Back in the day when pine tar, caffeine pills, and a Big League Chew sugar rush were the closest thing an MLB player had to a performance enhancing drug a young Linc would bicycle down to the local dime store and purchase as many baseball card “wax packs” as his coin filled Velcro wallet would allow. With at least 3 friends hovering over each shoulder a little Linc would tear open pack after pack, discard the brittle chalk covered pink tooth chipper the Topps corporation bribed the FDA to call gum, and shuffle through each package of 12 randomly assorted cards hoping to find the 4th graders holy grail of baseball - RUSTY KUNTZ!
Unfortunately, lady luck deemed me unworthy of such a joy and I was left to use my keen negotiating skills to acquire Mr. Kuntz via trade. For the low, low, low price of my brother’s Storm Shadow GI Joe action figure and a Diamond Kings Eric Davis, Mr. Kuntz was at last mine - all mine!
Moral of the story you ask? Well, not everyone is so fortunate to find their own Rusty Kuntz. Sometimes, you have to swallow hard, steal from your younger brother, and give up something to get something.
As such, the following is this week’s rundown of MLB rumblings, whispers, and rumors the way Linc hears ‘em:
Doug Davis (SP) - Arizona appears to be one of the early trade deadline sellers and a middle of the order starting pitcher will always have value with the Rangers, Mets, and Phillies all possible destinations. A return to Milwaukee is also a possibility but unlikely and the Brewers are looking to land a veteran SP with playoff experience.
John Garland (SP) - sticking with our AZ theme, Garland is only committed to the D-backs for 1 year. Rumor has it LA is interested as a nice addition in the Dodgers 5th rotation spot.
Nick Johnson (1B) - Thirty seconds after the opening pitch the Nationals were in the NL East cellar. It is no secret Johnson can be had with the Mets and Red Sox obvious possibilities. Johnson would be an adequate replacement for the Mets with Delgado on the DL or could serve as the BoSox DH replacing Ortiz and Baldeli. I’ve also read where Texas may be interested in Johnson as a replacement for ubur-whiffer Chris Davis but with Justin Smoak lighting up the minors I don’t see it happening.
Adam Dunn (1B/OF) - I swear I’m not making this up but San Francisco thinks they actually have a shot at the wild card and are a big bat away from sparking their offense. While Dunn’s defense makes him most attractive to AL teams as a DH, the Giants are getting nothing out of Travis Ishikawa and Dunn would provide some much needed power and name recognition to their no name offense.
Derek Lee (1B) - According to the San Francisco Chronicle the Giants called the Cubs about Lee when Lee was slumping and Hoffpauier was hot - ok luke warm. The Cubs shot down the deal as SF was only offering Jonathan O. Sanchez and a PTBNL.
Takashi Saito (RP) - Yes, there has been a Tak Saito sighting! Rangers need a middle reliever and the Red Sox are rich in pitching. I’ve heard Saito to the Rangers for Hank Blalock is a possibility with Beantown using Blalock much like they would Johnson in the analysis above.
Huston Street (RP) - This one writes itself. If the Rocks run out of gas before the deadline and become sellers Street and his $7 million a year contract are out of the mile high city. Rumor is the Cubs are interested but payroll may be an issue with the team for sale. Tampa Bay’s closer by committee is working - for now - if Tampa starts to make a solid push look for them to make a hard run along with the Yankees who covet Street as a set-up man and Rivera insurance policy.
Jonathan O. Sanchez (SP) - You have to give the Giants credit for trying. One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure but Sanchez has been downright awful this year. The usual desperate for starting pitching suspects are out there. Rangers I’m looking at you, but Linc has learned that prior to his DL stint Cleveland was scouting Sanchez. Keep in mind this is the same team that traded for Anthony Reyes.
Matt Holiday (OF) - Each year one name becomes synonymous with the trade deadline. 2009 will be the year of the Holiday. Where he will land is speculative at this point. Big money market buyer and seller teams need to be fully established but rumors have mentioned the Cardinals, Tigers, Giants, and Yankees as possibilities. I even heard one rumor having him going back to Colorado for Atkins and others should the Rox prove to have staying power. Logic should eliminate the pretenders from the contenders but if the Cardinals pitching holds up and the Cubs continue to be - well - the Cubs - I could see there being validity to the rumor of Holiday to STL (with the A’s picking up a portion of the salary) in an effort to protect Albert in the batting order with the Redbirds shipping the A’s a prospect, Ankiel or Ludwick, and the ever popular PTBNL.