MLB Trade Speculation: One 'Mystery Team' That Could Steal Each Top Target
Last offseason, the Detroit Tigers came out of nowhere and signed Prince Fielder. A year before, the Phillies came out of nowhere to bring back Cliff Lee.
When it comes to player movement, you never know what teams may be in the mix until after the trade or signing has been completed. That mystery team has been popping up more and more frequently, and they could certainly make a move in this year's MLB trade deadline.
Here is a mystery team that could steal each top target. Notably not making an appearance is Cole Hamels, as I am now convinced that the Phillies won't be trading him based upon most recent reading material.
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Alfonso Soriano has been putting up decent enough numbers to spark trade interest, but who needs a left fielder and wants to take on such a cumbersome contract?
His former team, the Yankees, may actually be a possibility. He is an improvement over Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones, the Yankees can take some of his contract, and he can just be moved to DH after Brett Gardner comes back (likely next year).
I'm surprised how little I'm seeing of this possibility out there in the media, since it could help both teams (even though the Yankees really don't need the extra bat).
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Matt Garza has had scouts from a bunch of teams looking at him recently, and it's hard to pick a mystery team simply because so many are interested, with the Red Sox and Dodgers the teams I'm seeing most frequently noted as front-runners.
One team that's getting very little traction, yet fits perfectly, is the Blue Jays. They have prospects to give the Cubs, they have a need for pitching depth big time, and the fact that his contract is through next year means that the trade could make Toronto a very formidable team in 2013.
Limited to three innings in his most recent start, the extent of discomfort is not yet known regarding Garza's throwing arm.
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Carlos Quentin is a right-handed power hitter, and right now that's a hot commodity. Teams with that void like the Indians and Pirates are naturally looking at him, but one team is in a similar situation, yet never gets brought up.
The Rays are holding on in the AL East despite having very little power with the absence of Evan Longoria. They have the farm system to pull off a trade like this, plus a Quentin-Longoria-Carlos Pena combo in the middle makes the team a lot more dangerous.
UPDATE: Quentin is officially off the market. Ken Rosenthal and FOX Sports reports San Diego has agreed to a three-year, $27 million extension with the coveted outfielder.
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Ryan Dempster has had a monster year that's been very underrated. With the Dodgers suddenly pulling out of contention (or, "very unlikely"), it makes the addition of a mystery team much more likely.
He's perfect for a young team trying to make that one extra move, and he could end up joining the Indians. Everyone expects Cleveland to grab a bat if anything at the deadline, but having a veteran with an ERA near two leading the pack can help narrow the AL Central gap.
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Perhaps surprisingly, trade interest in James Shields has been hot. He had a career year in 2011, and while he's fallen back to earth this year, he's still a workhorse that can be good for any team.
The Braves are one of the few teams that did not send a scout to his last start that could use pitching depth. It's a great fit nonetheless, and if the Braves want to stay in the hunt someone like Shields helps, since even on his worst days he can keep a team going.
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Shane Victorino is in the final year of his contract and has some skills that are starting to diminish. At this point he's someone that the Phillies need to ship off so as to get something in return (especially if they try to sign Cole Hamels and fail).
Teams like the Marlins and Reds seem like clear choices, but the New York Mets would make a great fit as well. He could provide veteran leadership to the outfield, and would be an improvement there. The only rub would be that an in-division trade would have to be pulled off.
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Zack Greinke's trade prospects have been confusing to watch.
He has the record and numbers to be the most coveted player on the market, but seems to have taken a back seat to Garza and others. This, perhaps, could lead to a mystery team grabbing him big time.
As for who that would be, the Rangers have been focusing entirely on Cole Hamels. But that leads me to believe that is a smokescreen and they really want Greinke. It would reiterate the Rangers' desire to win now, since the window is essentially closed after this year.