Garza to Rangers Sparks the Trading Season
And they’re off!
Just like the ponies come charging out of the gate at the opening bell, the MLB trading season got off with a bang yesterday as Matt Garza was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers for a couple of has-been’s and never will-be’s.
This is the first major trade of the 2013 baseball season. And no, Scott Feldman to the Baltmore Orioles does not count. Although, just like Garza, he no longer needs a Cubs hat!
With the 31 July non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, there will be a flurry of activity over the next week. Only MLB would have two sets of rules to play by -- think no DH in the National League (even though most AL owners would like to get rid of it now, as it would cut a huge salary from their payrolls) -- as the waiver deadline itself is 31 August. So, if your favorite team doesn’t trade for a high-priced, washed-up veteran by next Wednesday, be patient. They have another month to make a backroom deal or two!
This time of year, GM’s around baseball try to fortify the garrison by acquiring that one player who will put them over the top and get them to the World Series, or at least save their butts from getting canned in the off-season!
The Cubs are obviously going nowhere, and now that Theo Epstein is in charge, you can bet the Iowa Cubs are looking great. He didn’t take long to turn the Boston Red Sox around, so let’s see how his wizard hat and cloak work in the north side of Chicago. It has been 105 years since the Cubbies won the World Series, so no pressure!
Immediately following the Garza trade, a rumor surfaced about Alfonso Soriano returning to the New York Yankees. The Yanks are only seven games back of division leader Boston, who also made a decent trade of their own, acquiring hard-throwing lefty reliever Matt Thornton from the White Sox.
Through a rash of injuries and poor decision-making, the Yankees are near the bottom of the American League in nearly every offensive category. I’m sure Brian Cashman wasn't planning on having Lyle Overbay start 90 games at 1B when they were kicking off Grapefruit League intersquad games. I also doubt he thought Jayson Nix would be a key contributor, but Mr Captain seems to have trouble finding the field this year.
I wonder if Derek Jeter, in his extended absence, leaves gift baskets for his teammates like the ones he leaves for his lady friends when he throws them out on a Manhattan sidewalk on Sunday morning?
Needless to say, the Yankees need a lot more than Soriano if they are going to make the post-season this year. In fact, I’m sure Mariano Rivera will be getting a lot of 'Just Thinking of You' cards in the off-season as 2014 spring training nears.
You can expect some teams that have delusions of grandeur to make some trades, too, that might leave you scratching your head. But with an extra wild card spot up for grabs, hell, the San Diego Padres are only 8 games out of first with a 44-56 record! It doesn't necessarily speak well about the NL West and even less about the Padres, but that's the fact!
This truly is a fun and exciting time, whether your team is a World Series contender or rebuilding for the future ... again. Right, Twins fans? Your hometown team may just acquire their franchise-defining player -- think Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen in 1990 -- or give up way too much for too little.
Remember the Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb trade in 1997? Mariner fans wish they didn’t! Seattle's manager at the time, Lou Piniella, threatened to resign if GM Woody Woodward didn't pull the trigger on that deal, and then when it went south, who did the public blame? That's right, Woodward, who stoically took it on the chin to keep the organization's figurehead untarnished.
So sit back and enjoy the ride. And if you play in an AL-only rotisserie fantasy baseball league, you might have some ineligible players when you wake up on 1 August.