There’s something magical about this time of the season. The hype, the involvement of baseball’s top stars, looking at the best each club has to offer.
What? No, I’m not talking about the All-Star Game — I’m talking about the trading deadline! Now is crunch time, when baseball’s contenders will try to get that one arm or bat that pushes them over the hump and into October. Sometimes this works well for the contender — Nomar Garciaparra to Chicago in a deal that brings Dave Roberts and Orlando Cabrera. Sometimes for the prospect-seeker — Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen (although Andersen did help the Sox win the division in 1990). This year, there are 20 teams within six games of a first place somewhere in these two leagues. This leads many to believe that most teams will stay put because those 10 teams who are out of contention are mostly bereft of talent anyway.
Nevertheless, the idea of What Could Be at least stirs the imagination of this Red Sox fan, so here’s a look at the trade rumors involving the Sox that I could find on the Internet (keeping in mind I am not an ESPN Insider), followed by a little analysis on the likelihood/winners of each:
Bobby Abreu: FoxSports.com reported earlier this week that the Sox expressed "strong interest" in Abreu — probably not coincidentally as the New York Daily News has argued that the Yankees could, and should, swing a deal for the outfielder. No one is talking players yet (although some Over the Monster commenters say it would be Trot Nixon-plus), except that the Phillies have asked the Yanks for Phillip Hughes and might also be willing to tade Jon Leiber. The New York Post, in what looks more like wishful thinking than anything else, also mentions Tom Gordon.
The Sox really have no need for Abreu, except for two reasons — to up the asking price enough to keep the Yankees away from him or force them to give up too much (Cano and Hughes or some silliness), or to keep him away from the Yanks themselves. Also possible: Boston swinging Abreu for pitching, and the other half of the trade just hasn’t leaked out yet (El Guapo’s Ghost says Theo should trade Wily Mo Pena and prospects for John Smoltz). As for the Yanks, they need the outfield help, but they refuse to trade Hughes. The problem is they might not get outfield help without trading Hughes.
Ryan Klesko: Sean McAdam told WEEI listeners yesterday that the Red Sox are interested in trading Rudy Seanez to San Diego for the injured slugger. Same questions as before — while I love any option that rids Boston of Seanez, to what purpose do we need an aging slugger who could serve only as a backup first baseman — particularly when we have three healthy outfielders and a fourth on the way? (Klesko wouldn’t be available until Aug. 1 after offeason surgery) Isn’t that why they released J.T. Snow?
Ryan Shealy: MLB Trade Rumors, culling reports from newspapers, says the Red Sox are one of a number of teams interested in the Rockies’ AAA first baseman. In return, the Sox would send Colorado Abe Alvarez, who has struggled this year. Once again, the Sox don’t need bats, particularly considering the presence of Hee Sop Choi in the minor leagues. Many of these rumors simply don’t make sense. The Sox need more pitching, not additional backups in the outfield and at first base.
Tony Armas Jr.: This is an old rumor, in which the Nats asked the Sox for Michael Bowden and Jacoby Ellsbury for Armas (Sox said: "Screw that!"), who isn’t that great and will forever be better known for being Tony Armas’ son and the song for whom the Sox acquired Pedro Martinez.
Clearly, the names just aren’t there. There are plenty of starting pitchers that writers and bloggers alike think the Sox should go after (Willis, Zito, Schmidt) — but there are no indications the teams holding those starters have any desire to trade them. So we’re stuck with a bunch of rumors for hitters that make no sense, and a list of possible pitchers with no definite names attached to them. Thus far, it’s been quite uneventful — and disappointing. But, hey, Theo seems to have a knack for pulling off key and unpredictable trades.
Discuss any rumors you might have heard here.