Certain routines tend to become commonplace around the July 31 trade deadline. There's inevitably more talk than action and more unfounded chatter than real news.
Each July, you can count on baseball front-office people griping that some executives live in a parallel universe. This year Pittsburgh general manager Dave Littlefield, one of the game's few bona-fide sellers, is the focus of lots of carping for what colleagues perceive as unreasonable expectations.
"It's one thing to aim high," said an executive whose club recently inquired about Pirates reliever Roberto Hernandez. "It's another to scare people out of the conversation."