As the deals begin to pick up steam in the waning moments before Saturday’s MLB non-waiver trade deadline, inevitably the accompanying rumors have increased in frequency as well.

The last few days have seen a flurry of player movement with high profile players such as Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt changing teams, in addition to the numerous smaller deals that have been occurring around the league. Since adding Cliff Lee and Benjie Molina, Texas also just acquired Jorge Cantu to provide injury cover and bolster their lineup. San Diego obtained infielder Miguel Tejada to bring some veteran leadership and experience to their squad.

While most eyes focus on the blockbusters, keen observers are aware that contenders aren’t usually in need of a massive deal to solidify their standing amongst the top teams in the game. They usually are in a contending position by July 31 because they already have a deep, talented team. Many times, a shrewd move for a veteran utility player with the versatility to play several positions can bring depth and stability to a team as they fight towards October.

Of course, everyone wants to know if bigger names like Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, or Derek Lee are bound for greener pastures. As a culture infatuated with celebrities, we’re naturally enamored by the glamorous names splashed across the rumor pages.

Naturally, the big-spending teams like the Yankees draw a lot of attention at times like these. As they are often active in both free agency and in the trade market, teams and players always try to involve the Yankees in order to create leverage for themselves.

Clearly in the free agent market, an agent for a player almost always hopes to engage the Yankees in dialogue, expecting their free-spending ways to assist in driving the market up for whichever player they represent. Even when the Yankees are not even remotely involved, mysterious sources will often float purported rumors attributed to the team.

Conversely, when a team is trying to drum up interest in a player that they have made available on the trading market, they want as many teams involved as possible to attempt to secure the best potential deal they can for their franchise. Knowing that the Yankees are interested, along with their vast resources and willingness to deal, can serve to apply pressure and a sense of urgency when exploring the trade market. If a team knows that the Yankees are looming, it may force them into action, fearful that they might miss out if they hesitate.

True to form, the July 31, 2010 non-waiver trading deadline has seen the New York Yankees mentioned in connection with nearly every player who may or may not have been made available by their team.

Over the last several weeks, the Yankees have allegedly been close to deals on Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, they have been shopping for Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria. Various sources have linked them heavily to Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Ty Wiggington, and even a potential reacquisition of Hideki Matsui.

As fans, it’s fun to read the stories and follow the rumors, but honestly, most of it is merely wishful thinking or completely fabricated nonsense.

You have to separate the fantasy from reality and seriously consider the potential impact of any such deal and how it could potentially fit into the fabric of the team as currently constructed.

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