As the trade deadline nears, teams in the hunt are on the lookout for any deal that may improve their squad for the playoff push.
This year is a little more difficult than most considering all but Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, legitimately have a chance to reach the postseason, making this a buyer-rich market.
That leaves 22 teams trying to make deals with eight. This is a worse ratio than trying to pick up women at a bar that’s serving only Pabst Blue Ribbon and showing movie clips from Scarface, The Godfather and Terminator.
Lest we not forget that the ones actually there likely look like the resulting offspring if one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mistress were to procreate.
So who are this year’s Horsemen offspring?
Heath Bell, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Hiroki Kuroda top this year’s list, but after that the gossip at the rumor mill gets juicier than the Housewives of Orange County, the scenes they couldn’t show you.
Unfortunately, few of these rumors make sense while Bethany Frankel from Housewives is off making things happen.
There are also other factors throwing a wrench into this year’s deadline. The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are amidst financial crises and there is an ownership change in Houston.
Speaking of Houston, Hunter Pence is a sexy option that has been heavily talked about, but with a few years still left on his contract, it would have to be a blockbuster to make it worthwhile for new ownership to deal their centerpiece.
Ubaldo Jimnez’s name has been thrown around, but Colorado still has a shot at the National League West given their usual August run.
The most perplexing is Josh Willingham, who is getting more attention than a scantily clad Kim Kardashian at a monk’s20 years celibate party. I know he can hit right handed with some power, but so can 72 percent of the major leagues. He’s hit over 25 homers only once in his career, not to mention is batting just. 241 this season.
There is a lot of talk of several San Diego Padres relievers being dealt, so it is possible the entire pen, including their bullpen catcher, who could probably start for the San Francisco Giants right now, will be sent packing.
Run-of-the-mill outfielders such as Hideki Matsui, Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur and Reed Johnson are available, but none of them knock your stirrups off.
So where does that leave us?
Since viable trade bait appears to be running low, I’ve compiled a list of players that could make an instant impact for their potential suitors.
Here is a list of the top 20 players that could very well be available at the trading deadline…if they were actually real.
There aren’t many species on the planet faster than Willie Mays Hayes, and since I’ve yet to track down a Sudanese antelope for a head-to-head sprint, I’ll give Hayes the benefit of the doubt on that one.
He wreaks havoc on the bathpaths for opposing pitchers and is the ideal player at the top of a lineup or coming off the bench to spark a rally.
He does have some critics.
His toughest naysayers feel that, “He may run like Hayes, but he hits like s**t.”
Player on trading block comparable to: Michael Bourn
After throwing what he thought was the last game of his career, coincidentally a perfect game, Chapel may find himself in the middle of a playoff run.
Pittsburgh and Cleveland could use veteran help in their starting rotation, and what better option than pitching great Billy Chapel?
Player on trading block comparable to: Carlos Zambrano
Sportswriters initially criticized Dunne’s work ethic after he darted off the mound with one out in the ninth inning with a no-hitter still intact to supposedly chase down a girl.
However, after finding out that woman was Jessica Biel, the sportswriters collectively agreed they too would’ve done the same thing for the blistering hot sex icon.
Despite his lack of major league experience, Dunne possesses the stuff needed to get hitters out which he showed in the Cape Cod league. This local New England product might find a home in Boston’s bullpen or help out another team in need of a left-handed pitcher.
Player on trading block comparable to: Francisco Liriano
Parkman has left behind a small village of enemies from each team he has played for and against. However, if a team is willing to take on this cocky superstar, he has the ability to immediately transform a lineup.
Most likely suitors: Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants
Player on trading block comparable to: Ramon Hernandez
Highly touted Nebraska carries a high price tag with his $55 million contract, but when you can throw 100-plus mph, a team can turn a blind eye to the financials.
His mental issues are always a question mark, but history has shown that with the right people in his corner, namely Al his scout, Nebraska can flourish.
Player on trading block comparable to: James Shields
Known more for his pompous swagger and marketing tomfoolery than his bat, Ross at least brings a dynamic to a club looking for a player who gets on base.
Amassing 3,000 hits in his career, Ross has always possessed the ability to get hits which helps a ball club willing to put up with his circus act.
Most likely suitors: Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers
Player on trading block comparable to: Coco Crisp
A washed up closer with a short temper and poor work ethic is not typically what teams are looking for the stretch run. However, rumor has it Powers has been working out at his old high school in an attempt to regain his old form.
Considering he is doing nothing more than working as a substitute P.E. teacher as well as getting into all types of tomfoolery in his spare time, he should come at an extremely discounted rate.
Player on trading block comparable to: Chad Qualls
Would you want Leak to date your young daughter?
Would you want Leak as your starting third baseman?
This cigarette-smoking, Harley-driving, troublemaker can not be seen at Sunday Mass, but this hip kid can play some baseball.
Most likely suitors: Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants
Player on trading block comparable to: Michael Cuddyer
Not much is known about the awkward and unimpressive Spiwak, but New York is desperate to add another lefty to their starting staff, and pinstripes may just be in Spiwak’s future.
The far-from-dazzling lefty is most known for getting caught with illegal substances including sandpaper, Vaseline and several other lubricants that would normally be confiscated at airport security lines while facing Seattle fifteen years ago.
The embarrassing event was overshadowed by an assassination attempt on Queen Elizabeth who coincidentally was in attendance. Spiwak may also find himself on the south side of Chicago if his bag of tricks can magically enhance the bats of Alex Rios, Juan Pierre and Adam Dunn.
Most likely Suitors: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks
Player on trading block comparable to: Erik Bedard
A five-tool player and still very young, Benny’s game features blistering speed and a live bat. He’s not going to hit 40 home runs in a season but has 30/30 potential and can jump-start any sputtering offense.
With the decrease in production from Torri Hunter and Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles seems like the likely landing strip for “The Jet.”
Most likely suitors: Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians
Player on trading block comparable to: Jose Reyes
A rising star, Rowengartner can hit 103 mph on the radar gun but isn’t old enough to get into PG-13 movies by himself. With a long career ahead of him, he is more valuable for the long term, however with several teams looking for pitching, he might find his way onto another roster in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Texas is desperate for any bullpen help they can find, and Detroit could use another starting pitcher to follow ace Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in the rotation.
Most likely suitors: Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees
Player on trading block comparable to: Ubaldo Jimenez
Despite his aging body and heated temper (he punched his interpreter during a recent brawl), Elliot is still a home run threat. He may not have much left in the tank, but for a two-month pennant chase, he could serve as a valuable bat off the bench late in a game.
Most likely suitors: Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates
Player on trading block comparable to: Jim Thome
For a team in need of a solid bat and some catching help, Hinson could be just right mix of estrogen and run production a team needs. She plays a strong game behind the dish and is a favorite among the contingency of male fans, thus boosting attendance for the team acquiring her.
She’d be the first female in baseball, but assuming she abides by the “No crying in baseball,” golden rule, the lucky bidder should be in for a real treat.
Most likely suitors: San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels
Player on trading block comparable to: Jesus Montero (I shudder at the thought of Montero in a skirt uniform however)
A free spirited fireballer, LaLoosh has electric stuff but a haphazard approach to the game. If under the proper tutelage of the right pitching coach and positive off-the-field support, he could easily flourish into the pitcher he was born to be.
Teams like Arizona and New York need pitching of any kind, and Cincinnati needs a starter to follow Johnny Cueto if they are going to make a run this year.
Most likely suitors: Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies
Player on trading block comparable to: Tyler Clippard
If every major league team had a power-hitting, voodoo practicing, Jobu worshipping, chicken-sacrificing slugger, the world would be a better place. He’s never been able to hit a curveball, but when he gets hot, he can carry a team on his back.
Quite a few contenders could use one more piece to their pennant race puzzle, and Cerrano may be just the elixir for their offensive cauldron they need.
Likely suitors: Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants
Player on trading block comparable to: Ryan Ludwick
This sweet swinging center fielder acquired by the Giants in the offseason has yet to live up to the hype of his contract. For a team willing to take on the financial burden, this three-time MVP could make a huge splash at the trading deadline, assuming he can return to past glory.
Atlanta is seeking an outfielder with some pop, and several other teams could surface for a last minute deal for the five-tool slugger.
Most likely suitors: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants (wait a second; so they’d trade with themselves? I’m confused.)
Player on trading block comparable to: Carlos Beltran
Davis has shown tremendous power in the minors, recently breaking the minor league record for home runs while with Ashville. At this point it is just a question of whether the 12-year veteran can take his game to the next level.
After spending 21 days in the big leagues several years ago, he has yet to return to the show.
Despite his stellar power, he is most known for his work with younger pitchers and could prove to be a valuable asset for teams looking to mold their pitching prospects into major league talents down the stretch.
Most likely Suitors: San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians
Player on trading block comparable to: Ivan Rodriguez
It has been a road long traveled for the formerly incarcerated, turned notorious closer, Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn. The erratic right-hander could prove to be a valued commodity should he be able maintain his control and not put the ball in “someone’s den.”
Vaughn’s hellish attitude on and off the field should jive well with the fans in Philadelphia, and a closer is all they need to start manufacturing World Champion T-shirts.
Most likely suitors: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins
Player on trading block comparable to: Heath Bell
After saving the life of Queen Elizabeth at a California Angels game in 1988, the career of Palazzo appeared headed for greatness, however after several stints in rehab, and a failed opera career, Pallazo has now found himself back at square one.
Rumor has it he is looking for a permanent umpiring gig but would also like to continue his singing career. Any team looking to satisfy two financial areas could benefit from this multi-talented Italian.
We can only imagine how different the life of Armando Galarraga would’ve been had fan-favorite Pallazzo had been umpiring his almost-perfect game.
OK, so you're right.
This slide is almost as nonsensically ridiculous as having a top 20 fictional movie list, but hold tight, No. 1 is next.
A beacon of light shines down from above and a flock of white doves humming soothing hymns of joy come to rest next to the batter’s box when he comes to the plate. Fans stand and cheer for three days after he simply draws a walk.
Forty percent of his home run balls are still traveling, while the others were decimated on impact by the sheer power of his bat. ESPN’s recent season of 30 for 30 dedicated each of their 30 episodes to him. His bats pine tar themselves.
He is Roy Hobbs. He is The Natural.
Most likely suitors: Too many to list
Player on trading block comparable to: Ghandi if he played baseball, but since he doesn’t, Hunter Pence