Sorry for the delay. I am currently on vacation and have been backed up. Author of this blog is vinceyoung, mlb contributor
With just eleven days to go until the trading deadline, teams must decide if they are buyers or sellers. Welcome to the eBAY of Major League Baseball
Major League Trade Talk Heats Up
Suppose you are the general manager of the New York Yankees. Your team has a payroll of almost $200 million, and yet they are still seven games out of both the American League Eastern Division and Wild Card races. Sure, you've had some good runs, most recently winning six out of seven coming off the All-Star break. But, historically speaking (excluding 1978), the Yankees are not likely to play baseball come October. So what should you do? Keep the team intact and hope for a big push in August, or roll up the tents and trade away some high-priced veterans for young talent. This is the decision that perplexes, and sometimes tortures, many a g.m. come the trading deadline.
Here is the talk around Major League offices concerning which players are headed out the door, and which players are staying put.
The Biggest Trade Bait Out There
"Anybody not named Mariano Rivera." The aforementioned Yankees gneral manager has made it clear to any interested teams that every relief pitcher on the Yankees is available. Except Mariano Rivera. That means that set-up men Kyle Farnsworth, Brian Bruney, Scott Proctor and Ron Villone can all be had for a song. Unfortunately for the Yankees, based on the way this group has pitched, that song might be something as awful as "Ice-Ice Baby."
Andy Pettitte. The big lefty with 191 career wins is coveted by the surging Seattle Mariners. But the Yankees have said "no dice" to the M's. Don't take this one off the board, though. At $13 million, Pettitte is a pricey 5-game winner, and he could bring back a nice package from the northeast.
Eric Gagne. A year ago, nobody but nobody could have foreseen that Eric Gagne would be pitching in the majors, let alone be a hot trade prospect. But that Tommy John-repaired arm of his has been rock solid for the Texas Rangers, going 2-0 with 14 saves and a Billy Bunter-small ERA of 1.23. His top suitor as of July 15th was reputed to be the Detroit Tigers. But over the past few days, the Rangers may have finally seen what they have in the former Cy Young winner, and, according to a Canadian newspaper, are very close to inking Gagne to a one-year, $8 million extension. (Source: Le Journal de Montreal)
Jermaine Dye. He was gold in 2006, but he's just the tin man in 2007. The Providence (R.I.) Journal nixed rumors that Dye was on his way to play right field for the Red Sox, who just dumped $70 million on the good-for-nothing J.D. Drew to play there. But several teams remain contenders for the talented, but currently underachieveing Dye, including the Mets, Dodgers, Padres and Angels.
Joe Nathan. The way Pat Neshek is pitching in the set-up role (6-0, 1.49 ERA and 60 Ks in 48 IP), it wouldn't be surprising if the Minnesota Twins traded closer Joe Nathan, who is marketable because he's signed for a relatively meager $6 million next year. They'd be looking for a cheap hitter (why not starter?) claims the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and would use the savings on a new deal for Johan Santana (oh yeah).
Octavio Dotel. The Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers have expressed interest in former Yankee and current Kansas City Royals closer Octavio Dotel (2-1, 3.15 ERA, 10 Saves). If Dotel is moved, Joakim Soria could take over as closer in K.C. (Source: Kansas City Star).
Mark Teixiera. It's nice to be loved. This big, slugging Texas Rangers first baseman (.302, 13 HR, 45) is wanted by the Angels, Dodgers, Mariners and the Atlanta Braves, all of whom are trying to work out a deal, according to the Dallas Morning News. The 27-year old is a free agent after the 2008 season, so look for him to ask for a trade and sign deal right no to avoif the free agent waters.
The One Team Missing From the Mix
One has to wonder what the Philadelphia Phillies are thinking. This is a team with an offense that can (literally) score 15 runs on any given night, but has the pitching staff of the 1976 San Bernardino Bad News Bears (before Amanda and her two-foot curveball arrived).
Yet they aren't looking for a starter, a set-up man (or woman, that's fine), or a closer. It seems that Phillies ownership is happy winning 80-85 games a year, selling out their gorgeous new park almost every night, and finishing in second or third place every year. Some would call that a disgrace. The least thing they could do for their fans is sign softball superstar hurler Jenny Finch, who would certainly be more effective than Adam Eaton and his 6.00 ERA.