With two big trades in the book before the All-Star break, teams are scrambling a bit to make sure they’re at least in discussions for the guys they’re looking at. We’ve seen that being prepared and involved helped both the Brewers and Cubs in their pursuits. While I’d said that Jim Hendry would respond quickly to any CC Sabathia deal, I didn’t mean that he’d panic, just that he was already talking to at least two teams, probably three, about pitching. The deal for Rich Harden had been discussed for at least a week and likely longer with things coming together just before the Sabathia deal was finalized. So who else is available and who else is looking? Let’s look around the NL:
The Phillies have been on the outside looking in, passing on Harden due to their assessment of his medical risk. They have the same concerns about both A.J. Burnett and Randy Wolf, which is tempering their pursuit of both despite a clear need in the rotation. Yet somehow it seems like they’re not quite as concerned about Erik Bedard, and sources say that Pat Gillick’s comfort level with both Lee Pelekoudas and the medical staff he knows from his days in Seattle is making this deal possible, though Gillick seems to want Bedard at a significant discount relative to what the Mariners paid for him in the offseason.
The Braves could be both buyers and sellers at the deadline, with frustration about Mark Teixeira making it more likely he could be dealt. Casey Kotchman is one possibility that’s been discussed, but nothing seems imminent. On the buying side, the team is looking for another bat and some bullpen help, but once again, nothing seems imminent. One front office source thinks the Braves will largely stand pat due to injury and uncertainty.
Despite some rumblings, the Astros don’t have any big-name players on the block. Roy Oswalt has a full no-trade and is one of owner Drayton McLane’s favorites. Some think that Jose Valverde could be made available at the deadline, knowing that he’ll be dangerous heading into his final arbitration hearing. The Astros have almost nothing in the minors, so they match up well with anyone, and would be willing to take quantity.
Although Adam Dunn hasn’t been made available yet, most teams think he could be had for the right offer. The problem is that no one seems to agree on what the right offer is. One source tells me that the Reds want much more than the draft pick-level compensation they’d get for hanging onto him, looking for a “top guy.” Dunn would be a great fit in Arizona, but no one seems to think that’s going to happen.
The Dodgers continue to confuse everyone. “Some want to buy, some sell,” I’m told. One faction of the front office wants to deal for a shortstop and is focused on Jack Wilson or David Eckstein, while another (which appears to hold sway with the McCourts for now) want to see if Nomar Garciaparra can hold the position down. Teams simply don’t want to deal with the Dodgers because of the confusion over who has final authority. One front-office source told me that the Dodgers have made deals, only to have ownership pull out at least twice.
How weird is this trade market? The three teams in last don’t appear to even be talking about any deals. The Giants have waved off inquiries on anyone but Rich Aurilia and Ray Durham, while the Nats seem content with holding the line while they develop internally.