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Trade Deadline Looms


A legitimate heat wave is sweeping the northwest, and my computer doesn't do well once it gets above about 70 degrees. With 90-100 degree heat for days on end, updating the musings has proven difficult, and will likely stay that way through the trade deadline. However, too much is going on to stay completely silent. This year's trade deadline is shaping up to be a pretty decent one. First of all, a recap of some deals over the past couple days:
  • The Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt from the Indians for minor leaguer Connor Graham. Colorado gets needed help in the bullpen. Cleveland gets a young starter that is sneaky good. Somehow Graham keeps the ball in the yard in the California league. Decent deal for both sides, but I'd say Cleveland got the better end of it.
  • The Giants acquired Ryan Garko from the Indians for minor leaguer Scott Barnes. The Giants acquired some offense, which they desperately needed. Garko is relatively young, so he could be more than a short-term answer. As for Cleveland, they got a promising young pitching prospect. Barnes has an ERA under 3.00 in the California League, which is remarkable. He's a bit of a fly ball pitcher, but clearly hitters struggle to square up his pitches. Barnes is also a lefty, only increasing his value. This is definitely a trade that helps both teams. The Giants have pitching galore, but need offense. The Indians are okay on offense, but really need young pitchers. Both teams win in what looks like a very fair deal on paper.
  • The Red Sox acquired Brian Anderson from the White Sox for Mark Kotsay. Kotsay was designated for assignment by Boston, so the trade is not shocking. Anderson is in some ways a younger version of Kotsay, though Kotsay in his prime was a superior hitter and defender. Still, Boston turned a non-asset at this point into a player with a similar skillset they can control for a few years. Anderson didn't fit in with Chicago at this point, and I'm not sure how Kotsay will fit any better. In the end, it's probably a next-to-meaningless deal, but I'd give a slight advantage to Boston.

At this point, what's way more interesting are the potential deals. Here are my bold predictions, based mostly on my gut and a little bit on rumors. I have no inside information at all, but I enjoy intrepid guesses as much as anyone:
  • Victor Martinez is not going to be traded. It sounds to me like Cleveland's ownership loves him too much. He's not that expensive for how valuable he is either. With Ryan Garko traded, Cleveland can play Victor at first base more if they really want to give Carlos Santana a chance to play in the majors. Travis Hafner is starting to look old in the DH spot too. The bottom line is that Santana and Martinez can co-exist on Cleveland's roster, so clearing room for Carlos is not an issue.
  • Roy Halladay is not going to be traded. Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi has really botched this deal in my opinion. He said way too much in the media, though Halladay is a remarkable professional and did not let it impact his performance. Additionally, if some of the rumored deals nixed are true, I think Toronto's asking price has been too low. Still, with a low asking price, they can't get something done. I don't see a team trading the farm for Roy at this point, given how expensive he is, and that he is only signed through 2010.
  • Cliff Lee is going to be traded to the Rays. I doubt Tampa Bay ever seriously entered the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, given how expensive he is. There are a few too many whispers about the Rays trying to make a big splash for them to not be looking to make a deal though. I'd put my money on Lee. He is much more affordable than Halladay for the next few years, and he complements the power arms that Tampa Bay has quite nicely. My guess is that Lee lands in Tampa Bay as part of a three-way deal that sends Kazmir to the third team involved, and both Tampa and the third team sends prospects to the Indians.
  • Jarrod Washburn is going to be traded to the Phillies. At this point, Philadelphia has to have some pressure to acquire a starting pitcher. They've aggressively pursued Roy Halladay, but that deal is falling through. They will (or perhaps already have) turned their attention to Cliff Lee, but I like my darkhorse Rays to nab him. That leaves the Phillies scrambling with only a few days to go to get a legitimate starting pitcher. Since they've already convinced themselves they can part with some good prospects to get a good pitcher to help them now, I think a deal between the M's and Phillies could happen quickly. Surely shortstop Jason Donald would look interesting to Jack Z. Throw in a guy like Carlos Carrasco too and that might be enough, unless a bidding war over Washburn happens between all the teams that lost out on Halladay and Lee.
  • Freddy Sanchez is going to the Giants. It makes way too much sense to not happen. I don't know who San Francisco will give up, but it will happen.
  • Jack Wilson will not be traded. His expiring contract is not as big of a problem as Sanchez's vesting option, so I think Pittsburgh will focus on dealing Freddy. The Pirates will run out of time to put together a deal they like to ship Wilson away.
  • The Twins will acquire Orlando Cabrera. Talks have heated up, and he seems quite expendable by the A's at this point. A deal is not imminent, but the two sides are talking, and will meet in the middle by July 31.
  • The Brewers will acquire Justin Duchscherer. They don't want to mortgage much of their future, and Justin should come cheap since he has been injured. He'll certainly come cheaper than Halladay or Lee, or even Jarrod Washburn at this point.
  • Adrian Gonzalez isn't going anywhere, but Heath Bell is. Too many teams want relievers, and San Diego has too many holes. My sleeper team to get Bell is the Angels. They seem determined to make a deal, and while they'd like a starting pitcher, I'm sure they would like the idea of Bell and Fuentes nailing down the end of ballgames. They could offer someone like Sean Rodriguez to San Diego, or maybe even Jose Arredando. That's purely speculation though.

The deadline should be fun. I think there will be significant movement, regardless of what happens with bigger guys like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Too many teams in contention have glaring holes that they can patch with trades. I'm looking forward to seeing what deals actually happen, and if any of my "educated" random guesses come to fruition.