By John Ekdahl
So, today’s the day. Players can still be traded in August by passing through waivers, but 4 PM EDT today is officially the Major League Baseball trading deadline. As a long time Yankees fan, July 31st has become something of a grown up Christmas Day morning in recent years (although Lance Berkman is probably more of a tube-socks-and-underwear caliber gift given his performance in 2010). This year there are some buyers who are normally sellers (Reds, Rangers, Padres) and some sellers who are normally buyers (Cubs, Brewers). There’s been a lot of early movement so far and there’s sure to be some more wild rumors and fireworks today. Remember, it took until 5PM (a full hour past the deadline) for anyone to know whether the Red Sox and Dodgers had gotten the paperwork filed in time for the Manny Ramirez trade to go through. These things tend to go down to the wire.
It’s always a little jarring the first time you see a one-team star wearing the uniform of different team. Roy Oswalt certainly fits that description, although it would look much stranger if the Phillies and Astros didn’t share a dominant-red color scheme. Dan Haren has moved from Arizona to Anaheim. Edwin Jackson is going from Arizona to the Chicago White Sox. Miguel Tejada has gone from Baltimore to San Diego. Jhonny Peralta is headed to Detroit from Cleveland. Scott Podsednik is moving from Kansas City to Los Angeles. Ted Lilly, Adam Dunn and Derrek Lee are among those who are expected to be dealt today.
The Texas Rangers have acquired Cristian Guzman and Jorge Cantu less than a month after adding Cliff Lee and there are rumors of more deals on the way. Someone’s gotta explain to me how a franchise that has filed for bankruptcy can add so much payroll. Although, the daily news coming out of the financial sector in this bailout and deficit recession economy makes my head spin so perhaps it’s not worth the trouble.
Where’s the best place to follow all this deadline action? If you’re near a television, go with MLB Tonight: Trade Deadline Special Live on the MLB Network. Last year I went back and forth between MLBN and ESPN, and MLBN absolutely blows Baseball Tonight on ESPN out of the water. Their analysts are all better (I do like Tim Kurkjian, however) and last year they were about five to ten minutes ahead of ESPN in breaking news. If you’re on the computer, flipping between espn.com, cnnsi.com and foxsports.com always works pretty well. If you like to be ahead of those guys, go with Jon Heyman’s twitter page. He’s really separated himself from the pack in terms of sniffing out baseball trades and signings. The 140 character maximum format of Twitter suits him much better than radio or television, where he tends to turn a simple yes/no question into a rambling five minute answer. He’s also on the live MLB Tonight set and will occasionally pop in with breaking news when he’s not updating his Twitter status (yes, I have seen him do this live on the air).
Happy Trade Deadline Day!