With about two days to go until the trade deadline, and the Yankees quiet up to now, rumors are officially running rampant. I can’t control them and nor can you. We’ve just lost the entire city of Atlanta to rumors – it was, quite tragically, steamrolled by a giant rumor wave and so far reports say there are no survivors – and the outbreak only seems to be picking up. Sure, that means Florida will be taken out, but it also means New York is under threat too! Let’s hide in our bunkers and clutch our firearms tightly to our chests, and perhaps some benevolent god will save us.
Of course, none of the above is actually happening, but if it were what would you think?
Here are some things that are happening.
- Ben Zobrist had been the focus of trade rumors for weeks as he, a versatile defender and a reliable hitter, was pegged as a potential solution for the team’s woes at second base. He joined the Royals yesterday, and in his wake Martin Prado, a similarly versatile and reliable player, has bubbled to the fore as a trade target. As Harlan noted yesterday, Prado’s season hasn’t exactly been overwhelming, but he would represent a significant improvement over Drew, could help fill in around the infield to give characters like Headley a rest, and could even traipse around the outfield should the team want to excise itself of Carlos Beltran.
- The New York Post’s Joel Sherman cites several American League personnel who believe the Yankees will make a move for a starting pitcher before the deadline. Though it’s unlikely the Yankees will go for someone like Cole Hamels – with the team reportedly making its four best prospects (Severino, Judge, Bird, and Mateo) unavailable, the price for Hamels would likely be unreachable – Sherman hypothesizes Brian Cashman could cobble together a set of B-tier prospects and Major League-level players to acquire someone at the level of Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija has a 3.58 FIP this season, which would make him a better rotation option than Adam Warren and a markedly better rotation option than Ivan Nova or CC Sabathia.
- The Yankees continue to talk to the Padres about Craig Kimbrel. As we’ve previously discussed, slotting Kimbrel into the Yankees bullpen would more or less make the late innings of any game a lock. He has a 12.58 K/9 and a 2.49 FIP, which means batters find him very hard to hit. But San Diego’s price appears to be one of the aforementioned four prospects, which would make the deal a non-starter. However, with the Padres looking to shed salary, that price could be lowered as the deadline nears.
- Two other names to launch at you? David Price and Joaquin Benoit. David Price has been as good as ever this year (3.00 FIP), and will become a free agent at season’s end. The Yankees might be favorites to sign him then, but they aren’t considered favorites to trade for him now – though that might change as the hours pass. Benoit, meanwhile, is masquerading as a slightly less toothy Kimbrel, but his 2.27 ERA betrays his 4.01 FIP (and his -0.1 WAR!). That and I still can’t forget the postseason game where he had a giant bandage on his face.
- As a final, outside chance-style trade note, the Yankees have reportedly considered Mat Latos an option for the rotation. Latos, holder of a 3.34 FIP in 16 starts this year, would be akin to Samardzija, and could be a cheaper option than Samardzija given his lower profile on the market and his 4.48 ERA (significantly higher than Samardzija’s 3.94). Something not to ignore: the Yankees would also be acquiring Cat Latos in this deal. Please accept this picture of yawny Cat Latos. (Update: Both Mat & Cat have been traded to the Dodgers.)
- Do the Yankees have cause to worry about the Blue Jays after their acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki? Joel Sherman argues the Blue Jays’ easy schedule and solid offense (even before the addition of Tulowitzki) might make the Yankees sweat. When asked about the Tulowitzki move, Joe Girardi said it caught him by surprise. "Obviously he's another guy that's extremely dangerous, hits the ball out of the ballpark," Girardi said. "We'll worry about ourselves. Our guys are playing well, let's continue to play well.... Sometimes trades just don't match up."
- ESPN ran a transcript of a recent standup Alex Rodriguez did with reporters on the matter of turning 40. Major takeaways include but are not limited to: A-Rod is happy; sometimes A-Rod wakes up feeling like he’s 50 years old; A-Rod is feeling good day-in-and-day-out; A-Rod acknowledges the year off was a big help.
- While the argument between Mark Teixeira and Joe Espada provided much fodder for the media, it’s worth noting that, though we might not see these kinds of things often in baseball (at least not publicly, and certainly not relative to how many games are played), vocal disagreements are fairly common in other sports. Perhaps Joe Girardi said it best, from ESPN’s post on the matter: "Things like this happen all the time. There is a lot of intensity and emotion. Myself as a player, I said things to somebody I could have said better. Same as a coach and a manager." As a Formula 1 fan, I can say the Teixeira incident is very much akin to the kind of "intensity" that goes on between drivers and their team on the pit wall each race. Take this particularly fun example, for instance. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one.