|Names to Watch at the Trade Deadline||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on July 27, 2011
With just a week left until the Major League non-waiver trading deadline, speculation is running rampant.Â Who is moving where and to help address what issues?
That's the question that pundits all over the blogosphere have been pondering.Â And while names like Carlos Beltran, Ryan Ludwick, Heath Bell, BJ Upton, Ubaldo Jimenez and James Shields, not to mention another half dozen star type players, are being discussed with regularity, most teams won't be dealing in big names, but in mid level players who won't cost as much, especially when it comes to relievers as most wanna-be contenders will be looking to strengthen their pen.
Yet for teams who aren't willing to mortgage the future by trading away good prospects and aren't the kind of teams with deep pockets, players like those, or their hitting counterparts, are the best options to strengthen their team core before the deadline hits.Â And it's these minor parts that may well lift a team like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Fran, or even some of the bigger boys like the White Sox, Brewers, Twins or Cardinals, who'll look for a good deal and might not be willing to part with the prospects needed to get a top level talent.
Here is my list of guys who either by reputation or due to an off year likely available for less than the high end named being bandied about.
Outfielders:Â Johnny Damon, Vlad Guerrero, Connor Jackson, and Josh Willingham.
Hard to think that someone wouldn't gamble on Vlad or Damon at the right price, and if the Rays are selling, then Damon is available.
Catchers:Â Ryan Doumit
The boy can hit, even if the Pirates don't like his defense at any position.Â That makes him a decent piece of trade bait for another contender in an even exchange of pieces who might be able to help right now.
Infielders:Â Rafael Furcal, Kelly Johnson, Adam Kennedy, Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez (unlikely to be moved as he doesn't want to be traded midseason and has said he'd block any trade, but probably could be motivated if a contract extension was in the deal), Jose Reyes (the Mets are definitely listening).
For some of these players the question is if their teams ready to walk away from them.Â Vlad and Derrek Lee are both popular in Baltimore, the Rays, who are seemingly forced to part with some players, are still in the race and might not be willing to give up parts like Damon. And several like Ramirez can and will block trades if the mood suits them.Still it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Vlad end up back in LA or even in Pittsburgh if those teams were willing to pay the price for a two month rental so they could make a run for September glory.