ESPN gave us our first of what is assuredly many of trade deadline columns this week. Of course, in all its ESPN glory, it didn’t actually throw in any useful deals or any target teams, so what the hey, I’ll do it for them.
Mark Teixeira: Let’s start with the most obvious. Jason Giambi could be out for the season. Doug Mienkiewicz may be dead. Right now the Yankee options at first base are Josh Phelps (what’s the direct opposite of a Gold Glove?) and Johnny Damon (No joke. You think he can make a throw home from first base? I’m desperate to find out). Teixeira is a free agent next year and it’s doubtful he’ll re-sign with the team so it’d be unsurprising to see him offloaded to the Yankees. One has to wonder: Teixeira is a Boras client, so will Tex get snowjobbed into signing with the Rangers again after he’s already played there and knows how much it sucks?
Eric Gagne: I can’t imagine any team giving up anything substantial for Gagne, who’s hurt as much as anyone these days. However, if they packaged him with Teixeira to the Yankees, they could probably get Kyle Farnsworth or some of their interchangeable bullpen guys.
Rich Harden: Could you let a team actually fall out of contention before you start trying to give it’s players away? And also, beware of Beane bearing gifts. Harden’s pitched a full season exactly once in his career.
Junior: Three words: Angels’ Designated Hitter. The Angels desperately need a bat and Junior desperately needs to stop playing outfield. Cincinnati is pitiful and I’d like to see Junior with a chance to win something before he retires.
Brad Lidge: Lidge is unhappy as a set-up guy and wants to return to a closer role. After nearly pitching himself out of a job in April, he seems to gotten over his Screaming Pujols Disorder (note, I wanted to include a link to the video of Pujols 1700 ft home run off Lidge, but MLB Advanced Media had it removed. Because, you know, it would have damaged baseball for people to be allowed to watch that videoâ€¦ well, people other than Brad Lidge). With Houston out of both races and a shortage of competent bull-pen help around the league, I expect them to aggressively shop Lidge. There seem to be two legit destinations for Lidge: The Giants and the Phillies. The Giants shipped closer Armando Benitez off to Florida (essentially for free as they’re picking up $4.7 million of the $5 million left on Benitez’s contract) after a trademarked double-balk meltdown at Shea Stadium. Out in Philly, Tom Gordon has remembered he isn’t a closer and he remembered it so hard that it blew out his rotator cuff. The Phillies and the Giants both desperately need bull-pen help and Lidge fits the bill perfectly.
Chad Cordero: In case you missed a meeting, the other Cordero is the big business now. This Cordero, on the other hand, is a good closer on a crappy team. Washington also seems to be over-rating what they can get for him because he can’t be a free agent until 2009. I can’t even begin to imagine which team he’d go to because the Nationals needâ€¦ wellâ€¦ everything. That said, when Nick Johnson comes back off the DL in the coming month or so, the Yankees might very much be interested in Cordero/Johnson deal for the same reasons they’re interested in Teixeira/Gagne above.
Todd Helton: It’s been no secret that the Red Sox have been sniffing around Helton for about two years now. The problem with Helton has always been the enormous amount of backload on his contract and a blanket no-trade clause. However, it’s always been said that the Red Sox would be a legitimate contender. As of last season, when he failed to exercise a JD Drew-esque opt-out clause in his contract, that means any team who takes him off the Rockies are on the hook for a cool $70 million through 2011. The deal I actually proposed in a Fark thread about two weeks ago (which seemed perfectly legitimate to me) was Mike Lowell’s expiring deal and prospects to the Rockies and get Helton in return. This puts Youklis at third, Helton at first, and gives them Papi, Manny, Helton, Youklis, and Drew at the center of their line-up. It gives the Rockies no more gigantic contract. I was immediately told that the Red Sox would never trade off Mike Lowell because he was a “gamer” and apparently a Son of Boston now. I forgot the rule that 12 solid months in a Red Sox uniform = Boston Folk Hero. I then remembered why I never try to logically discuss trades with Sawk’s fans.
For the record, Mike Lowell’s the first minority “gamer” ever.
Carlos Zambrano: There are a disturbing number of Mets’ fans who want to see the Mets make a play on Carlos Zambrano. I feel this would be worth it just to see who would win in a fist-fight between him and Paul Lo Duca (for the record, I got a dime on Duke in a walk). Realistically, the Mets have no incentive (at the moment) to do any deadline deals for starting pitching. Two weeks after the trade deadline, their rotation is looking to be Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, El Duque, Oliver Perez, and John Maine. Why in the world would they give up anything for a maniac who they could, if they wanted, try to sign for free next season? It makes no sense. If I had to make two bold predictions: the Cubs aren’t trading off any parts in a year they gave out a bazillion dollars worth of contracts and no one is giving up anything for Zambrano.
Dontrelle Willis: Another guy who way too many Met fans want. Somewhere along the lines, my people got the idea that we can send the Marlins a pile of AA prospects to get Willis. Meanwhile, when you start telling them what you HAVE to give up (ready to give up Reyes? No? Alright then) they balk. Willis is a pie in the sky idea and stupid considering what I mentioned above. You know when Dontrelle’s a free agent? 2009. You know when Pedro’s, Duque’s, and Glavine’s contracts are up? 2009. Willis is not going anywhere unless you blow the Marlins away. In other news, Willis only ever pitches lights-out for half the season. Is it going to be the second half this year?
Mark Buehrle: This guy, on the other hand, might be a rental worth taking if the Sox decide to be sellers. For whatever reason, the White Sox have collectively decided that hitting is over-rated (except for Jim Thome which might have been one of the most under-discussed, best trades of 2005-2006 offseason). If the White Sox DO turn into sellers, there are a ton of teams that will likely come asking about Buehrle, including the Braves, Phillies, and Dodgers; all of whom will probably be buyers and all of whom need a bump at starting pitching.