Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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Trade Candidates - Hitters

Friday, June 29, 2007


Sorry about the delay. Posted below is the companion article to Monday's look at the pitching trade candidates. I'm going position by position looking at the hitters that could go at the trade deadline. Players are grouped into three categories, and I'm listing contract info for the most significant players at each position.

The July player rankings will be posted Monday as scheduled.

Catchers

Legitimate candidates


Ramon Hernandez (Orioles) - 07: $6.5 million, 08-09: $15.5 million, 10: $8.5 million option
The Orioles don't need to dump salary and first-round pick Matt Wieters is at least two years away, so there's no pressing need to move Hernandez. Still, if the right offer comes along, there'd be no reason not to consider it, especially since there will be a strong crop of catchers available this winter. Hernandez would be a big upgrade for the Cubs, Rockies or Diamondbacks. If the Cubs would part with Carlos Marmol and a lesser pitching prospect, they could get a deal done.

Gregg Zaun (Blue Jays) - 07: $3.5 million, 08: $3.75 million, 09: Vesting option
Toby Hall (White Sox) - 07: $1.75 million, 08: $1.75 million, 09: $2.25 million option
Jason LaRue (Royals) - 07: $5.45 million, 08: FA
Javier Valentin (Reds) - 07: $1.25 million, 08: $1.3 million option
Zaun could start for a team like Colorado or serve as a backup on the Yankees or the Tigers, making him attractive to a wide variety of teams. Still, the Jays might prefer to keep him and have him share time with Curtis Thigpen next year. … LaRue has hit .256 this month, so perhaps he still has something left in the tank. If the Royals paid most of his salary, they might find a taker. … Valentin is appealing as a third catcher/pinch-hitter. He'd be a great fit as the last man on the bench for Rockies, Diamondbacks or Braves.


Long shot candidates

A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox) - 07: $5.5 million, 08: $5.5 million, 09: FA
Just the thought of the Cubs acquiring Pierzynski to replace Michael Barrett makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However, he's probably going to stay. The White Sox don't seem to have fatigued of him yet, and his act will scare off some teams that could use him.

Jason Kendall (Athletics) - 07: $13 million ($5 million paid by Pirates), 08: FA
If Mike Piazza comes back strong, the A's might decide they'd be better off with him and Kurt Suzuki splitting time behind the plate. For all of his struggles this year, Kendall still looks like an upgrade over a few starters on contending teams.

Josh Bard (Padres) - 07: $1.05 million, 08-09: Arb. Eligible, 10: FA
With Barrett in town, the Padres could afford to move Bard as part of a deal to get the big hitter they want. Perhaps the Reds would look upon him as an upgrade in an Adam Dunn deal.

Also: David Ross (Reds), Brad Ausmus (Astros), Yorvit Torrealba (Rockies)


Bait: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Braves), Jeff Clement (Mariners), Kelly Shoppach (Indians), Jeff Mathis (Angels), Jesus Flores (Nationals)
The Braves need to keep Salty and go forward with either him or Brian McCann at first base beginning in 2008. I prefer the idea of having McCann switch positions. … Kenji Johjima is signed through 2008 and probably will want to remain in Seattle beyond that, so Clement should be available. He's not going to be an above average defender behind the plate, but he'll still be an option as a regular next year. … Shoppach might be proving too indispensable for the Indians to move. He's worthy of an opportunity to start somewhere, but the Indians would be taking a big downgrade behind Victor Martinez if they sent him away now.


First Basemen-Designated Hitters

Legitimate candidates


Mark Teixeira (Rangers) - 07: $9.4 million, 08: Arb. Eligible, 09: FA
The Orioles would love to make Teixeira the next centerpiece of their organization, but since, as a Scott Boras client, there's very little chance of him signing an extension prior to free agency and the cost to acquire him would be high, the team would be better off waiting until after 2008 and making sure he wants to return home to Maryland. In the meantime, he makes more sense for a contender like the Yankees, Tigers or Dodgers. Atlanta would be a terrific fit, but the money probably isn't there. I'd say it's 65/35 that he stays in Texas until the offseason.

Todd Helton (Rockies) - 07: $16.6 million, 08-11: $68.9 million, 12: $4.6 million buyout
Helton made it pretty clear that he wasn't interested in a midseason deal after talks with the Red Sox fell through in January, but he seems wavering recently, refusing to eliminate the possibility of a deal to the Yankees when asked by a reporter this month. The Rockies may be content keep him anyway, as they still have a chance in the NL West and he's unlikely to bring back major value. With Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis playing so well for Boston and the Angels seemingly ruled out as an option last winter, there might be just the one team out there with any interest in taking on his contract.

Carlos Pena (Devil Rays) - 07: $800,000, 08-09: Arb. Eligible, 09: FA
Pena is a solid big-league first baseman and likely will be for years, so the Rays could go ahead and keep him for something like $3 million in arbitration. That said, he's not this good and he's always been terribly streaky. If the Rays can get a quality return from a team in need of a power burst, they'll have to at least consider it. The Yankees could really use him back now after sticking him at Triple-A and leaving him there for most of 2006.

Shea Hillenbrand (Angels) - 07: $6 million, 08: $6.5 million option
Scott Hatteberg (Reds) - 07: $1.5 million, 08: $1.85 million option
Also: Dmitri Young (Nationals), Ryan Klesko (Giants), Jeff Conine (Reds), Mark Sweeney (Giants)
The first four are all reasonable options as stopgaps, while Conine and Sweeney would be nice bench players on contenders. … Hillenbrand will be designated for assignment Friday, but the Angels still hope to trade him. The Yankees are interested, though they should be trying to do better. … The Reds like Hatteberg, but they need to make room for Joey Votto by Aug. 1. While Votto is an option in left field, first base is going to be his long-term position.


Long shot candidates

Richie Sexson (Mariners) - 07: $14 million, 08: $14 million, 09: FA
Sexson was mentioned in some trade scenarios over the winter, but the Mariners are in contention and Sexson has even less trade value now than he did then. He's staying in Seattle.

Mike Jacobs (Marlins) - 07-08: Near minimum, 09-11: Arb. Eligible, 12: Free Agent
The Marlins aren't convinced that Jacobs is the long-term answer at first base, but they have no one ready to step in, meaning he's more likely to be involved in an offseason deal.

Mike Sweeney (Royals) - 07: $11 million ($1.5 million bonus if traded), 08: Free Agent
Sweeney has barely managed a 700 OPS this year, and he can't even stay healthy while being used as a DH. It's hard to imagine any contender wanting him.

Also: Ryan Shealy (Royals), Ben Broussard (Mariners), Kevin Millar (Orioles), Ross Gload (Royals), Matt Stairs (Blue Jays)


Bait: Casey Kotchman (Angels), James Loney (Dodgers), Kendry Morales (Angels), Scott Thorman (Braves), Chris Shelton (Tigers), Justin Huber (Royals), Joe Koshansky (Rockies), Chris Carter (Diamondbacks), Brad Eldred (Pirates)
Kotchman was far more realistic bait a few months ago. Now it'd take quite a slump from him over the next month for the Angels to even think of trying to upgrade at first base. … Likewise, it seems the Dodgers are committing to Loney. Still, they could part with him if they enter the Teixeira sweepstakes.


Second Basemen

Legitimate candidates


Ray Durham (Giants) - 07: $7 million, 08: $7.5 million, 09: FA
Unlike some of the other players the Giants could try to dump, Durham's salary is pretty reasonable for what he brings to the table. Still, that there aren't any contenders in obvious need of an upgrade at second base makes a deal less likely. The Mets are one team that could use help at the position, but their focus is on pitching and in the outfield. Unless an injury opens up a job elsewhere, Durham will probably stay.

Chris Burke (Astros) - 07: Near Minimum, 08-10: Arb. Eligible, 11: FA
The Astros were quick to bench Burke and turn to Hunter Pence in center field, but they still view the 27-year-old as a long-term option at second base with Craig Biggio unlikely to be back in 2008. Burke seems likely to stay put unless the Astros get back into the race and receive a good offer for him.

Jorge Cantu (Devil Rays) - 07: Near Minimum, 08-10: Arb. Eligible, 11: FA
Cantu's future probably isn't at second base, but a non-contender might still want to grab him and try him at first or third. He's still capable of hitting 25 homers per year, though that would come with a lousy OBP, and the Rays probably wouldn't ask for more than a quality pitching prospect.

Mark Grudzielanek (Royals) - 07: $4 million, 08: $4 million player option
Mark Loretta (Astros) - 07: $2.5 million, 08: FA
Ronnie Belliard (Nationals) - 07: $750,000, 08: FA
Jose Castillo (Pirates) - 07: $1.9 million, 08-09: Arb. Eligible, 10: FA
Grudzy could be a decent stopgap after returning from knee surgery. If he's dealt, it will probably be in August. … There are a lot of teams that would love to have Loretta as a role player, and since he's probably not going to be a Type A free agent, the Astros should move him if they're not going to contend. … Cristian Guzman's injury made Belliard a regular in Washington. Still, the Nationals would take a quality prospect for him, even if it meant going to D'Angelo Jimenez at second base. … The Pirates will be trying to trade Jack Wilson, but Castillo is also expendable. He's going to be expensive to keep as a reserve next year.


Long shot candidates

Brian Roberts (Orioles) - 07: $4.2 million, 08-09: $14.3 million, 10: FA
If the Mets do decide to trade for a second baseman, they'd probably prefer to bring in Roberts as their No. 2 hitter. Still, the Orioles consider him a fan favorite and probably won't deal him now after turning down a deal with the Braves in the offseason.

Orlando Hudson (Diamondbacks) - 07: $3.9 million, 08: Arb. Eligible, 09: FA
The Diamondbacks are likely to be buyers, not sellers, but if they go on a losing skid, they could be open to moving Hudson for a big-time pitching prospect. Most likely, they'll keep him and try to lock him up in the offseason.

Felipe Lopez (Nationals) - 07: $3.9 million, 08: Arb. Eligible, 09: FA
Lopez is one of Manny Acta's favorites, but he's been a big disappointment this year and might benefit from getting out of Washington. That he's an option at both second base and shortstop makes him more attractive. However, there probably aren't any contenders that would want to bring him in as a shortstop.

Tadahito Iguchi (White Sox) - 07: $3.25 million, 08: FA
Iguchi turns 33 in December and the White Sox might not want to make the multiyear commitment it would take to keep him as a free agent. His value is down now, but he'll probably be a solid regular the rest of the year and he's not going to be very costly to bring in.

Also: Tony Graffanino (Brewers), Jamey Carroll (Rockies), Jerry Hairston Jr. (Rangers), Russ Adams (Blue Jays)

Bait: Tony Abreu (Dodgers), Omar Infante (Tigers), Ryan Theriot (Cubs), Martin Prado (Braves)
Theriot is the type of scrappy utilityman a lot of teams would like to have around, but he's very expendable in Chicago. If the Cubs can use him in a deal to bring in a quality reliever, they shouldn't hesitate.


Third Basemen

Legitimate candidates


Troy Glaus (Blue Jays) - 07: $10.75 million, 08: $12.75 million, 09: $11.25 million player option
Going strictly by OPS, Glaus is on pace for his best season since 2000, his second full year in the majors. However, he's had trouble staying in the lineup – a problem exacerbated by the Jays' decision to spend big on a full-time DH last winter – and he's no longer much of an asset with the glove, though he probably would be at first base. In fact, he might be an even better option for the Yankees than Teixeira, if the Jays would trade him within the division. Glaus, though, has no-trade protection and might veto any deal that didn't send him back to the West Coast. That makes the two Los Angeles teams and San Diego possibilities. The Padres could try offering Kevin Kouzmanoff and Clay Hensley, though it's probably take Chase Headley's presence to get a deal done.

Scott Rolen (Cardinals) - 07: $11.8 million, 08-10: $35.4 million, 11: FA
The Cardinals intend to keep Rolen and make a run, but if things continue to proceed badly over the next month, they could be open to sending him elsewhere. The Dodgers might be the one team out there with significant interest in taking on his contract, depending on how the Nomar Garciaparra experiment works out. Rolen has no-trade protection, so he controls his destiny. However, he might prefer to get away from Tony La Russa, with whom he's had a bumpy relationship as of late.

Ty Wigginton (Devil Rays) - 07: $2.7 million, 08-09: Arb. Eligible, 10: FA
Morgan Ensberg (Astros) - 07: $4.35 million, 08: Arb. Eligible, 09: FA
Pedro Feliz (Giants) - 07: $5.1 million, 08: FA
Wilson Betemit (Dodgers) - 07: Near Minimum, 08-10: Arb. Eligible, 11: FA
Mike Lamb (Astros) - 07: $2.7 million, 08: FA
Wigginton is miscast as a regular, but his ability to hit lefties and play three infield positions would make him of great use to a contender. The Rays will likely move him, perhaps to the Twins. … The Astros have been willing to deal Ensberg since the winter, and his value is lower than ever now. He might just end up being released. … No GMs were tricked into giving Feliz the three-year deal he wanted last winter, so there might not be any demand for him now either. … With eight homers and 25 walks in 122 at-bats, Betemit hasn't been nearly as much of a problem as the Dodgers like to think he is. He should be some team's starting third baseman. … Lamb, like Loretta, would have plenty of value to a contender if the Astros opt to give up. He'd be another nice fit in Minnesota.


Long shot candidates

Miguel Cabrera (Marlins) - 07: $7.4 million, 08-09: Arb. Eligible, 10: FA
The Marlins can't be ruled out as playoff contenders, and Cabrera is going to have just as much trade value in December as he does now. The Angels, Red Sox and Dodgers would all likely make huge offers if Florida made him available, but there's not going to be any reason to move him now.

Garrett Atkins (Rockies) - 07: Near Minimum, 08-10: Arb. Eligible, 11: FA
They probably won't do it if they feel they're in the race, but the Rockies could part with Atkins and install Ian Stewart at third base. Unlike a month ago, when they reportedly had some talks with the Angels, they'd no longer be selling low, as Atkins has six homers in June, doubling his total from the first two months combined. The Angels no longer feel they have a pressing need at third base, but they still could use one more bat as protection. The Tigers could be interested in him as a first baseman.

Adrian Beltre (Mariners) - 07: $11.5 million, 08-09: $23 million, 10: FA
Mike Lowell (Red Sox) - 07: $9 million, 08: FA
Chad Tracy (Diamondbacks) - 07: $2.75 million, 08: $8.5 million, 10: $7 million option
Melvin Mora (Orioles) - 07: $8 million, 08-09: $16 million, 10: Club option
Aaron Boone (Marlins) - 07: $925,000, 08: FA
Wes Helms (Phillies) - 07: $2.05 million, 08: $2.15 million, 09: $3.75 million option
Beltre and Lowell have been mentioned in plenty of rumors before, but the Mariners and Red Sox don't need to mess with what's been working. Lowell's price tag would be extremely high since Boston would be forfeiting two draft picks by moving him. … The Diamondbacks discussed Tracy with the Angels last winter and reportedly offered him to Pittsburgh for Mike Gonzalez. However, there's been no indication that they'd still consider moving him. Maybe they'll do it this winter if they believe Mark Reynolds is the real thing. … Mora's contract is a major obstacle, plus he has a no-trade clause. He's not going anywhere.


Bait: Brandon Wood (Angels), Andy LaRoche (Dodgers), Andy Marte (Indians), Chase Headley (Padres), Ian Stewart (Rockies), Maicer Izturis (Angels)
Wood has stepped it up lately, but he's still done nothing to help his trade value at Triple-A this year. There are probably teams out there that would rather have LaRoche. … With Clay Hensley still struggling in Triple-A, Headley is easily the Padres' most valuable commodity. He could prove to be a better option at third base than Kouzmanoff by mid-2008, but the Padres might still have to give him up.


Shortstops

Legitimate candidates


Jack Wilson (Pirates) - 07: $5.25 million, 08-09: $13.75 million, 10: $8.4 million option
Good luck with this one, Pittsburgh. The Pirates have always been higher on Wilson than any other team in baseball, and even they've come to realize he's not worth what he's earning. Wilson isn't a liability as much as he's just overpaid. He could be a fine stopgap for a contender that loses its regular shortstop, but it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to commit to him for that kind of money through 2009.

Juan Uribe (White Sox) - 07: $4.15 million, 08: $5 million option
Uribe should be more attractive than Wilson, if only because of his contract. Any team that acquires him would be on the hook for $1.4 million-$2 million over the rest of 2007 and then a $300,000 buyout. And if he plays well, he can be kept rather inexpensively in 2008. The White Sox aren't likely to do any better at shortstop in 2008 and probably should keep him. However, it seems they've about run out of patience with his streakiness at the plate and his lack of commitment when it comes to keeping himself in shape.

Omar Vizquel (Giants) - 07: $4 million, 08: FA
The injuries suffered by Miguel Tejada and Cristian Guzman – both possibly stronger candidates to be traded – resulted in Omar getting bumped up a category here. He's been quoted as saying he's not interested in leaving San Francisco unless it's to play regularly somewhere. Additional injuries to shortstops could make him a desired commodity, even if he isn't hitting at all this year.


Long shot candidates

Miguel Tejada (Orioles) - 07: $12 million, 08-09: $26 million, 10: FA
The fractured wrist Tejada suffered last week did a big number of his chances of getting traded this summer. Now he's probably not going to be back until the beginning of August, and the injury isn't likely to scare off enough teams to allow him to clear waivers and be included in an post-deadline trade. If he's moved, it will probably be after the season.

Rich Aurilia (Giants) - 07: $3.5 million, 08: $4.5 million, 09: FA
Also: Royce Clayton (Blue Jays), Angel Berroa (Royals)
It was a terrible idea for the Giants to give Aurilia a multiyear deal to play first base, but he's not this bad and he does have versatility working in his favor. It's the $4.5 million he's due in 2008 that will scare off potential suitors. … The Jays are giving John McDonald more playing time than Clayton, a player they never should have signed in the first place. He'll be available for next to nothing. … The Royals would surely eat most of the $7 million Berroa has left on his deal, but there probably won't be any takers. Maybe there's a slight chance the Nationals would take them up on it if they traded Belliard.


Bait: Yunel Escobar (Braves), Erick Aybar (Angels), Clint Barmes (Rockies), Ronny Cedeno (Cubs), Jed Lowrie (Red Sox), Sean Rodriguez (Angels)

The Braves can't move Salty, but they should be willing to part with Escobar if it brings them a big name in return. Escobar's ability to play shortstop, second base and third base makes him a fit with pretty much every team out there. … The Rockies would have been better off moving Barmes over the winter. Most now likely realize that he's not a regular. Still, he should have a career as a utilityman. … I'm not one of Cedeno's biggest fans, but he's young and he's tearing up the PCL at the moment. Some team might want to try him at shortstop or second base.


Outfielders

Legitimate candidates


Carl Crawford (Devil Rays) - 07: $4 million, 08-10 $23.5 million, 11: FA
Actually, both his $8.25 million salary for 2009 and $10 million salary for 2010 are team options. Still, those are guaranteed of being picked up barring a catastrophic injury. With Elijah Dukes apparently not in Tampa Bay's plans and Rocco Baldelli showing once and for all that he just can't be counted on, the Rays have more reason than ever to keep Crawford. Plus, the team isn't exactly hurting for young pitching anyway. Unless the Rays can get an actual young ace for him – Jered Weaver comes to mind – there's not going to be any reason to deal him.

Adam Dunn (Reds) - 07: $10.5 million, 08: $13 million option (voidable if traded)
Dunn just doesn't fit in with what GM Wayne Krivsky would like to do, and it'd likely be best for both parties if he's traded. The Reds, though, need to do a better job of getting value than they did with Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez last year, and it might be difficult, as there just isn't as much of a market as their should be. He'd be a terrific fit in Seattle or Minnesota, but the Mariners think Jose Vidro is adequate and the Twins probably don't have the money. The Padres have some interest, but they have concerns about his ability to handle left field in Petco and they can't put together a great package in return anyway. The Reds have to hope the Tigers or Yankees get involved or they might as well go forward with him.

Jermaine Dye (White Sox) - 07: $6.75 million, 08: FA
Dye seemed all set to get a four-year, $60 million contract as a free agent after a nearly MVP-quality 2006, but he's spent most of 2007 looking five years older than the 33 he's supposed to be. How he recovers from his current quad injury will determine what kind of return the White Sox can hope to get for him. That his salary is pretty reasonable would make him more attractive to a team like Atlanta or Arizona if he could get healthy. The Diamondbacks could acquire him as a stopgap and then go back to Carlos Quentin in right field in 2008.

Aaron Rowand (Phillies) - 07: $4.35 million, 08: FA
With Jon Lieber done until at least September and Brett Myers likely to be limited to short relief if he hasn't been ruined completely, the Phillies have a greater need of pitching help than ever before. A Rowand trade could bring back what they require, and the Phillies would still have Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino to play center. Still, no non-contender is going to give up much for a free-agent-to-be and there aren't many contenders that seem like fits. The Padres could use him, but they can't give up both Clay Hensley and Scott Linebrink and one probably wouldn't be enough. Sending him to Minnesota for former Phillie Carlos Silva would make some sense, though the Phillies might need more in return.

Randy Winn (Giants) - 07: $4 million, 08-09: $16.25 million, 10: FA
Winn's can play all three outfield spots and has the kind of small-ball game that would make him interesting to several teams. However, if the contract isn't already enough of an obstacle, he also has no-trade protection.

Jacque Jones (Cubs) - 07: $5.33 million, 08: $6.33 million, 09: FA
Kenny Lofton (Rangers) - 07: $6 million, 08: FA
Elijah Dukes (Devil Rays) - 07-09: Near minimum, 10-12: Arb. Eligible, 13: FA
Also: Corey Patterson (Orioles), Milton Bradley (Athletics), Emil Brown (Royals), Reggie Sanders (Royals), Kevin Mench (Brewers), Rob Mackowiak (White Sox), Jason Lane (Astros)
The Cubs couldn't make the money work on a Jones trade with Florida or Minnesota. How they're expecting him to gain value while rotting on the bench is anyone's guess. A deal figures to come soon. The Mets and Indians could use him to help fill gaps created by injury problems. … With the top center fielders likely to stay put, Lofton should be pretty attractive. He'd be a nice fit in Florida. … The Rays will be selling low on Dukes, but they don't seem to care. He'll probably join the Nationals or another team by July 31. … Bradley is reportedly on his way to San Diego after his "strained oblique" ruined a trade with Kansas City.


Long shot candidates

Barry Bonds (Giants) - 07: $15.8 million (plus $4.2 million in incentives), 08: FA
The Giants could decide they're better off moving on after Bonds overtakes Hank Aaron, but who would take him? Interest was very limited over the winter. The A's had a fit, but they weren't going to pay him. Every other AL team seemed to want nothing to do him. The Cardinals expressed a willingness to take him on and still have big need of his bat now, but it's still highly unlikely that anything could get done there. Bonds, who can block any deal, should remain a Giant through the end of the season.

Ken Griffey Jr. (Reds) - 07: $12.5 million, 08: $12.5 million, 09: $16.5 million option
Griffey has played in 73 of the Reds' 79 games and is in the midst of one of his best offensive seasons in the last decade, giving him some significant trade value for the first time in a couple of years. Still, all of the talk suggests that Dunn is far more likely to go. Griffey, of course, controls his own destiny and likely would be picky if the Reds proved to be open to moving him. If he goes anywhere, I think it will be to the Yankees. There's probably a 90 percent chance that he stays, though.

Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) - 07: $11 million, 08: FA
Andruw Jones (Braves) - 07: $13.5 million, 08: FA
Torii Hunter (Twins) - 07: $12 million, 08: FA
These three center fielders are linked here, just as they will be if they all become free agents this winter. With their respective teams all in contention, it's unlikely any will be dealt. Jones has a no-trade clause, and Scott Boras has been adamant that he'd wield it if the Braves shopped him. The Mariners or Twins would have to collapse for either Ichiro or Hunter to become available.

Alex Rios (Blue Jays) - 07: $2.535 million, 08-10: Arb. Eligible, 11: FA
The Jays have been willing to move Rios for pitching in the past, but the price tag would be higher than ever now, as he's on pace for a 30-homer season at age 26. Rios would be a great fit in San Diego, but the Padres probably don't have the talent to pull a deal off. The Marlins could part with Scott Olsen, Taylor Tankersley and a prospect. Still, that might not be enough.

Eric Byrnes (Diamondbacks) - 07: $4.575 million, 08: FA
With Justin Upton likely to assume an outfield spot before the end of 2008, the Diamondbacks would be foolish to give Byrnes the three- or four-year deal he's likely to command as a free agent, no matter how much of a fan favorite he is. That said, they probably will keep him as long as they remain in contention.

Austin Kearns (Nationals) - 07: $3.5 million, 08-09: $13 million, 10: $10 million option
Kearns got a nice extension earlier this year, making a deal pretty unlikely. While he's had a very difficult time at RFK Stadium thus far, the Nationals can keep him and hope he adjusts better in their new ballpark.

Pat Burrell (Phillies) - 07: $13 million, 08: $14 million, 09: FA
One would think he's sick of the relentless booing by now, but Burrell was only willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Red Sox or Yankees last year. Maybe he'll be a bit more flexible now. Since he's in an awful slump, Burrell would be a pure salary dump for Philadelphia. The team would have to pick up at least half of what he's owed and d still probably wouldn't get anything in return. Given a fresh start elsewhere, he'd likely be reasonably productive.

Scott Podsednik (White Sox) - 07: $2.9 million, 08: Arb. Eligible, 09: FA
Juan Encarnacion (Cardinals) - 07: $5 million, 08: $6.5 million, 09: FA
Brad Wilkerson (Rangers) - 07: $4.35 million, 08: FA
Jay Gibbons (Orioles) - 07: $5 million, 08-09: $11.9 million, 10: FA
Also: Ryan Freel (Reds), Xavier Nady (Pirates), Wily Mo Pena (Red Sox), Jonny Gomes (Devil Rays), Matt Murton (Cubs), Cory Sullivan (Rockies), Eric Hinske (Red Sox), Bobby Kielty (Athletics), Luis Terrero (White Sox)
Rocco Baldelli was supposed to be part of this list, but his setback last week likely rules him out as a trade candidate unless the Rays want to take pennies on the dollar. … If the Cardinals fall out of the race, Encarnacion would be made available. There was talk of him going after the first year of his three-year deal. … The Reds will probably keep Freel unless they get a very good young pitcher back. … Gomes, who seemed his way on his way out of Tampa Bay a month ago, is now suddenly a fixture again. Barring a slump, he'll remain with the Rays.


Bait: Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Lastings Milledge (Mets), Carlos Gomez (Mets), Carlos Gonzalez (Diamondbacks), Andre Ethier (Dodgers), Brian Anderson (White Sox), Shin-Soo Choo (Indians), Brandon Moss (Red Sox), Jeremy Reed (Mariners), Scott Hairston (Diamondbacks), Franklin Gutierrez (Indians), Joey Gathright (Royals), Jeff Baker (Rockies), David Murphy (Red Sox), Terry Evans (Angels), Laynce Nix (Brewers)

If Garciaparra gets the job done at third, the Dodgers' search for a bat could focus on right field. Either Kemp or Ethier could be available in return for a big-time upgrade. Still, Dunn doesn't seem to be at the top of their list. … I thought Jose Contreras was the long shot to go of the White Sox's pitchers, but the Mets are talking to the White Sox about him and he's reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause. Milledge could be sent to Chicago in return. … Choo or Gutierrez could be involved if the Indians make a play for Eric Gagne. Gutierrez is more of an option in center, so he'd make a lot of sense for Texas. The Rangers, though, could put off their search for a long-term center field, hoping to fill the gap with a free agent this winter.


Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
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    Friday's Fantasy Minute
  •  
    RotoPat: Week 16 Rankings

    RotoPat: Week 16 Rankings
  •  
    Week 16 Difference Makers

    Week 16 Difference Makers
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    Beer

    Beer's NFL 6 Pack - QB & RB
  •  
    Levitan: Week 16 Tough Calls

    Levitan: Week 16 Tough Calls
  •  
    Levitan: Week 16 Flukes

    Levitan: Week 16 Flukes
  •  
    Wednesday

    Wednesday's Fantasy Minute