•Last month they traded one of their most marketable players (outfielder Jay Buhner) for a designated hitter (Ken Phelps), when the Cubs wanted to discuss trading righthander Rick Sutcliffe for Buhner and the Orioles were offering righty Mike Boddicker.
•The Yanks released pitchers Doyle Alexander and Rick Reuschel, who have 26 wins between them this year, within 10 days in 1983.
•They traded with the White Sox in 1985 for lefthander Britt Burns, who retired before throwing another inning.
•They traded pitchers Shane Rawley, Ed Whitson, Dennis Rasmussen and Jim Deshaies—who have a combined 34 wins this season—for four pitchers who have since departed: Marty Bystrom, Tim Stoddard, Bill Gullickson and Joe Niekro.
•They passed on pitchers Alexander, Reuschel, Jack Morris, Mike Flanagan, Dennis Eckersley and Dave LaPoint in 1987 and instead traded for the erratic Steve Trout.
Compare that record to the work done by Oakland general manager Sandy Alderson. In less than one year, Alderson acquired a first-class stopper in Bob Welch, a closer with 30-plus saves in Eckersley, a quality starter in Storm Davis and a solid left-handed reliever in Rick Honeycutt—all without giving up anyone who would have played a significant role for the Athletics this season.
A WEALTH OF CATCHERS
The Padres are sifting through offers for one of their two outstanding young catchers: Benito Santiago, the 1987 NL Rookie of the Year, and Sandy Alomar Jr., who is currently hitting .297 at Las Vegas. "We'd prefer to keep them both for at least a year," says San Diego manager-general manager Jack McKeon. "But we'll listen." The Mets, who need a catcher to replace Gary Carter, expressed interest in Alomar. In fact, Alomar is already getting fan mail from Mets fans. But, to the Mets' surprise, McKeon said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of trading Santiago. Of course, McKeon may have simply been trying to put a fire under Santiago. If so, it worked. Last week Santiago hit three homers in back-to-back wins against the Braves, then crowed, "You think they will trade me now?"
Meanwhile, Cub catcher Jody Davis, whose contract is up at the end of the season, finds it hard to believe that general manager Jim Frey has told the media that no club wants the 31-year-old catcher. The Cubs have been shopping him, with some interest expressed by a number of teams (especially the Astros), but Frey claims no one has made an offer. "When they don't play him [Davis], you get afraid that he's lost his catching skills overnight the way Ernie Whitt did in Toronto. Jim Sundberg did in Kansas City and Terry Kennedy has in Baltimore," says another general manager. "All of a sudden, guys get old and suddenly can't catch hard throwers, and it messes up your whole staff."
There are so many first-rate former players, including seven Hall of Famers, working in broadcast booths this season, SI has decided to put together an all-star team of commentators, based on their playing statistics, not necessarily their gift for gab. Here's the lineup, with the broadcasters' current teams in parentheses: C, Johnny Bench (Reds); 1B, Harmon Killebrew (Twins); 2B, Joe Morgan (Giants); 3B, Brooks Robinson (Orioles); SS, Phil Rizzuto (Yankees); LF, Ralph Kiner (Mets); CF, Mickey Mantle (Yankees); RF, Al Kaline (Tigers); DH, Joe Torre (Angels); RHP, Don Drysdale (Dodgers); LHP, Jim Kaat (Twins); RP, Al Hrabosky (Cardinals).