The All-Star break symbolizes the halfway point of the season. But there's not as much time left as you may think.
Many teams have played 95 games and the Red Sox already have 97 in the books. Following Boston's game with the Mariners next Tuesday (July 30), the Sox's season will be two-thirds over.
And the trade deadline will have arrived.
'¢ It's only a hunch, but Jose Bautista may be available for the right price. He was a fantasy monster in 2010 and 2011 before injuries took a big bite out of his 2012 season. His power numbers are down again and Joey Bats' batting average is, well, average. He's hitting right at his career mark of .253.
Bautista owners may be tiring of that low average and his declining numbers, and be further disenchanted after not getting proper value out of the Toronto titan to justify a second- or third-round pick.
A returning, healthy Jose Reyes gives a big boost to Bautista's value and a hot Edwin Encarnacion protecting him in the lineup makes the Blue Jays slugger primed for a second-half breakout.
A top-tier starter or steals guy — whatever your trading partner covets or whatever makes sense for both parties — may be enough to swing a deal.
'¢ Baseball America ranked Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball before the 2010 season. He had a cup of coffee that year and ate a full breakfast in 2011, when he hit 10 homers and stole 20 bases in 247 at-bats.
Average those numbers out over 550 at-bats and we're looking at 20-plus homers and almost 50 steals. But that's not what 2012 had in store.
Jennings hit only 13 homers and swiped 31 bags to go along with his pedestrian .246 average; not bad numbers for a young outfielder. But the expectations, fair or not, were much higher.
So far this year Jennings is at 11 HR, 38 RBIs and 15 SBs. Again, good but not great. But don't count out this being the season where Jennings breaks through.
'¢ Adrian Gonzalez also has a shot at enjoying a scorching stretch run. If the Dodgers' stars can align and stay healthy at the same time, and possibly even add another piece at the deadline, Gonzalez will be in the driver's seat of the top lineup in baseball.
He's back to being a legit home run threat, plus the potential for an improved Dodgers lineup means having more men on base while facing pitchers who can't pitch around him.
Next week we'll look at players who may falter in the second half, but can be used as trade bait now.