Trade market likely to heat up at GM meetings
How much will be too much for Josh Hamilton? Will a change of scenery help B.J. Upton put it all together and finally live up to his incredibly tremendous potential? Will Michael Bourn hurt the Braves if he does indeed sign with the Nationals or Phillies? Does it make sense to make a three-year commitment to 37-year-old Torii Hunter?
These are questions that will continue to be asked as the free agent market continues to gain steam over the next couple of weeks. But with Braves general manager Frank Wren heading to Palm Springs today for the start of the annual general managers’ meetings, we might spend the next couple of days learning more about who could be available via the trade market.
With all 30 general managers gathered together over the course of the next few days, there will be plenty of opportunities for Wren and his peers to talk about potential trades. So by the time Wren and his staff return to Atlanta, they could have a better understanding about whether D-backs outfielder Justin Upton is truly available. Or what it would truly take to persuade the Padres to trade third baseman Chase Headley.
Or there is always a chance of a surprising development.
While some might continue to hope the D-backs will give up on Upton like the Dodgers could have given up on Matt Kemp a few years ago, it seems more likely to anticipate the Braves completing a trade that has not yet been discussed in the public forums.
Few within the baseball industry seem to think the Tigers would be willing to trade highly-regarded prospect Nick Castellanos, who was recently moved from third base to the outfield because his path to Detroit is blocked by Miguel Cabrera.
Considered to be one of the game’s elite hitting prospects, Castellanos would likely not be ready to begin the 2013 season at the Major League level. But the 20-year-old prospect wants to play third base and the Braves are obviously wondering who they will position at third base over the next few years.
Odds are that the Tigers will hold on to Castellanos. But it would also be hard to imagine that his name will not at least be brought up when Wren spends time this week. with his close friend Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski.
‘Tis the time of year when you just don’t know until you ask.
When Wren arrived for the GM meetings two years ago, he did not have visions of immediately striking a significant deal. But by the end of the first day he was discussing how the exchange of a note written on a napkin had led to the acquisition of Dan Uggla from the Marlins.
Four years ago, countless hours were spent pursuing the possibility that Jake Peavy would be traded to the Braves. In hindsight, the Braves were fortunate that Peavy used his no-trade clause to prevent a deal from ever developing.
A few weeks later, the Braves acquired Javier Vazquez from the White Sox and benefited from the great season Vazquez had in 2009. Like many trades, this one was completed before hitting the rumor mill.
So while we might hear about some potential trades over the next few days, the ones that are completed will likely be the ones we never knew about.