Yes, the last week of July is largely about rumors with no teeth, but that's still more appealing than my Aunt Bertha, who is an overbearing in-law with no teeth. Let's take a look at the rumors that have two aspects in common: They involve the A's and they have actually been suggested by quasi-reliable (i.e., not just people on AN) sources. I invite you to weigh on with reasonable trades you could see going down involving that A's player and that team...
Rich Harden: Reportedly scouted yesterday by the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, both known to be keen on adding a starting pitcher to their rotation. Harden's value could be enhanced if the Red Sox and Yankees are bidding against one another, and in a way Harden is the consummate end-of-July trade piece: A pitcher who could "be an ace for you for the next 2-3 months" even if it turns out to be the only 2-3 months he's healthy in the next 2-3 years.
Harden / Red Sox trade could look like ___?
Harden / Yankees trade could look like ___?
Crisp / Braves trade could look like ___?
Josh Willingham: The A's have seemingly been "underwhelmed" by the offers for Willingham, but as his bat continues to heat up he could be, at the very least, a consolation prize for the team that misses out on another target, e.g., Hunter Pence, Carlos Quentin. The trade of Carlos Beltran to the Giants took one more slugging OFer off of the market. One team known to have liked Willingham for years is the Phillies, who are reportedly discussing a big trade for Hunter Pence -- one that looks, based on the rumors, to be a bad one for Philadelphia (rumored to include Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart).
One would think that if that trade doesn't occur, the A's might be able to interest the Phillies in giving up far less than "Singleton, Cosart, and another second-tier pitcher" for Willingham. Willingham is only under contract through the end of the year (Pence is under contract through 2012), but is also currently a Type A free agent in the making.
Willingham / Phillies trade could look like ___?
Andrew Bailey: I suspect the Rangers will wind up trading for Heath Bell, but Bell and Bailey's names have both come up as serious targets for Texas, which appears determined to add a closer in the next 72 hours. Bailey is under contract control through 2014, so the A's would want to get a real haul for a front line (though sometimes injured) closer, with 3.3 years of service time left, who would be sent to the A's chief competitors in the AL West.
Bailey / Rangers trade could look like ___?
Finally, there has been some discussion around other relievers, such as Craig Breslow and Brad Ziegler, but since they are not "centerpiece" types you can use them to round out trades including some of the above "centerpieces". If traded on their own, the deals would likely be relatively unremarkable and probably not worth trying to predict what team or return might be involved.
And of course, the A's might just do nothing and roll with the guys they have the rest of the way. But that's far too dull for the front page, so have it with the trades you think might go down from the above possibilities...and then we'll see what really happens!