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How Much is Too Much?

The San Francisco Giants struck a deal with the New York Mets yesterday, acquiring Carlos Beltran for top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Teams fought over Beltran for most of July, and the Giants finally said enough, and paid top price for the switch hitting slugger.

This move certainly helps the Giants in their quest for a repeat, but it can't be worth giving up Zack Wheeler. If the Giants do not win the World Series, they will have given up one of the best pitching prospects in baseball for a half year of Carlos Beltran. Looking back, I'm sure Giants fans will want to scream.

Think back to last season, and the Yankees attempt to acquire Cliff Lee. This is the other scenario for a rental player, as my guess is that Lee would have enjoyed NY, and the Yankees would have signed him to an extension after the season. Still, that's just a guess.

That guess being made, the Yankees still offered one of the top catching prospects in baseball, a top infield prospect, and possibly more, but were spurned once the infield prospect, David Adams, was found to not be healthy. What if the Yankees made the trade, and Lee didn't re-sign after the season? Fans would be livid, not only with the original trade, but with the fact that the Yankees wouldn't have Lee, Montero, or Adams, or even more.

Add to that if the Yankees didn't win the World Series with Lee. Not winning the World Series negates any meaning to make the trade in the first place. This leaves me at my current question: How much is too much for a Trade Deadline deal?

I believe the Giants made a horrible deal yesterday. I also believe that the Cardinals did the same, as they acquired Edwin Jackson and some spare parts for Colby Rasmus and some spare parts. Even if Jackson re-signs, they could have gotten a lot more. (The Cardinals rejected a trade for Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell for Rasmus from the Rays)

There aren't too many rentals left out there right now, but Hiroki Kuroda is one of the few. The Yankees have shown tons of interest in Kuroda, the righty starter for the Dodgers.

Simply put, I would be happy if the Yankees acquire Kuroda, but for no more than some mid-tier prospects. Kuroda has made it known that he doesn't want to leave L.A. now, nor does he plan on signing anywhere else once the season ends. Trading for Kuroda would be a pure rental.

The Yankees could make the same mistake the Giants made, and trade whoever the Dodgers want for Kuroda, or they can be realistic. The Yankees rotation is fine, but not great right now, and there is no reason to trade away a piece that can help the team for the next five-ten years for a pitcher that can help for the rest of this year.

To wrap up, when it comes to summer trading, there are three things that stick out to me.

1. Don't trade the future for someone that can help now, as if you don't win the World Series it becomes absolutely pointless.

2. If you're picking up a player that is not just a rental, make sure the player is worth more than the prospects you are trading. Sometimes seeing that the player will help now masks the reality that in the future the trade will only hurt you. (Hello, Ubaldo Jimenez trade)

3. Sometimes the best trades are the trades you don't make.