10 Non-Player Transactions MLB Teams Wish They Could Make ASAP
With so much focus being placed on the upcoming MLB non-waiver trade deadline, teams are deadly serious about bolstering their rosters to gain an edge on the opposition.
But how about making trades that don't involve players?
There are definitely some deals out there that could be made for teams that would vastly improve their standing, in a manner of speaking.
Here are some transactions for some MLB teams that I would strongly suggest that would vastly improve their franchise in different ways.
Arizona Diamondbacks: DFA D. Baxter the Bobcat
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In 2000, the Arizona Diamondbacks unveiled their new team mascot for the very first time.
The person who came up with the concept should have been unemployed soon after.
D. Baxter the Bobcat was introduced to the Arizona faithful, and has been parading around Chase Field ever since.
Is there anything really cute about a bobcat? They are considered to be one of the most ferocious members of the cat family. And what does a bobcat have to do with the Diamondbacks' name in the first place?
Yes, I get it, the name D. Baxter was a cute gimmick meant to jive with the team name, but a bobcat?
They certainly couldn't have used a snake as the mascot, but a bobcat? Seriously?
Baltimore Orioles: Trade Leagues, or at Least Divisions
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For many years, the Baltimore Orioles were the class of the American League East Division, dominating throughout the 1970s.
However, since 1997 the O's haven't even been able to sniff a division title, let alone compete for one.
The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have all but turned the division into a three-team race. Yes, the O's are much better this season and the Toronto Blue Jays are competing as well.
But let's face it, if the O's were in the AL or NL Central, they'd at least have a fighting chance.
Boston Red Sox: Trade Manager Bobby Valentine's Mouth
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Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had to take over amidst a firestorm in Beantown.
Last year's epic September collapse, a shake-up in the front office, allegations of players eating chicken wings and drinking beer in the clubhouse during games and general malaise among the Fenway faithful all happened before Valentine's arrival.
However, his mouth hasn't helped him much during his brief tenure—at all.
It started in April, when Valentine questioned third baseman Kevin Youkilis' commitment after getting off to a slow start.
Then, Valentine stepped into all over again this past weekend. Youkilis made his return to Fenway Park when his new team, the Chicago White Sox, came in for a weekend series.
Valentine was asked by local reporters if friction existed between himself and Youkilis because of the comments made in April.
"I think that's a joke," Valentine said. "I wasn't here last year. There was no friction in spring training. So I think that's a joke. But I'll take all that. I think the comment that I made early, he made a big issue out of and I don't think he ever wanted to get over it."
Valentine is right—he wasn't here last year. But his mouth is here now, and it's not doing him any favors.
Keep Valentine, but get rid of the mouth. Pretend he's Mr. Potato Head, just find a new mouth.
Chicago Cubs: Trade Curses with the New York Yankees
Photo courtesy chicago-cubs-fan.com
The Chicago Cubs are pretty likely a lock not to win the World Series this season, making it a total of 104 years since they last won it all.
In 1945, Cubs fan Billy Sianis bought two tickets to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field.
There was only one problem—Sianis' other ticket was reserved for his billy goat. Legend has it that after owner P.K. Wrigley asked Sianis to leave the stadium and take his goat with him, Sianis put a curse on the Cubs. He didn't go into a rant or seance or anything like that—he simply said, "They ain't gonna win no more."
The Boston Red Sox had to live with a curse for decades—the curse of the Bambino. However, that involved a player, not a barnyard animal.
It's high time that the New York Yankees, winners of 27 World Series championships, suffered for a little while themselves. The Cubs need to trade their curse to the Bronx, in exchange for a curse to be figured out later.
The curse can be figured out after the Cubs finally win a World Series ring.
Chicago White Sox: Trade Announcers with Anybody
Photo courtesy redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com
"You can put it on the board! Yes! Yes!"
These are just some of the more famous colloquialisms employed by former MLB player and current Chicago White Sox play-by-play man Ken Harrelson during the course of any particular game.
Harrelson has been employed by the White Sox for over 25 years—first from 1982-1985 and from 1990 on.
While White Sox fans no doubt love Harrelson's folksy style of game-calling, if I hear the word "dagummet" one more time when listening in on a Sox broadcast, I'm either going to do one of two things:
1) Throw up in my mouth a little.
2) Hurl my remote control through the monitor.
Okay, I lied—that's three things.
Personally, I would like to trade Harrelson to any other team or legion of fans that would put up with him.
I already know that loyal White Sox fans will rip me a new one for emitting slanderous remarks against their guy, but hey, it's my trade.
Miami Marlins: Trade to a City Where Fans Actually Care
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The Miami Marlins underwent a slew of changes this offseason—a new team name, new uniforms, new manager, several new players and a brand-spanking new ballpark in downtown Miami.
After all that, they're still just 12th in attendance in the National League.
Sorry, but that's disgraceful.
The park is gorgeous, and the Marlins did a great job in building in the latest cool amenities. Sure, they're drawing over 28,000 fans per game, certainly better than their old digs. But it's a brand new stadium, shouldn't they be regularly selling out in the first year?
Not in Miami. Not anywhere in South Florida, for that matter. No matter what the Marlins do, they'll never draw the amount of fans that they would find in a city farther north. There's just too many things to do in South Florida, baseball has to fight with a variety of other entertainment options.
Great for spring training, but for regular season? Not so much.
Oakland Athletics: Trade for New Giants Way of Thinking About Territorial Rights
Do you know the way to San Jose? The A's haven't figured that out yet. Photo courtesy designsince89.blogspot.com
The Oakland Athletics are stuck, literally.
They're still awaiting word on whether or not MLB commissioner Bud Selig will intervene in the ongoing battle concerning territorial rights in the Silicon Valley.
The San Francisco Giants own those rights, which include the city of San Jose, the area that the A's want to move to. But the Giants are still keen on blocking that move and invoking their right to the area.
Meanwhile, Oakland continues to wallow in a state of mediocrity, operating on a razor-thin budget and playing in a stadium that's old and out-of-date.
The A's need to acquire a way to finally convince the Giants that the two teams can peacefully co-exist in the same area, with the A's preferably in San Jose in a spiffy new stadium.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Buy a Payroll
Photo courtesy mvn.com
The Pittsburgh Pirates currently hold the record for the longest losing streak by any professional team in North American sports history—19 years and counting.
They're threatening to end that streak this year, with a 49-40 record. Hopefully they can forget how they finished last season, winning just 18 games over the last two months of the season.
The problem with the Pirates has been simple—money. They can't find enough of it.
Selling off players has been the norm in Pittsburgh since 1993, unable to pay premium to keep budding stars in town for too long.
Having any kind of a payroll could have at least kept them from setting a very dubious record.
Tampa Bay Rays: Trade for a New Park
Photo courtesy baseballpilgrimages.com
I've been to Tropicana Field in Tampa for a few games in my lifetime.
All I can say is, no wonder they can't draw fans.
Consistently one of the worst-drawing teams in the majors, the Tampa Bay Rays have turned the franchise around, making the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, with a chance to get back there again this year as well.
However, the Trop is an absolutely horrible place to play baseball, and it really isn't much better for a fan, either. It simply feels like a vacuum in there.
As mentioned earlier when discussing the Miami Marlins, a team in South Florida will always struggle to attract a large fanbase. But maybe building a park that's attractive might help just a little.
Washington Nationals: Buy a Way to Keep Stephen Strasburg Pitching
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The Washington Nationals are soon going to be facing a dilemma.
Their young pitching prodigy, Stephen Strasburg, will be out of innings.
After recovering from Tommy John surgery last year, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo set a strict innings limit for Strasburg in 2012, assumed to be at 160 innings max.
Assuming Strasburg continues pitching an average of six innings per start, he'll reach that limit sometime in early September. The Nats currently hold a 2.5 game lead in the NL East over the surging Atlanta Braves, and will likely be in a dogfight for the rest of the season.
Not having Strasburg for much of the last month of the season and the playoffs would be an absolute travesty.
Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz is on the right track with comments he made regarding Strasburg's situation, but it's still not optimal.
A magic potion or lotion would work. That way, they won't have to pry the ball out of Strasburg's hand.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.