Lunch-time, Deadline Crunch-time
Today marks the beginning of trade-talk crunch-time for MLB teams looking either to unload contracts or to upgrade before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. We've heard names galore, player A going to team X, Y or Z. For mixed-league fantasy purposes, these trades usually mean little more than a possible shift in playing time or a shift in league for pitchers resulting in a change in strikeout/ERA potential. If you are in an AL- or NL-only league, interleague trades can be crucial to the second half of your season. I dislike the idea of league-specific fantasy for this reason. Imagine (hypothetically) drafting Jose Fernandez in an NL-only keeper league only to see him end up in Tampa at the deadline. Obviously, this won't going to happen in 2013, but you get my point. What I want to take a look at in this final non-roundup before the second half kicks off tomorrow is potential trades and how they could impact rosters.
Matt Garza SP CHC
Likely landing spots: Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks
The Chicago Cubs would love to bid farewell to Matt Garza before the end of the weekend. He’s scheduled to start again early next week, but I doubt he will do so in a Cubs uniform. The Rangers seem to be the frontrunners, and my inclination is that Mike Olt would be the centerpiece for such a move. The Cubs desperately need a run producer not named Anthony Rizzo in their infield. ESPN’s Buster Olney has a feeling that the Diamondbacks could also make a push to acquire Garza during the clubs' meeting next week in Arizona. The right-hander owns a 3.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP with 62/20 K/BB ratio over 71 innings thus far in 2013.
Justin Morneau 1B/DH MIN
Likely Landing Spot: New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Canadian-born slugger’s days in Minnesota may be numbered, and it’s a low number. The Twins have reportedly made Morneau available to suitors and the Yankees, Pirates and Rays have taken their number in the Slugger Deli. Morneau hasn’t been the same since his concussion issues, and he may never again be the MVP-caliber player that he flashed in the past; that said, he can still help a winning club win more. New York might be a good landing spot for Morneau as he could split 1B and DH duties with Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner, keeping all of their aging bodies fresh.
Bud Norris SP HOU
Likely landing spot: San Francisco
"But," you say, "the Giants are losing this year-- why would they be buyers?" Simple: Norris is under team control through 2015, and San Francisco needs another pitcher to solidify the rotation. Norris, a native of the Bay Area, was quoted as saying “It would be a dream come true to play for my childhood team…” Norris is the highest-paid player on the Astros' roster, and since they’re already rebuilding with some serious moneyball tactics, why not get some more youth for the rebuild? The way I see it, the Astros have needs everywhere except catcher and second base. I would look for Jarred Cosart to return immediately once the team needs a fifth starter and by then, Norris could already be gone. Giants' outfield prospects Gary Brown, Juan Perez and closer-to-be Heath Hembree could be possible targets for the revamping Astros.
Michael Young 3B PHI
Likely Landing Spot: Boston or still with the Phillies
The veteran third baseman’s name has been thrown around recently in trade talks, with the Red Sox (among others) mentioned as possible suitors. Boston is getting by with Brock Holt at the hot corner and they have Will Middlebrooks retooling down in Triple-A. If Young, who has a no-trade clause, is dealt to Boston, there are a slew of possible outcomes for the Phillies. Middlebrooks himself could be in the package, immediately filling Philly’s third base vacancy while also getting a change of scenery which might prove beneficial for the young third baseman. The Phillies most glaring need is in their bullpen, and the Red Sox have a plethora of relievers: Andrew Bailey, Brandon Workman, Alfredo Aceves, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa are all pitchers with major-league experience who the Phillies could simply throw into the mix. Jonathan Papelbon has already stated publicly that he'd welcome a return to Boston at some point, which makes matters even more interesting. As for a replacement at the hot corner for the Phillies if Middlebrooks is not included in a deal, perhaps the Phillies could target Garin Cecchini. Philadelphia also has an internal option in Double-A stud Maikel Franco. Franco currently owns a .378 average with 5 HR and 17 RBI in just 22 games since being promoted from Clearwater to Double-A Reading. If the Phillies become sellers, it would behoove them to get Franco a cup of coffee this season.
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