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Mid-Season Trade Targets

By Hunter Abbey

Well, it is about mid-March. The luster of Spring Training is somewhat faded, and we are all just biding time until real games start. Rather than write a post about the backup catcher spot, or who’s batting average is relevant after 21 AB’s, I thought I’d go in a different direction.

David has written a few posts in regards to trading. For the Royals, we could be in a very interesting position at the trade deadline this year. Of course, there will be some older guys we are jettisoning for prospects, as always. However, we could actually be in a position to buy as well. Because of our financial position, there may be guys out there who are blocked on other teams, or who are getting too expensive that we might be in a position to go after.

The following post will be a team by team look at who might be of interest to the Royals. Some are blocked players, some are stars. For the sake of looking at this, I didn’t assume any position other than 1B and 3B were off limits. Sure, we might think we are set somewhere, but who knows what can happen. So, keep an eye on these guys throughout the year, and see how things develop.

American League East:

Nolan Reimold-After tearing through the minors, and having a good rookie season in 2009 (279/365/466), Reimold looked to be a fixture in Baltimore for years to come. However, 2010 wasn’t very good to him (.207/.282/.328) partly due to a .236 BABIP. Now, the Orioles have pretty much moved him out of the picture, and he may be in AAA this season. He is 27, so not exactly a spring chicken, but is blocked by Scott, Jones, and Markakis. Not a great fielder, but could provide RH pop from the corner OF we need.

Nick Markakis- Markakis is owed about 54 million through 2014. He is probably not worth that, as he has become an .800 OPS guy in the last 2 years. However, if the Orioles are looking to shed salary, we could afford him. Again, probably a long shot, but we can take the financial hit, so who knows.

Ryan Kalish-Being blocked by Ellsbury, Drew, Crawford, Cameron, and McDonald leaved Kalish probably spending another year in the minors. Boston usually doesn’t give up on prospects, but if they have a specific need at the deadline (Robinson Tejeda, Mike Aviles, anyone?) Kalish might be the guy to go after. LH corner OF with minor league walk rates in the teens and ISOs in the .170-.200 range are always attractive

New York (A):
Francisco Cervelli- His name has been batted around before. The Yanks have Martin and maybe Montero back there. They will need pieces, and we might be in the market for a catcher.

James Shields-He has a career FIP of a respectable 4.03, which has been helped with great defense. Tampa has options on him over the next couple of years at 7M, 9M, 12M. Each of those has a pretty big buyout. Obviously if Tampa is in the race, he is probably unavailable, but if they are out of it, and their other young arms look good, they might look to move him. For us, he’d be a bit pricy at the end of that contract, but the buyouts are there, and money isn’t a real issue for us.

American League Central:

Jake Peavy-Hang on, I know it sounds crazy, and it probably is. Let’s pretend for a moment that the Sox are out of the race come July. They have a lot of money tied up, but also lose Buehrle, Pierre,  and Jackson. It is hard to predict what that nut in their FO may do, but he may say, “Let’s scrap what we can, shed some payroll, and rebuild around Beckham, Sale, etc. Peavy is signed with options through 2013, but isn’t cheap. He also has a no trade clause, which may make all of this moot, but if I were Dayton, this might just be the kind of move I’d have to at least kick the tires on.

Fausto Carmona- Fausto is signed with options through 2014 (6M, 7M, 9M, 12M). Assuming he looks like the Carmona of 2010 or 2007 those numbers are a bargain. Depending on what stage Cleveland is at in their rebuilding process, they may be willing to move him

Lou Marson and Jason Donald- I lump these guys together because a few years ago any trade rumor with the Phillies included these two. At the time, they were relatively highly regarded, but have since turned sour. Marson could be that stopgap catcher (although seeing as how his greatest strength is the ability to walk, he probably doesn’t fit our plan), and Donald could provide us a utility IFer, if none of ours seem to work out.

American League West:

Los Angeles/California/Anaheim:
Bobby Wilson-The Angels appear to be set using Mathis again, probably calling on Conger when he is ready. Wilson is a youngish (28 in April) guy who has decent minor league numbers and probably won’t kill you with the bat. Scouts really like his defensive game, so he could be a good fit.

Ryan Sweeney- The A’s OF is set, and the 4th OF spot will be a battle between Sweeney and Conner Jackson. If I had to guess, I’d say that one of those guys will see a lot of time, and the other will not get enough AB’s through the season. Jackson is a FA after the year, but Sweeney is just in his first Arb year.  Sweeney is left handed, doesn’t have a ton of power (.100 ISO), but seems to routinely make good contact and plays very good defense. Sending a mid level prospect to Oakland could be a good alternative to signing another Melky or Frenchy to man RF next year.

Taylor Teagarden-Frankly, if you are reading this, I probably don’t need to say much here. The Royals may need a stopgap for Perez, Teagarden used to be highly regarded, but is now blocked. Fin.

National League East:

Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens- I am lumping these two together, because it is essentially the same circumstance. If the Braves are out of it at the deadline and their outstanding crop of young pitchers looks ready, they may choose to move some salary. Hudson is signed through 2013, and Jurrjens remains under control though 2013 as well. If the Braves decide to go with their outstanding youth, we might be able to pry one of these guys away

Ricky Nolasco-While he just signed an extension, and I believe the Marlins are set to spend, you never know how thrifty they may decide to be. Nolasco is signed through 2013, and the old Marlins would almost certainly look to deal him. With the new stadium coming, they may have turned over a new leaf, but who knows.

Jesus Flores- See Teagarden, Bobby Wilson, Cervelli, etc. A stopgap catcher in an organization that is squeezing him out.

National League Central:

Chris Heisey- The Reds appear to be content in the OF and Heisey appears to kind of be the 4th/5th guy. They could certainly hold onto him, but if they are in  a push, I’d gladly take him off their hands. He is RH, can play all the OF positions, and holds a .296/.367/.459 career minor league slash. Oh, and he is 26 and under team control for quite some time. He won’t be a superstar, but could be a RH DDJ type of player

Bronson Arroyo-While Heisey might get moved if they are looking to make a push, Arroyo could be gone if they are out of it. They have good young pitching ready to step in, and Arroyo is signed through 2013 at roughly 12 Mil per. I believe Arroyo is a little bit of smoke and mirrors, and would probably have an ERA north of 4.25 in the AL, but if we don’t have to give up much, he may be worth a look

Hunter Pence-The Astros are a disaster. They are in a somewhat similar position with Pence as we were with Zack. If you are in a youth movement, it hurts to get rid of a productive and still youngish (28 in April) player, but the Astros aren’t going to be good until 2013-’14 at the earliest (and that is arguable), and Pence will be gone then. I don’t think Pence is as good as his career line dictates, as he is buoyed by a .377 BABIP rookie year. He is, however, a good defensive OFer, who will be a .785-.800 OPS guy with few walks, but decent running.  He is under control through 2013, but is already earning $6.9 Mil in arbitration.

Ryan Doumit- Remember when Doumit was a stud young catcher? Well, now he can’t start for Pittsburgh. He falls into the stopgap catcher category, although defense is not his strong suit. He is signed through 2013, but gets expensive. He could probably hold down the catching position, play a little OF if needed, and James still projects him to be a .266/.330/.440 guy as a switch hitter.

St. Louis:
Colby Rasmus- Okay, so this one is a bit of a pipe dream, but hear me out. The Cards may get desperate to keep Albert. Part of that may play into getting rid of players that he, or his manager, doesn’t mesh with. The Cards don’t have a great minor league system, and could use more depth. LaRussa and Albert have both clashed with Rasmus in the past. Probably won’t happen, but I’d certainly have to look into what it would take to acquire a cheap, athletic, 24 year old OFer who will probably post .270/.350/.475 lines with ease for the next 6 years.

National League West:

Justin Upton and Chris Young- While these guys are on vastly different planes of skill, I am lumping them together. Arizona doesn’t have a good farm system, and could use a 1B. We have discussed Upton on the blogosphere for some time. Both players are signed through at least 2014. Arizona has tried to re-tool their organization, getting rid of the evil strikeout. Young does a lot of that.

Upton would take quite a haul, but I’d certainly consider it for a Kila, one of the elite lefties, Melville, type of package. For Young, it remains to be seen how high or low his stock gets. If it really plummets, Clint Robinson might be enough.

Los Angeles:
Xavier Paul- Paul used to be a pretty highly regarded prospect and is still just 26 years old. There really isn’t a place for him, but we might be able to give a shot to a guy with a .291/.360/.449 minor league line, who plays good defense and can run the bases.

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