With the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in the books and the second half of the season underway, it’s time to turn our attention to the next big event on the MLB calendar: The Trade Deadline.
It’s that sacred time of the year where bottomfeeders deal away for a slew of young prospects. It’s also the time for the big fish to get bigger. This year seems like no exception: New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia are considered the teams looking to upgrade while the minnows – Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Washington, for example – have parts to sell. A look at some of the big names in play:
Roy Halladay – After dutifully serving Toronto for 11 years, it appears as though Doc’s time with the Blue Jays is coming to a close. There’s a near-frenzy for his services with good reason – rarely does a six-time All Star with a Cy Young to his credit come on the open market. Toronto seems to be going nowhere and this could be the exact right time to deal the 32-year-old Halladay. His stock has never been higher (currently in the midst of a banner campaign: 11-3, 2.73 ERA) and the returns could be massive. Reports indicate that the Dodgers, Phillies and yes – the Yankees – are the frontrunners in the Halladay sweepstakes.
Freddy Sanchez – Like everyone on Pittsburgh’s roster, Sanchez is ripe for trading. A sad statement of how the Pirates are run, but hey, that’s the reality. Sanchez recently turned down a contract extension to stay with the Pirates and could be in play come deadline day. At 31, he’s got a ton of experience and it doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting .313 this season and still one of baseball’s best defensive second basemen. Early reports indicate that the San Francisco Giants are quite interested in obtaining Sanchez’s services. Matt Holliday – After getting traded to Oakland last November, Holliday could be on the move once again. He’s underperformed with the Athletics (.276 average, 9 HR, 47 RBI) but those looking to bolster their offense will probably remember the 30 HR, 110-RBI guy Holliday was in Colorado. At 29, he’s still young and could be a cornerstone player for a contending team, not just a rental. Early rumors suggested that Holliday could be on his way to Atlanta in a multi-player deal, but that one has yet to move past the speculation point.
Notables The Kansas City Royals have reversed course recently by trading for Seattle’s Yuniesky Betancourt and Chicago’s Ryan Freel, but they could still deal starting pitcher Gil Meche, who is no longer the staff’s No. 1 with the emergence of Zac Greinke…Washington would love to unload Austin Kearns – who’s hitting .199 since May – but will have a hard time finding takers. Shocking to think that Kearns blasted 35 HR with the Nats just two years ago…