Change-UpJuly 18, 2007
Who's Buyin', Who's Sellin'?
By Patrick Sullivan

I want to start off by revisiting this piece from earlier in the season when I solicited some individual performance predictions for the halfway mark.

Commenter Richard nailed Jeremy Guthrie, Justin Morneau, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson (among others).

I will be doing a comparison of early season leaders and year-end standouts to demonstrate that a baseball season is indeed a marathon and not a race at the regular season's end. I will also be pointing out some more of our prescient readers.

Today's order of business is a look towards the trade deadline.


I came up with my own very unscientific and rough guide to help me rank the teams that ought to be buying and selling between now and the July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline. I tried to consider a way in which I could combine what a team's realistic chances of reaching the post-season were with their organizational depth and wherewithal to withstand a hit to the farm system.

If you are good and have a deep system, you buy. You have a shot to win and the strength from which to deal. If you have no chance to win and your farm system stinks, you sell. You need fresh young talent and you have no shot anyway. If you fall somewhere in between these two categories, you in all likelihood hold tight unless bowled over by an offer.

In order to come up with this system, I am leaning heavily on Baseball Prospectus. Specifically, I reference Clay Davenport's Postseason Odds Report and Kevin Goldstein's pre-season organizational farm system rankings. In combining each team's post-season odds ranking with their farm system one, I have come up with the following list. The lower the figure, the more sense it would seem to make for that team to be considering buying. The higher the figure, they should be considering all out firesale mode so as to try and stock up for the future. Without further ado...

MIL	11
BOS	12
NYM	14
NYY	16
COL	16
DET	17
CLE	20
ARI	23
ATL	24
MIN	25
SEA	27
CHC	30
TBD	31
CIN	34
SDP	37
TOR	38
FLA	38
KCR	38
OAK	39
BAL	39
SFG	39
PHI	41
TEX	45
STL	47
PIT	50
CHW	51
HOU	54
WAS	58

Below I will profile some of the more interesting situations. Teams about which I do not have anything thoughtful to say, I will skip over.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Their two biggest problems right now are their two most famous players. Nomar Garciaparra and Juan Pierre are killing this team. Since internal solutions abound on the offensive side, there is no real need for them to go out and get another bat. Instead what they ought to be thinking about is adding a starting pitching arm. With Jason Schmidt's status in jeopardy and the fill-in combo of Mark Hendrickson and Hong-Chih Kuo proving catostrophic, it's time to look externally for help. Roy Oswalt, Jose Contreras or Dontrelle Willis are some of the names that could make some sense.

Los Angeles Angels

Like their Southern California brethren up the freeway in Los Angeles, the Angels could use another arm. Now that Halos' fans long, Orange County-wide Shea Hillenbrand nightmare is behind them, there really is not a glaring hole in the offense. But then, is Garret Anderson really the answer? I suppose an extra bat would be nice, but even nicer would be someone pitching better than Ervin Santana and Bartolo Colon have been. Jermaine Dye could be a solid addition to the offense, while Mike Maroth and Steve Trachsel could be under-the-radar boons for teams looking to be a bit thrifty around the deadline.

Milwaukee Brewers

With a strong lineup and a lights out bullpen to turn to, it's hard for me to say of the Brewers should really be looking to pick up another arm or not. Ben Sheets's injury hurts, but Yovani Gallardo slides in. Unfortunately this does little to solve the problems that Jeff Suppan and Chris Capuano constitute. Both have been in free-fall mode for about two months now. Perhaps a look at one of the lower cost options I mentioned above might be worthwhile. I wonder what the Red Sox would want for Kason Gabbard, who has looked tremendous of late and figures to lose his rotation spot anyway once Curt Schilling returns.

Boston Red Sox

A difference making starting pitcher would do the trick, but there is no sense in courting a lower cost option because of the depth Boston possesses in Gabbard, David Pauley,Clay Buchholz, etc. Mark Buehrle would have been a nice option, but that is obviously off the table. Oswalt or Willis might make some sense. As for their offensive problems, they will have to fix themselves. There are no better options that offer better chances of improvement for the Red Sox than Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew turning things around. Coco Crisp should be better too, and if not, Jacoby Ellsbury provides some nice insurance. A bullpen arm like Eric Gagne or Brad Lidge could help, but Boston's bullpen is hardly a weakness. They have the organizational depth to deal but may be best served by letting their own players sort out their problems.

New York Mets

Like the Red Sox, the Mets are imperfect but it is difficult to identify the right deal. Their hitting is very good and should only get better with improvement from Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. Their starting pitching is excellent. With Aaron Heilman struggling at times, however, perhaps a bullpen arm would make sense. I look for Omar Minaya to targer a reliever in the next couple weeks.

New York Yankees

With Phil Hughes set to re-join the rotation, the Yanks will get the best deadline pickup of anybody. In addition, they might want to consider upgrading their 1B situation. They have neglected the position all year long and their offense has suffered for it. Should Mark Teixeira and Hughes be in pinstripes come August 1, the Bombers immediately become one the very most formidable clubs in baseball. Will it be enough to overcome the hole they find themselves in?

Detroit Tigers

If the Tigers get an outfielder and a reliever, they could cruise to a World Series. Craig Monroe kills them, and so does their bullpen. The Phillies seem to be the most sensible partner. I wonder what a package of either Pat Burrell or Aaron Rowand along with Ryan Madson would take. Whatever it is, the Tigers have it in their system.

Cleveland Indians

I don't think the Tribe needs to do a whole lot. Like Boston, the most likely solutions to their problems will come simply from improvement. Josh Barfield has to get better, and some combination of their corner outfield talent will emerge as formidable. Like so many other teams, if they want to tinker, they might send a modest offering to another club for a relief arm. Other than that, I think Cleveland looks good to go.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona is in such good shape for the future that it would be a shame to see them mortgage any of it for an unlikely run at 2007 glory. The temptation has to be there for them given that they find themselves just 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. Still, their pythagorean record suggests they are playing well over their heads. If I am Josh Byrnes, I hold tight, take my chances with the guys I have (a number of whom very well may pick it up in the second half) and at worst, gear up for one hell of a ride in 2008 and beyond.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves are two games out of the playoffs at the moment but with Jarod Saltalamacchia graduated to the Bigs, their farm system does not have a ton to offer. Further, they figure to be a better club in the second half with Salty taking time from Scott Thorman and improvement coming from Andruw Jones. If they were so inclined, they could make a bargain play for a starter but there is no need for the Braves to make a big splash.

For what it's worth, I think you can slot Seattle, the Cubs and San Diego in with Atlanta as well. Sure, all could use a Big League addition or two to help spring their stretch runs but these teams are no slam dunk to make the post-season, and none of their farm systems boast the requisite depth to even net a pennant race changer.

Oakland Athletics

I think you are going to see the A's involved in the trading market in a big way. Mike Piazza is a bat that a number of teams would covet, Dan Johnson is expendable with the emerging Daric Barton waiting in the wings and Chad Gaudin is a screaming "sell high" candidate with the spiffy ERA and 8-4 win-loss record and the mediocre peripherals. What's more, the A's system for the first time in a while is lacking imminent impact players.

Baltimore Orioles

Steve Trachsel would help a lot of teams and for those prospect-laden clubs who find themselves one decent starter short of championship contention like the Dodgers, Angels and Brewers, Trachsel could net a lot in return. Even though he is signed to a less than favorable deal, Chad Bradford is a guy the O's would be wise to dangle.

San Francisco Giants

Add Matt Morris to the list of under-the-radar starters that could be a real difference maker down the stretch. Far be it from Brian Sabean to deal a cagey veteran like Morris for some youth but even Sabes might see that you have to strike while the iron is hot. Morris could help any number of clubs in need of another starting pitcher.

Philadelphia Phillies

It might feel like they are still contending but they really are not. In Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, they have their core. They are so close to being a contending team, too, that a savvy deal this season could make all the difference for 2008 and beyond. Rowand, Burrell, Madson and Jamie Moyer could all fetch worthwhile talent. How Pat Gillick plays this trade deadline will be critical to Philadelphia's future success.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers also have a great opportunity to set their future squads up. Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne are sure to net a lot in return, and Kevin Millwood could do the same if Texas is willing to eat some of his contract. Jon Daniels has had a rough start to his tenure in Arlington but he was awarded an extension through 2009. This deadline will go a long way in determining if he is there into the next decade.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are getting old and there is very little in their farm system to get excited about. Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter constitute a nice start, but from there they need to rebuild. Dangling Russ Springer, Mike Maroth and Jason Isringhausen might be some good first steps in restoring the Cardinals.

Chicago White Sox

Like the Rangers, the Pale Hose have some nice chips to try and set themselves up for more success in the coming years. Dye, Contreras, Jon Garland and Jose Contreras all will have appeal to teams looking to add a player to push them over the hump.

Houston Astros

Brad Lidge. Roy Oswalt. Given their recent run of success, it would be hard to imagine the 'Stros without these two guys but who better to deal in order to yield the greatest return. Lidge should be a goner even with a modest offer on the table but another club would have to really wow me in order to part with Oswalt.

Washington Nationals

The worst team in baseball has the worst farm system in baseball. This makes things challenging, particularly as they get set to move into a new ballpark in 2008. Still, with Dmitri Young having an excellent year and Chad Cordero firing on all cylinders as usual, they have two chips to try and set themselves up. Young would make a nice addition as the Angels DH while teams far and wide should be lining up for Cordero. Let's see what Jim Bowden will do.


It would be great to here from readers on how they think their favorite teams should be approaching the deadline.


Because of the strength of the starting pitching, a fire sale by Billy Beane would seem ill advised. However a commitment to youngsters that began with Kurt Suzuki should probably continue with Daric Barton. Barton is seemingly ready at AAA, thus moving Piazza or Dan Johnson would make sense

I'm surprised you passed over the Mariner's as far as not having anything to say about them. Jose Vidro is an empty batting average (.295/.354/.364) particularly for a DH. He needs to either go away or go to the bench. Ibanez's funky defense needs to slide into the DH role, with Adam Jones getting a shot in left field. His defensive contributions added to his hitting will give the M's a big upgrade over Vidro.

But where this team needs massive help is in the rotation. There just aren't many quality starters to be had, and the M's don't have trading chits.

I would say the starting pitching of the A's isn't exactly strong. Those aren't arms that can carry the team to victory. The A's bats may be at a 10-year low as far as talent goes. And the arms in Oakland are not comparable of the Big 3 of yesteryear.

The Mariners are not as good as their record and do not have a lot of depth to deal from in their farm system. They strike me as a good stand pat candidate...they have gotten this far. Some improvement from Vidro, Sexson, Weaver, etc and maybe they can make a run.

NY trading for Teixeira is unlikely to happen. More likely is that they stick with Phillips or make a move for a Dan Johnson. Johnson is interesting, because his IsoD and P/PA are really great fits for the Yankee lineup. Most of his HRs are to right field too, so you wonder whether playing in Yankee Stadium will help his power numbers. I am a little skeptical of adding another bat though. It would be a better idea to bench Johnny Damon and call up Shelley Duncan to DH.

The other concern is of course the bullpen. The Yankees have plenty of arms not being used (Sean Henn, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez), but Farnsworth as setup man is killing them. Myers and Villone are clearly dead weight at this point. Proctor has been overworked as usual. It would be great to somehow dump Farnsworth and acquire another setup man, and making some room for the youngsters at the back end of the pen would be an added bonus.

There's also some talk of acquiring a better utility infielder (Betemit?)

The Reds should be selling. I'm not convinced that Dunn should be moved (his contract makes him much more valuable to Cinci than to anyone else), but Conine, Hatteberg (who both are blocking Joey Votto), and Weathers should be pretty intriguing to many teams. Even someone like Lohse should bring in a nice piece or two.

I was thinking along the lines of a Tigers-Brewers Maroth for Jose Capellan and a throw-in trade before Maroth went to the Cardinals. The Brewers ended up swapping Capellan to the Tigers not long after that.

The Yankees need some kind of offensive production at 1B. It wouldn't take much to improve what they now have.

Since they have outfield depth, perhaps the Brewers could get something for Geoff Jenkins, since he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. His usual .260 to .280 average is deceptive, as he is extremely streaky, and Jenkins can't hit lefties to save his life.

On the plus side, Jenkins is a gamer and a good defensive outfielder. He might fit into the DH/corner outfield rotation for the Angels.

The Cardinals look pretty lethargic and out of it for this season. With little to offer from the farm system or the major league roster, I don't see them in the trade market.

Marcus Thames is "killing" the Tigers? Uh, ok. I hope you mean Craig Monroe.

Good catch, KS. Sheesh. Thanks a lot.

As a Mets fan, I would certainly welcome the return of Jason Isringhausen to New York, though I wonder how he would feel about it. Chad Bradford is also an intriguing possibility, though his 3 year/$10.5 mil. contract is excessive, and ostensibly the reason why Omar Minaya was unable to resign him. Of course, he then went out and signed the historically unimpressive Scott Schoeneweis to a similar 3 year/$10.8 mil. deal. Don't make no sense.

I'm not sure anything like a Hughes type player, even with the addition of Texiera would make the Yanks formidable. Their pitching remains suspect and although they're playing better lately, I don't see it happening this year. Great analysis of other teams' situations for the most part.


juan pierre is more famous than jeff kent, derek lowe, and brad penny?

As a Yankees fan, I'd rather they stand pat. The team has the talent to fight back into contention - they just need to go out and do it. If they fall short, SO BE IT.

I want those prospects to come up and help the team in the next few years, instead of going off and helping other teams. Cashman said a while back he has no intention of "paying twice" for Tex. I hope he was serious.

juan pierre is more famous than jeff kent, derek lowe, and brad penny?

Yeah, I think so. Maybe not Kent, but I think he is definitely moreso than the others.

Derek Lowe did win all three clinchers in 2004 (for a pretty well-remembered team), pitch in a couple of all-star games (as both closer and starter), finish second in the Cy Young (2002) and throw a no-hitter. He was also involved in an oft-mentioned lopsided trade from Seattle to Boston.

I mean, this isn't a particularly important argument, but I'd say Derek Lowe is more famous than Juan Pierre.

As a Mets fan, I'd wonder if Arizona decides they are sellers what they'd want for Orlando Hudson? Adding the O-dog (and Delgado remembering how to hit) would make the Mets infield fairly intimidating. The trick being that the Mets org depth is in the OF, where ARI is already stocked. Perhaps a package of Pelfrey or Humber and a PTBNL or two.

Right now, I'd say Lidge is the guy that makes the most sense for the Mets. Of course, Heath Bell and Royce Ring could have been internal solutions as recently as 8 months ago.

I would like to see the Brewers get very aggressive and land Oswalt. Deal up to 3 top prospects, I know they only have a few left, but right now the Brewers have to strike. They have perhaps a 3-4 year window of winning before they can't afford all of their young talent. Also, B Sheets is not reliable, he only has one more year left on his deal.

Oswalt has at least 3 I believe, this perfectly matches the window you need to strike. Please don't take the Twins approach and be satisfied with contending every year, I want a World Series title, be aggressive and make it happen.

M Parra, J Jeffress and L Cain should be enough.

Hey u can checkout our own rundown of buyers and sellers at Beegcellent Baseball

Hey Sully,
Realistically, what will it take for the Sox to get Teixeira? Considering he is a free agent after '08 (i think), it doesn't seem Daniels is really getting a lot of good offers for him, and due to Boras as his agent, most likely is headed for free agency. Nevertheless, curious what you think it will take from the minor league system to get Teixeira, or will the Sox just use the prospect (s?) they get for trading Lowell, assuming he gets moved if they do make a deal Teixeira?
Love the column!!!

Awe, you guys didn't have to do that, but thank you. ^_^

And looks like Angels upper management has thrown in with you all, Santana's getting sent back down and Joe Saunders will likely replace him in the rotation.

Why would D-backs trade Hudson? Brynes maybe, now that talks have ended on an extension (and no wonder, rumor has it he wants $9-10M per year!). And the Mets have had their problems with the OF too, all the injuries.

The Giants should be sellers. They probably should try to drive a hard bargain with Morris and get someone good for him. I saw that the Mariners blog was worried that the Mariners would trade Balentien for Morris. I would love a deal like that. Brewers are dying for good starters and have a plethora of position talent.

The Angels appear to want a starter too, I saw talk about their problems with Colon. They have an abundance of infield talent, I wouldn't mind trading Morris for some of that talent.

If the Mets want a 2B, Ray Durham has been a steady (if occassionally injured; still got in 140+ games last two seasons) hitter there, lifetime 800+ OPS at 2B, though he's been having a poor year thus far, but his BABIP is abnormally low and his BB/K ratio is still very good, in fact, above his career average. And he's certainly better than Valentin.

Others who should be trading chips in demand, though not high value, include Steve Kline who has been a good LH reliever, Mark Sweeney who is still a great PH and spot starter in LF/1B, and Omar Vizquel, who is not hitting well overall, but that was due to a horrible April, he's more in line with recent career numbers the last two months, though still down a bit, and still has his great defense, and Ryan Klesko, who has returned to his 800+ OPS goodness and probably be hitting a ton in a hitter's park.

Pedro Feliz is useless except as a backup utility who can play 1B, 3B, plus LF, SS and C in a pinch, though with great defense at 3B. Probably no demand and the Giants would have to pay most of his salary.

Winn I think should be in some demand but has a full no-trade so I doubt it. Roberts has been hot the month of July but his health problems and poor hitting in the first half probably killed his value for beating the trade deadline. If he continues to hit into August, he could move in a waiver deal (plus he's an icon in Boston, so you never know how that might work, but it doesn't help that Coco Crisp suddenly got hot in June and hotter in July)

Lastly, the relievers have been doing OK to good, so there might be some demand for them, particularly Hennessey, 3.4-ish ERA in relief in 2006 and 2007 plus could start if necessary, and the Giants have a bunch of potential relief candidates waiting in the minors.

I don't expect a big trade to happen, there will probably be minor trades with the other players I noted. Only Morris and Durham could get something like that going and I saw a rumor that teams feel that Morris's not worth what it might cost to get him and with Durham still cold, he probably won't attract any contending team's interest. I can see Kline and Sweeney going most probably. Maybe Vizquel, though the Giants don't have a real viable candidate to take over.