Stark Market: Manny trade not so ridiculous anymore
The march to the 2008 trading deadline hasn't exactly turned into the NHL draft, featuring five marquee guys from Lithuania. But it's close. So we're warning you now:Unless this Manny Ramirez-to-Florida blockbuster turns real, the names that are about to go dancing across the bottom of your TV screens between now and the deadline probably are not going to cause any of you to (A) utter the words, "Holy zbflmx!" or (B) rush out and buy tickets to every home game your favorite team plays between now and 2017. In other words, when they make that forthcoming hit film, "Deadline Day 2008," it "won't be starring Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie," an official of one contending team said with a laugh. "All we're doing," moaned an executive of another contender, "is chasing a bunch of mediocre guys." Yes, unfortunately CC Sabathia is already gone. So is Rich Harden. Now even Mark Teixeira is a done deal. So what remains is Joe Flotsam, Billy Jetsam and 23 set-up relievers and Manny Ramirez. Nevertheless, we'll all be watching anyway. So here's a look at the five most prominent players who could be traded between now and Thursday's 4 p.m. ET deadline:
When we wrote the first edition of this column Wednesday morning, we basically just threw Manny's name into the mix to get your attention. At that point, every Manny Ramirez rumor any of us had heard at ESPN -- from myself to Buster Olney to all-knowing Peter Gammons -- had been denied, demeaned or flat-out laughed off.
In reality, Raul Ibanez probably will be the "biggest" bat -- not named Manny -- who gets traded before the deadline. And with the Mariners trying to extract "two premium prospects" for Ibanez, according to clubs that have spoken with them, even he might be sticking around.
Of the three Mariners most heavily in play -- Rhodes, Ibanez and Jarrod Washburn -- Rhodes looks like the best bet to change area codes, if only because Seattle has more options on him than on anyone else.
Now that we're on this left-handed-reliever rampage, why stop with Rhodes? At least we're confident that the Braves will deal Ohman at some point this week. In fact, he almost got included in the Teixeira extravaganza. Ron Mahay, Pittsburgh's John Grabow or the Cubs' Scott Eyre for Ohman. But a couple of things separated Ohman from that pack, over and above that .160 batting average left-handers have against him. One is his Harry Caray impression while introducing the Braves' lineup Saturday on Fox, one of the highlights of the season. ("Batting third and playing first base, got a great glove, Mark Te-te-texss uhhhh, Mark is batting third.") Two is Ohman furnished us with his own handy-dandy list of tips to survive the trading deadline (if you're about to get traded). They included: (1) "Eat a lot," (2) "Practice your clichés in front of the hotel mirror," and (3) "Kill time by computing the mathematical probabilities that you'll get dealt to a contender." You need to devise a formula, he said, that determines the likelihood that "you can be the linchpin to your old team's success -- by leaving it." Now who wouldn't want to trade for a guy like that?
Finally, we're required by law to include at least one starting pitcher in all pre-deadline columns like this. But when we asked an official of one contender whether his team was shopping for starting pitching, he replied: "There isn't any." When we protested and offered the names of Washburn, Paul Byrd and Tim Redding, he repeated: "There isn't any."
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TRADE DEADLINE: JULY 31, 2008
Baseball's July 31 trade deadline passed with a blockbuster: Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox to the Dodgers and Jason Bay from the Pirates to the Red Sox in a three-team deal.
• Updated trade deadline blog | Fantasy spins blog
• Rumor Central
• 2008 Trade Scorecard
• Manny traded to LA; Bay to Red Sox
• Law: Griffey helps White Sox's offense
• Griffey OKs deal from Reds to White Sox
• Law: M's get good deal for Rhodes
• Marlins acquire M's lefty Rhodes
• Ramirez reportedly on block
• Yankees acquire Pudge from Tigers
• Stark Market: Five who could be dealt
• Starting 9: Deals perceived differently now
• Baseball Today: Buster Olney on Teixeira, Bay
• Keith Law: Teixeira perfect for Angels
• Buster Olney on Teixeira trade
• Fantasy: Trade spin on Teixeira deal
• Vote: A good trade for Angels?
• Angels acquire Teixeira from Braves
• Stark Market: Rockies in flux over Fuentes
• Baseball Today: Steve Phillips on trade talk
• Stark Market: Braves looking to deal Teixeira
• Steve Phillips: MLB Trade Rumors
• Peter Gammons: Ramirez trade unlikely
• Indians trade Blake to Dodgers
• Yanks get Nady, Marte from Pirates
• Brewers get Durham from Giants
• Phillies get Blanton from A's
• Stark: Harden a risk, potential reward
• Cubs deal for Harden from A's
• Indians trade Sabathia to Brewers