trade rumors: Yankees and Phillies must sell now as pitching value soars

If you want an idea of how much of a seller’s market has developed leading up to Monday’s trade deadline, you only need to look at the biggest deal that happened on Friday: the Marlins’ acquisition of Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea and Tayron Guerrero for Carter Capps, Jarred Cosart, Josh Naylor and Luis Castillo.Cashner has been below replacement level this year and is a rental. Rea has been below replacement level this year and is under team control through 2021. Guerrero is 25, has two innings of major league experience and owns a 4.10 ERA for his minor league career, including 5.30 between Double-A and Triple-A this year. MORE: Jay Bruce, Jonathan Lucroy lead list of available big batsIf this is an impact acquisition, it’s one because the Marlins, operating these days as “Pittsburgh South” after hiring pitching guru Jim Benedict last fall, are able to work some magic with their imported arms. In return, Miami gave up a high-level reliever recovering from Tommy John surgery, an out-of-favor starter one year older than Rea, a 19-year-old with a .747 OPS in Single-A as the organization’s top power hitting prospect after being a first-round draft pick last year, and a 23-year-old pitcher, albeit in high-A, who can touch triple digits with his fastball. This was not some kind of bamboo

zling. Eyes did not bug out Friday morning around the baseball world. This is simply the cost of doing business in a Saharan market for pitching. The Yankees’ return for two months of Aroldis Chapman was reflective of this, as New York got an established and versatile major league arm, Chicago’s top shortstop prospect, a recent first-round pick in the outfield and a minor-league speedster.When you see the price to add pitchers in the midst of sub-replacement level seasons and the price of an elite rental closer, you wonder what it would take to move quality arms with years of team control remaining. Well, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported that the Yankees would not be willing to take part in a straight swap of Andrew Miller for Lucas Giolito, and asked the Cubs for more than just Kyle Schwarber, while CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported that “top talent” would be required for the Rangers to pry Vincent Velasquez from the Phillies, who also have Jeremy Hellickson and others available.MORE: Nationals eyeing Jose Bautista?The paradoxical nature of all this is that, seeing what prices have already been paid and what is being asked, more teams should get comfortable with the idea of selling as the weekend goes on — and that will, in turn, result in prices coming down thanks to the laws of supply and demand.The questions are how much prices will come down, and when that will happen. Until it does, the advantage lies with active teams such as the Padres, who also got 18-year-old A-baller Anderson Espinoza from the Red Sox for All-Star Drew Pomeranz. Accepting a high price for your talent can be a better move than holding out for the highest possible return, then walking away with much less when the market fluctuates.San Diego also was involved in setting the market for hitters, with the acquisition of 19-year-old right-hander Hansel Rodriguez from the Blue Jays for Melvin Upton Jr. That trade was fairly well mirrored from a value standpoint by the Giants sending Adalberto Mejia, a 23-year-old righty promoted last month to Triple-A, to Minnesota for All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez. If you want a veteran-but-not-old bat having a better-than-usual season, it will cost one minor-league pitcher who has both potential and some question marks about him — pretty standard for this time of year, really.MORE: Every NL team's worst in-season trade ... and for the ALFor the real impact position players, the prices figure to be higher, and teams such as the Reds with Jay Bruce and Brewers with Jonathan Lucroy should give serious thought to acting before Monday’s frenzy. Not only would they benefit from the ability to extract better talent than in a more crowded market, but there might not be any prospects left in the game once all the contenders and wannabe contenders get done upgrading their pitching staffs.