Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trade Rumors! Hooray!

With the trading deadline less than a week away , here's a quick look at trade rumors involving the favorite teams of some of this site's loyal readers. Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors, a very Gammonsesque source.

Boston Red Sox

Their fans invade our ballpark, and now I have to lead off the article with them? For some reason, the Sox haven't found a spot for Wily Mo Pena's talent, so he's a name that comes up often. In return, Boston may try to get Octavio Dotel or Reggie Sanders. With the high price the Yankees are being asked for Mark Teixeira (see below), the Sox have become the frontrunner for the Rangers first baseman. Presumably, Kevin Youkilis would move back to third and Mike Lowell would find a new home. (Interestingly enough, Teixeira started as a third baseman but moved to first when blocked by Hank Blalock. But I doubt he'll move back to the hot corner at this stage in his career.)
The Sox really want to improve their bullpen - why I don't know - with a guy like Akinori Otsuka of Texas or Chad Qualls of Houston. Boston was rumored to have scouts looking at Dodgers third base superprospect Andy LaRoche, but it is unclear who the Dodgers would want in return. Boston has wanted Bobby Kielty for a few weeks, and they may get him now that Oakland has designated him for assignment.
Looking ahead, the Red Sox may try to wine and dine Alex Rodriguez this offseason. That's what you call a slight improvement over Julio Lugo.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have already made some moves, shipping off Mark Barrett and replacing him later with Jason Kendall. Kendall brings veteran leadership, but his arm isn't what it used to, and the Cubs still don't have a receiver who can hit. They also shipped off Cesar Izturis and his contract to the Pirates to make sure Ryan Theriot and Ronny Cedeno get proper playing time.
What are the Cubs still looking for? The first thing is another bat in the outfield, with names like Adam Dunn, Xavier Nady, Jermaine Dye, Jeff Conine, and Ken Griffey, Jr. The presence of Dunn, Nady, and Conine on that list may also indicate that the Cubs are looking a bat that can play first base when Derek Lee is out of the lineup. Conine was rumored to be dealt straight up for Jacque Jones, but with Jones' improved play that may not happen. The Cubs are also looking at the pitching being made available by the White Sox, notably Jose Contreras. Zach Greinke of the Royals is a wildcard name. He's still only 23 and can pop the upper 90s out of the bullpen, but don't close the book on him as a starter yet. Still, I imagine his price will be high.

Cleveland Indians

There was a rumor that the Indians were looking at Kenny Lofton, but that was quickly squashed. Lofton quickly becomes disgruntled when he can't play center or bat leadoff. In Cleveland, both of those jobs belong to Grady Sizemore. Lofton would have played left and hit second. Theoretically, hitting him leadoff with Sizemore second would be effective, but I don't see Eric Wedge doing that.
The big thing the Indians are looking for is bullpen help. Specifically, they're looking at late-inning guys who can pitch the 8th in front of Joe Borowski, or fill in at closer if Borowski fails. The big name is Eric Gagne, but the Indians are not on the list of teams he wants to play for, and he wouldn't accept a "demotion" to setup man anyways. Octavio Dotel is another option, but Dotel is very popular and the Royals may set a high price because of that. The Indians are willing to trade prospects, but are not willing to trade can't miss guys like they did in the '90s with Brian Giles and Sean Casey. (The list of modern-day Caseys and Gileses includes Adam Miller, Franklin Gutierrez, and Ben Francisco. It may or may not include Aaron Laffey, who is rumored to make a showcase start later this week.) The darkhorse favorite among the blogging community is the very affordable and very effective Joaquin Benoit of Texas. The Indians are also looking at Jose Contreras, which is not a bad idea with both Clifford Lee and Jake Westbrook struggling.

New York Mets

The Mets are littered throughout trade rumors this July. It seems like everyone wants Lastings Milledge, or at least Carlos Gomez, so it will be interesting to see if the Metropolitans part with either of their young outfield talents. The White Sox have Jermaine Dye and Javier Vazquez, and the Southsiders have been looking for a centerfielder ever since trading away Aaron Rowand. (Coincidentally, they considered trying to reacquire Aaron Rowand earlier this year.) The Mets are looking at just about every reliever available on the market, including half of the relievers in the state of Texas. The Royals are asking for, surprise surprise, a centerfielder in return for Octavio Dotel. The Mets are also considering Chad Cordero, Akinori Otsuka, Salomon Torres, Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler, and Chad Qualls. The Nats are asking for both Milledge and Mike Pelfrey for Cordero. The Mets are willing to trade Pelfrey if necessary, but he and Milledge are a lot to ask for in return for a guy who peaked last year and is already on the decline. But if the Nats throw Livan Hernandez in the deal, it starts to even out. Almost. Rumor has it that Lidge isn't available, but Wheeler and Qualls have been very popular names. The Mets may also try to pick up Mark Loretta from the Astros. Loretta has played all 4 infield spots this year, and he still hits well enough to be one of the best second basemen in the league. But the Mets may wait until the offseason and attempt to sign Luis Castillo. Reyes and Castillo up the middle and leading off the ballgame - imagine that combination! While we're looking at 2008, the Mets may attempt to dump Paul Lo Duca and add Ronny Paulino from the Pirates.

New York Yankees

Predictably, the Yankees are after the biggest names on the market. That means Gagne and Teixeira of the Rangers. But the Rangers are asking Philip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain for Teixeira. Those are the Yankees' two top prospects, which means that if they got rid of them, they'd have to shut down their minor league system for lack of players. The Yankees need help at first base, and have tried to offer Scott Proctor for Oakland's Dan Johnson. Johnson doesn't really hit well enough to play first base, and that's when he's actually doing well. Yeah, he'll survive in the Bronx. Another option is Troy Glaus, who could play first and back up Rodriguez at third. Speaking of backups, Mark Loretta and Wilson Betemit have seen interest from the Yankees, but I'm not sure why that's news. The Yankees have also scouted White Sox starter Jon Garland. Other than that, they're looking to dump payroll. Bobby Abreu has lost motivation again, which is sad considering his talent. Proctor and Rowdy Kyle Farnsworth are names out of the bullpen that frequently come up in Yankees rumors.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are actually making some noise this July. They're openly trying to pry Jarrod Saltalamachia away from the Braves. Saltalamachia is blocked by Brian McCann in Atlanta, and the Braves seem reluctant to move him to first base despite a complete lack of production from that position this year. A lineup centered around Jason Bay, Adam LaRoche, and Salty would definitely be a step in the right direction for Pittsburgh. The Dodgers are also rumored to be offering Matt Kemp. Both the Braves and the Dodgers want starter Ian Snell. Considering the way Tom Gorzelanny has developed,that may not be too bad of a deal for the Buccos. There was also a rumor that the Blue Jays were interested in Jack Wilson, but I'm not sure why. The Jays are looking to upgrade offense at short, but Wilson has always been a defensive guy. Is he really that much of an improvement over John MacDonald? Toronto may have already changed its mind, but if this trade goes down, the Bucs may get Troy Glaus.

Seattle Mariners

The M's are in position to make a push at the wildcard, and they're going to make a run for it. They're trying to unload Richie Sexson, but no one wants to pay $14 million for a guy who's hitting .197. Looking to upgrade offense, the Mariners are eyeing Jermaine Dye, Dmitri Young, and Ken Griffey, Jr. The M's already have three 1B/DH types in Sexson, Ben Broussard, and Jose Vidro, so one of those would have to go if Young was added. Not to say that Young wouldn't be an improvement over any of those guys, because he would. But he's certainly no outfielder or third baseman anymore (if he ever was a third baseman). To support Felix Hernandez, Seattle is looking at Dontrelle Willis, who the Mariners vehemently deny being available, and Livan Hernandez. Even if Willis was available, Florida president burned the bridge to Seattle by publicly bad mouthing the Ichiro signing. Hernandez, of course, could possibly be packaged with Willis for some young talent.