Welcome to Reality Check 2005

Every year it’s the same. Every year it’s a little bit different. You know, kind of like baseball itself. The countdown to the July 31 trade deadline has started, and it’s only a matter of time before something comes down. Meanwhile, a whole lot of nothing will be out there, and only a few rumors will really come true.

The names are already trickling out, and July’s not even here yet. In our hearts, we all know that pretty much all of the names will be listed on the same rosters come Aug. 1 that they’re on now.

But that doesn’t make the annual trip around the rumor mill any less fun, does it? Speculation, rumor, innuendo — it’s all part of the game.

At some point, somebody has to separate the fantasy from the reality, the fiction from the truth, the hooey from the dealio. And that’s what we’re here for at the Reality Check.

Fifteen years into a baseball writing career, this is a first — blogdom. (To paraphrase sports talk radio: Longtime writer, first-time blogger.) This as good a forum as any to get a blog career going, because there will be plenty of fodder over the next several weeks before the non-waiver deadline to take some of the, uh, stuff that’s being thrown up against the wall, give it a gander and evaluate it as possible or just plain silly. Hence the name, the Reality Check.

Now let’s remember: This is just one guy’s take, with a little help from baseball execs, a little knowledge of the national baseball media circles and a whole lot of insight from our crack staff of beat writers here at MLB.com. This isn’t gospel, just semi-educated conjecture based on the best information available.

Here’s a quick take on where we stand at the moment:

What’s the same about this year is that right around the first of July the sellers are asking way too much and the buyers are all looking for the same thing — a frontline starter or a big bat. What’s a little different than last year, at least, is that we don’t have a deal yet, certainly nothing like last year’s three-way Carlos Beltran she-bang. So it’s wait-and-see mode for a bit.

Frankly, there’s not a lot out there so far. But the one guy you always have to keep an eye on is Billy Beane. For the moment, forget about Barry Zito or Eric Chavez — you still have to look at them as the cornerstones of the future in Oakland. Think Mark Kotsay, if anyone. He’s got a player option year coming up, and extension talks aren’t going anywhere yet. The Yankees are said to be interested, but they’ve got diddly to give a team like the A’s. That said, Beane’s the master of the three-way deal, so don’t rule it out. The Cubs might throw a line in that water, too.

See? There’s a little somethin’-somethin’ to get us started. No real basis. Just a little rumor, speculation and innuendo. Fun.

Listen, nobody — not even the GMs who know more than the rest of us — knows what’ll happen before July 31, or after with guys being sent through waivers. The stuff’s only starting to be flung, and the phones are only starting to buzz around baseball’s front offices. The fun’s only beginning. But there will be plenty of rumors to come, and this here Reality Check is ready to roll.

7 Comments

OK, what’s the word on the Rockies? Preston Wilson is going to go somewhere, but what about their cadre of mediocre starters? Can they get anything of value for veteran role players like Todd Greee, Dustan Mohr, or Desi Relaford? As bad as this team in, you’d be surprised how many people still have hope for their future.

Mark

barmes.mlblogs.com

Indians GM, Mark Shapiro, has said that he is looking for “a big, established, middle-of-the-order bat”. To me, it seems that this ‘bat’ should be either a corner infielder or corner outfielder. Are there currently any players being shopped that would fit the Tribe’s mold?

Dave

Being a Boston fan I’d like to see Johnny Damon for Kerry Wood & a promising minor league pitcher

Even though Billy claims Zito isn’t going anywhere, I don’t believe it. There has to be a few moneyball players he’s droolong over that he’ll part with someone like Zito for. I mean, the guy traded Mulder and Hudson, both players that are better than Zito by far. They don’t seem to be winning with him so why not get some value for him before he proves he really has lost his touch from the Cy Young season.

Don’t be surprised to see the Yankees pull one out of their behinds on a deal, or maybe even Baltimore as now their pitching is showing vulnerability.

bobby

http://marlins.mlblogs.com

As a Boston fan you’d like to see Johnny Damon for Kerry Wood *and* another promising pitching prospect?

Well as a tax-paying, law-abiding American I’d love to see my PowerBall numbers come up next week ! 🙂

Conspicuously missing from the original post is the dearth of relief pitching available and the pressing need by almost all the contenders out there to bolster their bullpens.

As an example of how scarce available bullpen arms are, someone floated a rumor about a team showing interest in Paul Quantrill.

Oh, and Bob (author of the Marlins blog), I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see my Yankees pull a deal out of their behinds either. The question will be whether it should be saluted or whether it’s flush-worthy.

Now that Stick Michael is back in charge, I’m leaning towards “salute”.

One thing is for certain – July is going to be a LOT of fun!

-Chuck

http://theviewfromtier6.mlblogs.com

I personally don’t think Beane will trade a moderately priced and when he gets the right
“vibes” (I guess that’s the best way to describe Barry Zito’s onfield performance fluctuations)effective pitcher such as Barry Zito. I believe it was previously stated he already has one more year on his contract after which he will obviously leave via free agency giving the A’s valuable compensation picks. Outside of that the season is still young and Beane knows this well enough to make some moves for some coveted undervalued player (I refrain from using the abused and misunderstood “moneyball” cliche’). The market for pitching this year is terrible and trading Zito for some prospects may be the best way to cash in on him. It’s essentially and economic guesswork judging how the market is playing itself out and if this is the ideal time to move him.

I’m personally very interested to see though where AJ Burnett ends up, seeing as he’s had a tremendous year and is probably the best pitcher who is more than likely on the market. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Sox or another one of the tandem of AL East economic powerhouses to snag him.

you guys our crazy to even think that the A’s would trade Zito,Kotsay,or Chavez. plus Kotsay already signed a multi-year extension.are you guys stupid or what Zito’s on fire going 5-0 in his last 5 starts allowing 2-4 hits, and 1 or 2 runs a game.also Chavez is not going anywhere because he signed a six year deal in the offseason.all the A’s need is to trade Blanton and Saarloos for Jamie Moyer who has a pretty good recored 8-3 record compared to Blanton and saarloos’s recored 10-14 combined.

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