Today pitcher Jake Peavy could change teams. He is scheduled to start for the White Sox, but his bags are packed and ready for shipping.
He is the best starting pitcher up for sale at the moment, so the bidding is high. The White Sox management team is driving that price upward by indicating it prefers to keep Peavy and rebuild around him.
The tab appears to be too rich for the A’s, but the Red Sox and Orioles remain interested.
The Cardinals could easily pay the price for Peavy. The team could use more pitching, as Monday night’s debacle underscored.
But general manager John Mozeliak isn’t eager to overpay for another middle-of-the-rotation hurler. He already has a wide assortment of candidates to fill those slots.
With the franchise’s competitive window wide open – the Cardinals are built to contend for at least the next five seasons – Mozeliak won’t overreact to his team’s untimely four-game slump.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark sums up his scenario:
The Cardinals have so many prospects backed up from the Gateway Arch to Peoria, they could make just about any deal they want. But in case you hadn't noticed, they're second in the major leagues in starting-pitcher ERA, feel as if they have a better rotation now than the group they won a World Series with two years ago and aren't interested in overpaying for a fellow like Peavy just to say they did. Very little indication that St. Louis will be Peavy's final destination.
Now, if the Phillies were to make Cliff Lee available AND eat some of his remaining contract, Mozeliak would at least think about digging deeper to add a second staff ace for the next few seasons. But right now Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is telling peers they would have to take all of Lee’s money in any deals – and spend three top prospects as well.
Here are some other players to keep an eye on as the waivers-free trade deadline nears:
Erick Aybar: The Angels lapsed into “sell” mode, putting his handy infielder in play. He would be a big offensive upgrade over Pete Kozma. The Tigers are a possibility, too, since Jhonny Peralta is ensnared in the Biogenesis mess.
Michael Young: He is not a great third baseman, but he can still hit. And the Yankees would rather Young man their hot corner than, say, Alex Rodriguez. (At this point, they would probably take Al Roker over A-Rod too.)
Brian Wilson: Remember The Beard? The eccentric Taco Ball pitchman has finally recovered from surgical repairs. He is throwing well enough to attract interest from his old team, the Giants, and teams looking for relief help, like the Pirates. Now that the White Sox found a taker for Jesse Crain (off to Tampa Bay), Wilson might be better than most of the trade options right now.
Joe Nathan: Would the Rangers really move an effective closer to get an impact hitter? Apparently they would, but not many contenders are eager to subtract offense right now.
Hunter Pence: He could be a fit for Texas, but the Giants are asking a lot for the pending free agent. That team is prepared to make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season -- to gain to become eligible for a compensatory draft pick – so a buyer will have to cough up a high-end prospect or prospects.
Tim Lincecum: Like Pence, Lincecum has an expiring contract. Like Pence, he can expect to get a qualifying offer from the Giants. So he, too, would command a high trade price.
Javier Lopez: He appears to be the Giant most likely to move, with the Tigers and Indians among the teams showing big interest.
Andre Ethier: Assuming that Matt Kemp will find a way to stay on the field for the stretch run, the Dodgers will have an enviable outfield surplus.
Jeff Samardzija: He should be part of the foundation the Cubs will rebuild upon. But Small Bear executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer haven’t been able to secure him with a long-term deal, so they are willing to consider massive trade offers for him.
YES, SAM BRADFORD IS OVERPAID
Rams fans have beaten that topic to death, but ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell revisited it by placing Bradford on his NFL’s All-Bad Contracts Team.
Bradford was the last first-overall pick before the new CBA was signed in 2011. As a result, he signed a six-year, $78 million deal that guaranteed him a whopping $50 million. Since then, Bradford has struggled with injuries and been an average-at-best starter under center for the Rams, which is a huge disparity versus the near–$13 million average cap hold he has had since the first year of his contract. Next year will be the first season when the Rams could seriously consider moving on from Bradford, because it will cost them ‘only’ $10.2 million. If they wanted to cut Bradford after last season, it would have accelerated $23.3 million onto their 2013 cap. Even Mark Sanchez's contract extension can't compare to this.
MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE
Questions to ponder while wondering if Tony La Russa still using lots of hair spray:
QUIPS ‘R US
Here is what some of America’s leading sports pundits have been writing:
Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports: “The season wasn’t going anywhere the last three hadn’t gone for the Los Angeles Angels. So the creeping notion Albert Pujols’ next at-bat won’t come until spring training 2014, while high on the Pujols-is-getting-more-human-by-the-day scale, registered hardly at all on the what-happens-to-the-pennant-race-now-o-meter. The Angels were flat-lined the moment it became clear they’d overestimated their pitching staff and underestimated Josh Hamilton’s transitional powers, so, like last year, it appears they’ll go an entire season without playing a single meaningful game. That’s probably a lot to digest for owner Arte Moreno, who has spent enough money to field a winner but tends toward distraction by shiny objects and then picks fights in all the wrong places. The guy who told him Zack Greinke would get the Angels to the postseason in ’12, that skimping on pitching – in a division with the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers – was a reasonable idea in ’13, that’s the guy who should have been banished to the right-field foul pole. Regardless, it’s not yet August and the Angels are 13 games out of first place, just lost three in a row in Oakland, probably won’t see Pujols until February, have committed more errors (74) than anyone in the AL but the dreadful Houston Astros, and don’t appear to have the slightest idea how to take it all back.”
Peter Richmond, Sports on Earth: “I'm not blaming Alfonso Soriano for being traded back to the Yankees. It might be a smart pickup. Then again, it might not be. If he can provide runs for a team that's lately shown as much power as a two-hamster generator, that's cool. If a terrible team was ready to let him go because he's done at 37 and the Yankees got him for the ticket-selling memories of years ago, that's uncool. No -- what dismays me is what's suggested by the arrival of another past-his-prime former Big Name. That this dysfunctional team ruled by a dysfunctional family (and its ghost) is still unable to wean itself off the Steinbrenner fiefdom's eternal addiction: buying and trading for name-power and neon-numbers, no matter if the glow is dimming. To win games, sure, but just as much, to fill the seats and clamor, as always, for the spotlight.”
Joe Lemire, SI.com: “Baseball's trade deadline has always been its in-season hot stove, but this month there's been as much talk about plea deals as trade deals. The sport begins an uneasy week in which its headlines have been consumed by the Biogenesis fallout rather than trade scenarios. The New York Post reported Sunday that 15 players or more, including the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, are expected to be suspended this week. The lack of deadline drama could change, of course, if the expected bans are announced with ample time before Wednesday's 4 p.m. (EST) deadline, as clubs try to react to key players' lost time. Among those players on contending teams who are publicly linked to Biogenesis and facing a possible suspension for alleged PED use are Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Athletics starter Bartolo Colon and Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Introducing further uncertainty into the mix is the prospect of players appealing a possible suspension, leaving the matter unresolved indefinitely: a ban could be overturned or, if it's implemented, that could happen late in the season, during the playoffs or not until the offseason.”
“They hit a home run. There's nothing I can do.”
Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman, through an interpreter, after blowing a save opportunity at San Diego Monday night.