Ryne Sandberg Unleashed!
EDITOR'S NOTE: This year, Ryne Sandberg has been writing about baseball for Yah00! Sports three to four times a week, offering readers his unprecedented insight and perspective into the game he once played. While Ryne's posted writings are quick and to the point, Ryne actually writes much more than Yah00!.com actually publishes. Given the overall quality of Ryne's writing, E$PN has secured rights to post these unabridged and unedited thoughts on the BBTN weblog, and will publish them sporadically throughout the remainder of the 2005 season. Here is Part 1 of a trade deadline article, covering the AL - Part 2, about the NL, will be posted tomorrow.
This year's trading deadline should be very interesting, unlike trading deadlines of the past several years, which have been very uninteresting and stupid. Several teams remain in the playoff race, and that is a true testament to the wild card and the existance of Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Colorado.
I believe 15 teams have a chance to make the postseason, but I'm going to write about 18 because I'm Ryne Sandberg and you're a fantasy baseball nerd. I also believe that the earth is flat, that women are inferior to men in every way possible, and that the best music ever was made by Barry Maguire and B2K. Just about every club needs to add something by the July 31 deadline, whether it's a big bat, a starting pitcher, or a Landmark Seminar expert. Here's what they should be shopping for.
NEW YORK YANKEES – They're just looking to get healthy. Maybe younger, too, but that's hard to do unless you have a time machine and/or some Botox. Kevin Brown made his first start in over a month on Monday and even though he was hit hard, he'll help the Yankees down the line by forcing their offense to score more runs than any other team in order to win. If Jaret Wright ever comes back from his injury, he'll help the Yankees out in that regard as well. The recent additions of Al Leiter and Wayne Franklin will also help, especially if Joe Torre goes to Franklin in situations where the team is either tied or ahead.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES – The Orioles know exactly what they need – pitching – but there are just not that many arms out there. One starting pitcher that would help a lot is Florida's A.J. Burnett, who would like pitching for Baltimore with that powerful offense, and would like pitching for any team that's not run by Jeffrey Loria and gives lots of playing time to Jeff Conine, Paul LoDuca and the steroid-free Mike Lowell. Because of Rafael Palmeiro's resurgance following his 3000th hit, half the Orioles have started taking Viagra and have had erections for more than 72 hours.
BOSTON RED SOX – I wouldn't think they'll go after any of the big-name players. Depending on how Curt Schilling adjusts to his bullpen role, they may have to get a strong bullpen arm. They might also need to pistolwhip Kevin Millar to keep him in his place. If they get Keith Foulke back, they should stick him in the starting rotation, as Schilling will be too used to coming out of the pen to go back to starting games. They should also trade Manny Ramirez as soon as possible - he does nothing but cost the team wins with his poor defense, poor baserunning skills, free-swinging ways, and unruly hairdo.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX – There's been a lot of talk that general manager Kenny Williams is for another starting pitcher. They won't be able to pull Jason Schmidt from the Giants, but they could benefit from promoting a strong minor-league arm. It's too bad that Kenny Williams made so many idiot trades, as having a guy like Kip Wells would really help out this club. Also, I heard that Joe Crede has pictures of Kenny Williams trying to pick up a shemale at the Hideout, which is why he still has a job. I hope me talking about this in public doesn't cost Crede PT, because he's a kid that can do the little things like ground out, pop up, and strike out.
MINNESOTA TWINS – They'll try to make a move to win the AL wild card, because making a move to not make the playoffs is pretty stupid. Problem is, the Twins don't have a ton of money to spend (according to their books, which aren't cooked at all) and, just as they've done in the past, they won't do anything that is going to hurt their chances in the future by actually making a trade to put them over the top. After trading for MVP candidate Shannon Stewart, what else do you need to do? It isn't like they need a second baseman, or a good outfielder. Reportedly, Minnesota is interested in acquiring some hitting, possibly Boston's Bill Mueller. Mueller would fill two holes as a very good defensive third baseman and a consistent bat. He also makes a great gazpacho, and does a fantastic impersonation of Adam Sandler's Canteen Boy.
CLEVELAND INDIANS - Unlike the Twins, they'll try to make a move for the worst record in baseball so they can secure the first pick in the draft, like the Cavaliers did to get LeBron James. Rumors say GM Mark Shapiro is looking to trade away Jhonny Peralta, Victor Martinez, and Grady Sizemore for more veteran leadership - the Phillies are offering Mike Lieberthal and Kenny Lofton, while the Mariners have Randy Winn and Pat Borders on the table. Scouts are saying CC Sabathia is too fat to live, and wears his hat like a hip-hop hoodlum.
ARTE MORENO'S LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, SORT OF NEAR ANAHEIM – They don't need all that much. Their bullpen might be the best in the majors and they're scoring runs with ease in spite of having possibly the worst 1-2 combo in the major leagues. It's a testament to Mike Scoscia's stubborness that, despite the team's tendency to run themselves out of innings and award at-bats to bad hitters, they are in first place. The performance of their pitching staff has nothing to do at all with their success. Same with the White Sox. Both teams are playing baseball the right way, and anyone that says otherwise is a terror-loving Communist sissy.
TEXAS RANGERS – Just as in the past, they could really use pitching and some Dale Carnegie classes for Buck Showalter. However, GM John Hart will have to decide whether he wants to make a huge push for the postseason. Taking Richard Hidalgo and Chan Ho Park out to the shed for a stern talking to with a shotgun might go a long way towards making that happen. They're 2½ games out in the wild-card race which, with their problems, might as well be last place. Alfonso Soriano has taken to wearing Derek Jeter Underoos on off days, and pees in Showalter's pre-game coffee.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS – Surprisingly, the A's find themselves only three games out of the AL wild card. Joe Morgan told me they were dead in the water, so I'm really surprised that they can win games. Billy Beane has already added veteran help in outfielder Jay Payton and pitchers Joe Kennedy and Jay Witasick because being old means you're really good. They're a team that – with the right help – could sneak into the postseason. I think they should go for more veteran help in the OF, maybe grabbing Bernie Williams from the Yankees, or getting Albert Belle or Candy Maldonado to unretire.