Greetings from Yankee Stadium. With these weekday day games, my early-morning posts sometimes evolve into late-morning/early-afternoon posts. Especially when an accident on the West Side Highway makes my son's camp bus 30 minutes late. Sorry.
So a month from now, the dust will have settled, and the major trades will have been completed. There is of course the waiver trade period in August, and that carries some excitement of its own. But Cliff Lee won't be traded in August. Roy Oswalt? My hunch is that a team would put in a claim on him, and then the Astros would pull him back, keeping Oswalt in Houston probably into the 2011 season.
We have obvious buyers and sellers, but in the middle ground, teams can sway back and forth. Last year, the Mariners decided late in July to surrender, and they traded Jarrod Washburn to Detroit. Back in 2006, the Brewers considered themselves big-time contenders until a mid-July swoon led them to trade Carlos Lee to Texas.
Here, then, is a July 1 breakdown of where teams stand, with the buyers' needs, the sellers' available chips and the middle grounds' clubs general statuses.
1. Yankees (47-30). They are looking for bench and bullpen help and, as we know, they'll stay in the loop on the Lee trade talks.
2. Texas (47-30). They could use pitching, but they have no money to spend, because of the uncertainty of their sale. However, their acquisition of Bengie Molina, in which the Giants paid the freight in return for better prospects, could provide a model for a Lee trade, as noted here. The Rangers do have an extremely deep farm system.
3. Boston (47-32). With all of their injuries, they'll look for second base and outfield upgrades.
4. San Diego (46-32). So much for Adrian Gonzalez being available. Instead, the Padres will look for hitters to help Gonzalez.
5. Tampa Bay (45-32). The Rays have stopped hitting. Someone who can play second base would make sense.
6. Atlanta (46-33). Bats, preferably those from the right side.
7. Mets (44-34). Starters and relievers, as we know.
8. Cincinnati (44-35). Why not the Reds for Lee?
9. Angels (44-36). They could use help on both sides, as they're actually being outscored for the season (382-385), but offense appears to be their priority.
10. St. Louis (43-35). Starting pitching, although they do have Brad Penny on the disabled list.
11. Dodgers (43-35). The offense can be improved if Matt Kemp wakes up, and he appeared to do that yesterday. They could really use a starting pitcher, but are not expected to spend any money.
12. Minnesota (43-35). Starting pitching and third base.
13. Philadelphia (41-35). Charlie Kerfeld, a top lieutenant to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., attended Lee's start at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night. But could the Phillies really do an about-face and trade back for Lee? They sure could use him. They also could use a short-term replacement for the injured Chase Utley.
14. Detroit (41-36). The Tigers could use an infielder with some pop, but they don't seem to have much left in their wallet.
15. Colorado (41-37). Also could benefit from a infielder who can hit, and also probably don't have much to spend.
16. White Sox (40-37). A bat, and as noted yesterday on MLB Network, you wonder whether they'd like to trade Jake Peavy back to the Padres just for Clayton Richard.
17. San Francisco (40-37). The Giants still need offense.
Wow, seventeen obvious buyers! Interesting how many need bats, when it appears it's a better market for pitching. Which leads us to...
1. Baltimore (24-53). Kevin Millwood and Ty Wigginton. Eh. Millwood could bring back mere salary relief, while Wigginton could get a prospect.
2. Pittsburgh (27-51). We are beyond the days of massive Pirates sales. Octavio Dotel is mediocre and could be had easily.
3. Cleveland (30-47). Anyone want Jake Westbrook and/or Kerry Wood? Yeesh.
4. Arizona (31-48). I don't see Dan Haren going anywhere, because a) he's a tad overpaid at the moment, and b) the Diamondbacks think they can contend soon. Adam LaRoche, however? Absolutely.
5. Kansas City (34-45). Given the paucity of available bats, someone figures to take a flyer on Jose Guillen, with the Royals paying the freight.
6. Houston (31-48). Even if Oswalt and Lance Berkman stays, Brett Myers is a very attractive alternate to Lee.
7. Seattle (33-44). Although, as Joel Sherman pointed out this morning, the Mariners could wait a little longer, just to see if Lee and Felix Hernandez can pilot a miracle run.
With buyers significantly outnumbering sellers at the moment, you'd think it's a sellers' market. But the lack of available spending money available in the industry makes the situation friendly to those teams willing to spend.
1. Toronto (40-39). The Blue Jays aren't going to bring in anyone, but if they stay above .500, they might be reluctant to sell off pieces. Alex Gonzalez could help someone.
2. Oakland (38-41). Ben Sheets won't get the sort of return that the A's envisioned when they signed him, but his potential might sell an interested team or two.
3. Florida (37-41). The Marlins aren't bringing high-priced talent in, obviously, but they'll probably keep going at it.
4. Milwaukee (35-43). Brewers owner Mark Attanasio looks to win every year, which is why Prince Fielder will not be traded. And with that in place, the Brewers don't have much to offer, anyway.
5. Cubs (34-44). Ted Lilly would bring back something real nice. But with Lou Piniella quite possibly in his swan song, the Cubs will probably try a little longer to climb back.
6. Washington (34-45). Adam Dunn would be a huge trade chip, and a contender might be delusional enough to get Livan Hernandez. With Stephen Strasburg generating so much excitement, however, the Nats likely won't blow up the team and deliver a lousy product to their fans.
--The Mets won, but the late scratch of Jose Reyes dominated their news cycle. We'll see how soon it takes to get Reyes back - and if we get any more clarification on the exact nature of Reyes' injury - but they're starting to get banged up again some, first with Angel Pagan and now Reyes.
--Johan Santana starts tonight in Washington, and he thinks he's solved his problem of tipping his pitches.
--The Yankees lost again, this time to Felix Hernandez, Anthony Rieber compares the Mariners' development of Hernandez with the Yankees' development of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes - and opines that the Mariners got it right. I think Anthony's referring most of all to the way the Yankees botched the Chamberlain situation last year, and I agree, the Yankees did mess that up. It's more of a difference in execution than it is in philosophy.
--Colin Curtis contributed in his first major-league start. It's interesting to see all of these youngsters occupy the Yankees' bench, but don't expect it to last. As mentioned above, the Yankees will probably deal for veteran bench help.
--Dave Eiland worked with A.J. Burnett.
--Roger Clemens pitching to his son, Koby, in the Texas League Home Run Derby, must have been a pretty bizarre scene.
--I'll check in after the game, perhaps just with an update on this post.
--UPDATE, 4:47 p.m.: So the Yankees won a quick, tight game, the kind of contest that must have thrilled second-base umpire Joe West. CC Sabathia pitched extremely well, again, and Alex Rodriguez got all goofy when he hit the game-winning homer in the eighth and thought it was a walk-off, ninth-inning shot. And then, in the post-game interview, he talked of today like it was Sunday.
For my column - and please, don't tell the competition - I'm going to write about the Yankees being too big to fail, stealing the handle from an even larger New York institution. The Yankees just have too much talent to miss the playoffs. Winning the World Series is another matter, but Yankees fans are going to have to manufacture anxiety until October.
Meanwhile, is everyone loving this LeBron James coverage as much as I am? Seriously, I can't get enough of it.
Have a great night.