Caveat Emptor, Baseball Edition
The buzzer is about to sound on major league baseball’s trade deadline, and there are a few things worth noting–hopefully ahead of the curve–before things really start to go down.
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Jeff Samardzija: contenders must beware swimming with this Shark
First, as noted in this space just last week, the Kansas City Royals were the best bet to be active in the wheeling and dealing–and they already have been. In addition to picking up Trevor Cahill in a deal last week, the Royals have now also gone out and gotten Melky Cabrera from the White Sox. That means they’ve acquired both an arm and a bat–exactly the prescription written for them in last week’s piece. KC is the team most likely to benefit from adding parts to the roster in my analysis, so expect them to be playing in October, especially if they complete a deal for another arm for the rotation, as is being rumored (Francisco Liriano is on the block in Toronto, and Kansas City might be the buyers).
Other teams may or may not be so lucky, depending upon who or what they get in deadline deals.
Whomever picks up Sonny Gray from the A’s–it’s looking like he’s a lock to get dealt now, however stupid that might be for Oakland–is going to come out of the action a big winner, probably this year and in future seasons as well. Gray is not going to be dealt simply because he’s too expensive and the team is a dumpster fire; he became dicey for Oakland when he had a handful of bouts with injury these last two seasons. That made him risky for the cost-averse A’s. But Gray is healthy now, and looked solid on the mound in recent outings. While some have been making eyes at Justin Verlander as the pitcher to get these days, Gray is the available arm who will come with the most upside for both the near and far future.
Not so with another possible trade target, Jeff Samardzija. He may be unlikely to move due to a limited no-trade clause, but he’ll probably get interest, and the Giants would certainly want to unload him at this point, because he’s been pretty much a disaster in San Francisco. In fact, Samardzija has been mostly functioning along a continuum from mediocre to awful ever since he was traded by the Cubs to the A’s in 2014. He was very good in his first start with the A’s–I was in the stadium that day, saw him myself–and it’s been a bouncing ball ever since. If any team does manage to pry Samardzija away from the Giants, do not–repeat, do not–bet the kid’s college fund on that team. You’ve been warned.