My favorite trade deadline in all of sports is baseball’s July deadline. Basketball might be a close second, but baseball is the most interesting for both teams involved in a trade. Pretty much anyone could go anywhere. In basketball, we only see trades that fit within contract constraints hence the creation of the ESPN trade machine. Basketball also has a lot of players that are disgruntled with their current team only to be shipped away for basically nothing, so the talent traded isn’t all that exciting except for the team that gets the big name player. In baseball, we at least see talent traded for talent. You’re either a team building for the future, and stocking the farm system with prospects or you are going to improve your team to compete for a championship that year by sacrificing your farm system. In short, you get trades that actually make sense for both clubs kind of like when your a kid trading baseball cards with a friend. Even if it’s a high risk high reward proposition for all teams involved. Sure we may not know who the AAA guys are that were in the trade off hand, but if you’re a fan of that crappy team that just gave away their star, you instantly have hope for the future, and want to see these guys called up as soon as possible. I doubt the A’s will be wheeling and dealing since they have little to offer other teams. Maybe we can get a couple of project guys for Sheets, but I’m not holding my breath at this point. Here’s a few guys that I think could make an impact on a contending team that sound like they are on the block.
Pitchers – Obviously Cliff Lee was by far the best pitcher on the market, and he was gone before we could even start the rumor mongering about him. After him there isn’t a whole lot of big names out there, but there’s a few impact players that could make a difference.
Dan Haren – It sounds like the D-Backs want more than a kings ransom of prospects for Haren, and it’s doubtful that teams are willing to give that much up to get him, but if someone can pull of a deal to grab him, he’s by far the best pitcher in the market. He usually doesn’t do as well in the 2nd half of the season, but it’s hard to say adding an ace of his status isn’t worth it for anyone seriously contending for a pennant. The Twins desperately need someone of his pedigree. He’s also not a short term fix since he’s locked up through 2012, so it’s a move that could yield more than one playoff run.
Roy Oswalt – It’s tough to see a lot of teams wanting to give up a ton of prospects, AND have to pay Oswalt $25M on top of that. Plus, he has a no trade clause that would make things even more tricky, but then again I’m sure you could persuade him to waive that clause if he has a chance at pitching some meaningful games. He made a trade demand, but made his small list of teams that he’d like to go to… Houston might have to send some cash in any deal made.
Joakim Soria – I think the Royals must be riding the short yellow bus thinking they are in the race, but somehow, in spite of their record each year, they seem to think they are. I don’t think they’ll trade away one of their only players worth having on the roster, unless they get some godfather offer from someone. They’d deal Soria five times before Grienke though, or he would be on the list as well.
Ted Lilly, Ricky Nolasco, Jake Westbrook, Edwin Jackson, Kevin Millwood, and Wandy Rodriguez – None of these starters are going to be an ace for teams, but they might be cheaper to get than the other guys mentioned above. I like Lilly and Nolasco the most of the bunch. I don’t see any of them really making a huge impact on teams unless a team like the Yankees needs to grab someone they know can hold down the fort while others get healthy from injuries.
Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor, Kerry Wood, Brandon Lyon, Kevin Gregg, David Aardsma, and Aaron Heilman – These are all guys you could bolster that bullpen with. Everyone needs some reliable guys that they can call on in a sticky situation. Some of these guys might not be sexy names or guys you’d really be all that excited about if your team traded for them, but they will be invaluable in bridging that gap to the closer.
Hitters – There aren’t a ton of teams looking for hitters, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Giants, Angels, Padres, and possibly the Cardinals try to make a move that would improve their offenses.
Prince Fielder – It’s pretty unlikely any offer they will receive would match what they want for him. He’s as big a name as you could find on the trading block, but it sounds like there’s not many ways he’d actually be traded. It’s more likely he ends up being traded over the off season than the July deadline.
Jayson Werth – The Phillies haven’t given the five tool outfielder a new contract that he was asking for. If they keep playing mediocre ball, and fall behind the Mets and Braves further than they are, don’t be shocked if Werth is moved for the right price. I can’t think of many teams in the hunt that couldn’t use an upgrade in the outfield.
Corey Hart – The more likely player to leave the Brew crew. He’s only moving if they get some pitching in return, it’s just a matter of what teams are willing to give up. The Giants sound intriguing possibly giving up Sanchez or Bumgarner, and Corey would provide Buster Posey some protection or vice versa.
David Dejesus – He’s in the same boat as Soria with a breakout season this year. It would be nice to see him in another uniform playing some meaningful games, but for some reason Kansas City’s front office always thinks it’s still in the race.
Adam Dunn – He’s the big guy that a lot of teams will look at as a rental with a solid track record of performing. I hope he doesn’t don the Angel red in place of injured Kendry Morales, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they did pull out a trade as an answer to division leading Rangers big move in acquiring Cliff Lee.
Everyone else on the Marlins, Blue Jays, Astros, Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Orioles – All of these teams have some interesting players that could help a team out. None are extremely exciting, but are guys that could mildly upgrade a position for a playoff bound team. Should be fun when it gets closer to the deadline!