Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Calm Before The Storm

As the trade deadline nears, there is a lot of speculation as to the moves General Manager Josh Byrnes will make. Who will go Green or Gonzo? Are they going to trade away any prospects? Are they going to trade for a number two starter? Will the buy? Will they sell? Will they stand pat with what they have?

The odds are Luis E. Gonzales will play everyday in left field untill the end of the season. There's a snowballs chance in hell that his 10 million dollar option will be picked up. This does not mean that he won't resign with the team and play a lesser role as a bench player. Gonzo has said that he wants to play everyday, and I'm sure there will be a team out there that will be stupid enough to do so. It's very unlikely that Gonzo will be traded before the trade deadline. A few teams have reportedly shown interest(Detroit, supposedly)But his No Trade Clause is certaintly the largest obstacle in moving him. Most likely, Gonzo would want his option for next year picked up, so some cash would have to be included in the deal. The PR backlash in moving the face of the franchise also would make moving him difficult. Gonzo low production is also yet another reason this move isn't going to happen.

A move of Shawn Green is more likely, but still quite difficult. His limited no trade cluase and salary make a move difficult. I think Green is the most likely to be moved all things considered. The Yankees have shown interest, and Green said he waive his clause for the Yankees. The Yankees are said to be in need of an outfielder, and are reluctant to trade the few good prospects they have like Phil Hughes. I'm sure we'd trade Green for a bag of balls just to make room for Carlos Quentin.

Then there's Jeff Davanon and Eric Byrnes. Byrnes is currently the most valuable player on the team based on VORP, and he's only signed to a cheap one year contract. Davanon is has an option for next year, and would certaintly be retained if Gonzo, Green, and Byrnes are all gone. He'd provide much needed veteran presence(I know, that term has been worn out in Arizona, but in small doses, it's an ok cliche) in a very young team. Byrnes is cheap enough that if we offer arbitration, and he accepts, it won't hurt the team too much. But most likely, he'll sign for a large contract, and we'll get a draft pick, maybe two.

Then of course, there's Craig Counsell. Every day that Stephen Drew gets a hit while Counsell is on the Dl, the more likely Counsell isn't going to win that starting job back. Byrnes could send him back down until the September Call Ups(So Drew could retain his rookie status until next year). But I think that is a very unlikely move. Drew has flashed excellent defense, the ability to hit, and even though he has yet to hit a homer, he's shown some power. Drew is also quickly gaining a cult following among the fans. All that said even if counsell doesn't win the starting job back, he'd be a useful veteran utility player to have on a very young team, and I think is definately worth resigning next year.

There are a few other candidates that could be traded for various reasons. After the Austin Kearns trade that Bowden pulled off last week, there is a heavy price for pitching and relievers in this years trade market. Byrnes could sell high on guys like Batista, Vizcaino, Lyon, and Jorge Julio. We could see a trade of lesser prospects like Chris Carter. I don't know.

Right now the problem is the illusion of contention. If the team trades away a Veteran GuyTM like Green or Byrnes, and playing a rookie like Quentin or Young, the casual fans will think the team is giving up on the pennant race. But fan attendance is so low right now it seems like it wouldn't matter.

I have no clue what will happen in the next week. We can guess and try to speculate what moves Josh Byrnes will make, but we don't know the moves Byrnes CAN make. I will be very surprised if Byrnes trades away from the talent pool, though.

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