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Thinking outloud

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Ken Rosenthal lists the Rangers as potential trade partners with the Sox for one of our starters. He says the Sox seek a pitching prospect (Texas has some good ones) and "a young player" in return. He also says that "none of the Sox starters has no-trade protection" which seems patently false. I'll forgive Rosenthal just this once. He was probably worn out from covering the MLB GM Bowling Championship.

SBN sister-site Lone Star Ball tries to piece together a low-ball offer including Nelson Cruz, which must be spanish for "Josh Fields plays outfield," and Freddy Guzman, who Ozzie would probably love because he's got a "Z" in his last name and he can run fast. Texas' GM is famously demanding in trade discussions, so I'm not surprised at LSB's proposals.

I feel pretty safe in saying that when Robothal says "a young player" he's referring to one of two players; Gerald Laird, who's only a month younger than Jon Garland, or Joaquin Arias, whose possible acquisition would coincide with the theoretical departure of Juan Uribe along with the theoretical arrival of Omar Vizquel. That's probably getting ahead of myself. I can't see Laird being traded, though he would be a very nice fit with his lefty-mashing ways, but Arias is another story.

From the Sox point of view, I can easily see them asking for one of the "D"s in the DVD trio along with Arias. Texas won't part with Danks and wants to hold onto Diamond, but they'll dangle the low-hanging fruit that is Volquez. If I was the Sox, I'd be asking about Eric Hurley as well. He's a good prospect who could jump to elite status next year.

Phil Rogers, also reporting from Naples Bowl, suggests that the Yankees recent deals to acquire pitching is merely a move to acquire enough talent to trade for MLB-tested pitching without having to give up uber-prospect Philip Hughes, namely Tyler Clippard and Jeff Karstens. He also talks about Boston's Matsuzaka bid, but doesn't frame the discussion well.

Assuming Boston did indeed win the bid for Matsuzaka, here is their starting rotation for next season: Schill, Matsuzaka, Beckett, Papelbon, Wakefield. Now take a look a the current Yankees rotation: Johnson, Wang... Bueller, Bueller, Bueller. They're going to hit the free-agent and trade markets hard.

The Yankees obviously have money to spend, and Mussina will eventually be signed, but that still leaves two empty spots rotation and only Schmidt & Zito possess equal or better resumes than what the Sox are dangling. I can't see the Yanks landing both. I'd even bet against them landing either pitcher. (Early indications seem to be Schmidt to Seattle and Zito to that other NY team or SD.)

Speaking of that other NY team, Rogers says there have been preliminary talks about trading Vazquez for names that include Aaron Heilman, Mike Pelfrey, and Philip Humber.

Recap: The Sox have known since April that they were going to trade one of their starters. Instead of advance scouting possible playoff opponents in August and September, they sent their scouts to check out top minor league pitching, specifically the Rangers. The Yankees and Mets are now competing not just for free-agents, but for one of 4 White Sox starters, and just happen to have some of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball to offer. So while the Rangers may feel like they don't have to include one of their top pitching prospects in a deal, it's a pretty safe bet that one of the three teams will.