Less than two months from the trade deadline and still more than 20 teams are within six games or fewer of first place.
That being said, there are a few teams that appear to be out of contention for the remainder of the season. Those are the teams that most likely to be picked through for trade options. There is a good deal of talent available on those teams that could be of interest to potential contenders. These stats are updated as to June 9th.
Here are 10 players that are likely to be talked about in upcoming trade negotiations.
1. Josh Willingham, Oakland Athletics
The A’s have no offense, and just fired their manager.Looks like the perfect opportunity to take their one decent offensive player. The A’s left fielder is the team leader in home runs and RBI with 10 and 39 respectively.He is on a one-year, $6 million contract and likely available for a few mid-level prospects. The only caveat is the A’s might not be so high on letting their only consistent run-producer leave for peanuts. If the A’s take that stance he might be a bit more costly or off the market if they attempt to sign him to an extension.
2. Vladimir Guerrero, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are a young and talented team, but the AL East is too deep for the O’s to contend in 2011. Guerrero is not in their long-term plans and could provide a decent offensive boost for a team in need. One mid-to-high level prospect is probably all a team needs to pay for Guerrero. Guerrero’s not having a great season but he sports a respectable .289 batting average with five homers and 25 RBI. He would be great off the bench and could fill in at DH for a struggling offensive AL team.
3. Carlos Pena, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are drifting so far this year. Carlos Pena is on a one-year contract, Albert Pujols is possibly-to-likely a free agent. The Cardinals and Cubs are rivals.Do the math.
Pena is unlikely to be the Cubs first baseman in 2012. Pena doesn’t hit for much average, at .217 for the season. But he’s got nine home runs and 29 RBI in 175 at-bats. He’s got some pop and isn’t a terrible defensive first baseman. He’s played in both leagues and is familiar with most pitchers. He’s not going to carry a team but one struggling to drive in runs would likely be able to acquire him for a few low prospects and the remainder of his 2011 salary.
4. Livan Hernandez, Washington Nationals
Everybody always needs starting pitching. Livan Hernandez is the epitome of an innings-eater.
There is no doubt teams like the Yanks and Red Sox will inquire as to Hernandez’ availability in the coming weeks. He’ll likely be affordable for a single decent prospect and will be a good workhorse for whichever team needs his services. So far this year he is 3-7 but sports a 3.76 ERA. He would be a solid fourth or fifth starter depending on where he lands before the trade deadline.
5. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets
I know, this one’s been around for a while. But don’t lose faith, it’ll happen sooner than later. Carlos Beltran’s name has been in the trade mill but it’s for a good reason. The Mets are very unlikely to extend his services beyond this season. The Mets are in dire financial straights and would like to get something before Beltran walks away in free agency. Because of that, his price is going to be determined by other teams’ interest. A .278 average, nine home runs and 35 RBI are good enough to entice offers from at least a few teams prior to the end of July.
6. Jose Reyes, New York Mets
Yes, Jose Reyes’ name has been bandied about much as well. The speedster is having a very good year, near tops in the league with a .341 batting average and 20 stolen bases. Most, if not every team, would be pleased to have Reyes batting leadoff. Again, the Mets are likely looking to unload Reyes, but he definitely won’t come cheap. A marquee prospect or some package of high-level ones is the least a team will have to give up to get the Mets to part with Reyes. Much has been speculated about the Giants going after Mets, but so far, said rumors have yet to materialize.
7. Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins
The Twins are having an awful season and while their offense'”on paper'”is pretty solid, only Kubel has really played anywhere decently this season. A .310 average with five home runs and 30 RBI should draw attention from potential contenders. The Twins look to be in need of some pitching as well as some offensive prospects. Unloading Kubel would hurt the Twins in the short run but they shouldn’t be afraid to capitalize on his potential value this season.
8. Edwin Jackson, Chicago White Sox
He threw a no-hitter last year. This year, he’s been okay.
A 4.50 ERA and 4-5 record with 64 strikeouts. His numbers aren’t super but his availability should be appealing. The White Sox are still kinda sticking with the six-man rotation. In other words, they don’t really know what to do with their starters. To me, this says availability. Jackson has some of the best raw stuff on the team and if a good pitching coach gets his hands on Jackson he could be a diamond in the rough in the postseason.
9. Carlos Lee, Houston Astros
Carlos Lee seems to be available every season and instead, the Astros keep him. Mind you, his contract is massive: $19 million this year and $19 million in 2012. Obviously the Astros would love to find a trade partner. When the deadline rolls around, there might be a few teams willing to take the plunge on the over-the-hill Lee. I’m not saying he’s gonna be the first to be traded but his power lends to wild postseason dreams for some teams.Houston could be willing to take on part of Lee’s salary which could push them over the hump on trading him to another team.
10. Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
Andre Ethier is the player of all of these I would most want on my team. He had a 30-game hitting streak earlier this season and is batting .327 so far this season. His power numbers aren’t quite where they should be with only five home runs thus far. He’s very talented and the Dodgers seem ready to deal given their tenuous ownership situation that is currently unfolding in the Los Angeles City courts. Ethier’s got another year of arbitration before he hits free agency and is probably due a big payday after next season. A team with some initiative could trade for him and sign an extension to keep him long-term.
The Dodgers probably don’t want to lose Ethier but probably will whether he is traded or not; the only question is what are teams willing to give up to get him? He’ll be expensive but probably worth it long-term.
Will any of these players be traded?
Less than two months til the deadline to find out.