With the trade deadline just around the corner on July 31st, some names are starting to trend as possibilities to be dealt. The key will be determining who the Buyers and Sellers are in this year’s market. With the inclusion of a second Wild Card team in play, teams are waiting longer and longer to see what they really are. The Philadelphia Phillies would be a prime example of this. Currently sitting at 46-47, and a mere 6 games out of the wild card spot, they would appear to be Buyers. But it is an aging team that could just as easily fall out of the playoff race, as it could get hot. Reliever Jonathan Papelbon and veteran third baseman Michael Young are both players that, if dealt, have the potential to dramatically change the playoff race. Another team, who is believed to be a seller sitting 10 games off the Wild Card pace at 41-50, is the Chicago Cubs. While it appears they may have changed their minds on dealing starting pitcher Matt Garza, they still have a couple of nice pieces, most notably outfielder Alfonso Soriano and shortstop Starlin Castro. Yes, I said it Starlin Castro. Although his performance so far this year has his stock down, he could still draw a nice return due to his age and past performance. The Cubs are still a few years off, and have some major talent in the makings down on the farm. Two of those top prospects are shortstops in Javier Baez and , both of whom look to be Major Leaguers. Add first round draft pick (#2 overall), third baseman Kris Bryant (21) to the mix, and the team has a plethora of infielders – not to mention their first baseman Anthony Rizzo is also very young (24 in August) and here to stay. I think the Cubs would be wise to see what they could get now for Castro, in the event his season is more a trend than an aberration.
‘13 Day (HiA) .274 Avg, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 59 Runs, 12 SB, .873 OPS, 299 AB’s
’13 Ten (AA) .194 Avg, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 Runs, 0 SB, .606 OPS, 31 AB’s
’13 Ten (AA) .280 Avg, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 47 Runs, 22 SB, .829 OPS, 339 AB’s
Kris Bryant (San Diego College)
’13 SD (NCAA) .329 Avg, 31 HR, 62 RBI, 80 Runs, 7 SB, 1.314 OPS, 228 AB’s
As for Soriano, he has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the past few weeks, showing that he can still get it done. At 37, his career is winding down, and as happy as he is in Chicago he really wants to be in the postseason. He could certainly help any team with championship dreams, including the one he started his career with. While the New York Yankees don’t have much to offer in the way of prospects, they could provide financial relief for the Cubs, and could desperately use Soriano’s bat in their suddenly weak lineup. Would ex-nemesis Theo Epstein be willing to do them that favor, the answer is highly unlikely.
On the other side of town, there has been a lot of talk about Chris Sale being offered. Although there is no sign the White Sox are interested in trading him, there has been a lot of buzz they should consider it, due to his pitching mechanics and the perception he will eventually have arm troubles. While I can understand that logic, I happen to think they would be foolish to move Sale, and the reason for that has been the pitching of Jose Quintana. Quintana has been improving with each start and is still just 24 years old. Together with Sale, they make a formidable rotation that the team can build around. While first base/designated hitter Paul Konerko could bring them a younger player in return, it is doubtful the White Sox would be willing to move the fan favorite.
While everyone is aware of the New York Mets talented young pitchers, they are also aware of their woefully anemic offense. When there is not much life in the lineup, opportunities will present themselves and Marlon Byrd has capitalized on his chances. At 35 years of age, his stock has never been higher, and the more he has played the better he has been. Recent reports say General Manager Sandy Alderson is looking to hold on to Byrd, but you have to assume this is posturing as there is no way Byrd can be in future Met plans. Another player the Mets have, who can be of value to a contending team, is reliever Bobby Parnell. There haven’t been many save chances for Parnell this season, and though he has been mostly effective, he hasn’t capitalized on all of his chances. Despite some of his struggles, he still could bring back a player the Mets can use in their future. One last team to mention as Sellers, and oh what a drop off it’s been, is the San Francisco Giants. Yes the same team that won it all last year, and two of the last three seasons. Almost 10 games under .500, they have dug themselves a deep hole, and should probably let the thought of repeating leave their minds. While they still have plenty of pieces, including some young, their depth in the minor league system is among the weakest in all of baseball. The one stud prospect they currently have is starting pitcher Kyle Crick. They would be wise to deal some of their stars while they can still get some value for them, most notably infielder Marco Scutaro, reliever Sergio Romo, and even outfielder Angel Pagan. All three of these players can help replenish the minor league system, and shouldn’t be counted on for future Giants plans.
With the recent influx of youth in the game, and some more in the next wave of prospects, many teams want to get younger, and quickly. This could add to the list of Sellers at a rapid pace, depending on how teams come out after the All Star break. I expect there to be a lot of deals taking place over the next two weeks, as there are a lot of difference makers available. All we can do now is sit back and enjoy the show.
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