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We could be looking at a dull deadline day

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Rumors are running rampant as we draw closer to Tuesday's trade deadline for Major League Baseball. Unfortunately I think that's all they are, just rumors.

Sure, you are going to have the minor deals like we saw in the past couple of days for Kenny Lofton and Tadahito Iguchi, but there are really no difference- makers on the market this year.

Mark Teixeira is the biggest name being thrown around, but supposedly the asking price on him is astronomical. You can hardly blame the Rangers for asking so much for him given their recent trade history, but nobody is giving up three stud prospects for a player due to become a free agent after next season.

Not to mention he is represented by the one and only Scott Boras.

The two teams that have the best shot at landing him, though, are the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Braves had been the clear-cut front runner in that sweepstakes until recently, as the Angels jumped into the mix and have reportedly agreed to part with Joe Saunders in a deal.

Boston and the Yankees are also supposedly interested, but neither is willing to part with the prospects, and rightfully so.

Teixeira to the Braves would no doubt help, but him to the Halos would be huge. Not only would they be stealing him from a divisional opponent, but Teixeira gives the Angels the one thing they are missing and that is a big bat to compliment superstar Vladimir Guerrero.

Last year Angels owner Arte Moreno balked at a deal for Alfonso Soriano at the deadline and it cost his team. He can't make that same mistake again. The Angels desperately need another bat and Teixeira fits the bill. Anaheim already has as good of a shot as any team in the AL, but acquiring Teixeira would put them over the top as far as I am concerned.

Other than Tex, though, there is not one player being bandied about that is going to have a significant impact on any of the playoff races. Plus, thanks to the wild card more teams still feel like they are in it and are less inclined to become sellers.

Everyone is looking for a starter, but the cupboard is bare in that department. Unless you think the likes of Jose Contreras or Matt Morris can win you a pennant.

Relievers are like gold, but teams hold onto them like the precious commodities they are. Sure, you can get a closer from a bad team (Chad Cordero, Chris Ray, Al Reyes, etc.), but it is buyer beware there. I am not a fan of acquiring someone just because they close games for a 100-loss team.

Eric Gagne and Octavio Dotel are probably the best of that bunch, but neither will come cheap.

The real action is going to come after the deadline this season. I have a feeling once Barry Bonds breaks that record that everyone seems to be talking about, he will be available in a waiver deal. And don't think the Yankees won't start unloading if they fall out of the race in early August.

But until that happens all we have is Tuesday's deadline, so let's take a look at some of the bigger names that could be dealt:

INFIELDERS

Jack Wilson - Pittsburgh recently picked up Cesar Izturis, all but signaling the end of Wilson's tenure in the Steel City. The only problem is there is not much of a market for a .249 hitter with $14 million owed to him over the next two seasons. Who would have guessed that? Toronto has actually come out and said they are not interested. I thought Boston could have been a possibility, but with Julio Lugo starting to hit, the Red Sox are probably out of that mix too.

Richie Sexson - Seattle has been trying to pawn him off on someone for a long time now. They haven't had any takers in the past and they won't have any by Tuesday. Unless they come to grips with the fact that they would have to take 30-cents on the dollar for him.

Kevin Millar - Millar could actually help a team. He is versatile and knows how to win. The only problem with him is he is a self-described "idiot". So if you can put up with the hot-foots and other dumb locker room gags like that, he is your guy.

OUTFIELDERS

Jermaine Dye - There was a lot of Dye talk earlier in the season, but it cooled off. Now comes word that the Red Sox are heavily pursuing him. Dye would apparently waive his no-trade clause to go there, provided they can guarantee him at least five starts a week. Could the Red Sox be giving up on JD Drew already?

Ken Griffey Jr. - A change of scenery could be in the cards for Griff. Earlier in the year there were rumors that he would accept a deal to play for the Cubs and low and behold those rumors are starting to surface once again. It would be nice to Griffey in a pennant race again.

Adam Dunn - See Richie Sexson

Reggie Sanders - Trade deadline day has to be Sanders' favorite day of the season. It seems like every year he is involved in some sort of rumor. Sanders, who has played for eight teams in his 17-year career, can help a team win. The Red Sox and the Mets are his most likely destinations, but chances are he probably stays put.

STARTING PITCHERS

Ian Snell - This could be an interesting one. Pittsburgh has not said Snell is available, but there have been rumblings recently that he may be and if he is there will be a long line of suitors.

Jon Garland/Jose Contreras - One of these two is going to be dealt. Probably not both. The Mets were supposedly high on Contreras a few weeks back, but have backed off since then. Can't figure out why. Maybe it is his 13 losses and 6.22 ERA. Anyway, it seems more and more likely that Garland will be the one moved.

Jason Jennings - A new name that has surfaced is that of Jennings. My guess is that he stays in Houston, despite being an utter disappointment. Seattle is supposedly hot on his trail, so we will wait and see on this one.

RELIEVERS

Eric Gagne - Gagne has a limited no-trade clause and wants to close, taking a lot of teams out of the mix. However, the New York Yankees are one team he can be traded to. Of course, the Yankees have no need for a closer, but a Gagne- Mariano Rivera combo would be awesome.

Octavio Dotel - It looks as if he is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and is throwing the ball well. A report this past week had him interested in signing an extension with the Royals, but they can get a ton in return for him, meaning he is as good as gone.

Scott Proctor/ Kyle Farnsworth - The Yankees are offering these two clowns to anyone that will listen. Proctor has struggled all season, while Farnsworth has been a disaster since joining the club last season. There has to be a team out there that would take a chance on one if not both of these two. Proctor is the more likely of the two to be sent packing.

Dan Wheeler/Chad Qualls - You might as well add Brad Lidge to this group, as well. Houston is going nowhere fast and can a boatload in return for their trio of relievers.

As you can see it is not exactly the cream of the crop there, but some of those players could help a team, I guess.

I am predicting a dull deadline, though, with more rumors than actual trades being completed. Last year a total of 12 trades were made at the deadline. I would be shocked if there is that many deals this coming Tuesday.

Be sure to check out my blog, though, at http://ruddickmlbblog.blogspot.com/, as I will be updating throughout the deadline day with all the latest rumors and deals.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.
Chris Ruddick


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