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And These are the Days of our Lives

Seems like baseball is a soap opera, doesn't it?

I wake up this morning and I do my normal routine of checking my e-mail, checking the website, and then, for this time of the year, checking the rumor mill. I wake up to find that the latest rumor involves both Bill Mueller and Bronson Arroyo in the same deal.

Mueller and prospects would go to Minnesota for left-handed reliever J.C. Romero and starting pitcher Joe Mays. Then the Red Sox would trade Mays and Arroyo to Florida for starting pitcher AJ Burnett.

Let's break this trade down step by step because it deserves breaking down.

Scenario #1: Mueller to MIN - Romero, Mays to BOS
Minnesota needs a third baseman, and Boston needs a solid reliever. It works out well for both teams. This deal, though, doesn't have to be made with Florida included. It would help to get Burnett, but we don't necessarily need Mays to make the deal work. We could toss in a few prospects, or we could do a completely different trade to bring in a starter and then ship him off to Florida with Arroyo. The issue with that trade, though, is what prospects to give up. If we go straight up with Romero, I don't think we need to add any prospects. We're filling holes for each other, and value-wise it's pretty even.

Scenario #2: Arroyo, Mays to FLA - Burnett to BOS
Let me tell you my opinion first of all. I like Arroyo, and I like Burnett. But if we want to add another starter to an iffy rotation, why are we trading our most consistent starter this season in Arroyo? At both players' peaks, we know that Burnett has a higher ceiling, but what if he lands on the disabled list like he's prone to do? We would be put into a horrible position where John Halama may be making starts. And I'm sure no one wants to see that, right?

The snag with this part of the trade, though, is that Florida really wants to unload Mike Lowell with Burnett. And if you haven't seen Lowell's numbers this season, just think Kevin Millar but at third base. Then add a huge contract that Florida gave to him for some reason, and you've got Lowell. To put it in simpler terms: he is having a very poor season, he has a huge contract, and Florida doesn't want him anymore - just like us with Millar.

We really can't afford to have Lowell, though, so he might be the deal-breaker in this trade scenario. Obviously we don't want him because he's having a bad season and he's a huge contract, but more importantly we have Kevin Youkilis to play third base. I won't be satisfied trading Mueller if anyone but Youkilis is playing third base for Boston this year, or for years coming (Of course, my opinion would change if Florida would like to be kind and give Miguel Cabrera). Youkilis needs to be shown that we really need him, and that he isn't just a AAAA that goes back and forth. Youkilis will be a mainstay at Boston in 2006, but let's just start it early and begin his reign in July? Sounds perfect to me.

The End Result:
Assuming we don't trade for Lowell.

BOS Receives:
RP JC Romero
SP AJ Burnett

MIN Receives:
3B Bill Mueller
Prospects (2)

FLA Receives:
SP Bronson Arroyo
SP Joe Mays

Youkilis would become our everyday third baseman - finally - and we would have a legitimate ace at the front of our staff with Burnett. Everything would pretty much stay the same except for the new faces. Burnett would take Arroyo's spot on the roster, Romero would take Mueller's spot. Then I would assume that Boston would call up Youkilis and send down Jeremi Gonzalez.