The trading season began rather bizarrely, with the Mets rushing to trade Francisco Rodriguez, their star high-priced closer with the scary vesting option, a new agent and a missing no-trade list. K-Rod's previous agent apparently neglected to submit his 10-team no-trade list, and Mets higher-ups became concerned that his just-hired agent, Scott Boras, might try to rectify this situation. Although there was seemingly no way to submit a list that was already two years late, Mets GM Sandy Alderson didn't think it was worth taking a chance a trade could be stalled by a debate over the missing list.
Shortly after Boras was hired, the Mets were telling interested teams K-Rod would be somewhere else "within 48 hours.'' And he was, sent to Milwaukee for two players to be named later.
Interestingly, the Brewers happened to be one of the 10 teams on the never-submitted list. Ultimately, that didn't matter since the Mets never saw the list, and Milwaukee made the best monetary offer to the Mets, taking K-Rod's contract plus about $5 million from New York in the deal that will send two prospects of the Mets' choosing to New York from a list of five.
It was an interesting start to what could be an unpredictable trading season. Here is the latest on a top 40 players (plus a few others) who could find themselves elsewhere by the July 31 trade deadline.
• While Reyes has said he won't talk about a contract to the Mets in-season, he hasn't completely ruled out considering other options for a contract extension should the Mets find a trade partner. A trade looks like a long shot now, but he'd consider a contract in a situation with a three-day window. The issue with the Mets, beyond the potential distraction, is that it's pretty clear they couldn't offer market value at this point, not until the Einhorn deal is done and the Picard situation is settled. Reyes isn't blowing smoke when he says he loves the Mets, so if they mount a real effort in the winter they might have a decent chance to keep him. The great likelihood is they give that a shot now and hold onto him through the season.
• A person with ties to the Mets said it was "unlikely'' they'd deal Mike Pelfrey, whose salary is starting to rise. They obviously need starting pitching going forward.
• The Indians are looking for an outfield bat. But Beltran doesn't look like a match for them because while they are having a surprising season, it might be hard to imagine a storybook finish. So they are one contender Beltran is unlikely to approve in trade. His salary could be an issue for both the Indians and Reds anyway.
• Rivals say they believe the Pirates will be buyers, not sellers, in a season that's been enthralling to Pittsburgh. They'd obviously like to break their 18-year streak of losing seasons, at the very least. A great baseball story.
• The Angels are looking for offense. Third base would seem to be one position they'd look at.
• Milwaukee would have to consider shortstops with Yuniesky Betancourt not providing consistent offense or defense. A reunion with J.J. Hardy would make sense.
• The Twins are telling folks they are going for it. Hard to blame them in that wide-open division.
• The Tigers are expecting Carlos Guillen to come back from injury and help them at second base, but they do have interest in a starting pitcher and a hitter, either an outfielder or third baseman.
• The Giants, who make excellent hires, have signed up Jim Riggleman as a special assignment scout.
• Roger Clemens is lucky.