trading deadline is fast approaching and so are the monumental decisions that
numerous general managers will have to make soon. The pool of ‘game changer’
talent is somewhat small this season with the real prize being the Philadelphia
Phillies left-handed Cole Hamels.
Let’s talk Phillies baseball
right now. They were severely embarrassed Tuesday night by the New York Mets,
but came back quite nicely with a dominating win of their own July 4. One
of the other aces on the Phillies staff, Cliff Lee, received his first win of
the season after 13 starts. This only adds to the difficult decisions that
Ruben Amaro will have to make soon.
Five-time all star second
baseman, Chase Utley, is back and playing well. Former league MVP, Ryan Howard,
will be returning soon, and ace of the starting staff, Roy Halladay, is far ahead
of schedule to return and may be back to pitch the first game after the all
star break. If the Phillies keep Hamels and are able to sign him to a seven
year contract, they must then make a critical move to shore up the late inning
Jonathan Papelbon has been an
elite closer and has converted 18 saves, and posted a 2.93 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP,
and has averaged 10.89 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 31 appearances.
If one of the four ace starters does not complete seven or more innings, the
Phillies are sometimes in an abyss getting to the ninth. So, this is an area of
big focus if they decide to be buyers and get back into contention.
Trade Hamels to Detroit
This is more than likely the team
to hold the most interest to the Phillies in moving Hamels. The Tigers have two
elite prospects in right-hander Jacob Turner, who at 21 years old is rising
through the ranks of Triple-A baseball. He was drafted ninth overall in the
2009 draft and would be an immediate starter for the Phillies in 2013.
The second blue chip prospect is
one that fits perfectly into the Phillies' future plans. The Phillies need to
get a marquee third baseman, and the Tigers have arguably the best prospect in
all of baseball in Nick Castellanos. He is 22 years old, hitting .369 on
the season and was recently promoted to Double-A action.
Tigers' ace Justin Verlander
needs a partner, and Cole Hamels would make them one of the best one-two
combinations in baseball right now. Are they willing, however, to give up the
elite prospects and overpay severely for the rights? Considering the thin pool of
talent, overpaying is going to be the theme once any trades occur; anyone going after Hamels better have the 30% premium mark-up he will command.
The Milwaukee Brewers trading Zack
Greinke has been rumored about quite a bit over the past two weeks. The Cardinals
have expressed interest in getting Greinke, especially since Chris Carpenter is
out for the season. Trading within the division, however, has not been a
preferred strategy for obvious reasons. It may work in this case, however,
as both teams would end up winners in some form.
Like the Phillies, will the
Brewers become sellers - and if so, how much would they want in return for their
ace? Greinke is a small town type of player, so the Braves or
the Orioles may make the best sense. These teams have the farm system talent to
acquire him in a trade and, since they are in the small media markets, will have a
great opportunity sign their rental player to a long-term contract. Greinke has
shied away from the marquee markets and has no interest at all in any of the
major media outlets. Although low on the list of suitors, the Orioles just
might be the right fit for both teams to make the trade.
With the move by Houston to ship
Carlos Lee off to Miami, the Dodgers now will have significant interest in
Padres slugger Carlos Quentin. With Kemp out of the lineup, the Dodgers need to
add power, and he is the best available in this seller’s market. I think this
deal will happen soon given the Dodgers' needs and they have the prospects to
make the deal work to the advantage of the Padres.
In this market, the GM’s will have to pay up big
time. By analogy, you can stay home and have a beer from a case for an
average cost of $1.75 and watch the ballgame. If, however, you want to be the
mix at a live game you will pay $7.00 or more to enjoy a bottle of suds and be
part of the action. Fear and greed will play a huge part of the negotiations
and will make the ‘action’ that much more enjoyable for us.