But one of the prime moments of the season is without question, the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.
Of course, baseball would have a complex system which devalues the magnitude of the final day of July, because for another month, contending teams can work via the waiver wire and acquire talent to add to their hopeful postseason roster. That deadline – August 31.
However, the biggest and most targeted names on the open market are traded before July 31. Last year, the local Rangers acquired ace Cliff Lee in the first days of July, initiating a chain reaction of transactions which transformed the Texas ballclub into American League Champions.
With that said, as much as I enjoy the trading deadline for personal reasons, (Rangers, Astros) it’s a national spectacle – particularly for fans of Major League Baseball. Here are some players who have been or have recently made their way to the trading block.
Earlier this year, at the NBA trading deadline, I wrote about the excitement of that event as well, and added self-predicted trade scenarios – which were concluded to be laughable in everyone's eyes except my own – even though none of the deals happened…oh, well. I was close...not.
So, sit back, relax, and read on about where the big, available names might end up...if they end up ending up somewhere at all!
Here we go… (Bud Light does not and will likely never endorse this blog, but I can use “Here we go,” right? Right…right.
Heath Bell, RP, San Diego Padres
Without a doubt, the best closer/relief pitcher available on a market that consists of many talented, and available, is Heath Bell. The Padres pitching is once again beyond sufficient, but there is absolutely no production from the other side of the baseball. (Don’t count the past series in Florida) But, when a game is close and there is a need for a shutdown duo in the final innings, the Padres have closer Heath Bell and also a highly regarded set-up man Mike Adams.
Among teams interested for both veterans are the Rangers, Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees and then the Angels are also curious about his cost. Bell will be a Type A free agent, meaning the Padres will likely receive two first round draft picks, unless some odd circumstance takes place, like not offering Bell arbitration – won’t happen.
Other relievers like Florida’s Leo Nune
z and Kansas City’s Joakim Soria could step in and become a new ballclub’s closer immediately, but Bell remains the top target, and like myself and all other fans of their team, I would love…love to have him.
Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros
This one is a surprising and very new revelation. Pence is undoubtedly the franchise player for arguably the worst team in baseball, and it would only seem natural that he would want to play for a contending team and the Astros might
want to bolster a well below average farm system. According to speculation, new management is putting pressure on General Manager Ed Wade to make a “blockbuster” trade to replenish a young plethora of talent in an organization that lacks the desired, aforementioned characteristics.
In the words of Stephen A. Smith,
Pence is an extremely rare talent, has been home grown and is an absolute fan favorite, not to mention the face of the franchise. It may be potentially beneficial to free him from a team in the doghouse and utilize his abilities with a much better team, and also to acquire what would definitely be a nice crop of young talent. The biggest mistake a bad team can make is failed transaction or perhaps a series of non-beneficial moves. There is much potential here, to potentially acquire Dominic Brown from Philly,
or Pedro Alvarez from Pittsburgh, but if I were Ed Wade I would tell the new owners that we need a cornerstone for o
ur team, and we can’t let a young, growing, superstar go. Yes, superstar.
Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Staying on the theme of surprisingly available, potential elite baseball talent, let’s move north a bit to St. Louis. Colby Rasmus has been coveted by many teams over the years, but the Cardinals saw an extremely bright future for their shining prospect, and ignored anything that came their way to retain what they hoped would be an anchor in their batting lineup for many years to come.
His career hasn’t gotten off to a movie script beginning, and thanks to a terrific developmental staff throughout the organization, the Red Birds have young players coming to the big league club in all different directions. Allen Craig is currently hurt, but former Springfield Cardinal (AA) standout Jon Jay has officially begun stealing the everyday job from Rasmus in center field. Jay has started 5 of the last 8 games in central, while Colby is mired in a 3-for 30 slump. This could be a prime opportunity for an intelligent front office to take advantage of Rasmus’ availability. Specifically, the Tampa Bay Rays, who have always had a soft spot for Rasmus. With many, many, many chips to trade, this could be a fun and interesting transaction.
This hasn’t been a good year for me and trading deadlines, but hopefully I can hit above .300 for this one.
*Oh, by the way, if Hunter Pence is traded, expect another article asap!* (In anger towards the 'lAstros,' of course)