and the Twins and Rays would probably make a deal if they could get the right player at the right price -- the Twins reportedly made an offer for Lee) -- while pretty much every other team will at least be considering selling off some of their assets.
Actually in the AL, the Rays are a very interesting team to be watching at this point in the season. With directives from ownership telling management to cut payroll and both Crawford and Pena free agent eligible, it's possible that the Rays could be sellers as well as buyers over the next three weeks, possibly swapping one or both of these players for prospects while taking on some short term rentals to make a run at the playoffs.
In the NL the list of buyers is a little harder to ascertain. Clearly the Mets (if they can afford it), Braves and Phillies are buying in the East, and the Cardinals are definitely buyers in the Central. But in the West it's hard to say. The Rockies are the only team who won't be looking for, nor selling, impact players (although they do have a glut of good outfielders). The Dodgers if they can afford it would love some pitching help, the Giants need offense, as do the Padres but if any team there is really contemplating major improvements it's hard to see.
The Nationals are a likely candidate to dump some salary, as are the Diamondbacks, but since the Nationals are still fighting to show that they should be considered as a destination for top free agents, they might not want to throw in the towel but try to get as close to .500 as they can.
The Marlins could be seller, as they have a lot of players with five years of Major League experience who could become free agents after the 2011 season, but unless they were blown away by an offer for either Hanley Ramirez or Josh Johnson I don't see them being likely to move either of those game changers until at least the offseason, but Jorge Cantu is almost certain to be moved as the team will lose him to free agency in the offseason.
The Brewers are another team almost certain to make a deal and the three names being bandied about are their three big power hitters, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun. If the Brewers really are considering trading Braun, who they signed to an eight-year deal back in 2008, they probably will be committing to a total rebuilding and no one save Yovani Gallardo (who is still cheap and under team control for another 3 years) would be untouchable.
If you are looking for that big deal, keep your eyes open over the next 10-12 days. Recent years have shown that most big deals are consummated before the actual deadline.