Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Changing Landscape

Just like that, baseball's trading season has kicked into high gear.

First the fading Mariners surprised everyone Wednesday by acquiring shortstop Jack Wilson and starter Ian Snell from the Pirates for shortstop Ronny Cedeno and four minor leaguers.

Then the Phillies agreed to a deal for defending AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, 30, and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians for four minor leagues. None of the players the Phillies gave up were named Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ and the trade is pending physicals.

And of course, both deals impact the Yankees and Sox.

The Mariners have been struggling, falling 7-1/2 games behind the Angels in the AL West. It was assumed the Mariners would become sellers and look to unload Jarrod Washburn. It also was assumed the Yankees would be in the bidding for the lefty.

It appears we assumed wrong. At first blush, it appeared the Mariners made this deal to acquire Snell, who is 27 and has a load of potential, but has struggled and was at Triple-A. Taking Wilson was nothing more than taking on a salary dump.

But Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik says that's not the case. He made the deal to get Wilson, who is 31 and has been injury prone and average at best when he's played.

If Zduriencik is telling the truth, it's a foolish move. The Mariners are going nowhere this season. But who knows? He could be trying to protect the trade value of Washburn by not being entirely forthcoming. We'll see.

Until the Mariners' intentions become clearer, it appears the Yankees will have to search elsewhere for a starter. The Reds' Bronson Arroyo and Diamondbacks' Jon Garland would fill the Yankees' need, but as I wrote earlier, GM Brian Cashman is very good and moving under the radar. He could come up with someone no one is expecting.

The Yankees did make a minor trade Wednesday, acquiring righthander Jason Hirsch for a player to be named and assigning him to Triple A.

Meanwhile, the Phillies made a great move. They got a top of the rotation pitcher without giving up their No. 1 prospect. That's not to say that they didn't give up a lot, but when you can get a defending Cy Young Award winner without giving up a top prospect such as Drabek, you've done something right.

So it would seem that the Red Sox are now the front-runners for the Blue Jays' Roy Halladay.

Well, not quite.

The New York Post is reporting that Jays' Ricciardi believes he's going to end up keeping Halladay because he hasn't been wowed by a deal by anyone. Ricciardi is still trying to hit the lottery with this deal and ESPN's Buster Olney reported things are now quiet on the Halladay trade front.

It would seem the Jays overplayed their hand for Halladay and are going to come away with nothing.

But that does not mean the Sox will come away with nothing. With the Indians clearly becoming sellers, the Sox are front and center in trade talks for All-Star catcher Victor Martinez.

Martinez would give the Sox a much-needed bat, but there is little known about what the Indians would want in exchange for the switch-hitter. Talk on WFAN in New York also has the Mets show interest in Martinez.

Two trades, one day, and baseballs landscape has changed dramatically.

No comments: