tclakin

Trade Deadline Predictions

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2009 at 11:17 am

Here we are, folks. We’ve finally arrived at one of my favorite sports days of the year – Trade Deadline Day. Before 4 PM rolls around, I thought I’d toss out a couple thoughts:

What I hope happens that I think actually could: The Sox trade for Victor Martinez, CLE

Will V-Mart be on the Sox by day's end?

Will V-Mart be on the Sox by day's end?

I’ll admit it – I have a man crush on Victor Martinez. 30-years-old, Martinez can hit for both average and power and he’s still young enough to continue improving. He also plays both catcher and first base and – while not the greatest defensive catcher – Martinez could at least take the strain off Varitek from time to time. When not catching, Martinez would take the helm at first, moving Youkilis back to his natural position at third. Plus, by all accounts Martinez is a superb clubhouse guy – the kind of player the 2004 World Champion Sox were built around. He’s been known to create handshakes for every member of his team (shades of Orlando Cabrera), and he is generally regarded as a fun guy to be around. Martinez would be a breath of fresh air for a Sox team sorely lacking in color and characters. All in all, a deal for Martinez seems like a win-win, though I’m hesistant to hope for it because of an earlier report from Peter Gammons explaining that the Sox already refused a Clay Buchholz-for-Martinez deal. Right now, the rumor mill is pumping out stories of a possible three-teamer, in which the Sox would part with Buchholz and possibly LaRoche, while receiving Martinez and something else in return.

What I hope happens that I think is completely unrealistic: The Sox trade for Roy Halladay, TOR

Or will it be Halladay?

Or will it be Halladay?

Though just yesterday the Sox were considered the frontrunners to land Halladay, I just don’t see it happening. Theo simply won’t want to part with the prospects it would take to get a deal done. It’s been argued – and I’m not going to totally disagree – that Theo overvalues his prospects, protecting guys like Buchholz from being dealt far past any logical timeline. Everyone forgets that Clay is only 7 months younger than Jon Lester. The developmental discrepancy between these two guys at this point in their respective careers should tell the whole story. Sure, maybe in two or three years Clay will finally figure it all out and come back to haunt the Sox, and that’s fine. That’s the risk you take. But it’s not like he hasn’t been given a chance to succeed. He’s 25 years old. If  Buchholz is traded and he becomes a star in three years, no one – well no one intelligent, that is – is going to eviscerate Theo for dealing away some unknown youngster who just needed a little bit of spit and polish to become an ace. Maybe if he was 21, but he’s not. A guy like Halladay, however, is a known quantity. Everyone knows that for the next couple years, barring injury, he is going to dominate. That’s just a fact. With Buchholz, you can’t be sure. It’s the difference between potential and proven. Sometimes I think MLB general managers like potential a little too much. Theo’s certainly fallen victim to this. You can get too cute, trying too hard to farm-raise the next homegrown superstar. And sometimes it works wonders, like with Pedroia, but a lot of times these top-level prospects flame out and their actual value – as trade bait in a productive deal – is wasted (see: the immortal Craig Hansen). You can’t run an actual major league organization like it’s ESPN Fantasy Baseball. If you can get a dominant starter like Halladay, you do it. Don’t overthink it. The Yankees did that a couple years ago when they failed to trade for Johan Santana. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like the Sox chances in a playoff series if they could trot out a 1-2-3 of Beckett, Lester, and Halladay. There’s just no arguing with that. If I was a major league GM with a chance to get it done, I would.

What I think will happen: The Sox trade for Adrian Gonzalez, SDP

What about Gonzalez?

What about Gonzalez?

There have been hints that the Sox and Padres are in talks regarding Gonzalez and generally when there’s smoke, there’s fire. It’s been my observation that as the deadline nears, the big time rumors are usually false – this doesn’t mean the teams in question aren’t doing anything, it just means they aren’t doing what everybody thinks they are doing.  Sources are sources, but the Red Sox run a pretty tight ship, especially when it comes to negotiations. And after getting burned by the Mark Teixeira negotiations, they’ll be especially careful not to tip their hand early on. So, while everything I’ve heard points to Victor Martinez, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Gonzalez deal emerge last-minute. Gonzalez is a good player with some pop in his bat and he’s only 27, which is a big plus. As a lefty with power, he could absolutely rake in Fenway. Hell, he had 40-homer potential in the cavernous Petco. His .250 average worries me slightly, however, and I hope his steadily declining numbers over the last few years (.304, .282, .279, .252) aren’t a sign of things to come.

Regardless, I expect to see a deal completed before the end of the day, though who knows when it will happen. We all remember last year, when the Manny trade wasn’t announced until the deadline had come and gone. So enjoy the rumors, everyone, and stay tuned.

It is, after all, one of the best days of the year.

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