Trade talk: 10 players likely to be moved by the deadline

On this date a year ago, the Rockies were 14 1/2 games out of first place and 11 games below .500. "And we made the playoffs," general manager Dan O’Dowd says.

Translation: It still is too early for losing teams to give up and start peddling players. If they surrender now, it becomes even more difficult to sell tickets for the prime months of June and July. It also is too early for potential buyers to know exactly what they need and how much they can spend.

"There just aren’t many clubs at this point that know definitively what they want to do," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says.

Well, there still are eight-plus weeks before the nonwaiver trading deadline. Even if clubs want to trade now, they have to consider the price "is usually a lot higher than it may be next month," as Daniels says.

Once the wheeling and dealing begins, here are 10 players with the best chance of being moved:

Mike Lowell could be headed to L.A.
Mike Lowell could be headed to L.A.

Mike Lowell, IF, Red Sox. Boston doesn’t need him; the Angels do (though the Sox say there’s no shot of him going to LA.). They cannot expect to win the AL West with Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan and Michael Ryan trying to replace Kendry Morales at first base. And they can’t expect the White Sox to move Paul Konerko or the Cubs to deal Derrek Lee unless those clubs still are struggling in late July (though the Chicago Tribune says the Cubs and Angels are talking).

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Diamondbacks. Who knows how long Arizona might wait to become a seller. As O’Dowd points out, "We were very similar (last year) to where the Diamondbacks are now." One difference: The Rockies didn’t have what is shaping up as a historically bad bullpen (7.70 ERA).

Cliff Lee, SP, Mariners. Another weekend of consecutive walkoff losses like the past one in Anaheim, and the Mariners just might conclude what everyone else already has: This isn’t their year. With Lee unlikely to stay in Seattle when he becomes a free agent in the fall, the Mariners can save some salary and return a decent prospect. For Seattle’s sake, let’s hope that prospect can hit.

Kevin Millwood, SP, Orioles. Baltimore is one team that doesn’t need to wait. The Orioles are 22 games under .500 and 19 1/2 games out of first place, and their attendance already is an embarrassment. The sooner they move Millwood, the more of his $12 million salary they can save. He isn’t in the class of Lee or Roy Oswalt but "he’s a pretty solid pitcher who has pitched well" this season, says a scout.

Miguel Tejada's second stay in Baltimore could be brief.
Miguel Tejada’s second stay in Baltimore could be brief.

Miguel Tejada, 3B, Orioles. Ty Wigginton has been the more productive Orioles hitter, but the team can better afford him because of his versatility and his salary ($3.5 million), compared to Tejada’s ($6 million, plus a $150,000 trade bonus). Tejada isn’t enjoying as strong a season at last year but he is "fine," says a scout.

A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox. He could be moved soon because he becomes a 10-and-5 man on June 14, which will give him veto power over any trade. However, the contender most in need of a catcher, Texas, remains in a state of semi-limbo because of its pending sale.

Jose Guillen, DH/OF, Royals. His average has dropped 54 points to .250 since April 30, but he has 12 homers. Kansas City might even help pay the remainder of his $12 million contract. Guillen, however, has started only two games in the field and needs to DH.

Kerry Wood, RP, Indians. In a market that appears thin in bullpen help, Wood is one hard-throwing veteran who has handled ninth innings. Of course, he is a health risk and makes huge bucks ($10.5 million this year, $11 million team option next year). But Cleveland could pay a big portion of that and still save millions. The Indians aren’t going anywhere with him, anyway.

Ben Sheets, SP, A’s. I pegged him as likely trade bait the moment the tight-fisted A’s signed him for $10 million. Sheets hasn’t missed a start after not pitching all last season and he has a 2.81 ERA over his past five outings. First-place Oakland needs offense and Sheets could fetch a bat.

Roy Oswalt has made no secret of his desire to be traded.
Roy Oswalt has made no secret of his desire to be traded.

Roy Oswalt, SP, Astros. Expect his desire to be traded to get stronger as Houston continues to get buried in the standings. Even with a large contract, Oswalt will cost a couple of front-line prospects because he is pitching so well. If a club comes calling for Carlos Lee, however, it could have him for his contract. Lee is due $18.5 million a year through 2012 and, according to a scout, "looks like he doesn’t even care." (I will second that opinion. In an early season game at Busch Stadium, Lee strolled into the Astros’ clubhouse about 10 minutes before stretching — long after the rest of his teammates already had dressed).

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

On this date a year ago, the Rockies were 14 1/2 games out of first place and 11 games below .500. "And we made the playoffs," general manager Dan O’Dowd says.

Translation: It still is too early for losing teams to give up and start peddling players. If they surrender now, it becomes even more difficult to sell tickets for the prime months of June and July. It also is too early for potential buyers to know exactly what they need and how much they can spend.

"There just aren’t many clubs at this point that know definitively what they want to do," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says.

Well, there still are eight-plus weeks before the nonwaiver trading deadline. Even if clubs want to trade now, they have to consider the price "is usually a lot higher than it may be next month," as Daniels says.

Once the wheeling and dealing begins, here are 10 players with the best chance of being moved:

Mike Lowell could be headed to L.A.
Mike Lowell could be headed to L.A.

Mike Lowell, IF, Red Sox. Boston doesn’t need him; the Angels do (though the Sox say there’s no shot of him going to LA.). They cannot expect to win the AL West with Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan and Michael Ryan trying to replace Kendry Morales at first base. And they can’t expect the White Sox to move Paul Konerko or the Cubs to deal Derrek Lee unless those clubs still are struggling in late July (though the Chicago Tribune says the Cubs and Angels are talking).

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Diamondbacks. Who knows how long Arizona might wait to become a seller. As O’Dowd points out, "We were very similar (last year) to where the Diamondbacks are now." One difference: The Rockies didn’t have what is shaping up as a historically bad bullpen (7.70 ERA).

Cliff Lee, SP, Mariners. Another weekend of consecutive walkoff losses like the past one in Anaheim, and the Mariners just might conclude what everyone else already has: This isn’t their year. With Lee unlikely to stay in Seattle when he becomes a free agent in the fall, the Mariners can save some salary and return a decent prospect. For Seattle’s sake, let’s hope that prospect can hit.

Kevin Millwood, SP, Orioles. Baltimore is one team that doesn’t need to wait. The Orioles are 22 games under .500 and 19 1/2 games out of first place, and their attendance already is an embarrassment. The sooner they move Millwood, the more of his $12 million salary they can save. He isn’t in the class of Lee or Roy Oswalt but "he’s a pretty solid pitcher who has pitched well" this season, says a scout.

Miguel Tejada's second stay in Baltimore could be brief.
Miguel Tejada’s second stay in Baltimore could be brief.

Miguel Tejada, 3B, Orioles. Ty Wigginton has been the more productive Orioles hitter, but the team can better afford him because of his versatility and his salary ($3.5 million), compared to Tejada’s ($6 million, plus a $150,000 trade bonus). Tejada isn’t enjoying as strong a season at last year but he is "fine," says a scout.

A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox. He could be moved soon because he becomes a 10-and-5 man on June 14, which will give him veto power over any trade. However, the contender most in need of a catcher, Texas, remains in a state of semi-limbo because of its pending sale.

Jose Guillen, DH/OF, Royals. His average has dropped 54 points to .250 since April 30, but he has 12 homers. Kansas City might even help pay the remainder of his $12 million contract. Guillen, however, has started only two games in the field and needs to DH.

Kerry Wood, RP, Indians. In a market that appears thin in bullpen help, Wood is one hard-throwing veteran who has handled ninth innings. Of course, he is a health risk and makes huge bucks ($10.5 million this year, $11 million team option next year). But Cleveland could pay a big portion of that and still save millions. The Indians aren’t going anywhere with him, anyway.

Ben Sheets, SP, A’s. I pegged him as likely trade bait the moment the tight-fisted A’s signed him for $10 million. Sheets hasn’t missed a start after not pitching all last season and he has a 2.81 ERA over his past five outings. First-place Oakland needs offense and Sheets could fetch a bat.

Roy Oswalt has made no secret of his desire to be traded.
Roy Oswalt has made no secret of his desire to be traded.

Roy Oswalt, SP, Astros. Expect his desire to be traded to get stronger as Houston continues to get buried in the standings. Even with a large contract, Oswalt will cost a couple of front-line prospects because he is pitching so well. If a club comes calling for Carlos Lee, however, it could have him for his contract. Lee is due $18.5 million a year through 2012 and, according to a scout, "looks like he doesn’t even care." (I will second that opinion. In an early season game at Busch Stadium, Lee strolled into the Astros’ clubhouse about 10 minutes before stretching — long after the rest of his teammates already had dressed).

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*