With the A's Infinite Playoff Improbability Drive now running at only 6% and falling, the actual games seem to take on less and less significance, while the trade rumors grow in importance. The rumors about Huston Street, Alan Embree and Justin Duchscherer make sense, but I don't get the Jason Bay ones, unless Beane thinks he can flip Bay for more than he'd give up.
I'm not really expecting Beane to make any more moves. There are a lot of relievers available for trades, and the Jon Rauch-for-Emilio Bonifacio trade between the Nats and the DBacks probably set the market price for veteran relievers lower than Beane would like. The A's could have had Bonifacio in the Dan Haren trade, but chose Chris Carter instead. The A's aren't going to trade Street for some team's 7th-best prospect, and who's going to give up much more than the established value for a closer? Also, I'm guessing that all the saves Alan Embree racked up last year will bump him into the Type B reliever category, and given how much Embree has sucked lately, no one's going to pay more the value of a sandwich pick for him. So the A's might as well keep him, decline his option, offer arbitration, and hope he goes elsewhere.
Duchscherer seems to me the most likely to go, but he's been shaky since the all-star break. He was sick in the all-star game, wasn't sharp when I saw him at Yankee Stadium, and in his last start, he gave up more than three earned runs for the first time all season. Other teams might be worried that he's hitting the wall, having not pitched this many innings in a season since 2003. The biggest point in favor of his getting traded is that he's still the best starting pitcher available. If a team gets desperate, they might overpay to Beane's content.
With the Eric Chavez "shredded shoulder" news, all A's fans are drooling over idea of getting Andy LaRoche to replace him. The Dodgers seem to inexplicably hate LaRoche, but their front office is so disfunctional, it's crazy to get any hopes up. You have to want the Dodgers to (a) remain disfunctional enough to keep disliking a good prospect, and yet (b) overcome their disfunction enough to make a decision to trade him. Good luck with that.
Two names I haven't heard in trade discussions are Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, and Dallas Braden. The A's rotation of the future probably doesn't have room for any of them, and certainly not for all of them. Two years from now, the A's rotation will probably be Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Vince Mazzaro. Smith, Eveland, and Braden are merely placeholders until the other guys are ready. Smith in particular seems to be outperforming his talent, and now might be the best time to sell high.
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Below the fold, some pictures from Yankee Stadium that didn't make my Bronx Banter piece.