With MLB playoffs near, these are the trades that make sense
The race to the MLB playoffs is littered with teams scheming to position themselves ahead of their division rivals. Each of MLB's six divisions has a second-place team 4.5 games or less behind the division leader, which has created a frenzied trade market. In lieu of the July 31 trade deadline, here are five deals which make sense for the buyers and sellers.
Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets
Ideal Landing Spot: San Francisco Giants
San Francisco's anemic offense, which ranks in the bottom five in MLB in numerous offensive categories including OPS, could use the boost that Beltran (.917 OPS, 61 RBI) can provide. And the Giants have the requisite prospects to entice the Mets. The Phillies are also a sensible fit, although the Mets may not want to help their division rival. Any Beltran trade needs his approval, given his 10-and-5 rights (ten seasons in MLB and the last five with his current team).
Heath Bell, RP, San Diego Padres
Ideal Landing Spot: Philadelphia Phillies
Extended injuries to relievers Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras have forced the Phils to overuse Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo. Acquiring Bell (27 saves in 29 opportunities) would ease their stressed bullpen, although they'd likely have to part with an elite prospect to facilitate that trade. Bell could be paired in a deal with teammate Ryan Ludwick, who fits Philly's need for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder.
Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros
Ideal Landing Spot: Boston Red Sox
A case of the rich getting richer, although the BoSox would have to further deplete their stellar farm system to obtain Pence. But this is what's apparent: the Red Sox need a right fielder, they need a right handed batter to balance their lefty-dominated lineup and 28-year-old offensive machines (.316 AVG, .845 OPS) aren't available every day. The Phillies and Atlanta Braves also make sense here.
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies
Ideal Landing Spot: New York Yankees
This is an unlikely trade to happen during the regular season. Watch for it during the off-season, when the Yankees could look to re-load for 2012 with a high-grade player such as Jimenez, who's having an off year (4.00 ERA, 1.31 WHIP). What makes these two teams a good match is the Yankees' need for a young, elite starter, their surplus of pitching and catching prospects and perhaps the Rockies' uncertainty that Jimenez can keep his right arm healthy long-term.
Michael Bourn, OF, Houston Astros
Ideal Landing Spot: Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers lost center fielder Carlos Gomez to a fractured left clavicle Wednesday, meaning their only above-average defensive player is possibly gone for the season. With the Brewers intent on making the playoffs, Bourn (35 steals in 40 attempts, .353 OBP) becomes a reasonable replacement. The Brewers' farm system is thin after previous trades, but they could likely pull together a deal to entice the Astros, who are looking to trade veterans for prospects.