Last week, I quipped that MLB trading season won't really open until the Yankees are being mentioned in every rumor and ESPN's Peter Gammons begins mentioning Oakland A's players available for trade. The Yankees' ace, Chien-Ming Wang, left Sunday's game against the Houston Astros with foot pain, and the New York papers are filled with speculation that he suffered a Lisfranc injury and will miss the rest of the season. This naturally leads to C.C. Sabathia. One condition has been met.
Sunday night, Peter Gammons' latest column was published at ESPN.com. In it, he surveys the trade landscape in a build-up towards the most intriguing pitching option available - Rich Harden of the Oakland A's. The money quote?
A call came in Sunday morning that said, "Billy Beane has the single most important piece to trade to win the World Series. But the question is, how many songs do you let Slowhand play before a string breaks."
Hello, Rich Harden. Beane is right -- Harden is the most dominant pitcher in the American League right now.
Beane is right? Did Mr. Gammons let slip that the Oakland general manager was that Sunday morning caller - and that he speaks in the third person about himself? Either way, both condition have now been triggered, and the official start of the trading season has begun!
Other than patting myself on the back, Mr. Gammons does shed some additional light on trade fronts other than Oakland. In Cleveland, he reports that Cleveland Indians' GM Mark Shapiro has made it clear that he'd rather move sooner than later. This would help maximize the return he could get for Sabathia by giving the acquiring team and additional month's worth of starts.