Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda?

Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports), always an interesting reporter and analyst, unsheaths some deals that hit the talk stage but didn’t get done before the non-waiver deadline. We’re going to play coulda, woulda, shoulda here—you may have another view on these, but here’s mine:

* Jason Bay (OF, Mets) for Heath Bell (RHP, Marlins) and John Buck (C, Marlins)—Rosenthal says this one wasn’t close to being done but would have given both clubs a change to give faltering men the proverbial change of scenery. For the Mets: It would have brought back a reliever on whom they once gave up, who led the National League in saves a couple of years ago and might still have had enough left to help right one of the Show’s worst bullpens. For the Marlins: It would have plugged Bay into left field and let them move Logan Morrison to his best position, first base, if they’d also have pulled the trigger on moving Carlos Lee, as we’ll see shortly.

Say I: Shoulda. The deal might have involved three struggling players but it wouldn’t have hurt either team, as Rosenthal says.

* Carlos Lee (1B, Marlins) to the Yankees for . . . Bad enough the Fish learned the hard way it was foolish to get Lee in the first place. Worse: As Rosenthal notes, Houston was paying Lee’s salary the rest of the year other than the pro-rated minimum. In other words, the Marlins were paying him a short medley. Yet a) Lee spurned a deal to the Yankees on Tuesday, where he might have stepped into a bona fide pennant race with a team that needs some offencive help; and, b) the Marlins are said to have talked to fifteen teams about Lee . . . without budging once on demanding $2.5 million coming their way in any deal for a player who was costing them practically nothing. Perhaps needless to say, they were probably told only up which rope to urinate.

Say I: Coulda. But Lee himself won’t hurt the Marlins as bad as their own front office did on this one. On the other hand, they could still move Lee, Bell, and Buck on the waiver track before August’s end, so you never know.

Francisco Rodriguez (RHP, Brewers) to the Giants for . . . The Giants wanted K-Rod a week before the non-waiver deadline. He’d just been named the Brewers’ closer when John Axford finally wore the club down, and Brad Penny (a former starter) had just been lit up for the Giants. Except that K-Rod got murdered in Philadelphia, and the Giants ran tail as fast as their legs could travel.

Say I: Woulda. K-Rod has postseason experience to burn. He’s not the pitcher he used to be; he seems to have left his absolute best in Anaheim and New York, and there were obviously reasons above and beyond why the Angels weren’t in that big a hurry to re-sign him and the Mets were in hurry enough to lose him, reasons not limited to his contract options. Still, he would have been useful enough until his Philly implosion. And he still could be if he starts to work with the fact that he may never again be the pure power pitcher who once knocked the American League on its ears.

Joe Blanton (RHP, Phillies) to the Orioles for . . . Well, neither the Phillies nor the Orioles could have agreed on the prospects.

Say I: Shoulda. Blanton would have given the Orioles a steady veteran hand if they really are in it to win it (“it” being a postseason berth this year), and the Phillies’ remake/remodel did need another couple of prospects. Maybe the Phillies were a little too occupied with moving Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and testing the waters on Cliff Lee, but maybe the Orioles were being just stubborn enough. Hard to say.


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