Philadelphia – Unlikely they'd trade within their own division, especially since they are tied with us right now. But there are rumors the Mets might make a play for Tom Gordon. That would be a nice acquisition for anyone.
Florida – Same thing, but if they drop out, this team might be more willing to get talent back from anywhere. Joe Borowski might be a nice setup guy, but we've been down his road before. I wouldn't want to give up much for Borowski.
Chicago – Scott Williamson is first on the list. We've had interest in him in the past, and there's no reason to think that's changed. He's a pitcher that has mostly been a setup man, but he's got the talent to maybe be a closer. He strikes out a lot of batters.
Pittsburgh – Doubtful they'd trade Mike Gonzalez, but in Solomon Torres, John Grabow, and Damaso Marte, they have three very tradable pieces. You wonder if Langerhans could interest them, since he could go there and start. I like all four of these pitchers, and we've showed interest in all four before. This is a very big option for us.
San Diego – After last night, I think it's obvious the Padres are not trading Scott Linebrink. They need him in case Hoffman, who was not impressive at all not even breaking 90 mph, does not hold up.
Baltimore and Tampa Bay – No one on the surface gets me too excited. They probably have arms you can get, and maybe one of our scouts can pinpoint one. But no one on those two rosters is another Bruce Sutter.
Cleveland – Bob Wickman is first and foremost, and we've had interest in him before. Rafael Betancourt is an interesting pitcher, but I can't imagine Cleveland giving him up. Guillermo Mota has not had a great year, but he's had success in the past.
Kansas City – Jimmy Gobble has had a solid year. Mike MacDougal is finally back, but needs to prove he's healthy. The Royals have a few options for us, but who does Dayton Moore want bad enough from us to give up a quality arm? When healthy, MacDougal has been good, so he's definitely interesting.
Chicago White Sox – Here's a wildcard: Cliff Politte. He's been effective in the past, but he's just having a horrible season. Could be a change-of-scenery deal – maybe Sosa for Politte?
So I think Williamson is a strong option for us, and then we've got to look at three teams: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Kansas City.
What do these teams need?
Chicago Cubs – pitching, middle infield help
Pittsburgh – pitching, outfield help
Cleveland – pitching, outfield help
Kansas City – pitching, outfield, first base, second base
It's easy to sit here and conjure up trades, so I'll take a shot at it:
1) Jimmy Gobble for Matt Harrison – Royals get a solid pitching prospect, one of our best, and we add a second lefty reliever. If Jo Jo Reyes is our best pitching prosepct, we can afford to give up Harrison.
2) Mike MacDougal for Ryan Langerhans and Anthony Lerew – Dayton could get a solid outfielder and a good starting pitcher for 2007. Moore might prefer Scott Thorman, which I would hesitate doing.
3) Scott Williamson for Tony Pena, Jr. and Manny Acosta – Cubs gets a shortstop that might be better than Ronny Cedeno, along with a hard-throwing relief prospect that scouts probably love.
4) Damaso Marte for Ryan Langerhans – Pirates traded a player similar to Langerhans in Rob Mackowiak for Marte, and they still need outfield help. Langerhans would be a very solid outfielder for the Pirates and could play everyday.
5) Bob Wickman for Ryan Langerhans – The Indians reportedly liked Langerhans last winter, so they may like to get him for the soon-to-be-retiring Wickman.
6) Cliff Politte for Jorge Sosa – I had to repeat this again. The more I read it, the better I like it.
7) Brad Halsey and Justin Duchscherer for Marcus Giles – I know Marcus has done better, but I'd still try to get Beane interested again. The A's are in the race, so they may not want to give up pitching, but we could throw Lance Cormier in. Or maybe Villarreal. Halsey and Duchscherer would be like getting Majewski and Bray, wouldn't it?
Every team is going to want Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Wilson Betemit. I don't see a viable closer out there that would make me want to trade Salty. Brad Lidge? Maybe if the Astros fall out he'll be available, and that would be tempting. But Houston is probably going to be in it until the end.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves' Radio Network. Email Bill at email@example.com.