Deal or no Deal: Potential Trade Thoughts from the AL East

With the MLB trade deadline quickly approaching I asked each of our site leads to give me their thoughts on what the team they cover should do. Should they buy, sell, or stand pat?  Who should they target or look to move?  As always, our writers were free to answer in whatever fashion they felt appropriate.

The responses that follow (after the jump) are from our Lead Writers in the AL East.

Baltimore Orioles: Birds Watcher Lead Writer Dan Soderberg

Here we go again. It’s late July, the Orioles are terrible, and trade rumors are swirling around every veteran not nailed down on a long term deal. Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millwood are all free agents after the season and have been the most rumored players to go in a potential deadline trade. Moving Millwood seems unlikely considering his remaining salary and diminishing performances over the past 6 weeks. The Orioles are better off keeping Millwood and hoping to get draft pick compensation for him in the event he signs elsewhere as a free agent this off season. Wigginton and Tejada have some versatility and could no doubt help a contender in need of infield depth such as the Tigers, Phillies or Rangers. A move involving Miggy or Ty figures to be a minor move with not much coming back to the O’s. Last season’s trade of Aubrey Huff to the Tigers for Single-A RHP Brett Jacobson is a good barometer of what could be expected in return for Wigginton or Tejada.

What I think the Orioles should do is aggressively market 3 players who are under the team’s control for multiple seasons: Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Scott and Adam Jones. Guthrie is a reliable innings eater and would slot nicely as a mid-rotation starter for a NL club. He’s also under team control through 2012 and could elicit a decent package from team like the Phillies or Rockies. With Zach Britton knocking on the door at AAA and the rest of the “cavalry” already in the Bigs now seems like a good time to move Guthrie.

Personally, I’d like to see the Rays take Luke Scott back to Tampa with them and leave SS Reid Brignac in Baltimore. Scott would give the Rays some added thump to their lineup at a fraction of the cost of Prince Fielder. He’s also under team control through 2012 and wouldn’t be a rent-a-slugger like Adam Dunn. Brignac would immediately displace Cesar Izturis as the shortstop in Baltimore and could potentially plug a hole that’s existed since Tejada was traded after the 2007 season.

That brings us to Adam Jones. Jones is still just 24 and has rebounded after a horrendous start, but he now has 1571 career plate appearances and a career OBP of .313. Jones’ power may continue to evolve, but his lack of plate discipline or strike zone judgment can be maddening to watch on a daily basis. Adam won a Gold glove last season, based mostly on a few highlight plays rather than consistency. He continues to make near daily gaffes in CF and by some accounts isn’t the most coach-able guy on the team. A San Diego native, Jones could be the outfield power bat the Padres have been searching for as they try to hold on in the NL West race. Moving Jones could bring back a couple of solid prospects in return and clear CF in Baltimore for Felix Pie.

Boston Red Sox: BoSox Injection Lead Writer Brian Phair

The Boston Red Sox are in a unique place right now, teetering on the edge of contention. They are now sitting 7 games back in the AL East, so it is tough to determine whether they are buyers or sellers. As a GM however, I would address the one major area of weakness for the club: relief pitching. By making a move, it will hopefully invigorate the team to battle back and make a push at the playoffs. I would target 2 guys to fill the 7th inning set-up man role: Leo Nunez of the Marlins and Matt Lindstrom of the Astros.

Both guys have experience late in ball games being closers, so to move into a set-up role would allow the Sox a ton of flexibility. The biggest struggle for the Sox this year has been the lack of a 3rd reliable guy late in ball games, something they need down the stretch. They had hoped Hideki Okajima would return to his 2007 form or that Manny Delcarmen would step-up into the role, but it didn’t happen. On top of having a 7th inning reliever, both Nunez and Lindstrom could provide the Sox with a back-up closer if Papelbon wasn’t available.

In order to bring in one of those relievers, I would dangle Jacoby Ellsbury’s name out there knowing that he is extremely valuable on the market, but his relationship with the Red Sox has diminished recently. Also, the Sox minor league system has a ton of depth at the outfield position, as we have seen this year. The Sox could bring in a few pieces for Ellsbury, using his young age and high potential as a selling point. If the Sox targeted Nunez, they would be bringing in an arm for the future and not just for the remainder of this season, because he is just a few weeks shy of his 27th birthday and has a ton of potential.

New York Yankees: Yanks Go Yard Lead Writer Andrew Corselli

If I’m Brian Cashman, I have got to get some pitching for the Yanks by the trade deadline. Preferably of the bullpen variety, but I wouldn’t mind a starter.

Everyone not named Mariano Rivera has been a joke in relief for the Yankees this season. Joba is not the same pitcher he was in 2007, CHoP, Chad Gaudin and Dustin Moseley are a joke, D-Rob is shakier than the 1989 World Series, there are many injuries going around, no one knows if Albaladejo can return to form and until the team gets Alfredo Aceves back they don’t have a reliable set-up man. Even if Ace returns there’s no guarantee he can replicate 2009.

Why not go after a long reliever to quell the mid-to-late innings woes? Maybe Joakim Soria (sorry Kings of Kauffman). I’ve heard rumors of Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor, though I don’t think the Jays would deal any of them within the division. Regardless of who it is, the bullpen needs a decent arm. That’s the bottom line.

If a reliever isn’t an option, then get somebody to replace Phil Hughes when he reaches his innings limit. With AJ Burnett doing his best Kevin Brown impression and Andy Pettitte‘s bones turning to dust, the team could use another starter. Who knows if Sergio Mitre can hold it down? Roy Oswalt and his hefty contract could be a candidate, or perhaps Ben Sheets. While the need is there, a starter should be the last thing on the Yanks’ mind.

A reliable bench player or righty DH trumps all of the team’s pitching needs. Jhonny Peralta‘s name has come up the past few days, so has Ty Wigginton‘s and Wes Helms‘. Ramiro Pena, Marcus Thames, Colin Curtis and Juan Miranda just aren’t cutting it. Although the last two came up huge on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Rays: Rayhawk Review Lead Writer Justin Klein

The Rays should definitely be buyers at the trade deadline. They’re lacking left handed relief and another big bat to protect Evan Longoria in the lineup. A few names I have in mind to fill these voids are Jayson Werth of the Phillies and Sean Marshall of the Cubs.

The problem with Werth is his expiring contract at the end of the season. So the question would be if he is worth giving up one of our starting pitchers like Wade Davis to get him? The answer is NO. I would not give up any player on our major league roster to rent Werth for the rest of the year. So then I lean to making a trade for a reliever like Sean Marshall who has been effective out of the pen and could also be put in for long relief. Marshall has an ERA of 1.85 and would definitely be a more viable option for the Rays in the long run. The Rays could trade Andy Sonnanstine and a lower player in the minors to acquire Marshall. It’s a small price to pay for someone very important in making a playoff run.

Marshall would take the place of Randy Choate who is sporting an ERA of 6.29. Choate has taken the load with JP Howell out of commission for the year and the addition of Marshall could really help the bullpen going down the stretch.

Toronto Blue Jays: Jays Journal Lead Writer Mat Germain

I have called many of the moves Alex Anthopolous has made ahead of time and do believe I, and most serious Jays fans, already know what’s going to happen from here on out in terms of who’s LEAVING the Jays. The names include the most probable: Jason Frasor, Lyle Overbay, Scott Downs, Jose Bautista, John Buck, and Kevin Gregg, as well as the possible trade of Brian Tallet and numerous middle-level prospects in order to even out trades. The bigger question, and much harder to evaluate aspect of the trade deadline, is what the Jays will be looking for in return for these players. Here, in my opinion, is what the Jays SHOULD do:

Trade Jose Bautista to the White Sox in return for Dan Hudson, Nick Ciolli, and a lesser prospect;

Trade Jason Frasor and John Buck to the Mets in return for Fernando Martinez and another prospect;

Trade Lyle Overbay to the first team who will cover his salary and perhaps provide a middle talent prospect;

Keep Scott Downs and his Type A status in order to accumulate draft picks; and

Trade Kevin Gregg and Brian Tallet to the Dodgers in return for Ethan Martin and Trayvon Robinson.

Having said all of that, if the Jays feel that they can work out a deal to sign Prince Fielder, they should make that move. I could envision a move as follows: Adam Lind, Kevin Gregg, and prospect(s) for Prince Fielder. The Jays have the budget to pay Prince $20-$25 million per season IF they want to. The question is, do they envision him doing well as DH in the AL East, and is he worth the big price tag he will certainly be as a Scott Boras agent. My take on it is that a Jays lineup with Wallace, Arencibia, Wells, Hill, Escobar, Snider, AND Fielder included would suddenly become one of the better lineups in the AL East and would provide the support the pitching staff needs to bring another Championship to Toronto.

That, my friends, is what I would do with the Jays as their GM. And I do expect Alex Anthopolous to be that aggressive in completing deals during the 2010 trade deadline edition.

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Topics: Adam Dunn, Adam Jones, Adam Lind, Alfredo Aceves, Andy Pettitte, Andy Sonnanstine, Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles, Ben Sheets, Boston Red Sox, Brett Jacobson, Brian Tallet, Cesar Izturis, Chad Gaudin, Colin Curtis, Dustin Moseley, Ethan Martin, Evan Longoria, Felix Pie, Fernando Martinez, Hideki Okajima, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Frasor, Jayson Werth, Jeremy Guthrie, Jhonny Peralta, Joakim Soria, John Buck, Jose Bautista, Juan Miranda, Kevin Gregg, Kevin Millwood, Leo Nunez, Luke Scott, Lyle Overbay, Manny Delcarmen, Marcus Thames, Mariano Rivera, Matt Lindstrom, Miguel Tejada, New York Yankees, Phil Hughes, Prince Fielder, Ramiro Pena, Randy Choate, Reid Brignac, Roy Oswalt, Scott Downs, Sean Marshall, Sergio Mitre, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Trayvon Robinson, Ty Wigginton, Wade Davis, Wes Helms

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