Monday, June 25, 2007

Rumor Mill Picking up Steam

June is winding down, which means the major league non-waiver trade deadline is a little over a month away. Teams are assessing and reassessing their place in the standings. Buyers or Sellers? Buyers in early July, sellers late.

There are a lot of names dangling out there. Pending free agents, baseball legends, and players that may just need a change of scenery. We'll now take a look at some of the names and possible scenarios.

The Banged Up Bangers

Two of the top hitters being bandied about are on the DL right now and will be out for a significant stretch. Mark Teixeira (bruised quad) and Miguel Tejada (fractured arm) would be a big boost to any team's lineup. Teixeira becomes a free agent after the 2008 season, but Rangers GM Jon Daniels may want to strike while the iron is hot. The Rangers are not likely to re-sign Teixeira, which leaves 3 scenarios. 1-trade him before July 31. 2-trade him in the off-season. 3-trade him before next year's deadline. As each step goes, so goes the value of a deal. Now is when Texas will get the most for Big Tex, since they do not have to deal him.

Yankees - Will be a definite player if Tex is seriously marketed.

The Orioles have been contemplating dealing Tejada for a few seasons now. He's expressed unhappiness at times, and its been reflected in his play at the end of the season. A trade to a contender could certainly change that, though he may be forced to play 3rd Base if a team like the Angels were to acquire him.

Yankees - No interest

The Legend

Ken Griffey Jr. eclipsed Mark McHGH on the all-time HR list this weekend and is soaring towards 600 career HRs. There's also been talking of the Reds moving him in order to get more playing time for younger players. The interesting scenario here could be a return to Seattle. Jr. was admittedly nervous about the reception he would received when he returned this weekend. Those fears were for naught, as the Mariner's fans showered him with love. Jr. then got to thinking about ending his career back where it began. It certainly would help the Mariners in the box office.

Yankees - There will be interest, but does it really make any sense?

The Arms

The biggest demand at the deadline is for pitching- both starters and the pen. Actually the greatest demand at any time is pitching. There are a few big names out there that could be plucked.

Dontrelle Willis - The quirky will be arbitration eligible the next 2 years before becoming a free agent in 2010. He's still just 25 years old, and is left-handed, fitting the bill for a lot of teams. His enthusiasm and his want for the baseball would help a contending team. AL teams of course are concerned if his "stuff" would translate to their league.

Yankees - Limited interest

Mark Buehrle - A free agent after this season after spending in his entire 7 year career in Chicago. Buehrle is probably the hottest pitching commodity right now. He's a proven winner, a leader, and has already tossed a no-hitter this year. If GM Kenny Williams decides not to let Buehrle ride the year out, he'll being commanding plenty in return as he tries to re-stock his faltering team.

Yankees - Rumored interest as reported by the NY Post. Williams wants the Yankees top pitching prospects in return. I'd personally strangle Brian Cashman if he made a move like that.

Eric Gagne - Gagne made only 16 combined appearances in 2005-2006, but despite a couple of DL stints this year, has been pitching effectively as the Rangers closer. Daniels realizes that he has a hot commodity here that he had better move before Gagne gets hurt again. The biggest drawback here is the loss of "stuff" on the 2nd game of back-to-back appearances. But with so many teams needing bullpen help someone will pull the trigger.

Yankees - Interested, but let the buyer beware.

Hometown Boy

Torii Hunter
has only known the Minnesota Twins in an 11 year career. He heard trade rumors throughout last season, before helping lead the Twins to the playoffs. This season, a contract year, Hunter has been phenomenal. He's hitting .306-15-57 with 10 stolen bases. And of course he still flashes the leather in center as well as anyone. There's no question that a team will want him, the question is will the Twins move him. They're not likely to give him the money he wants after this season, but he is a Twins legend and that may prevent them from making a move.

Yankees - Not likely with Johnny Damon already tied up for another 2 years.

Adam Dunn, Jacques Jones, Andruw Jones, Troy Glaus, the list goes on and on. Some will go, some will stay. Whatever happens, the next month will be an intriguing one.

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