Tag: 2013 MLB Trade Deadline

MLB Trade Deadline 2013: Updates on Soriano, Peavy, Garza and More

The annual July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline carries the potential to reverse franchise fortunes—short term as well as long term—and alter pennant races like no other date on the calendar.

It can signal the end of some dynasties or usher in others. It can mean teams shedding the payroll of stars in exchange for something before the stars can leave their teams at season’s end in exchange for nothing.

Often times, purging the salary of an expensive veteran carries more value than any actual bodies added to the roster, especially when the team is underachieving or just plain bad.

Star players to be swapped at or near the trade deadline in recent years include: Mark Teixeira (twice), C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee (twice), Carlos Beltran, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence and a host of others.  Many times the traded player (with all proper deference to the great Paul Molitor) does indeed become his new club’s ignitor and ends up leading it into October (see: 2008 Sabathia, 1998 Randy Johnson, 1993 Fred McGriff). 

This year featured the usual surplus of conjecture, myriad wild predictions and the customary list of names expected, rumored or even guaranteed to be moved—barely exceeded in length by the list of names in the Mitchell Report.

However, with the ninth and 10th playoff spots now in their second year of play, it appears fewer clubs are prepared to part with these commodities (2013 is quite possibly the most overhyped, diluted trade deadline in my 24 years following MLB). 

Though no blockbusters went down and only about a quarter of the “likely” candidates ESPN, MLB Network, Grantland.com and others nominated for uniform swaps came to pass, there were some notable moves at—and in the weeks leading up to—the July 31 trade deadline. This slideshow reflects upon those trades and how the players—and clubs—involved have fared since their acquisitions.

Also, I’ll examine a handful of MLB vets rescued from the minors by playoff hopefuls as well as traded prospects receiving big league “runs” down the stretch. Thanks for reading.


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2 Moves the Los Angeles Angels Could Have Made at the Deadline

While the entire MLB seemed to do less this trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels, theoretically, could have done more.

Much like the grey area that has been the Angels’ season, the decisions the organization made (or didn’t make) were put under the proverbial microscope and viewed with hindsight, leaving many to question the club’s tactics leading up to July 31.

What if…

Mind you, that doesn’t mean the Angels failed. In fact, the club managed to take a rough situation—budget and lack of farm system to use as bait—and made the best of an unusual market.

They flip-flopped relievers with the Atlanta Braves, sending left-hander Scott Downs to the NL East contenders for right-hander Cory Rasmus. And they went within the AL West, dealing Alberto Callaspo to the Oakland Athletics for young prospect Grant Green.

As fans waited to see what pitcher the club might snag, the Angels quietly acquired Julio Concepcion and Andres Perez from the New York Mets for International bonus slot cash.

Though none of the moves would be considered a smash, it was a cost-controlled effort that has been rarely seen from Anaheim in past deadlines. 

It was a refreshing and uncharacteristic twist.

Because of the money owed to Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, with random expenses like Vernon Wells next season, even the moves that didn’t get made left them in no worse of a position. (Some of the misses helped, oddly enough.)

And for those that have doubts in their mind, remember these few points:

  • Replacing a risky Joe Blanton in the rotation with another risky right-hander, that is carrying a plus-five ERA is not a smart move. So no time or room for you, Ian Kennedy.
  • The Kansas City Royals would have never parted with top-tiered arms—like Kyle Zimmer or Yordano Ventura—for Howie Kendrick, assuming he waived the no-trade clause in the first place.
  • Alberto Callaspo, with any number of packaged pieces to be named whenever, would not have been enough to see the New York Yankees give up a pitcher like Phil Hughes.
  • The Angels understood that switch-hitting shortstops don’t grow on trees. 

Regardless of how it is spun, twisted or revisited, the Angels did what they could and there is no real shame in the aftermath.

However, it’s also boring.

It’s too late to change any course of action/delay, or put a PR-laced Band Aid on a mistake. But as the social media generation goes, the second-guessing is almost inevitable—considering the team’s position, I am surprised there hasn‘t been more couch coaching.

Even the Angels’ brass has hinted at the idea they are not completely satisfied or done searching. When asked about the deadline, general manager told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez:

We were very aggressive in our search for young, Major League-ready, controllable pitching. Obviously it’s a very difficult thing to acquire. And that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to look at it again.

That’s a good call, Jerry…let’s look at it again.

Without further ado, with my 20/20 hindsight vision in hand, here are two deals that actually could have improved the Angels, without burning the pocket book or farm system or anything else that is combustible on this current team.

Understand that could is a big word throughout this discovery. 


Mark Trumbo to the Pittsburgh Pirates

This possible trade was quickly shut down because the Angels reportedly had zero interest in getting rid of their slugger. And I can’t argue with their thinking to be reluctant.

But I would also like to think that the right player (or players) in return for Trumbo could have made this deal a reality.

Sure, his stock is on the rise with the Angels—with Albert Pujols on the mend and a power-hitting void at first base—but parting ways wouldn’t be terrible if it meant acquiring pitching.

Top-tier pitching, of course. Not just cost-controlled risks like Ian Kennedy, but top-10 level arms that could help rebuild the farm system—like Pirates’ right-handers Nick Kingham and Kyle McPherson.

It could have worked, as there was a willingness from the other side of the negotiating table. The Pirates had reportedly been open to part with a young arm for Trumbo, so why not go after these two?

Kingham has decent stuff—an above-average fastball (95-97 mph) with developing secondary pitches—and McPherson could be that middle-of-the-rotation guy the Angels need to compliment C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver. 

Both pitchers are expected to be in the MLB by 2014 and, more importantly, getting them wouldn’t completely deplete the Pirates’ system, leaving their top arms for the NL Central to fear down the road.

It’s a win-win.

Had the Angels gone this route, exploiting the fact the Pirates need a power bat and probably are susceptible to panic-mode (it’s been over two decades since a playoff birth) I think they could have secured one of those options in return—with maybe another arm down the prospect-chain. 

It’s also worth noting: I have faith that C.J. Cron is close to becoming a full-time major league player, taking care of the first base duties for years to come with the Angels. So replacing Trumbo would not be a desperate issue, during this season or in the future.


Howie Kendrick to the Toronto Blue Jays

Kendrick’s no-trade clause—that consisted of 12 teams—and the possible return product being Luke Hochevar or Ervin Santana certainly kept him out of Kansas City.

It was another case of the Angels not giving in for the sake of making moves, so I applaud the effort. But the Royals weren’t the only team looking for a second baseman.

The Toronto Blue Jays were one of the teams most interested in Kendrick, and they also happened to be a team that is loaded with pitching prospects in their farm system.

The deal made sense to pursue.

Kendrick was by far the most intriguing chip the Angels dangled out on the trade market, no question. He has that rare ability for a second baseman to hit for average, with decent power, while hitting in various spots of the lineup—third, second, sixth, etc.

He would have fit perfectly in the Jays’ lineup, and his contract would have given them an all-star caliber leader for the next two seasons, for a relatively cheap cost.

On the other hand, trading Kendrick would have given the Angels a little breathing room towards total salary—not a ton, but a little—while netting them possible arms for the future. 

What arms, you ask? 

Any of the young hurlers currently in the Jays’ top 10—Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Marcus Stroman, Daniel Norris, Sean Nolin, John Stilson­—would have been another upgrade for the Angles.

The trade would also put Grant Green in his preferred position (second base) next season and beyond. That also allows Taylor Lindsey more time to mature, instead of rushing him as a quick fix. 

Understandably, like the Trumbo deal, it wouldn’t be easy to part with such a great player like Kendrick. But the young arms the Angels could get in return outweigh the offensive production that clouds either deal.

In reality—where the fun is outweighed by the actual decisions a team has to live with—the deals that were made, not made, or passed on to the winter, were exactly what we should have expected.

With the exact outcome: boring.

So, really there wasn’t much of a sell, as Dipoto told Gonzalez, “I don’t know if I can classify it as a buyer’s market at all…I think it was a particularly uneventful day.”



Note: All stats provided were courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

For more of the daily this and that, follow Rick Suter on Twitter@ rick_suter.














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SF Giants: Moves They Could or Should Have Made at the Deadline

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

The San Francisco Giants‘ decision to undergo a quiet MLB trade deadline seems to have sealed the team’s fate this season.  General Manager Brain Sabean opted to keep the team in limbo as opposed to orchestrate a fire sale or shop for a high-priced “savior of the season.”

Sabean could have gone after pitchers Matt Garza, Budd Norris and Jake Peavy more aggressively.  On the flip side of the coin, Sabean also could have shopped outfielder Hunter Pence and pitcher Tim Lincecum around the league to interested buyers. 

But he didn’t. 

The Giants’ pitching staff remains intact and unchanged, and Lincecum and Pence have kept their orange-and-black uniforms. 

Sabean‘s inaction can be interpreted as just that: inaction.  However, Sabean‘s apparent lack of productivity this trade deadline actually illustrates the front-office man’s patience going into 2014. 

The pitching staff has been a disaster all season.  Save for left-hander Madison Bumgarner, every starter has struggled for a large part of the year.  This once top-tier rotation is now in a state of transition and needs more than a Bud Norris-mid-level-type to breathe life into it again. 

Luckily, the Giants have several aces waiting in the wings in their farm system.  Pitcher Kyle Crick has ellicited comparisons to Matt Cain and Bumgarner.  Clayton Blackburn has impressed in Single-A, and a majority of the Giants’ top prospects are pitchers.

Crick, Blackburn, Chris Stratton, Heath Hembree, Michael Kickham and Martin Agosta all sit on the list of top-10 Giants prospects, according to MLB.com.

There were rumblings throughout the weeks leading up to the trade deadline pertaining to Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence.  Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas reported the Texas Rangers were interested in procuring a right-handed bat, and expressed interest in Pence.

Lincecum, meanwhile, has been the subject of talks that he might eventually be converted into a closer.  Still, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports writes, this conversion was ultimately unlikely:

However, there is really very little precedent for a big-name starting pitcher being acquired and immediately transformed into a closer. Lincecum’s pitching coach, Dave Righetti, along with cross-Bay Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz and a few other big-time pitchers are major stars who eventually made the switch from starter to reliever. However, those changes didn’t come as part of a mid-season trade.

The Giants were wise to keep these two pillars in San Francisco.  To remove such veteran leadership and positive clubhouse presences in both Lincecum and Pence would have been demoralizing to a franchise that not so long ago won a World Series trophy. 

Sometimes, the conservative approach is the right approach.  Sabean and the organization made it clear their intentions are to win with the current roster with a hope that minor league talent will develop come the 2014 season. 

For now, Giants fans will just have to ride out the season.


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Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski Again Proves Why He’s Among MLB’s Best

They are riverboat gamblers dressed in Armani. They are playing with company money, corporate assets. Their cell phones burn hotter than a California brush fire.

Some are craftier than others. Some are more aggressive than others. Some go for the big payoff—risk takers supreme. Others are content to settle for the smaller, safer bet.

Here’s an example.

It’s around Valentine’s Day (ironically) in 1989. The Pistons’ wheeler and dealer has been burning up the phone lines. He has a mercurial, tempestuous, volatile player on his hands. The player cannot any longer get along with his coach. That comes from the player himself.

The riverboat gambler tries to broker a meeting between player and coach. The player rebuffs the efforts.

“I told Adrian, ‘Coach Daly will talk to you anytime you want.’ But Adrian didn’t want to talk.”

The speaker was Jack McCloskey. And he was recalling the circumstances surrounding his gutsiest trade ever. That’s my opinion and I am sticking to it.

McCloskey traded Adrian Dantley to Dallas for Mark Aguirre, straight up. Dantley—as McCloskey recounted to me via phone several years ago—was an unhappy camper in early 1989, despite the Pistons tearing up the league, seeking that elusive championship. And frankly, the Pistons weren’t too pleased with Adrian.

The Pistons made the Finals in 1988, but lost in seven hellacious games to the Lakers. They had come close—oh, so close—to winning their first title in franchise history.

There had been grumblings that Dantley, perhaps the best post-up small forward in league history, was a ball and chain around the Pistons’ offense. The term black hole was even used—as in when the basketball was delivered to Dantley, it was never to be seen by a teammate again.

The Pistons had some athletes who could get up and down the floor, led by the smiling assassin Isiah Thomas. But when Dantley got the ball—usually on the wing—the offense came to a screeching halt. After two-plus seasons of this, certain folks got annoyed. Certain folks in very high places.

So it was that even with the backdrop of a team playing .750 basketball, Dantley was frustrated. He felt the tension, and he (rightly) felt that it was directed toward him.

McCloskey pleaded with Dantley to talk to his coach, Chuck Daly. Dantley refused.

“I had no choice,” McCloskey told me that evening in 2009. “I had to trade Adrian.”

The trade deadline was coming up. And even if McCloskey—so aptly nicknamed “Trader Jack”—felt that he “had no choice” but to trade Dantley, I still say it was his gutsiest trade. Maybe the gutsiest in Detroit sports history.

The trade, for another player who had issues with his coach—Aguirre—could have had a negative affect on team chemistry. For despite Dantley’s foibles, the Pistons were used to them. And they knew the reputation that Aguirre had in Dallas and his Reggie Jackson-Billy Martin relationship with coach Dick Motta, who himself would never win Mr. Congeniality. With Dantley vs. Aguirre, it was kind of like the devil you know versus the one you don’t.

McCloskey made the trade. Dantley, who to this day thinks the deal was engineered by Thomas (Aguirre’s close friend), brooded. Aguirre was taken to dinner by a contingent of Pistons and the law was laid down. The Pistons won their championship four months later. But it could have gone oh so wrong.

Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers’ riverboat gambler of today, emerged after Tuesday night’s game, beaming. He headed for manager Jim Leyland’s office as the media in the clubhouse murmured. It was less than 24 hours before Wednesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Moments later, Dombrowski spoke to the press and revealed why he had the look of a man who had just beaten the house.

Sometime during Tuesday’s game, Dombrowski was burning up his phone line, talking trade with the Boston Red Sox fellow AL first place tenants.

The Tigers, concerned about the fate of shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s status (his connections with the Biogenesis lab may result in a 50-game suspension), decided that they had no viable options internally for Jhonny should MLB remove him via suspension.

So Dombrowski, wearing his Armani suit and pink tie, playing at the table with the boss’ assets—namely, minor league prospects—worked out a three-way deal with Boston and the Chicago White Sox.

Boston would get outfielder Avisial Garcia, who the Tigers are very high on, and sometimes big league reliever Brayan Villarreal. The Red Sox would then ship Garcia to the White Sox for starting pitcher Jake Peavy.

And the Tigers were getting shortstop Jose Iglesias from Boston, whose glove has been compared to Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel’s, no less.

Dombrowski was beaming because he not only patched up shortstop for this season, should Peralta be suspended, but he covered the position for years to come. Iglesias is 23 years old and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2019, which to me still looks like a year out of an H.G. Wells novel.

Dombrowski is the ultimate poker player. Earlier that day, he solemnly told the press that, after his Monday trade for reliever Jose Veras, the Tigers were likely done trading. That Peralta’s status wasn’t dire enough to create urgency for another deal before 4:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

He said these things even after he had been in talks with the Red Sox that morning.

A good gambler never shows his cards until it’s time.

We have seen the best and worst of general managers in Detroit.

We have seen Russ Thomas, who was a tightwad and a curmudgeon straight out of a Dickens novel, holding onto Lions owner Bill Ford’s money like it was his own.

We have seen Ned Harkness, whose personal grudges and misplaced college attitude destroyed the Red Wings for a decade and a half.

We have seen Matt Millen, and that’s all that needs to be said here.

But we have also seen Jimmy Devellano, whose moves didn’t always work with the Red Wings, but no one could accuse Jimmy D of being passive or uncreative.

We have seen the aforementioned McCloskey, who took a 16-win team and in less than five years, had them competing seriously in the NBA playoffs, eventually winning two championships in a row in 1989-90.

We now see Kenny Holland, who proved that his hockey GM chops weren’t propped up by owner Mike Ilitch’s pocketbook. After the NHL instituted a hard salary cap in 2005, Holland continued to show why he is among the best in the business, even when not able to work with a blank check.

And the Tigers have Dombrowski, who is as good as they come in baseball. His moves don’t always work, either, but they do most of the time and he is another that no one can accuse of being passive. He knows the clock is ticking on his octogenarian owner, who wants a World Series title so badly he can taste it.

Did Dombrowski’s cat-who-swallowed-the-canary smile on Tuesday night say it all?

We’ll find out in about two-and-a-half months, won’t we?

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Biggest Takeaways from the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline

If the trade deadline seemed quieter than in years past, it’s because it was. Only 61 players, not including a few players-to-be-named-later and some draft picks, were traded in the month of July compared to 100 in 2012 and 87 in 2011. 

A shallow trade market for hitters complicated things, as well as high asking prices from non-contenders and several teams on the cusp of playoff contention not yet ready to give up. Some non-moves were questionable—I put together a list of my top eight yesterday—and we’re still trying to gather all the answers as to why the lack of trade activity. 

For now, here are four things that we can take away from this year’s trade deadline.


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Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: Rounding Up Latest Deadline Discussion

The Atlanta Braves already found the relief arm they were looking for, but they may not be done searching for pitching prior to Wednesday’s trade deadline.

As noted by the team’s official Twitter account, the Braves dealt right-hander Cory Rasmus to the Los Angeles Angels for lefty reliever Scott Downs on Monday:

Downs has been tremendous this season (1.76 ERA in 44 appearances), but the Braves could use another arm after losing starter Tim Hudson (8-7, 3.97 ERA) to a season-ending ankle injury last week, per Kipp Adams of ESPN:

To replace Hudson, general manager Frank Wren has a short list of targets capable of taking his spot. But as he told Carroll Rogers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the market is a little thin this year:

I’ve had years where I’ve had two legal pages written out of names of potential trade possibilities. This year I’ve got half a page of teams and names that really fit for us, so it’s a small number. The payroll is not going to be the issue for us; it’s going to be the talent we have to give up. It’s also understanding how much of an upgrade a particular player is for us. It’s a thin market. Are there pitchers out there that would make us better? Yes. The number of them is pretty low.

Still, Wren will be doing everything he can to find some extra help on the trade market, and Rogers suggested several potential options the Braves may be exploring.


Jake Peavy

Rogers believes Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy is at the top of Wren’s wish list, and it would make sense for the Braves to pursue a deal to acquire him.

As reported by Dan Plesac of the MLB Network, Peavy has been scratched from his Tuesday evening start, and the Braves are said to be an interested party:

That Peavy isn’t pitching Tuesday comes as no surprise. The White Sox don’t want to risk losing him to injury amidst trade negotiations, and he’s sure to bring back a hefty return should they decide to deal him before Wednesday’s deadline.

Several teams are said to be interested in the 32-year-old hurler, and the Braves will likely be looking at some stiff competition as the deadline draws near. If Wren is being cautious about what he gives up in return, Atlanta may have a hard time topping offers from teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox.


Kyle Lohse

As noted by Rogers, the Braves have scouted Milwaukee Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, who has been absolutely terrific since the middle of June and would be a tremendous replacement for Hudson.

Since June 9, Lohse has posted a 6-1 record and currently boasts a 7-7 record with a 3.22 ERA. The Brewers probably won’t be looking to buy before the deadline, but it also seems they may not be looking to sell.

Per Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin has no interest in trading Lohse:

Still, general managers never want to seem eager to deal their best assets. It’s hard to believe Melvin won’t part with Lohse if a suitor presents a tempting offer.

Again, the Braves probably aren’t looking to deal the kind of young talent Milwaukee would likely want in return, but with the way Lohse has been pitching lately, they may have to at least consider it.


Bud Norris

According to Jon Morosi, the Braves are actively pursuing Houston Astros starter Bud Norris:

While that’s certainly positive news, Atlanta isn’t the only party interested in the 28-year-old righty.

As Major League Baseball reported Tuesday, at least three teams are said to be in the mix for Norris, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are also a likely suitor, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:

As is the case with Peavy, Norris has been one of the hottest names on the trade market of late. If the Braves want him, they’ll have to toss out a strong offer to acquire him.

On one hand, no trade target seems a likely candidate to join Atlanta before Wednesday. On the other hand, it only takes one big domino to fall to shake up the entire trade market.

Should Atlanta miss out on players like Peavy and Norris, the market may open up with a little more breathing room for Wren to strike a deal.

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MLB Rumors: Examining the Hottest Potential Deals as Deadline Nears

Rumors and speculation are at the forefront of the Major League Baseball world this week, as the July 31,  non-waiver trade deadline approaches on 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. 

Every team, good or bad, has a specific plan that they want to execute this time of year. If you are a bad or disappointing team, you want to look toward 2014 and beyond by trading aging players and expiring contracts to replenish your system. 

On the flip side, the teams that really drive the deadline are contenders. Those that have identified their flaws, carried out plenty of scouting, and preparing offers they hope will satisfy the other general managers. 

If only things were that simple. Right now, what we get is a lot of whispers from around the league that will end up being nothing more than that. Bringing in a second wild-card team to each league has given more hope to franchises that otherwise would be planning their offseason moves. 

As we look at all the latest news and rumors coming out, here are our thoughts on what is being said. 

4 p.m. ET

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Why the MLB Trade Deadline Is the Best in American Sports

“Trade ya.”

While those exact words might not be used during the final hours of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, it’s fun to imagine front office executives exchanging phone calls, e-mails and text messages that begin just so, as if they were eight-year-olds in an elementary school cafeteria.

“Trade ya my Fritos for your Ring Dings?”

The wheelings and dealings and movers and shakers surrounding the trade deadline are a huge part of what makes baseball so exciting at a time when we’re caught somewhere between trying to recall the freshness of Opening Day in April and the buildup toward the playoffs that happens every September. 

Unlike pretty much every other major American professional sport, baseball’s transaction cycle never really has a lull, particularly when it comes to the trade deadline.

Free agency officially starts almost as soon as the final out of the World Series is made, and Lord knows there are rumors and speculation about the biggest names about to become available months in advance. November through February is such a crazy four-month stretch that it even has its own nickname—the “Hot Stove.”

From there, we get into spring training, which is all about figuring out how those free agents we just mentioned fit into their new teams. It’s also a time to determine which intriguing young prospect is looking like a candidate to head north with the big league team and argue over which player should win that key position battle.

And once the season starts, well, it’s time for analyzing notable/surprising/disappointing performances and then waiting a month or two for the cavalry of top prospects to arrive before we get into the draft in June.

But each of those aspects isn’t quite unique to baseball. Football has OTAs and training camp, basketball has the summer league and hockey has, well, whatever hockey has. 

Where MLB stands alone, though, is what comes next—the trade deadline.

Basically, once the draft is finished and the fallout has been dissected and broken down for a week or so, baseball goes full-bore into trade rumors, talk, speculation and rumblings. The deadline may be July 31, but the anticipation builds for a solid six to eight weeks, and trades can—and do—happen at any time. 

Here’s a question for you: When is the trade deadline for the NFL? How ’bout for the NBA? Or the NHL?


[The respective answers, by the way: after Week 8; the 16th Thursday of the season, usually in February and, uh, we’ll get back to that.]

To be fair, the NBA and NHL do see a fair amount of activity leading up to their deadlines.

Just last season in the NBA, a bunch of swaps were completed in the month leading up to February 21, but the biggest move was probably the three-teamer involving Rudy Gay, Jose Calderon and Tayshaun Prince.

There were even more transactions in the NHL leading up to April 3, but as TSN put it: “Despite the flurry of activity near the deadline, the biggest story of the day might be the players who were not moved.”

As for the NFL? Well, with apologies to Aqib Talib, the “big get” by November 1 last year, this headline just about says all you need to know.

In baseball, though, it seems that a superstar, or at least a legitimate difference-maker or three, is not only dangled but—gasp—traded just about every year.

You can probably think up a handful of names on your own, but in case you’re feeling lazy, we’ve done the work for you. Big names like CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez, Cliff Lee, Hanley Ramirez, Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt went from one team to another—in just the past five seasons.

And that’s to say nothing of the countless other quality players and seemingly spare parts who proved to be all-important additions—Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro, anyone?—that get to pack their bags each July.

Of course, not every trade deadline winds up being exciting. In fact, some, like Grant Brisbee of SB Nation, are even wondering whether this July might be the worst in recent memory:

This trade deadline is awful.

Michael Young used to be a good baseball player. You don’t need me to tell you that. He’s a seven-time All-Star, which is something that a few Hall of Famers can’t say. And he’s one of the more popular names in the Rumor Mill. Yankees? Red Sox? Dodgers? Who could use Michael Young? Then Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Young would accept a trade only to the Rangers, people freaked out. Boo, Michael Young. Booooo.

Except Michael Young is basically Greg Dobbs — you might want him on a 25-man roster, but you definitely don’t want him starting. Replace every Michael Young rumor with Greg Dobbs’s name. Greg Dobbs might go to the Yankees. Are the Red Sox interested in Greg Dobbs? Greg Dobbs refuses to waive his no-trade clause. It’s the kind of thought exercise that makes you rub your temples and evaluate the choices you’ve made in your life.

It’s certainly possible that we’ve already seen the biggest deal of this month when the Texas Rangers obtained right-hander Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs for a package of prospects.

After all, it’s not like Monday’s run on relievers—Scott Downs, Jose Veras and Jesse Crain all got shipped out—would qualify as a busy news day by typical MLB trade deadline standards.

Part of the issue, no doubt, is that the expanded postseason format in which a second wild card in each league makes it into October simply means that there are more teams believing they still have a shot at the playoffs.

Plenty of buyers, not so many sellers.

Whether this is going to be an issue going forward, we’ll have to see. But there could be ways to reinvigorate the deadline.

Of course, it’s also possible that a bunch of deals go down in the next several hours, and we see players like Pence, Alex Rios and Justin Morneau get moved. And just because it seems unlikely now doesn’t mean that Cliff Lee will still be in Philadelphia or Giancarlo Stanton will still be a Marlin as of 4:01 p.m. Wednesday.

Regardless, we know two things beyond the shadow of a doubt.

First, the moment Scott Feldman was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, MLB’s trading period beat the NFL’s for the umpteenth consecutive year.

And second, no one would ever trade Ring Dings for Fritos. But nice try.

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Assembling Perfect Cliff Lee Trade Packages for Top 5 Suitors

Although the Phillies are reportedly willing to entertain offers for Cliff Lee, they’re asking for the farm in return.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is asking for three or four top prospects in return for Lee, as well as the assumption of the remainder of his contract.

Given that information, there are only a few organizations with both the financial flexibility and depth on the farm to make a run at the 34-year-old left-hander. And while it’s increasingly doubtful that any team would be willing to part with such a significant portion of its future under those circumstances, there are several clubs expected to at least kick the tires over the next 24 hours.

Here’s a look at five teams capable of putting together a loaded prospect package to land Cliff Lee before Wednesday’s deadline.

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2013 MLB Trade Deadline: Key Moves Philadelphia Phillies Could and Should Make

As the 2013 Major League Baseball trade deadline is just over 24 hours away, the Philadelphia Phillies have several key decisions to make about some core players on their roster. 

About two weeks ago, the Phillies found themselves in pretty good position to make a postseason run, as they were within shouting distance of the Atlanta Braves and the National League East lead. 

However, two weeks and an eight game losing streak later, the Phils are a whopping 11.5 games behind the Braves, as well as nine games back of the Cincinnati Reds for a Wild Card spot. 

With an aging and injury-plagued roster, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has some major decisions to make within the next day that may decide the future of his organization.

Superstars such as Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Michael Young may wind up on the trading block throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. 

With that said, let’s take a look at three possible deals that Philadelphia could and should make by Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. 


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