So who's on the trading block?

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Thumbnail image for Cliff Lee M's throwing.jpgJon Heyman runs down the big ticket trade targets this summer.  Heyman’s candidates:

  • Cliff Lee.  Makes sense to me on some level but I’m a bit skeptical. The Mariners are a disappointment this year, but I don’t think they’re a team that thinks it’s tearing down and rebuilding. If they have a chance to sign Lee, I have to think they’ll stick with him.
  • Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman: Heyman has a hard time seeing anyone who both (a) can pick up Oswalt’s salary; but who is also (b) a team Oswalt wants to play for.  But we heard the same thing about Jake Peavy last year too, didn’t we?   I think that the longer the Astros suck and the more teams who express a moderate interest in Oswalt, the more flexible he becomes on his no trade.  It would not surprise me at all to see him in Queens or Los Angels sometime this summer.
  • Prince Fielder: Heyman is sharply pessimistic about the Brewers’ chances to sign Fielder. Given the agent involved, it’s probably worth giving such an impression more than the usual credence.
  • Ben Sheets:  Heyman quotes an AL GM who says Sheets needs to show more consistency before he’s a legit trade chit, but the deeper we go into the season the easier it is to make an argument for consistency. By mid July, the definition of consistency might be 2-3 decent starts.
  • Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski: Konerko can veto a trade and Pierzynski will be able to within a couple of weeks due to his 10-5 rights kicking in.  Heyman thinks that people will be more interested in Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz. I think he’s right.
  • Other candidates: Adam Dunn, Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook, Dan Haren, tons of Royals players, Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell.  From this list all I can note is how crazy it is that Adrian Gonzalez is only considered a marginal trade candidate this year.  One wonders if the Padres’ great run in the early going — which makes Gonzalez all but indispensable — isn’t hurting them in the long run.  They’re not going to sign the guy, right?  How worse will the prospects they ultimately get for him this offseason be than the ones they could have gotten this summer?

Anyway, it’s only Memorial Day weekend, but it seems like the trade winds are blowing stronger than usual for this time of year.  A lot of guys are going to be available.  It’s really going to be a buyer’s market, it seems.

Austin Romine gets the start at catcher in ALCS Game 4

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Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.

Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.

The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.

Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.