Ramirez finally agreed to consider a trade and the likelihood of him accepting one is probably higher if he can stay close to home. Milwaukee is just up the road. The Brewers would have to give up several of the best prospects in their already depleted system, but could probably avoid dealing Prince Fielder‘s replacement (Mat Gamel) or anybody on the major-league roster. Milwaukee is the epitome of a “win-now or else” team. If Doug Melvin doesn’t make the postseason he likely won’t be around to regret selling the farm. The Cubs desperately need to start the rebuilding process. All three of these prospects are probably future major-leaguers in some capacity, so it’s a pretty good haul for a rental player with recent D.L. stints on his resume.
Baltimore sends Derrek Lee (1B) to Pittsburgh for PTBNL
MLBTR reports that the Orioles are primarily looking to unload Lee’s salary (and make room in the lineup for the newly-acquired Chris Davis). There could be as much as $4.5 Million left on Lee’s contract, if he reaches 550 plate appearances. Lyle Overbay has been below replacement level (-0.9 WAR) in 2011. While Lee is by no means the player he was a couple years ago, he is clearly an upgrade. The Pirates make the team better and make good on the promise that they would spend some money in response to increased fan support, but they don’t give up any meaningful prospects in what is likely to be a vain attempt at making the playoffs. Moreover, there is a slim chance they catch lighting in a bottles, as Lee will be returning to a division he’s very familiar with and is in the midst of a minor hot streak (.306/.351/.603 in his last 19 games).
I know there is no such thing as too much pitching, but the Rangers are already pretty loaded with homegrown talent at the major-league level and there is a lot more on the way (Martin Perez, foremost). Endy Chavez has had a nice little run as the starting centerfielder in Texas (.322/.351/.490 in 44 games), but 33-year-old journeymen with career OPS of .689 are bound to turn into pumpkins sooner or later. Chavez can be thankful for his role as defensive replacement in October. Meanwhile, Upton takes his career 1.046 OPS at Rangers Ballpark to Arlington. Tampa Bay brings two more live arms into their incredible pitching mill, as well as an underperforming young outfielder who could be the next castoff that Maddon makes a productive part of his outfield rotation.
The Reds have denied having interest in the deal David Schoenfield suggested on Friday, but they shouldn’t think of it as a “white flag” trade (even though, in 4th place, 6.5 games back, they should probably wave the white flag). Devin Mesoraco (.305/.376/.496 at AAA) is ready for his promotion, and Ryan Hanigan is still around as insurance. Burriss has offensive upside and defensive flexibility (a.k.a. not particularly good at any position). The shine is clearly off him in San Francisco, but he might find a role in a new organization. If the Giants can’t get Hernandez, they need to consider other, lesser options, because Eli Whiteside can’t catch and Chris Stewart can’t hit.
After missing out on Hunter Pence, the Braves are forced to turn to a second-tier of outfield options. Yet, turn they must, as CF has been a black hole, both offensively and defensively, the health of Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones is still in question, and their most productive hitter, Brian McCann, just hit the D.L. The question no longer is whether or not the Braves can hit enough to support their rotation in the postseason, it’s whether they can hold onto the Wild Card, as they’ve been a .500 team since the Break and Milwaukee, Arizona, and St. Louis are gaining on them. Bourn may not be enough to stop the bleeding, but he’s certainly better than Nate McLouth, and they should be able to get him without dealing any of their top four pitching prospects, which they seem reluctant to do. Jordan Schafer is still young, but after an injury and a couple of backsliding seasons, it’s time for a change of scenery.
Hard to imagine Billy Beane will get through the trade season without doing something. Willingham and McCarthy are suspect chips, but they are the chips he’s been dealt. Oakland has had good luck refurbishing once highly-regarded young pitchers who have fallen on hard times. Oliver and Furbush would seem to fit that mold. The arrival of Willingham would hopefully bring an end to the catastrophe that is the ghost of Magglio Ordonez (.229/.293/.298). McCarthy would substantially improve the Tigers rotational depth.
What other trade deadline fantasies are you harboring?