July 20, 2006


MLB Trade Rumors

I've decided to make the trade deadline preview a weekly thing. That means that, after last Thursday's post and today's post, I will do one more post previewing the deadline next Thursday, with four days left before the deadline. Things should be even crazier by then. Right now, there's still plenty of rumors to discuss. These are the rumors I've gathered from all the sources I could find, so in my opinion, it's the most complete source around. (Until I find somewhere else I haven't found yet). There isn't any "inside" info I have recieved directly; just a lot of free time spent surfing the web and trying to determine fact from fiction. I'll sort the discusstion by team to make my ramblings easier to read.

Boston - The Red Sox are searching hard for a starter, but there aren't many options. *All-Star* Mark Redman would make a lot of sense in Boston. They also have been interested in the White Sox's avaliable starters, Javier Vazquez and Freddy Garcia. It also looks like they need a reliever - one rumor has them sending Rudy Seanez or Julian Tavarez to Colorado for Ray King. Boston also may move Wily Mo Pena for a pitcher; interested suitors include the Cubs and Nationals.

Yankees - The Yankees have two needs - pitching and an outfielder. There have been many, many rumors about the Yankees trading for Soriano or Abreu (Steinbrenner recently stated that he prefers Soriano to Abreu), but it seems more likely that they deal for a lesser talent. Some of the players the Yankees have shown interest in: Shawn Green (D-Backs), Jose Guillen (Nationals), Kevin Mench (Rangers), and Reggie Sanders (Royals). But it seems like they should focus more on their largest need, which is pitching depth. As Keith Law said the other day, "Torre is going to grind Rivera into a half a pound of cake flour by Labor Day if he doesn't get another reliever he can trust." They have had talks with Pittsburgh about Roberto Hernandez and with Chicago about Scott Williamson.

Toronto - The Blue Jays' main mission at this point is to trade Shea Hillenbrand, who was cut yesterday after a strange dispute between him and the team. Right now, the most likely destination seems to be the Padres, who need a third baseman. Other places he could land include the Angels, Rangers, or Twins. They had been talking about trading Hillenbrand to the Angels Adam Kennedy even before this incident, though those talks have subsided recently. The Jays also may or may not be interested in Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo.

Baltimore - Are the Orioles buyers or sellers? They're way out of the race, and they should try to rebuild and move on, but they have been involved in some talks for bigger names. Peter Angelos is notoriously impatient, and unless they blow things up and try to stock some prospects, they're going to remain at the bottom of the AL East for the rest of the decade. According to reports, Angelos said two weeks ago that All-star shortstop Miguel Tejada will not be traded. But Tejada's name has still been rumored in all kinds of deals, the most recent of which has him going to Houston. They can never decide what to do, and they always make the wrong decision - the Orioles could become the New York Knicks of baseball in a couple years, you heard it here first. The Orioles also are likely to move pitcher Rodrigo Lopez - the Mets are the most likely destination, though they've talked with the Phillies about including him in a deal for Abreu or Pat Burrell. Arizona, St. Louis, San Diego, Texas, and the Yankees have also been interested in Lopez.

Tampa Bay - Right now, Julio Lugo is the only Devil Ray on the market, now that they've traded away Aubrey Huff. Toronto is probably in the market for Lugo, as are the Mets.

Detroit - The Tigers need a left-handed bat. They've been involved in talks for both big names (Soriano and Abreu). Soriano may not be a good fit for the Tigers - he's right-handed, and the Tigers' biggest offensive need is on-base percentage, a stat Soriano doesn't help much in (though Abreu would serve that need nicely). To get Soriano, the Tigers would likely have to trade away top pitching prospect Humberto Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens, plus another player. The St. Paul Pioneer Press said that the Tigers are close to acquiring Abreu, though I believe Jim Leyland said that there had been no talks between them and the Phillies. The Tigers also had some interest in Tejada, though he most likely won't end up there. Another option for the Tigers is to not deal for anybody - they have Dimitri Young returning to their team soon, so they might not need another bat.

White Sox - The White Sox are looking for relief help, but Kenny Williams always has the potential to make some big blockbuster that nobody saw coming. The previously rumored Schmidt-for-McCarthy deal seems dead now, but the Sox are still trying to deal. They have some attractive trade bait in Javier Vazquez and Freddy Garcia, who both have ERAs over 5, but still are arguably the best pitchers on the market. There are not many relievers avaliable now, though they would certainly be interested in Tom Gordon if he were to become avaliable, and they seem to have interest in Pittsburgh's Roberto Hernandez.

Minnesota - If the Twins are going to make the playoffs, they're going to need a corner outfielder, now that Shannon Stewart and Torii Hunter have gone down with injuries (and Jason Kubel hasn't been 100% healthy either). If they do want to deal, Kevin Mench would be a possibility. But, realistically, they're probably going to wait 'till next year and not rush into any deals. There have been many of teams (including the Dodgers, Brewers, Cards and Yankees) scouting Kyle Lohse, though I have no idea whether or not he's avaliable.

Cleveland - The Indians have a lot of pieces that teams might want that the Indians are trying to move. They already dealt Bob Wickman to the Braves for a prospect (Max Ramirez), and Aaron Boone seems to be the other piece they are actively trying to ship. They also may deal 2B Ronnie Belliard or SP Jake Westbrook, but those deals don't seem as likely. One rumor has them dealing Boone to the Dodgers, presumably for some major-league ready prospects.

Kansas City - The Royals are a source of pitching for some other teams to trade for plunder. Mark Redman is the most obvious choice, though relievers Elmer Dessens, Jeremy Affeldt, and Mike MacDougal also could leave. The Royals are trying to package one of their relievers plus Angel Berroa to Colorado for Ryan Shealy.

Oakland - Billy Beane's been pretty quiet so far - a bit too quiet, some might say. Maybe Beane has a large deal up his sleeve, or maybe he's just content with his team. Barry Zito seems to be off the block for now, though they would be tempted to rethink that if the Mets were to offer top prospects Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman.

Anaheim LA Angels - The Angels have the pieces to deal for Soriano, but as I mentioned last week, they have a history of never trading their prospects for big names. They have given no indication so far that they intend to break that trend this year. Also, the Angels have OBP issues just as the Tigers do (see the Detroit section for more info), so Soriano might not be the best fit there either. They will likely try to move 2B Adam Kennedy to create space for young phenom Howie Kendrick to play every day, but so far they haven't had much luck.

Texas - The Rangers have been fairly quiet around the deadline, though they have some major holes in their rotation they have to fill if they want to win the division. On paper, the Rangers have arguably the best team in the West, but it's hard to see the Rangers going on a large run with guys like John Rheinecker and John Wasdin pitching every day. They also might trade away Kevin Mench, possibly to the Yankees for Shawn Chacon or to the Twins for a pitching prospect.

Seattle - Seattle has been pretty quiet of late, although they have been interested in Alfonso Soriano. They apparently have the pieces to get a deal done with the Nationals, but a deal seems unlikely - the Nats would demand top prospect Adam Jones in return (along with other prospects), who the Mariners say is not avaliable. Reliever Rafael Soriano is highly coveted, though I don't know if he's avaliable or not.

Mets - It's strange that the most action is revolving around a team that's 11 games in first place. But the Mets need pitching. That's pretty much all there is to it. Omar Minaya will do anything he can to try to get another pitcher in the rotation. Rookie Mike Pelfrey has been pretty good lately, but there's still another rotation slot that needs filling. The Mets have been interested in just about everybody on the block. Livan Hernandez still seems to be a likely name, but there are other rumors floating about. They've been interested in the White Sox's starters, Garcia and Vazquez. They've had talks with the A's about Zito, but they might be reluctant to make that deal (Oakland has requested Aaron Heilman and Lastings Milledge). They've been also hot in talks with Orioles' starter Rodrigo Lopez, which at one point seemed likely but has cooled off of late. They've scouted Miguel Batista and Juan Cruz of the Diamondbacks, though neither of them are likely to be traded. And now it seems like there may be a blockbuster on the horizon: The Mets and Phillies seem to be talking about a deal for Bobby Abreu, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The Mets would give up top prospect Lastings Milledge, along with some other prospects, to get Abreu.

Atlanta - They already filled their biggest need today with the Wickman deal (with Cleveland), to get another reliever. That could make the Braves the favorite in the wild-card race. I also saw a story about Greg Maddux returning to Atlanta, though I'm pretty sure it was mostly wishful thinking (the story was published in the Daily Southtown, if you want to find it).

Philly - GM Pat Gillick said that he would wait two weeks to determine whether or not the Phillies were a legit contender to make the postseason. He said that at the All-Star break, so they will likely wait another week or so before selling off their high-priced players. Two of the most sought-after players on that team are corner outfielders Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell. The Phillies have said that they will trade one of them, but not both. It might be difficult to get good talent back for either of them though; both players have large contracts. If Abreu gets dealt, he will recieve an extension on his contract for 2008 that would result in a club needing to pay him in the neighborhood of $33 million over the next two years. That price tag might scare away teams, as he's already 32 years old and he mysteriously lost his power about one year ago. But there are still a lot of teams with interest, including the Tigers and the Yankees. The Phils also have the best reliever on the market in Tom Gordon, if they wish to make him avaliable. In some late-breaking news, the Phils and Mets may have an Abreu deal in the works (see the Mets section for more detail).

Florida - The Marlins aren't really involved in any talks right now. Dontrelle Willis is off the block for now, and the Fish are happy with their stock of young players.

Washington - Obviously the biggest player here is Alfonso Soriano. Soriano has been rumored to go to the Tigers, Yankees, and basically everywhere on the West Coast. But, right now, the asking price may be a little too high. They're asking for three good prospects in return for Soriano, which might be too steep a price for a two-month rental. They also may deal Livan Hernandez (likely to the Mets) or Jose Guillen (probably to the Yankees, though that deal now seems unlikely).

St. Louis - The Cards really need to make a move if they're going to advance far in the playoffs (Wait, didn't I pick them to win the Series a week ago? Uggh...). They desperately need starting pitching, and they could really use a left fielder as well. Abreu would be a nice fit for the Cards, though I'm not sure they would want to pay him for the next three years. But don't ever count out GM Walt Jocketty as far as the deadline is concerned - he has made some blockbuster deals at the deadline in the past and could definitely do it again.

Cincy - The Reds already pulled off their big trade last week, and it looks like they'll enter August with pretty much the team they have right now.

Milwaukee - There was a rumor over the weekend that the Brewers contacted the Phillies about outfielder Bobby Abreu. However, there appears to be no truth to those rumors - GM Doug Melvin never even spoke to the Phillies, and the rumor was placed by an executive on another team. The Brewers have decided they're contenders, meaning Carlos Lee will not be traded.

Houston - Some stories broke today about Houston trying to work out a deal for Miguel Tejada. Baltimore's shortstop is supposedly off the block, but who knows what the Orioles are going to do next at this point? The Huff deal may free up Houston to deal Morgan Ensberg, presumably to the Padres. The Astros also are considering dealing for the Pirates' Damaso Marte, who helped the White Sox become champions last year, to bolster their bullpen. They're trying to deal Willy Tavares as well.

Cubs - Greg Maddux is certainly the biggest name being mentioned in trade talks, if not the most talented. Will his good outing yesterday jack up the price too high or will it pique other teams' interest? In a Jerry Crasnick survey (you can't read it unless you're an ESPN Insider), 13 of 15 GMs said Maddux would be traded, with the likely destination the Dodgers (and that was before yesterday). The Dodgers have more than enough talent to get a deal done, and one rumor I saw this morning had the Cubs packaging Maddux with third baseman Aramis Ramirez to LA, presumably for a few good prospects. They also may deal Scott Williamson, possibly to the Yankees. They apparently have interest in the Astros' Willy Tavares (that's just what the Cubs need - another poor-hitting, speedy centerfielder to go with Juan Pierre).

Pittsburgh - The Pirates have arguably the best reliever on the market in Roberto Hernandez, which could bring in some good talent, given the high price the Reds-Nats deal set for relievers and the lack of relievers on the market. Some talks have them sending Hernandez to the Yankees, though talks involving the Yankees are often overblown. Damaso Marte also may be avaliable for contenders looking for relief help. Sean Casey and Craig Wilson are both players who could be moved by the deadline.

LA Dodgers - If the Dodgers want to make a big splash, they certainly have the prospects to make a deal. Their farm system is arguably the most loaded in baseball, along with the Angels and Diamondbacks. They are looking for a third baseman - they have been involved with talks for the Indians' Aaron Boone and the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez. The aforementioned Maddux deal does make sense, and many baseball executives believe Maddux will end up in LA. I wouldn't be so optimistic, however - before yesterday's good start, Maddux was 2-10 with a 6.43 ERA since April. And the Cubs will be asking for a lot in return for the futer HOF'er.

San Diego - The Padres seem like the most likey destination for former Blue Jay Shea Hillenbrand, as they desperately need a third baseman. The biggest problem is that Hillenbrand is a poor defensive third baseman; he's a better fit as a first baseman. The Padres will also have interest in the Astros' Morgan Ensberg, if he's avaliable. Also, I read something this morning in SI.Com's Truth and Rumors about the Padres potentially dealing Brian Giles, though that seems extremely unlikely.

San Fransisco - The Giants gravely need a first baseman. There are no top-level players out there, but there are some servicable players the Giants could deal for. Craig Wilson (Pirates 1B) seems like the most likely option, though there is speculation that they could deal for the Orioles' Javy Lopez, who allegedly wants out of Baltimore.

Colorado - The Rockies are looking for relievers - possible deals include the aforementioned Ray King for Rudy Seanez swap with Boston, as well as trading with Kansas City for Elmer Dessens or Jeremy Affeldt.

Arizona - The D-Backs have talked with the Yankees about trading outfielder Shawn Green, and likely would not demand much back in return, as they're trying to dump Green's $9.5 million contract for next year and open space for prospects. If the Yankees look somewhere else (or even if they deal Green), the D-Backs may try to deal some of their many prospects for another pitcher (such as Jake Westbrook of the Indians), or just bide their time and let their prospects develop. There has been interest in starters Miguel Batista and Juan Cruz, though Arizona will be reluctant to deal either if they're still in contention.

Sources include ESPN.com, msn.foxsports.com, www.mlbtraderumors.com/, www.prosportsdaily.com/mlb/mlbrumors.html, sportsillustrated.cnn.com, and cbs.sportsline.com/.

Wow, I just spent 2 hours and 3,000 words on this post. Hopefully someone reads it...

i read it... i was surprised the rangers added another run producer instead of a pitcher.

although if i were them i think i would have done it too. i guess melvin wanted his guys back...
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