As the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches, names of baseball prospects loom larger than usual. Their names pop up in reporters' notebooks and on the crawl on ESPN as trade rumors come and go.
The word "untouchable" comes up a lot with certain prospects; no general manager wants to be on the wrong end of a deal like the Indians-Expos trade back in 2002. With Montreal facing possible contraction but also challenging for a wild-card spot, general manager
With the salaries of today's players, finding homegrown talent that give clubs cost control, at least for a few years, has become a priority for most franchises. Even the game's revenue giants, the Red Sox and Yankees, are loathe to trade away top prospects.
No one loves prospects like
Posey was the 2008 College Player of the Year and has had a strong start to his pro career, batting .326/.428/.540 with 13 homers at high Class-A San Jose. Like most premium 2008 draftees, he signed late and would have to be a player to be named in a deal (players can't be traded until one year after signing their first pro contract). Recently promoted to Triple-A Fresno, Posey is expected to take over for impending free agent
These are two best homegrown arms in Colorado's system, with Chacin especially interesting due to the
Houston is rebuilding its awful farm system the last two years with new scouting director
The Mets' problems are obvious. It's probably too late for them to become buyers, and a huge problem with this season's team is the lack of upper-level minor-league talent to fill gaps on the big-league roster caused by injuries. Holt, last year's supplemental first-round pick, looks close to being ready to help a rotation that has given 27 starts to the likes of
Third base has been a black hole in Minnesota since
Scouts who cover the Yankees organization are fond of saying the team overvalues its own prospects, but the scouting consensus is Montero is the real deal. He has premium raw power and pure hitting ability to go with it. If he can catch, he could have a
Beckham was No. 1 overall pick last year, and it wouldn't make much sense for the cash-strapped Rays to deal a guy just after paying him $6.15 million bonus. More likely, if Tampa were to make a move, it would build it around Triple-A shortstop
The two best prospects in the game are truly untouchable for the right reason. They're similar to Sizemore as future franchise centerpieces.
Here's an example of why teams are so reluctant to trade prospects. The Red Sox entered the year with eight starting pitchers, but injuries have eroded that depth, and Buchholz was just summoned back to Boston to replace ailing All-Star
Texas is cash-strapped as well and probably can't take on salary, but it also has the deepest farm system in the game. Perez may have the highest ceiling of any Rangers pitcher as an 18-year-old Venezuelan southpaw mowing down hitters in low Class A. In one five-inning July start, Perez threw his fastball in the 90-94 mph range, struggling a bit with his command, but broke off several curveballs with excellent depth and a changeup that he throws with fabulous hand speed. He has mound presence, competitiveness, above-average stuff and a solid delivery. In other words, he's exactly the kind of player other teams ask for in trade talks.