Here comes the trade deadline
It’s less than a week until the end of July, and as many baseball fans know, that means the rumor mills are filled to the brim with trade speculation around Major League Baseball, one of my favorite times of the season.
The trade landscape changed drastically with the addition of an extra wild-card team as more teams are feeling like they have a chance to sneak into that fifth and final playoff spot, making what used to be potential sellers into buyers as the deadline approaches.
There are a lot of contending teams with flaws heading into the deadline, and as injuries pile up for a number of clubs, the divisional pennant races could change on a dime with a key trade.
These are two of the trades I’d like to see happen.
David Price (P, Tampa Bay) to St. Louis
Thanks to Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals have remained not only relevant in the National League Central, but only three games back of the Milwaukee Brewers despite a three-game losing streak heading into Friday.
The Cardinals are ahead of only the lowly Padres in runs scored this season, as the offense has severely underwhelmed in 2014. Allen Craig is in the midst of a career-worst year, and losing All-Star catcher Yadier Molina until at least September didn’t help matters.
So how do you win without scoring many runs? Great pitching.
That’s exactly what St. Louis would get by trading for Price, one of the premier left-handers on the market, who has been on a tear lately.
Unfortunately, the Rays have been winning lately, which means one of two things. Either they think they have a shot of getting into the playoffs, so they won’t trade him, or the price is getting that much higher.
That price would most certainly include the Cardinals’ top prospect Oscar Taveras, who hasn’t lived up to his billing quite yet in the lineup. In 83 plate appearances, he holds a .205 batting average, one homerun and five RBIs, but he also hasn’t seen regular playing time since getting promoted for the second time in 2014.
The Cardinals appear set in the outfield for the moment with a foursome of Craig, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, so their best option would be to send Taveras back to the minors for the second time this season, or send him to Tampa.
The trade will likely need some extra pieces to go to Tampa Bay to be completed, and it looks as if it will need to be young pitching (i.e., Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez).
Regardless of the Price (see what I did there?) the Cardinals need to get this deal done.
Marlon Byrd (OF, Philiadelphia) to Kansas City
If you aren’t rooting for the Kansas City Royals to make it to the playoffs, there might be something wrong with you.
The Royals haven’t been to the postseason since their 1985 World Series win (the longest postseason drought in the MLB), and have suffered through some atrocious baseball. Some might even call them the Chicago Cubs of the American League.
Now they have a very good chance of getting to the postseason if they can find the right piece, and that piece needs power.
Kansas City sits at one game over .500, and seven back of Detroit in the American League Central division race, but are only two games behind the Yankees and Blue Jays for the final wildcard spot.
They also rank dead last in homeruns in the MLB. To be doing this well without power means two things. Their average is great (fourth in the majors) and their pitching is doing its job, led by James Shields (9-5, 3. 58 ERA) and Jason Vargas (8-4, 3.31 ERA) and if they can acquire Byrd, it can’t hurt their power
Byrd is hitting close to his career averages for the Phillies right now, batting .269, with 19 homeruns and 59 RBIs. His 19 home runs make up exactly one-third of the total homeruns the Royals have right now.
The veteran Byrd shouldn’t come at too high a price, and for the Royals, they can’t afford to sell too much without giving up what makes them a potential playoff team in the first place.