It's that time of year again. The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching, and there have already been a number of trades consummated ahead of the deadline. Among others, Detroit has added Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. Ontario Native, catcher George Kottaras is headed to the Oakland Athletics, who somehow have become one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Anaheim Angels bringing in Zack Greinke to an already potent rotation. The Pittsburgh Pirates showing they're ready to make a push by adding Wandy Rodriguez. Ichiro is a Yankee. The White Sox, not yet ready to roll over to the Tigers, added Francisco Liriano yesterday. Last week the Dodgers brought over Hanley Ramirez to bring the total amount of hitters in their lineup to two.... Last but not least, the Blue Jays kicked things off in a sense with Houston in a ten player deal that brought in J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon.
The deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday July 31 at 4pm, and you can bet that there is still a lot of movement to come before then.
After missing out on Greinke, I suspect that the Texas Rangers will still make a hard push to add an arm. Perhaps James Shields, Josh Beckett, or maybe even Josh Johnson if they can make Miami an offer they can't turn down. Atlanta is also looking to add an arm after missing out on a deal that was in place last week to acquire Canadian Ryan Dempster from the Cubs. The Dodgers are still looking to add one more arm, and improve their offense in any way they can. (Let's face it.... It wouldn't take much to improve that offense) The Athletics still want to add a middle infielder and have been linked to the Jays in talks regarding Yunel Escobar. Toronto in turn is apparently interested in Brett Anderson, but as we know, if we've heard about it, it's probably not true. The Silent Assassin works only in the shadows....
The latest rumors surfacing today center around Canadian Justin Morneau. The Giants, Dodgers, and Blue Jays are apparently interested in adding the first baseman. He would be a fit on any of these three teams. The best fit would of course be the Dodgers, but Blue Jays fans can hope right?
One team in particular I expect to be active ahead of the deadline is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have performed well below expectations this year and after this weekend now find themselves 12.5 games out of a playoff spot. They have pieces to move. Shane Victorino is very likely going to be putting on a different shirt by the end of the week, as is Joe Blanton. Both players are looking at becoming free agents following the 2012 campaign, and there is definitely a market for both of them. Juan Pierre will likely be moved and Hunter Pence has become an interesting name as well. He still has some time left on his deal, but despite this there are still some analysts around the industry who think there is a good chance that Philly will move him too. There are a lot of teams who could use offensive outfielders right now. (Again, I'm going to pick on the Dodgers. Bobby Abreu is your starting LF? Really?)
However There is one player in Philadelphia that I can tell you will definitely not move before tomorrow. Despite numerous reports that the Phillies may be shopping him, I will tell you with great certainty, Cliff Lee is not going anywhere. Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing the Lee speculation. There is no meat to this rumor. At all.
Now, I get criticized for sometimes for not being opinionated enough on this blog, or sure of my self when I write. Well, how is this for being opinionated and certain: If Cliff Lee gets traded before tomorrow's non-waiver trade deadline, I will shave my head bald. (and yes, I do still have a full head of hair, and will post pictures to prove it.)
Cliff Lee is absolutely not moving.
The Phillies have made it known that they still want to come into next season with Halladay, Lee and Hamels as their big three. Now I realize that teams make this type of claim all of the time and then retract on it. But this is different. For some reason people have failed to remember why Lee signed in Philly in the first place, leaving a small fortune (to you and I anyway) on the table with the Yankees. At the time of his free agency, Lee's son was in remission from Leukemia and Philadelphia apparently has the #1 children's hospital in the United States. This was a huge factor in why Lee signed on for a second tour with the Phillies, and the reason I know that will keep him from approving a trade anywhere. (Lee has a no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 21 teams the Phillies can not trade him to without his consent.)
Technically The Phillies can trade Lee to 8 teams whether they have his consent or not, but they won't. When asked if he planned on keeping his expensive starting rotation in tact, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. responded by saying: "Plans can change, but that's what the plan is right now."
Plans won't change. I'm betting the hair on my head that Lee will make his next scheduled start tomorrow night against Washington. Three hours after the deadline has passed.
Who will move before tomorrow night? Your guess is as good as mine. I've given a few of my loose predictions on who will move before tomorrow. Who do you think will be walking out of a new home clubhouse by the end of the week? Please feel free to share your predictions in the comments section below.
Happy Trade Deadline!