Now that the second half of the season is underway, and less than two weeks before the trade deadline, the acquisitions of CC Sabathia by the Brewers, Rich Harden by the Cubs, and most recently, Joe Blanton by the Phillies (not to mention Tony Clark by the Diamondbacks and Richie Sexson by the Yankees) must have had an impact on the way teams still in the hunt are gauging their chances.
Let's run down rumors by teams five or less games behind first place and I'll attempt to sound like a baseball expert and predict the probability of some of those trades happening:
Arguably the team most active in trade rumors of those considered "still in it," the Fish have been mentioned in numerous trade scenarios. Most recently, they inquired on the availability of Ivan Rodriguez, but the Tigers said thanks but no thanks.
Sage prediction: It's in their blood; the Fish have been active during trade deadline season in the past and now that the Phillies added Blanton (not to mention, hot play by the Mets) they'll trade for a bat.
The Birds are in second place behind the Cubs, but with the aforementioned trades by the other two teams out of the top three in the NL Central, it's looking like a major move is inevitable to keep up with the pace.
In fact, the Cards have been mentioned in some trade speculation but those rumors have consistently been shut down. Barry Bonds to the Cards? Nope. Jason Bay rumors debunked, only to have them flare up again tied to top Cardinals prospect Colby Rasmus...until the press talks to the team chairman and they die back down.
As a small-market team that always competes with what it's got, the Twins are again quiet in the trade market. There is, however, continuing speculation that they're interested in upgrading at 3B, inquiring on the availability of Adrian Beltre. Earlier this week, Charlie Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press put together an interesting money-saving trade scenario involving a slugging third baseman.
Sage prediction: The AL Central is up for grabs, and it sure looks like an upgrade will help the Twins down the stretch to when (not if) the Tigers catch up and if (not when) the White Sox let up.
Call it oversight, call it my subtle bias that I think the Mets will win the NL East, but commenter D Wright 5 is dead-on for calling me out on not including the Amazin's in this list. I like his assessment:
The Mets are obviously looking to get a corner outfielder by way of trade. How come you didn't add Raul Ibanez as a possible candidate to becoming a Met? Not one word about the rumors swirling around the David DeJesus might also become another possibility for the Mets? Not a word about Brian Fuentes being another option.
Dodgers: The problem is money. They have a big payroll and would probably only trade for role players that can help off the bench. Plus, they're really being carried by the young hitters that ostensibly would be coveted by other teams. But don't discount the possibility of someone like Raul Ibañez.
Red Sox: In an interesting twist, the Sawks were mentioned in connection to Mark Teixeira... but as a possible free agent signing next year. I'm gonna go out on limb and say they'll stay pat and wait for the Rays to cool off.
Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com. Comments? Rumors? email me: alexo05 [at] umpbump [daught] com.
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