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The thought hit me as I was driving to work this morning: Baseball's mid-season trading deadline is sort of high school prom season. Admittedly, the latter is a bit hazy for me to remember at this point, but I do recall the rampant speculation over who was going with whom and why this person shouldn't go with that person and who's underselling her popularity and who's playing way out of his league. And stuff.

It was all rather difficult to sort out, but it seemed like a sort of teenage institution.

Anyway, a similar dynamic seems to be afoot every July---and, by blessed coincidence, that's where The Hardball Times' series on midseason trades, authored by the estimable Steve Treder, is right now. Check it out.

As for the Nats, I've got to say that I really admire the devotion to trade jockeying displayed by Banks of the Anacostia. (See here, here, here, here, and now here.) Capitol Punishent is also in on the act. Essentially, it looks like Bodes might try to swap Soriano to the Tigers for some starter guy, some dude with a funny name (Who am I to talk?), and some dude who can't hit Double-A pitching. Or maybe Soriano is going to Seattle for a toolsy centerfielder who a) is actually young enough to be a prospect and b) doesn't hurt himself in matters voluntary and involuntary. But maybe that deal won't go through, because it might all be Bodesian bluster. Or maybe Soriano is going to the Dodgers for some power-outfielder who reportedly has a hole in his swing the size of Montana and whose last name---we kid not---is Guzman.

I don't know about any of this stuff. Instead, I'm just going to go all Joe Morgan and insist that whatever return Bodes gets either: a) is a pitcher with great stamina, mound presence, stuff, courage, and inate intelligence; b) is a position player who can hit for average, for power, play defense, run with haste and intelligence, gets on base, doesn't strike out much, can do the little things, and is a great percentage player; or, preferably, c) both.

If the Nats trade for someone(s) like that, they can't possibly lose.

* * * *

The Nats are 1-1 in their last two games---doesn't sound too thrilling, but if they played that kind of pace the entire season, they'd probably be hanging on to Mr. Soriano. Sunday's victory was a thrilling, exra-inning triumph over the Pirates. Perhaps it was less thrilling due to the fact that the Buccos, on pace to lose over 100 games this year, still took two out of three in the series. Last night, the Nats lost the first of three down in Florida; it must've been family night, because it seemed like there was at least one family in attendance. I kid.

Anyway, the Nats try to even things up tonight, and Mike O'Connor, making a triumphant return from New Orleans, will attempt to extract this revenge. He went to GW. Opposing O'Connor is Dontrelle Willis, who didn't go to GW---although he is nevertheless one of like the dozen coolest people on earth. I love that guy.

So, Nats: Beat Dontrelle (but not that badly).

For the rest of us, check out Fish Stripes. They've got their own trade rumor over there: Wily Tavares!

* * * *

Update [2006-7-18 19:40:44 by Basil]: Jose Guillen was just "summoned" from right field according to Charlie Slowes. Maybe we'll get more info once the stock report is over. Developing . . . as they say.

Update [2006-7-18 20:16:32 by Basil]: Chuck Slowes says that Guillen was lifted because of a sore right elbow. Darn, he's not traded. Darn, this makes it tougher to trade him.