Monday, July 31, 2006

Rumors A-Flyin'

For our morning cup of coffee, let's take a look at some of the existing trade rumors. These are mainly coming from, which is a wonderful site for bored people who like to read baseball gossip.

Mets still looking to add an arm

Quite a few interesting tidbits on the Mets here, as they are rumored to be pursuing not only Barry Zito, but newcomers to the market Roy Oswalt and Jason Schmidt. Yes, you read that right: Roy Oswalt has been shopped over the last few days, most notably in a proposed exchange for Miguel Tejada.

(Aside: If Peter Angelos won't deal Tejada for Oswalt, he's not going anywhere. For shame, Angelos, for you have done your team a disservice. Oswalt helps the team this year and for many in the future; Tejada has pretty much checked out since a hot April and May.)

Lastings Milledge would be the centerpiece of such a deal, and it is rumored that Brian Bannister would be integral to an Oswalt trade. Schmidt wouldn't require the son of Floyd, though there are few details surrounding the Giant. Smart money says he stays put.

As for Zito, it appears Billy Beane has lowered his demands and has removed Milledge from a prospective deal: John Maine, Carlos Gomez, and Aaron Heilman. I had never heard of Gomez before reading this, but MLB Trade Rumors gives a nice summary:

If you're not familiar with Gomez, here's a little background. He's a 20 year-old CF/RF currently residing in Double A. Gomez is holding his own with a .281/.341/.432 line so far, including a blistering July (1.096 OPS). He's a raw prospect and has struggled with lefties. Baseball America seems enamored of his tools and ranked him third among Mets prospects entering the season.

It's tough to part with three young players, but there has to be a balancing act between winning this year and shoring up your team for the long term. Over the off-season, the Mets were assembled to win this year. Failing to deal for a starter before 4 p.m. would signal an inconsistency in the front office logic. You don't want to overpay, true, but you also don't want to let your most egregious flaw remain vulnerable.

However, I have faith in Minaya, and am confident he'll pull the trigger on a deal for a starter before the closing bell today, likely, though, for Livan Hernandez rather than Schmidt, Oswalt, or Zito. It appears that Greg Maddux is right out.

Soriano Sweepstakes

The Yankees are out, and it is reported that the White Sox and Tigers, despite the lack of a significant addition, have also taken their names out of the hat. That, of course, could be a smoke screen. Jim Bowden has done a decent job so far this deadline, and he's not about to taint that reputation by leaving Soriano on the roster. Their contract negotiations are far enough apart that it can be assumed Soriano will not be playing in Washington next year. The smart move – the only move, really – is to send him packing for whatever value you can squeeze.
The Marlins have popped up as last-minute Soriano suitors, though it is a confusing notion. They certainly wouldn't want to raise the price of Soriano, netting more value for a division foe. Plus, why would they want to sacrifice some of their prized farm system for a 2-month rental? The Marlins still don't stand a good chance of making the playoffs absent a real surge in August and September. So why the interest?

Your guess is as good as mine.

For the rest of the league, it doesn't appear anything out of the ordinary is imminent. The only thing that leaves me uneasy is the lack of aggression by the Red Sox. Their closest competitor just landed a serviceable starter and a solid (maybe more) outfielder, and they're stuck with the same parts they've had all year. Theo Epstein isn't just going to sit idly by. That is, unless everyone is holding him up a la the Yankees. He's got some talent in the farm system, and I'm sure a lot of the deals he's working revolve around talent he's not so willing to part with.

I'll be monitoring the ticker today, especially for Red Sox dirt.