Panic time in the MLB is fully underway.
With the deadline looming ever closer, it is borderline humorous to see the sudden change in stances previously held by front offices around the league.
Guys who were likely never going to be available? Oh, are they ever now that the deadline is about here. Hurlers who really never had a shot of either being available or affordable? Ditto.
That's just how it goes in the MLB. Instant gratification is a scary theme for fans, especially those who root for teams hoping to contend for a title this year. Is it really worth it to—literally—sell the farm?
It's a question we're a ways off from having an answer to, but what we can do is break down the latest rumblings and throw a dart at the mill to see where it sticks.
The Matt Kemp Door Is Ajar
Alright, so after some tinkering in the outfield, Matt Kemp is very much available for trade, or will be sooner rather than later if he does not get what he wants.
Friday, manager Don Mattingly decided to toss Kemp in right field rather than center, something that did not go over too well with the 29-year-old slugger, as captured by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:
Stewart hinted at that a week ago, first expressing an openness for Kemp to be dealt to another team, preferably one that would play him in center field, a proclamation that mostly surprised Dodgers folks...It's clear things aren't going the way Kemp sees them. It's just as clear the Dodgers are starting to see it his way in terms of the possibility of a trade; they are no longer saying they won't deal Kemp...
It's time for Kemp to go, because he sure won't be supplanting the new man in center field—Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers should strike while the iron is hot, as Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke can hold down the fort in the outfield.
Kemp has had a down year, sure, but his overall numbers and a 2011 campaign when he should have been NL MVP suggest that he can certainly regain his form, health providing:
The biggest issue of all will be his contract, which pays him more than $21 million per year through 2019, per Spotrac.
But that has not stopped at least five teams, per Heyman, from reaching out to the Dodgers about his services. One includes Seattle, a franchise that is entirely stone-faced serious about adding a right-handed bat to the lineup.
Look at it this way—Seattle will do pretty much anything to add a bat, while the Dodgers understand they have to get out of this five outfielders-three spots dilemma that is quickly turning into a rocky marriage.
Look for the Dodgers to eat a large chunk of the contract and the Mariners to get a former MVP-caliber player who needs a change of scenery.
Prediction: Kemp goes to Seattle.
Perfect-Game Flirtation Leads Bartolo Colon to Market
This is great.
In his most recent start, Bartolo Colon almost tossed a perfect game. So the New York Mets did the smart thing, hitting the market and essentially saying, "Hey, by the way, he's available."
"Oh, we'll also eat some of his contract if you get him the heck outta here."
Or so it goes, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News:
We are also told, via sources, that the Mets are willing to eat approximately $2 million what remains on Colon’s two-year, $20 million contract ($11 million next season). And given Colon’s current level of performance, it is not crazy to think he could find a one-year, $9 million deal this winter, if he were a free agent. Yeah, he’s 41, but he ain’t pitching like it.
Colon is that player who will get dealt right at the deadline after it becomes clear to buyers that top names on the market are either not going anywhere or have already moved.
Will Colon be traded?
In his July 23 start, Colon had a no-hitter broken up by Robinson Cano in the seventh inning and wound up surrendering two runs. But at 41 years of age in what is very much a comeback season, he has a 4.03 ERA with 100 strikeouts to just 19 free passes.
Really, all that matters is the last blurb from Martino—he's not pitching as his age suggests. The Mets have been very serious about getting rid of Colon, and there are teams on the market as equally serious about getting an upgrade no matter what.
Chief among them, the New York Yankees. With a seemingly unlimited bankroll, the front office won't mind the investment, especially if Colon can stay hot and keep them in the race in the AL East.
Prediction: Colon stays in New York, dons pinstripes.
The Nationals Mean Business
Ryan Zimmerman is out with an injury, and boy did the Washington Nationals swing for the fences in an effort to land his replacement.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson provided the info:
With Ryan Zimmerman out with a hamstring injury, two baseball sources revealed on Friday that the Nationals inquired about Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, but the "Nationals were rebuffed" one of the sources said.
Quietly a strong Hall of Fame candidate at the age of 35, Adrian Beltre is due $17 million this year and $18 and $16 million in the two years to follow, per Spotrac, a rather affordable set of numbers for a player who just keeps on producing:
As ESPN Stats & Info illustrates, his track record is quite extensive:
Adrian Beltre: 390th career HR, tying Graig Nettles for 57th all-time & played 2,283rd career game at 3rd base (3rd all-time) via ELIAS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 19, 2014
So of course the injury-riddled Rangers, who sit comfortably in last place in the AL West, don't want to sell what is very much still a franchise centerpiece. The front office clearly understands that the down season is an anomaly, not something that should entice a rebuild.
Good try, good effort, Nationals. But Beltre isn't going anywhere, likely no matter what sort of offer comes the Rangers' way.
Prediction: Beltre stays in Texas.