It’s the most wonderful time of the year for baseball fans (at least those fans of contending teams), as the July 31 trade deadline is rapidly approaching. And as is the case every year, fans of those teams are all over the newspapers and Internet, searching high and low for trade rumors, hoping their team adds a piece that will put them over the edge.
The deadline is hyped every year, but if you really think about it, it’s not very often that a big-name, impact player is shipped at the deadline and makes a difference in his new city. Sure, you have your CC Sabathia every so often, but you also get your Eric Gagne, too.
This year, though, there are a few big names who could be on the move, and all of them could impact pennant runs in either league.
The New York Mets, who are strapped for cash, may look to unload two of their best players. The first is Carlos Beltran. It’s beginning to look like a certainty that the All-Star outfielder is moved at some point in the next two weeks, especially as trade talks heat up.
His teammate, shortstop Jose Reyes, may be less likely to be moved, but he is a free agent (as is Beltran) at the end of the year. With the Mets’ financial troubles, there’s a good chance that they deal both of them and get what they can, rather than seeing the duo walk in the winter for more money.
Bullpen help is always a hot commodity this team of the year, as well. In fact, the term “left-handed reliever” is pretty much baseball’s version of “puck-moving defenseman” in hockey. The biggest bullpen named to be moved before the deadline, though, may be a right-hander, not a southpaw. Padres closer Heath Bell may be bringing his repertoire (mound slide and all) elsewhere before the end of another rough Padres season.
Finally, Ubaldo Jimenez is a name that is starting to be mentioned in trade talks with much more frequency over the last couple of days. After starting 2010 on a historic pace, Jimenez had a putrid start to 2011. He has since settled down, and is actually in the midst of a pretty good roll right now. He’s won his last three starts after beating the Braves on Tuesday night. Jimenez has been mentioned in conjunction with the Yankees, but it sure sounds like the Rockies are asking a ton for the right-hander. If he is dealt, though, he could certainly make a huge difference wherever he lands.
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