As the sweltering days of August approach us and thermostats across the country read in triple digits, MLB teams the league over are assessing where they stand before the July 31st trade deadline. Will your favorite team mortgage their future on a veteran that can pay immediate dividends? Or will they admit that contention is still a couple years away and trade away valuable, proven talent for a bunch of untested prospects? Both scenario’s unfold every year at this time. And when you play entirely too many sports video games and have ESPN set as your computer’s home page, lists like this are bound to happen. Enjoy our speculation!
1. David Wright of the New York Mets to the Indians for Lonnie Chisenhall (3B) and Drew Pomeranz (LHP)
Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are trying their best to keep this sinking Mets ship afloat, but make no mistake that this is a team delaying the inevitable. With one of the weakest farm systems in baseball, little money to invest in free agents and a team that is shocking many people by simply playing .500 ball, the Mets need to begin a fire sale. Not many people are talking about their star third basemen David Wright, currently having a frustrating year plagued by injuries. Still only 28, there’s little reason to believe that the Mets can turn things around before he hits the market in free agency after the 2012 season.
The Indians, on the other hand, have shown glimpses of a team destined for a two-to-three year window of contention. Their pitching is what’s gotten them this far, but adding a credible talent like Wright – solid on both ends of the ball – would transform them into the AL Central BMOC. They might be buying high – Wright can, after all, leave in a season and a half and Chisenhall and Pomeranz are both great prospects – but the rewards could be great. A Wright-Carlos Santana-Asdrubal Cabrera middle of the lineup would eat pitchers’ souls.
2. Ubaldo Jiminez of the Colorado Rockies to the Yankees for Jesus Montero (C), Phil Hughes (RHP) and Manny Banuelos (LHP)
Jiminez is one of the more interesting names on the market and not too far removed from a sublime half season of baseball (he was undeniably the best pitcher in the majors for the better part of last year). His performance this year has many questioning who the real Ubaldo Jiminez is. While he may never be consistent enough to be labeled a staff ace, but as a number two or three option? Wow.
The Yankees have the need to pick up Jiminez (their dependence on the likes of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia cements that notion) and actually have the right combination of prospects to do it. Colorado, on the other hand, looks to be importing some solid prospects (Montero, a power hitter, would flourish at hitter-friendly Coors field). They’d better seriously consider moving their embattled ace at the deadline; his stock may never be higher.
3. Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jonathan Singleton (1B) and Brody Colvin (RHP)
When or how the Philadelphia Phillies became such a juggernaut is beyond me, but they keep putting themselves into desirable positions. Equipped with some extremely legitimate prospects, they have what it takes to pry Bell from a Padres team that – as always – is a couple years away from contention (as is the life of a small market club). Bell can fill the only hole that this Phillies squad has – a lack of dependable relief pitching, especially at closer.