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GMs predict more August trades this year

| Sunday, July 26, 2009

The St. Louis Cardinals traded for slugger Matt Holliday on Friday. Could Toronto ace Roy Halladay be the next big star to go•

The Major League Baseball non-waiver trading deadline is at 4 p.m. Friday, giving teams just a few more days of shopping before the stretch run.

Pitching continues to be at a premium, making Halladay the biggest target. Rumors are flying that the Phillies will make a move in that direction, with young pitchers Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ and more going to Toronto.

Other top pitchers reported to be on the trading block are Cleveland's Cliff Lee, Tampa's Scott Kazmir and San Diego's Heath Bell.

And even if those big names aren't traded by Friday, there is still a chance they are dealt in August, when players have to go through waivers.

Several baseball executives, including Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, believe the trading will continue into next month. In a bad economy, many big-contract players could pass through waivers because teams do not want to risk taking on their salaries.

"I do think this year July 31 may not be the final deadline," Huntington said. "I think teams are going to be very hesitant to claim players who have (big contracts), and that will extend the process into August."

In Friday's Cardinals trade, the Oakland A's received a package of prospects that included highly regarded third baseman Brett Wallace. The trade looks one-sided in favor of the Cards right now, but years from now, Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson and pitcher Clayton Mortenson could make it advantage Oakland.

Consider last year's big July deal. The Brewers traded their top prospect, Matt LaPorta, to the Indians for pitcher CC Sabathia. While Sabathia won 11 games for the Brewers and helped them to their first postseason in 26 years, he bolted for a big contract with the Yankees in the offseason. The Brewers lost to the Phillies in the first round last year, and are now hovering around the .500 mark.

Was the trade worth it for the Brewers• That depends on who you ask, but there is no denying that the trading deadline is a crucial test for general managers, whether they're looking to buy or sell.

"There's an adrenaline rush that's almost overwhelming," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told . "And your imagination goes a little bit wild, too."

The deadline rumors also affect the players' nerves.

Last year, Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson was the subject of trade rumors — as he is this season. But Wilson said he worried more about what might happen with teammate Jason Bay, who was soon traded to Boston.

"It's tough, but we have to go out and play," Wilson said.

That same business-like sentiment is echoed by the Pirates players who have already been traded well before the deadline: Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett and Adam LaRoche.

"You kind of heard his name being thrown out there," Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit said regarding the rumors surrounding LaRoche. "Then, 'OK, he's not going anywhere. OK, he's going somewhere.' We were just kind of hoping he wasn't. It's one of those things where we have to keep grinding."

Talking trades

Here's a look at five of the most significant deadline trades to happen in the past decade.

2000 — Diamondbacks got: Curt Schilling; Phillies got: Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla. Comment: The next season, Schilling won 22 games, and Arizona won the World Series. Conversely, none of the players the Phillies got in the Schilling trade were on last year's World Series team.

2002 — Indians got: Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens; Expos got: Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. Comment: The Indians got their franchise player (Sizemore) and last year's American League Cy Young winner (Lee), while the Expos lost Colon the following season. Drew is out of baseball. So is Montreal.

2004 — Cubs got: Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton; Red Sox got: Orlando Cabrera (from Expos) and Doug Mientkiewicz (from Twins). Comment: At the time, many thought the Cubs got the best of this four-team deal. But it was Boston which has since broken its World Series curse ... twice.

2008 — Brewers got: CC Sabathia; Indians got: Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson and Taylor Green. Comment: Sabathia dominated for the Brewers in the second half but couldn't get them past the first round of the playoffs and then bolted for the Yankees. The Indians, meanwhile, got a new crop of top prospects.

2008 — Dodgers got: Manny Ramirez; Red Sox got: Jason Bay. Pirates got: Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen, Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris. Comment: The Red Sox are probably happy with the deal. So are the Dodgers, save a 50-game stretch this season when Ramirez was suspended. The Pirates• Might need to check back in a year or two. Or three.

Some of the more forgettable deadline trades made by previous Pirates management:

2001 — Giants got: Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal; Pirates got: Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong.

2003 — Cubs got: Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton; Pirates got: Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez and Matt Bruback.

2007 — Giants got: Rajai Davis; Pirates got: Matt Morris

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