4 Rumored MLB Trades You Shouldn't Believe
I'll take a wild guess and say that about 98.32 percent of rumored trades between now and July 31 won't happen. In fact, a large percentage of those probably weren't even seriously discussed by the teams mentioned.
So while we were all seriously discussing how those players would fit on their new teams and speculating on which prospects were going to be part of the trade package, the general managers involved in the rumored deal were probably working on a deal that was completely under wraps and then surprised the heck out of everybody once it was announced.
And despite being completely fooled year after year, those discussions among fellow baseball fans are what makes this one of the best times of the year to be a baseball fan.
You can't predict baseball on or off the field. Expect the unexpected. Just don't expect these four rumored trades to happen.
Dodgers Acquire Ricky Nolasco from Marlins
If the Marlins want to trade Ricky Nolasco to a team willing to pick up the remaining salary for 2013 (estimated $6 million), the Dodgers would be a good starting point because they've kind of built a reputation for spending a lot of money and taking on salary since new ownership took over in 2012.
And it appears they are in talks, with a source telling ESPN's Buster Olney there was a 70-30 chance of a trade happening between the two teams. A deal did not happen, however, before Friday's start against the Padres. Nolasco had one of his worst starts of the season (5 IP, 5 ER, 11 H), which cant help the Marlins' cause.
Still, the 30-year-old is having a solid year with a 3.93 ERA, 25 walks and 83 strikeouts over 105.1 innings pitched, which is why there are several teams interested in acquiring him. I just don't think the Dodgers will be the team that eventually lands the right-hander despite the assumption that they'd take on all of Nolasco's remaining salary.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, despite making some very questionable moves during his tenure, is not going to trade any of his top three prospects—third baseman Corey Seager, outfielder Joc Pederson or starting pitcher Zach Lee—for a three-month rental of a No. 4 starter.
And that's fine because the Marlins won't need a top prospect to pull the trigger on a deal. But the drop-off in prospect talent after those three is significant. The Red Sox, who also need pitching and can probably take on the salary and offer much better mid-level prospects, can outbid the Dodgers.
A team like the Padres, who also reportedly have interest in Nolasco, are unlikely to take on the entire salary but also have the necessary mid-level prospect depth to outbid the Dodgers. So do a few other interested teams around the league.
Mets Acquire Andre Ethier from Dodgers
Andre Ethier to the Mets has been more speculation than an actual trade rumor since it became obvious early in the season that prospect Yasiel Puig would probably be taking his job away in the near future.
Fortunately for Ethier, he is still playing everyday despite Puig's arrival because Carl Crawford is on the disabled list.
The 31-year-old hasn't played well at all this season (.711 OPS in 76 games), so regardless of how bad the Mets outfield is and how little help is on the way from their farm system, they are not going to be interested in giving up minor league talent and taking on a majority of his remaining contract (estimated $79 million through 2017).
With how little general manager Ned Colletti will be offered for Ethier, who came into the season with a career .838 OPS, he will likely opt to keep him around as the fourth outfielder and reassess the situation in the offseason.
Padres Acquire Matt Garza from Cubs
The Padres are one of several contending teams interested in Garza, but when Peter Gammons tweets about a rumor swirling around those two parties, you have to think there's a chance it could be true.
Gammons mentions Padres center field prospect Reymond Fuentes and two other minor leaguers being involved, all with ties to Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and vice president of scouting and development Jason McLeod. Makes sense, right?
Sure it does, but the Cubs are surely getting, or will be getting, trade proposals from several teams around the league. And they might even get a couple of offers that include an elite prospect, which the Padres don't have.
Yes, they have plenty of very good prospects, which is why they can offer a strong deal. But the Cubs could hold out for the caliber of prospect the Padres don't have. And with the way the 29-year-old Garza is pitching lately (22 IP, 2 ER, 15 H, 5 BB, 23 K over past three starts), it's becoming more likely that this would be the case.
In addition, the Padres value their prospects more than other clubs who have bigger payrolls to fill holes in the offseason. Trading away young talent for a two- to three-month rental is extremely risky.
Unless they believe their team is on the verge of being great, they'll probably hold off on such a deal. I don't believe they are on the verge of being great, and I don't think they do either.
Tigers Acquire Jonathan Papelbon from Phillies
Jayson Stark of ESPN is hearing that the Phillies and Tigers are talking about closer Jonathan Papelbon, who would fill what appears to be the Tigers' lone need on a very talented roster. I've also written a few different times about a potential match between the two teams with outfielder Avisail Garcia and reliever Bruce Rondon being the main trade chips.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will consider dealing his closer if he gets enough in return, and getting back a potential "Closer of the Future" in Rondon would help.
But we have to remember that the Phillies aren't a small-market team. They have money, and they'll do what they can to build a competitive team in 2014. Why trade one of the best closers in the game when he could be a significant part of that team?
Trading Papelbon now could leave a gaping hole in the closer's spot, and unless they want to hand the job over to an unproven pitcher like Rondon, Amaro figures to look for Papelbon's replacement in the offseason. And whoever he gets probably won't be as good.
Potential closers on the free-agent market include Jesse Crain, who will be costly despite not having much closer experience, a 38-year-old Koji Uehara, Edward Mujica and Grant Balfour.
I'm sure he'd rather have Papelbon in place and focus on filling holes left by departing free agents like Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Michael Young.