July 31: The Third Most Exciting Day of Regular-Season Baseball

This Sunday is the deadline for teams to trade players before the postseason, and it's probably the most anticipated day of the Twins' regular season, behind Opening Day and whichever day they clinch their playoff berth. (In other words, it might be the second-most exciting day this year.)

The Boone trade was an appetizer (in the same way liverworst and other undigestables are appetizers) to what Twins General Manager Terry Ryan may serve up this weekend. Then again, he may not serve up anything at all. This is the time of year when a team has to decide whether they are a buyer (read: a post-season contender) or a seller (read: licking their wounds and looking toward next year). The Twins have been playing like the latter lately, and they're traditionally conservative when it comes to doling out their minor league prospects, which happen to be their most bountiful currency in the trade market (the other being money, of which they have very, very little).

But you never know: Terry Ryan has gone on record saying that if the right deal came along, his tight payroll could expand if it meant a shot at the World Series. What the "right deal" would look like is anyone's guess, which brings us to the best part about the trade deadline hysteria: speculation. There's no shortage of it around, and after last night's embarrassing performance against the Yanks, I'm in no mood to go into it. If I were you, I'd head over to Twins Territory, where all the bases and more are covered (go here and here, specifically). Or check the Strib's coverage, which is generally a good day behind the blogs. Even better, go to Baseball Prospectus, an admitted stat-head site but full of interesting info. And starting today, all of their primo content is available for free (one-week only), including a constantly updated feature on all the trade rumors called Will's Mill.

I will mention one trade rumor that quickens my pulse: Alfonso Soriano, All-Star secondbaseman for the Rangers. There are plenty of reason not to take him (he's expensive, his defense sucks, he's hitting poorly outside of the Rangers' ballpark), but I don't care about any of them. I love this guy, always have. He's quick, he's pretty, and he's probably the skinniest guy in the majors with 24 homers this year. Seriously: I even loved him when he was a Yankee. And I'd boo my own mother if she were wearing the Bronx pinstripes, so that's saying something.

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