Update: 4 pm, not midnight. I’m allowed to get one wrong on a Friday.
In moves that must be terrifying NBA executives from coast-to-coast, MLB teams are actually making pretty big deals in order to win as the trade deadline approaches tomorrow. Of course baseball has the waiver deadline as well, but this has been one of the more active trade deadlines in recent years, with the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres stocking up on bats to hold on to their first place spots, while contenders like the Philadelphia Phillies try to erase the past with blockbuster deals. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still the lone vote for a 12-game season.
The week began with the Arizona Diamondbacks dealing ace Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels of Angels Angels for a package involving Joe Saunders and prospects, and from there the trade deadline panties dropped. The biggest name to be dealt is Roy Oswalt, who has been the target of trade speculation for the past five seasons. The former Cy Young Award winner finally waived his no trade clause to pitch for a contender, or at least a team within 14 games of first place.
Just try to make us forget the Cliff Lee debacle, Philadelphia Inquirer:
But now that Ruben Amaro Jr. has acquired righthander Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for lefthander J.A. Happ and a couple of single-A prospects, the assessment of the general manager’s wheeling and dealing has changed for one obvious reason: Oswalt will still be around in 2011 and possibly in 2012.
Cliff Lee was not going to be in Philadelphia beyond this season.
Whatever helps you sleep at night. Regardless, the Phillies add another formidable ace to their rotation with Oswalt, depending on whether or not the 32-year old (33 in a month so get a card!) has some gas left in the tank after playing for a loser for the past few seasons. It’s still odd that while trying to work a deal for Roy Halladay last season, the Phillies refused to even listen to J.A. Happ’s name in trade talks, and this time they couldn’t move him fast enough. C’est la vie.
As for the rest of the week’s trade activity:
- The Chicago White Sox just traded two prospects to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Edwin Jackson. It’s presumed that the Sox will swing Jackson to the Washington Nationals for Adam Dunn. It’s also presumed that Dunn will eventually play for every team twice.
- The Baltimore Orioles basically gave Miguel Tejada to the San Diego Padres. This adds a big bat to protect potential MVP Adrian Gonzalez in the middle of the lineup. It also opens up more money to spend for new O’s manager Buck Showalter next season. So look for big name free agents like no one and nobody to sign with Baltimore.
- The Nationals have stated a commitment to building around Stephen Strasburg for the future, so they dealt their best relief pitcher, Matt Capps, to the Twins for a catching prospect. It’s a solid move for the Expos Nats, but it will be more interesting to see them lock Strasburg into a 32-year contract.
- The Texas Rangers, while without an actual owner and toiling in bankruptcy, dealt for Cliff Lee on July 9 and have now added a veteran bat and run producer in Jorge Cantu. Cantu hadn’t played much for the Florida Marlins in recent weeks with the resurgence of Wes Helms, and if you Google “resurgence of Wes Helms” this will be the only match.
- The Kansas City Royals dealt Scott Podsednik to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for two “whoopty-doo’s” and a “who gives a fart” to be named later.
- In case any teams are wondering, pretty much any Cleveland Indian player not named Grady Sizemore or Fausto Carmona is available. Johnny Peralta was shipped to the Detroit Tigers this week to prove the Indians are not bluffing.
- The Angels looked to add strength to their lineup by reaching agreement on a trade with the Chicago Cubs for Derrek Lee, but Lee declined it. Seriously. Lee said he wanted to stay in Chicago. When reached for comment, Cubs GM Jim Hendry said, “What, this rope around my neck? No, it’s a necklace. All the kids are wearing them.”
And the super duper awesome trade rumors du jour as we near 4 p.m. tomorrow include: Lance Berkman as a longshot possibility to the White Sox; Adam Dunn to the White Sox, but not if the Tampa Rays have anything to say about it (sorry, the Nats wanted Matt Garza, so it’s not happening); the Dodgers want Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot from the Cubs, but Derrek Lee is probably convincing them to stay and right the ship; and the Angels are looking for a pitcher to replace Joel Pineiro, who recently hit the DL with a case of being Joel Pineiro.