With the trade deadline less than a week away, rumors have begun to overwhelm the baseball world with potential deals that would affect numerous teams.
There have already been two trades that have affected two contenders, the Yankees acquiring Ichiro and the Tigers trading for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. While it does not appear these trades have decided winners and losers, there are going to be plenty of other trades that take place and there is a lot of potential for some bad deals.
Ramirez has since been dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster deal, but Johnson and a slew of other stars have been in the rumor mill for weeks, and it remains to be seen if GMs can avoid making trades that hurt their franchises.
Here are 10 potential deals that would be lose-lose for both teams.
Ever since he debuted as a 22-year old in 2006, Josh Johnson has been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball.
With a 54-30 career record, not to mention 772 strikeouts in just 845 innings, it should not be a surprise that many teams, including the Blue Jays, are very interested in the Marlins' ace.
However, Toronto is four games out of the AL wild-card race with an incredible seven teams in front of them. Considering Johnson only has one season under his belt with 30 or more starts and left his most recent start with an injury, he becomes a risky trade target.
In addition, since the Blue Jays already have a long list of starters on the DL, giving up top prospects such as Anthony Gose to add another injury-plagued pitcher to their rotation during a season in which the playoffs look unlikely does not sound like a wise decision.
As for the Marlins, pitchers like these do not come along very often.
Yes, he is injury-prone, but he remains one of the most tantalizing talents in all of baseball. In this day and age, teams do not let this type of talent reach the free-agent market no matter the cost; just ask the Phillies and Cole Hamels.
There is no question Johnson is having a down year this season, with a 4.14 ERA. If Miami chose to deal him now, not only would they be trading away their best pitcher, but they would not come close to recuperating his full value.
James Shields has been one of baseball's most consistent pitchers since his debut in 2006.
Coming into 2012, Shields has won at least 11 games in five straight seasons, and with eight wins already under his belt, he is well on his way to another double-digit win season. Having said that, this season is one of the worst he has had in his career, as he leads all of baseball in hits allowed, and his ERA has jumped 1.5 runs from last year.
Despite these struggles, the Angels and Rays are reportedly close to making a trade that would send Shields to the West Coast in exchange for Peter Bourjos, former first-round pick Hank Conger and possibly Ervin Santana.
I question if it is the best time to make a deal like this, from the Rays' point of view. They sit just two and a half games out of the wild-card race, and while Peter Bourjos is a player with a lot of potential, this will not improve their chances of contending this year.
From the Angels' perspective, this seems like a great deal of long-term potential to send back to Tampa. Bourjos should be a starter next season with Torii Hunter's impending free agency, and while Santana has struggled this season, he has three seasons of 16 or more wins in his career, proving he can be a quality piece in a rotation.
With the Rays losing this season and the Angels in the long-term, I think both teams would be better served if this deal was not made.
According to Fangraphs.com, the Athletics have gotten the worst production at shortstop this season in the American League.
Unfortunately for Oakland, Chase Headley does not play shortstop.
Buster Olney lists the A's as one of the teams interested in the Padres' talented third baseman, but he also talks about how San Diego is asking for a significant package of prospects in return. While Oakland has certainly gone on a nice run, improving to 9-1 to open the second half, with its young pitching staff and tough division, I question if it is the best time to make a move.
As for the Padres, they most certainly should be sellers, but why would it be a good idea to trade away one of their best young players? Heading into Wednesday's action, they have scored the second-fewest runs in all of baseball, and since Headley is under team control through 2015, he should be a player they look to re-sign long-term, much like the Carlos Quentin deal, rather than trade away.
The Boston Red Sox started the day 10 games out of first place and four games out of the second wild-card spot. With the pronounced struggles of Jon Lester and Josh Beckett (combined ERA over 5.00), it is no surprise that they were reportedly the early favorites to land Matt Garza.
However, after Garza left his most recent start with an injury, the risks of trading a top prospect such as Jackie Bradley most certainly outweigh trading for a pitcher of Garza's outstanding pedigree.
The Red Sox have too much riding on every season to trade for a pitcher with injury concerns. They have two ace-type pitchers in Lester and Beckett who need to turn around their seasons if they are going to have a chance.
For the Cubs, even though they do not have a chance of contending this season, I do not fully understand why they would be willing to trade Garza.
This is a pitcher that has a sub-4.00 ERA six consecutive seasons, including 2012, and has shown the ability to pitch well in the biggest moments, with a 3.48 ERA in five career postseason starts. As a 28-year-old pitcher just heading into his prime, this should be a player the Cubs want to hold onto and build around rather than trade away in favor of waiting for prospects to develop.
Matt Garza is a popular man on the trade market this season, and rightly so.
After talking about how the Red Sox were interested, it is time to turn our attention to the Dodgers, as they shifted their focus onto Garza after it was reported the Cubs traded Ryan Dempster to the Braves.
While Dempster does his best Dwight Howard impersonation and holds up each team as he considers the proposed trade, L.A. may decide to trade the prospects it had lined up for Dempster in a deal for Garza.
The name to keep an eye on here is Dodgers pitching prospect Zach Lee. He was Los Angeles' top prospect heading into the season, and while his stats may not jump out at you, his peripherals such as his strikeout-walk ratio are outstanding. The Cubs and Dodgers have reportedly begun talking about a Garza-for-Lee trade.
I have already outlined why the Cubs should hold onto Garza and, as was the case with the Red Sox, for the Dodgers to trade a prospect of this caliber and potentially additional players in this deal for an injury-plagued right arm in Garza is too risky a proposition for my taste.
Their interest peaked heading into the All-Star break, as they found themselves just a half-game out of the Wild Card with a record of 46-40 despite the worst bullpen in all of baseball.
However, things have since spiraled out of control, as New York has lost 11 of its last 12 games. During this streak, the bullpen has seemingly invented new ways to blow games, and it appears its chances of contending are over.
Acquiring one arm, even a good arm like Street, won't solve the problem.
On the Padres' side of things, Street is another player they could and have considered locking up long-term. When healthy, Street has been one of the best closers in baseball, with 20 or more saves in five of his eight professional seasons, and would be someone worth keeping.
Since the Mets are not willing to trade any of their quality prospects, the Padres would be wise to hold onto their closer in hopes of extending him, as the Mets look towards next season.
The Phillies have had three incredible comebacks to begin the week, rallying from three runs down in the late innings on Monday and Tuesday against the Brewers' bullpen. Then on Wednesday, down one in extra innings, Philadelphia scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th to overcome the Milwaukee bullpen for the third time in three days.
With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back in the lineup and looking healthy, they are beginning to show the swagger of a five-time division champ that was expected from them heading into the season.
Having said that, Tuesday afternoon, Ken Rosenthal reported the Phillies were "eager" to deal one of their best players in Hunter Pence. For the second-oldest team in baseball to be looking to deal one of its stars in what could turn out to be the last full season its core players are together would be foolish.
B/R lead blogger Ian Casselberry wrote about six teams who should look into acquiring Pence, but I found it curious that the Indians made the list.
There is no denying that Pence is an outstanding talent. However, just a year removed from the disaster that is the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, in which Cleveland traded multiple top prospects with no playoff appearance to show for it, I see no reason why they should pull off a similar deal with the White Sox and Tigers clearly ahead of them in the AL Central.
From 2008-2011, Jon Lester went 65-32 with a 3.33 ERA and 784 K's in 814 innings.
All outstanding numbers.
This season, however, the hard-throwing lefty is 5-8 with a 5.46 ERA in 120.1 innings.
Which sample size do you believe in?
If I were the Red Sox, I would not trade Lester unless completely overwhelmed, because his value has to be incredibly low compared to where it has been in the past. Throughout his career, September has been his second-best month, which proves he can pitch in the pressure-cooker that is Boston—even after last season's collapse. Even with his recent struggles, Boston should wait for his rebound, if for no other reason than to optimize his trade value.
The Braves organization has been doing its homework, as it apparently agrees that this would be a good buy-low opportunity as well. Atlanta has reportedly inquired about Lester's availability, but with the recent success of Ben Sheets, I think its prospects and trade assets would be better used elsewhere.
In the middle of a tight NL East division and wild-card race, Atlanta cannot afford to trade prospects and wait for Lester to turn it around. The amount that it would take to pry Lester from Boston, such as 22-year old Randall Delgado, would be too much to pay considering the risk of him continuing to struggle in Atlanta.
In what would be surprise of the offseason, the Pirates make a deal for Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton.
In an interview with ESPN, D-Backs President Derrick Hall essentially put an end to the rumors surrounding his star, but did say he would continue to listen to offers.
"I would be completely shocked if anything were to happen in-season," Hall told ESPN.com. "We'll field all proposals and conversations. You never know. But I would be surprised if anything happens in the offseason, either.
I include Upton in this list for the Pirates because they have not made the playoffs since 1992 and currently hold the top spot in the NL wild-card race. After trading for Wandy Rodriguez late Tuesday night, it appears all cards are on the table, and with players such as Starling Marte and Jameson Taillon, the Pirates have the ammo to make such a deal happen.
However, with Upton's pronounced struggles at the plate this season, this would be too big a risk for the Pirates. Yes, they are making a playoff push, but they cannot afford to deviate from their plan with such a good, young team already in place.
On the other end of the spectrum, Upton has as much potential as any player in all of baseball. The former first overall pick was an everyday player at the age of 20 and finished fourth in the MVP voting in his age-23 season. He has too much potential to sell low after just half a season, and the D-Backs would be wise to let him prove his health before trading away a perennial MVP candidate for less than full value.