The Trade Deadline is less than a week away ...
- And trade season has kicked off in a big way over the last few days. Just this morning, the Miami Marlins reportedly sent Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers for young pitcher Nate Eovaldi and minor leaguer Scott McGrough. Then, in perhaps the biggest deal, if also the most underreported, had the Detroit Tigers picking up starter Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante from the Miami Marlins for a group of prospects, including pitcher Jacob Turner. The teams also swapped competitive balance lottery draft picks, the first time draft picks have been traded. In Sanchez and Infante, the Tigers addressed their two biggest needs - an infield upgrade, and depth in the rotation. As for the Marlins, these deals were pretty much an admission that their offseason buying binge strategy was a mistake. No, maybe they won't go full-on fire sale (though they are rumored to be moving Josh Johnson and possibly also Heath Bell soon - so maybe you would call that a fire sale), but it's pretty clear that they're giving up on 2012. I can't imagine the fans who made their way to the new ballpark - and the community that financially supported its construction - are too thrilled about this turn of events. FanGraphs likes the deal for the Tigers, and is lukewarm on it for the Marlins.
- Among the other trades going down: the Pirates got Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros for some prospects, and the Yankees got Ichiro from the Mariners for some non-prospects. The latter deal got a lot of pub, but only because it's the Yankees and it's Ichiro. In terms of actual baseball impact, the Rodriguez deal is far more important.
- Speaking of flurries of stuff, there was also a flurry of DL activations lately, with all of Chad Billingsley, Gavin Floyd, and Sam Fuld(!) returning to their respective rosters. The Dodgers and White Sox have fallen behind their division-leading rivals, so the return of their starting pitchers is surely welcomed. As for Fuld, I mean, the dude can fly. I'm sure the Rays are thrilled.
- Reports say Cole Hamels and the Phillies are nearing a 6-year, $137.5 million extension, which would make him the second highest paid pitcher, behind only CC Sabathia. It would also further deplete the 2013 free agent market.
- Alex Rodriguez looks to be headed to the disabled list, after taking a Felix Hernandez pitch to the hand yesterday. There appears to be a break in there somewhere.
- FanGraphs takes a look at what's wrong with Jon Lester this year. In short, his non-fastball stuff isn't moving as much as it used to, and he's getting hit on it. Combine that with the fact that he's never been great on his fastball, and you've got a recipe for a rough season.
- Jason Kendall has ended his comeback attempt and retired. You did not know he was attempting a comeback.