Eleven Names to Remember for the Trading Deadline

Did you know that the trading deadline is a scant two weeks away? There’s always a lot more bluster than there is actual trading and that’s been the case the last couple of years, but there are some tangential rumors out there involving the Red Sox.
The Boston Globe gives 10 names the Red Sox are interested in, plus there’s another player I’ve heard bandied about. The list from the Globe plus the 11th name:

  1. Brad Lidge, reliever from the Houston Astros
  2. Roy Oswalt, starter from the Houston Astros
  3. Dontrelle Willis, starter from the Florida Marlins
  4. Eric Gagne, reliever from the Texas Rangers
  5. Ken Griffey, Jr., right-fielder from the Cincinnati Reds
  6. Dave Roberts, center-fielder from the San Francisco Giants
  7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, catcher from the Atlanta Braves
  8. Mark Teixeira, first-baseman from the Texas Rangers
  9. Scott Linebrink, reliever from the San Diego Padres
  10. Mike Piazza, DH from the Oakland Athletics
  11. Octavio Dotel, reliever from the Kansas City Royals

Let’s review each name. I’ve included their 2007 statistics, their “Drooling Factor” (how much would the Sox covet this player right now, while still factoring in the cost of what it would get to acquire this player, but reducing that cost somewhere with a ranking of low, medium and high) and the likelihood they’ll be traded: zero chance, low, medium, high.
Brad Lidge – 35.2 IP, 2.27 ERA, 1.23 WHIP. Drooling Factor: High.
Brad Lidge is probably the top reliever potentially available on the market. He’s still got electric stuff, but a mental block seems to have developed when he tries to close: Lidge’s last chance to close came June 11th, when he gave up a game-tying homerun to Mark Kotsay of the Oakland Athletics. He’s also injured, as he will wear a brace on his knee for the rest of the year due to loose cartilage in his right knee that is easily fixed with off-season surgery. The injury hasn’t impacted him since his return, but with the Astros sliding quickly out of the postseason race, his name has only intensified in whispers around the league. Getting Lidge would be quite the coup for the Red Sox as it would easily give the Red Sox the most dominant, unquestioned bullpen in the American League. If Manny Delcarmen hung around after that trade, so much the better. The Red Sox would have to give up some juicy pieces to get Lidge, but shouldn’t have to part with Clay Buchholz or Jacoby Ellsbury. A feasible trade could see Brandon Moss or Jed Lowrie and either Edgar Martinez or Craig Hansen headed south, as well as Wily Mo Pena. The Red Sox would control his rights through 2008, at which point he would likely depart as a free agent for another chance to close.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Medium
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Medium
Roy Oswalt – 8-6, 140.1 IP, 3.91 ERA, 1.41 WHIP. Drooling Factor: High.
Oswalt, with a career line of a 3.14 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, is also being bandied about. Fresh off signing a five-year extension last year, he carries a no-trade clause that he is open to waiving. To get Roy Oswalt, it’s unquestionable that it would cost much, much more than it would to get Lidge. Buchholz and Ellsbury would he easily the price demanded by ‘Stros general manager Tim Purpura, and he will likely not back off of those demands. Oswalt is an ace. He would give the Red Sox a staggering rotation, but it’s hard to fathom that ever happening. He could go, but he’ll go to another team more cavalier with its prospects.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Medium
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Low
Dontrelle Willis – 7-8, 118.0 IP, 4.81 ERA, 1.58 WHIP. Drooling Factor: Medium.
D-Train is a young and energetic left-handed starter, but his statistics have been trending downward, and many feel that Willis is at the height of his tradeability — until he gets his career back on track, if it ever does. The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers have long been rumored the leading bidders for Willis’ services, and much like Oswalt, Buchholz or Ellsbury (or even both) will kick off the discussion. Not to mention the Marlins deeming Willis untouchable as they are still eyeing the division and/or Wild Card. Oswalt will represent to the Red Sox a far safer investment. Willis is not going to Boston.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Low
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Low
Eric Gagne – 13 SV, 28.1 IP, 1.27 ERA, 0.92 WHIP. Drooling Factor: High.
Perhaps Gagne will enjoy being on the Red Sox as he won’t have to deal with the pesky Dustin Pedroia anymore. Leading the Rangers in saves, Gagne is showing that while his stuff isn’t as filthy as it used to be, it’s still filthy and he’s thrown in the curve of learning how to be a pitcher. Gagne is highly coveted, especially by the Detroit Tigers, who are attempting to patch their sieve of a bullpen while they await Joel Zumaya’s return. Even when Zumaya returns, the bullpen issues won’t end, so Gagne will solve that. In addition, it’s rumored that Gagne has a high desire to close and has the Red Sox on his short no-trade list.
It’s possible Eric Gagne will waive his no-trade to go to the Red Sox and pitch for a contender, but he may be happy to ride the year out in Texas and hit the free-agent market again where he can pitch for a contender after boosting his stock so high. The Red Sox have the pieces to send Texas, and the price will likely be lower than it is for Houston and Lidge. You see, Texas and it’s young GM, Jon Daniels, have shown an inclination to trade (Pupura is probably the best GM at standing pat, rivaling Bill Stoneman of the Angels) and they’ve made some questionable trades to boot. In addition, Lidge is controllable through 2008; Gagne through this year. Out of all the names on this list, Gagne is only behind Dotel in the likelihood the Sox could get him. Wily Mo Pena will serve as a nice replacement for Sammy Sosa.
Likelihood factor to be traded: High
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Medium
Ken Griffey, Jr. – .283/.388/.556, 23 HR, held together by scotchtape, millions in marketing dollars. Drooling Factor: Low.
Look, Ken Griffey, Jr. was one of (if not the) penultimate stars of the 1990s. Too bad we’re approaching the 2010s. He’s having quite the resurgent year playing right-field (his first year doing so) in Cincinnati, but how much longer can Griffey stand playing for a hometown team that hasn’t ventured in October? He’s not getting younger and has only had one year tasting October. He’s been traded by Cincy before, a trade in principle being agreed to with the San Diego Padres for Phil Nevin and additional players in 2002, but Nevin rejected the trade. It would take a team willing to take on his salary and injury risk, which makes the likelihood of Griffey being traded tempered down from “High,” but … it only takes one trade partner to make something happen. It won’t be Boston now that Coco Crisp is breaking out with the bat and dazzling with the glove. Don’t be surprised to see him land in the Bronx now that Johnny Damon’s becoming a left-fielder/DH and Bobby Abreu is an impending free agent.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Medium
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Zero chance
Dave Roberts – .243/.311/.347, 17 SB, 3 CS. Drooling Factor: Low.
Roberts has two years after this year remaining on his contract (and the money ain’t cheap) … he fully expects to start (which is why the Sox traded him to San Diego in the first place) … like Griffey just found out, there’s no place in Beantown. Now, if the money made sense, he could be a nice complement as a backup outfielder … if we didn’t have Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s beloved in Boston, and I think he’s got a swan song left in him to return to Boston, but it certainly won’t be this year – or the next two. There’s a much better name out there available to go to Boston that’s not on this list: Kenny Lofton. You will see Lofton donning Red Sox this year before you ever see Dave Roberts. Not sure why the Globe picked Roberts over Lofton.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Low
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Zero chance
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – .304/.357/.461, 4 HR in 115 AB. Drooling Factor: High.
The 22-year old is highly coveted by basically every baseball team. The Braves can deal from a position of strength. They can easily keep him and have him morph in one of their best hitters or simply name their price. The likelihood anyone meets their price is very low, but in the event a team does meet their price, that team could certainly be the Red Sox. Clay Buchholz would easily be a goner. More than Buchholz: perhaps Buchholz, Wily Mo Pena, and Craig Hansen or another like-minded reliever. However, Salty would give us Varitek’s replacement (oh, whatever happened to George Kottaras…) and he could fill in next year as Varitek’s backup and Youkilis’ backup at first base – or even start at first until he moves back behind the plate. Saltalamacchia is easily the highest coveted player on this list — which is why he’s also the least likely to go.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Low
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Low
Mark Teixeira – .303/.406/.568, 13 HR in 234 AB. Drooling Factor: Medium.
Teixeira is fresh off the disabled list and enjoying a season with a .984 OPS, his best in the majors. He also reportedly covets playing for Baltimore and his agent is Scott Boras. He’s 27-years old and plays Gold Glove caliber first base, and could move back to third. In other words, his trade value is all the way up to the moon, the certainty he becomes a free agent is high, and the chance he goes to Boston this year (no comment on the off-season) is non-existent. The Drooling Factor is medium here because where would he play? The Rangers would not be interested in Lowell as this move would signify a rebuilding. They would probably accept Kevin Youkilis, but … that makes no sense.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Low
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Zero chance
Scott Linebrink - 41.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 1.14 WHIP. Drooling Factor: Medium.
Linebrink has been called the most overrated player in baseball, and it’s easy to see why. For the last couple of years, there has been no hotter name in trade rumors simply because of how ‘good’ he is. There is no doubting how good he is; he pitches lots of innings and racks up the numbers. However, is he better than Brad Lidge? I say no. Linebrink, due to his popularity, would fetch a package eerily similar to — and perhaps more than — Lidge, and Lidge’s general manager, Kevin Towers, is probably the best in the business. If Towers trades Linebrink, be concerned — his value’s probably at an all-time high with the return not being enough. I’m afraid to trade for him, and it would take quite a bit. At this point, I’d be more content in sticking with Manny Delcarmen.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Low
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Low
Mike Piazza – .282/.339/.379, 1 HR in 103 AB. Drooling Factor: Low.
Okay, no clue why he’s on this list. He can’t catch, he can only play a horrible first base, and he’s basically strictly a DH at this point — and the Sox’s DH position is quite nicely filled, thank you very much. His season took a tailspin when Mike Lowell sprained his right shoulder, and he wasn’t showing much power before that. The Globe contends that he would make a better bench player than Wily Mo Pena. On the offensive side, okay. But where does he play? Not only is this trade not happening, Jack Cust has a better chance of heading here. We do need someone to play the outfield. Perhaps the Globe forgot that. However, he’s on this list for some unexplained reason, so until I learn more, I’m putting his likelihood factor to the Sox to low instead of zero chance.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Medium
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Low
Octavio Dotel – 9 SV, 19.0 IP, 3.32 ERA, 1.41 WHIP. Drooling Factor: Medium.
Ah, the name the Globe hasn’t placed on the list. There’s been some rumblings that Dotel could be dealt to Boston for Wily Mo Pena. Let’s examine this: We apparently need a better right-handed relief pitcher even though Manny Delcarmen is evolving into a great reliever, and we still have Brendan Donnelly (well, maybe) ready to return. Getting Dotel, bringing Donnelly back and keeping Trampoline (Delcarmen to those who don’t know the origin) would get quite a formidable bullpen together.
However, I still remember last year, when Dotel became a Yankee (spurning the Sox, who were also reportedly interested) … and I certainly do remember the years when Dotel was an Oakland Athletic and served up meatball after meatball to the Red Sox to grab wins. That being said, he’s having a fine season … when he’s not spending time on the disabled list, that is. In the last three years, he has yet to get over 19 innings in a season (that’s this year, which he’ll break). Count me unsure. For Wily Mo Pena, I suppose it would be an okay deal, but honestly? I’m inclined to ask for a bit more in return.
Likelihood factor to be traded: Medium
Likelihood factor to be traded to Sox: Medium
Well, there you have it. I’ve dissected the 10 names the Boston Globe thinks the Red Sox will call about plus adding an 11th in Octavio Dotel. Now that we’ve been through this list, who do I think the Red Sox will get on this list?
Hmm … that’s easy. No one.
Yes, no one.
There is an absolute smidgen of me holding out hope that the Sox get Brad Lidge. However, I’m doubtful that the Sox are willing to give up that much for any of the names on this list. Predictably, most names (sans Dotel, and he’s even pretty big) are “big” names — aka. names that are always bandied about at the trade deadline but rarely actually, you know, go places.
The Red Sox are 18-18 since June 1. That’s not a great record, there’s no doubt about that. Does there need to be a shakeup? I’m not sure. Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo are finally breathing, and everyone seems to be pulling their weight. What’s really hurting us right now is (a) David Ortiz’s lack of power, and he’s not going anywhere, (b) Manny Ramirez and the rest of the team forgetting what clutch is. There’s nothing to be done — and there should be nothing done about Ortiz. As for the clutch ingredient … regression to the mean. Regression to the mean, whether it happens tonight or in August or September … heck, if it shows up in October, I won’t care that we didn’t get it all year.
The Red Sox need fine-tuning, they don’t need a massive shakeup like in 2004. I really believe there will be a trade that at least registers a 2.0 on the Richter Scale this year, whereas there was no such thing last year (sorry, but Bryce Corey doesn’t even register as a tremor). I’ve read in some places that Theo and other Boston baseball minds believe in the “trading deadline effect” — that teams get buoyed by a trade at the deadline (that matters — see Corey, Bryce) while teams get sort of a let-down with no trade.
Does that mean that there should always be a trade at the deadline? No, not at all. The Red Sox didn’t do it last year (and yeah, they did pay for that) … but all eight playoff teams last year did not all make a trading deadline push. It just means that the possibility exists (just like it does for clutch hitting, and I’m hearing that some statistics are starting to bear out that there could be such a thing as clutch hitting; finally! I’ve been tired of pushing clutch hitting as being viable as an ex-ballplayer with die-hard statistically-minded people scoffing at it.) that there could be a trading deadline effect. After seeing the results of 2004 and 2006 … I have to agree.
Yeah, 2004 and 2006 are some ridiculously large extremes, I understand that, but I still firmly believe in this theory — not to mention that this theory doesn’t even factor in that those trades actually … plug holes. We have holes. We have a bench, that while versatile, holds someone who can’t hit in general (Alex Cora, and his hot April doesn’t count, sorry), lost the hitting magic (Eric Hinske, although he still gets on base a good amount and has solid power), someone who can only hit a fastball down the middle onto the Mass Pike (one guess who I’m talking about) and a catcher who’s only lot in life right now is catching a knuckleball (again, one guess).
The bullpen could use some patching up, like we’ve talked about … but don’t be surprised to see a solid bench player brought in.
By the way, the results of the poll:

Should David Ortiz undergo surgery immediately?
* No, wait until the offseason; Ortiz is doing just fine!
44% of all votes
* No! I don’t want to risk any setbacks of any shape or form. We NEED him for October.
21% of all votes
* Yes! We need his powerful bat for the playoffs.
20% of all votes
* Yes! His longterm health is being risked every day.
15% of all votes

Well, the majority clearly thinks he should wait until the off-season to go under the knife. I agree, and his line-drive bomb off Brian Bannister shows he can still crank it … New poll on the right!

Categories: Brad Lidge Brandon Moss Dave Roberts Dontrelle Willis Eric Gagne Jarrod Saltalamacchia Ken Griffey Jr. Mark Teixeira Mike Piazza Octavio Dotel Roy Oswalt Scott Linebrink

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

21 Responses to “Eleven Names to Remember for the Trading Deadline” Subscribe

  1. hynes July 17, 2007 at 7:36 AM #

    Agree with the assessment Evan. If the Sox make any move, it should be to clear a spot on the bench for Ellisbury – either getting in return a prospect or some bullpen help. Other than that, I don't see the need to make a large move.
    The team hasn't played amazingly hot, but if the dry run in a six month season is .500 baseball, I'll take that (don't forget an 8-20 August people – it could be much worse!). Unlike 2005 and 2006, we have strong pitching again. Schilling is getting healthy. Gabbard, Beckett, and Dice-K all look strong. We have one of the top bullpens in the league.
    I can't seem to locate the stats, but it would be interesting to see what the offense's well-hit average is (well-hit balls [hits or outs] / ABs). If that's high, but we just haven't been able to bring in RISP it just might be a rash of being unlucky; which means we're due for a correction. Does anyone have that?

  2. governor July 17, 2007 at 7:45 AM #

    Very well broken down. Dotel turned down the Red Sox this winter because he didn't want the pressure.

  3. hynes July 17, 2007 at 7:49 AM #

    Just took a quick look at Inside Edge, here's where the team's players ranked at the All-Star break for all MLB:
    Rank Name Well-Hit Avg / Well-Hit Balls / ABs
    003 David Ortiz .355 / 104 / 293
    005 Manny Rameriz .340 / 103 / 303
    024 Kevin Youkilis .307 / 90 / 293
    034 Mike Lowell .297 / 90 / 303
    058 Dustin Pedroia .281 / 68 / 242
    070 JD Drew .273 / 70 / 256
    098 Jason Varitek .258 / 63 / 244
    121 Coco Crisp .247 / 71 / 287
    210 Julio Lugo .207 / 62 / 299
    With the majority of lineup have a decent to great well-hit average, I think some of the Sox's luck with RISP is mainly that: luck and we've had plenty of bad luck. With three players in the top 25 and 7 in the top 100 of all MLB, I think we're in a stretch right now where the ball is bouncing the opposite way. In turn it should start to come back the team's way.

  4. Sean O July 17, 2007 at 5:11 AM #

    Someone help me out here, why do we need bullpen help? We have 2 of the 5 best relievers in baseball (one of whom is on pace for the 2nd best season by anyone ever), MDC has been mowing down people without issuing too many walks (and his BABIP isn't insane either), we have Tavarez and Gabbard fighting over the 5th spot with the loser going to the pen, with Donnelly and a more reliable Pineiro either back or coming back soon. Also, Timlin's been lights-out lately.
    So why do we want Lidge, who melted down for 2 seasons in AAA, when he would cost us at least one good prospect?

  5. mark July 17, 2007 at 9:46 AM #

    1) Oswalt isn't going anywhere unless a GM offers up the entire AAA affiliate. You do not trade an ace on a cheap/reasonable 5-year contract unless you are getting Gretsky and Jordan back. Bucholtz, Ellsbury, and Anderson wouldn't even begin to get that done.
    2) If we can get Dotel for Pena, do it in a heart beat. Pena is a waste of a roster spot because he will never be good on the Sox. He needs to develop, which won't happen here, so anything we get in return for him is a bonus. While I agree that MDC is probably our answer as our 3rd reliever, it wouldn't hurt to have Dotel. While I could see one of Piniero, Timlin, Donnelly, Gabbard/Tavarez being a solid #4, I could also see all of them blowing up horrendously. If we have to give up just Pena, fine. Get Murphy up here until AAA season ends, then bring up Ellsbury to replace Murph. Regardless, 4 nasty arms in the pen are better than 3, are a good hedge against injury, and a good hedge against ineffectiveness (Oki is on pace for his highest innings total of his career)
    3) I trust lidge a bit more than I trust Dotel, so as long as MDC isn't part of the deal and Pena is, I'd also drop an 8-15 ranked prospect to get him. Gagne, same argument, but I might even drop off a Moss or Hansen for him.

  6. Craig July 17, 2007 at 9:52 AM #

    Agreed. I'm mystified over this perceived need to bolster the bullpen. Frankly, the only names up there that interest me at all are Oswalt (a talented, proven starter) and Saltalamacchia – whom everyone wants because of the dearth of available catching talent. My gut tells me the Sox will stand pat and look to Pawtucket to fill needs.
    Also agree with Hynes. The Sox are due offensively speaking. If a .500 June and July are the worst we have to face, I'll be pretty happy.

  7. Jim OBie July 17, 2007 at 9:55 AM #

    Nice job. Just a couple of questions. Why is a player with about 119 ABs lifetime in the majors worth 3 players (Saltalamacchia)??? On Teixeira, where would he play??? First base. Youk's quad must really be bothering him because his power numbers are just about non-existent for the last 6 weeks. Don't feel Tex is on his way though.
    The Sox do need a more reliable bat off the bench. It will be interesting what happens in the next two weeks.

  8. Shane July 17, 2007 at 6:40 AM #

    The mention Griffey to the Sox but not Dunn?

  9. Mr. Furious July 17, 2007 at 11:14 AM #

    Adam Dunn was who I was thinking about too. Much younger than Griffey, cheaper and without the injury history.

  10. Evan Brunell July 17, 2007 at 7:21 AM #

    Yes, I was surprised they mentioned Griffey but not Dunn. Probably cuz Griff could take over in center.
    As for Youk, last night I attended the game and every time he made an out, Youk was absolutely LIVID! Throwing his helmet, batting gloves etc down in disgust and muttering to himself.

  11. Sean O July 17, 2007 at 7:42 AM #

    I've noticed that as well. He *launched* his helmet and everything else within a 6' radius after Bannister nabbed his liner up the middle. My guess is he fears another mid-season collapse like happened last year, but we all knew his BABIP was in for a serious regression.
    Mr. Youkilis, as a reactionary, often illogical and highly emotional Sox fan, I say: do not worry. We freaking love you, and not just because you were in Moneyball, have a weird nickname and your last name is made for adoration. We love having a gold glover with a .400 OBP at first, so we're not gonna turn on you.

  12. Sean O July 17, 2007 at 1:53 PM #

    Here's a thought: What are the chances we try to package any number of Pena, Crisp and Ellsbury together for a steady 3B replacement (or Salty, for that matter), and instead of paying a ridiculous amount of Rodriguez, we go for Kosuke Fukodome? I keep thinking we have CF patched up, and it'd be risky, but Fukodome could be one heck of a solution out there.
    If the Braves would take Ellsbury and Crisp/Pena for Salty, that's a serious consideration.

  13. Mostly Running. July 17, 2007 at 2:04 PM #

    You should close the comments now: 11 players, 11 comments.

  14. Mostly Running. July 17, 2007 at 10:05 AM #


  15. Evan Brunell July 17, 2007 at 2:25 PM #

    Haha! Way to go, MR!

  16. Daniel Rathman July 17, 2007 at 1:28 PM #

    Salty would be SWEET. But it'll never happen.

  17. Patrick July 17, 2007 at 1:59 PM #

    i'd be mostly interested in salty, oswalt, and texeira with lidge fourth.
    i don't see us meeting atlanta's asking price for salty or houston's asing price for oswalt.
    that brings me to tex and lidge. i understand the concerns on where to play tex along with the ideas that our bullpen is already pretty deep without lidge. however, i would like for us to make a run at both of these guys.
    i know that tex is coming back from an injury but he is still relatively young and has a lot of power, which i feel is an area where we can improve in for sure.
    as for lidge, i love high strikeout pitchers and he has always been a big time k guy. i just love knowing the reliever coming into a game can get the batter out without the ball being put in play, you know?
    anyway, thanks for reading my drivel. lol.

  18. M.A.G. July 17, 2007 at 8:34 PM #

    I like Salty a LOT, but I agree with Daniel: it's not going to happen.

  19. sox fan July 19, 2007 at 5:54 PM #

    trade schilling for oswalt schilling is older

  20. sox fan July 19, 2007 at 9:55 PM #

    oswalt has better stuff

  21. sox fan July 19, 2007 at 5:57 PM #

    we need to trade papelpon/prospects/cash for k-rod