Freddy Garcia: The Newest Member of the Rumor Mill
One of the more interesting things about spring training is how a player's performance and/or circumstances can affect his stature around the league and his value on the trading block.
This year was no different.
Whether the player has been playing terribly such as Chone Figgins or Juan Uribe, or their current team adds a player that takes away playing time such as Freddy Garcia or Bobby Abreu, the rumor mill is always adding new players coming from good or bad situations that may be traded.
Some of the names on this list are not eye-popping, but it is not always the biggest names that have the greatest impact. Here are 30 players who may be traded before the end of spring training!
After winning a Gold Glove in 2011 and hitting a very respectable .292 as a 24-year-old, it would have been hard to imagine Parra on the trading block. However, after the Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel in the offseason, that is exactly where Parra finds himself.
Even though the D-Backs are not actively looking to move him, according to CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler, they have a package in mind, so I believe if someone offered it, Parra will be wearing a new uniform for 2012.
At the end of 2011, Jair Jurrjens had a lot of trade value.
He was coming of a stellar season. Even with the recent injury to Arodys Vizcaino, with Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Brandon Beachy and top prospects Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran the Braves are loaded with pitching arms.
With the regular season two weeks away, it looks as if Jurrjens will start the year in Atlanta, but with his injury history and poor spring performance (13 IP, 25 H, 15 ER, 10 BB, 8K, 10.13 ERA, 2.63 WHIP) many scouts wonder if his value will ever be higher.
The combination of Betemit’s lack of spring training performance (4-30 as of March 20) and the surprising revival of Nick Johnson could lead to a potential Betemit departure.
Betemit was brought in to stabilize the designated hitter spot for the O's, but Nick Johnson has come in on a minor league deal and is hitting .308 and has had previous success in the big leagues. Even though he signed a two-year deal, Betemit could find himself on the chopping block if these trends continue.
With Jose Iglesias heralded as the Red Sox long-term answer at SS, Aviles’ impressive spring training has increased his demand and potential availability on the trade market.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe said "If Boston committed to Iglesias, Aviles could be made available." With all of the Phillies injuries up the middle including backup middle infielder Michael Martinez Tuesday, the reported Aviles trade to the Phillies starts to make sense.
I know they just traded Sean Marshall for Travis Wood this offseason, but hear me out.
Chris Volstad and Jeff Samardzija have been outstanding so far this spring and it looks like the Cubs are going with a rotation of these two plus Garza, Dempster, and Maholm. Where does that leave Wood?
In 4.2 innings this spring, Wood has a 25.07 ERA, giving up 13 hits and 13 runs with a 4.07 WHIP, blowing a 7-0 lead in his most recent start! Wood's performance combined with those of Volstad and Samardzija will not have him pitching important innings in Chicago any time soon.
Despite being listed as the White Sox's No. 3 starter heading into the season, Floyd’s name pops up in trade rumors more than anyone else in baseball outside of John Lannan.
In the offseason there were rumors surrounding Floyd and trades that almost went through with the Red Sox and Orioles showing interest in him. In an email last week, it was the Toronto Blue Jays.
While White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams denies the rumors saying "I am not looking to move [Floyd]," for now, all the signs point to Floyd being on the move.
The Cincinnati Reds have a stacked rotation to the point where Jeff Francis does not even make it into their top six projected starters.
As Jerry Crasnick reports, because of an out clause in his contract, Francis can become a free agent on March 28. Teams can never have enough pitching, and the Reds may look to take advantage of that before his out clause date.
There is going to be plenty of interest in a guy like Francis, who is performing admirably this spring with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings over four appearances.
Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona)
Despite the false identity charges being dropped, Roberto Hernandez is going to be quite the headache to deal with this season.
If the Indians find a team willing to take a risk on him for the remainder of his contract, they would most certainly entertain the offer.
Even when a team does not have a lot of locks in its starting rotation, you still need to pitch well to earn a spot.
Esmil Rogers is out of options, and with a subpar performance thus far in spring training and a lot of pitchers ahead of him on the depth chart, Rogers has found himself on the trading block.
The Tigers are very fortunate to have surplus pitching…for the moment.
While Collin Balester is by no means a big name, the way he has pitched this spring may entice some teams looking for a bullpen piece. He has only given up one run in eight innings, and has provided the Tigers with a lot of flexibility thus far in March and could be an asset other teams are very interested in as the regular season gets closer.
Jack Cust...missing the ball
It’s funny because as of Tuesday afternoon, this section was written about Jason Bourgeois. However, he was traded to the Royals today along with Humberto Quintero, so it goes to show you, it is always good to have a backup plan.
Jack Cust was brought in with a great opportunity to earn a roster spot and get some quality playing time. What has he done with that opportunity? Literally nothing. As of Tuesday night, he was 0-24 for the spring.
If that does not get you on the trading block or cut list, even for the Astros, I do not know what will.
With the news that Aaron Crow is moving back to the bullpen to cover for Joakim Soria's injury, the likelihood Luis Mendoza gets traded decreases.
However, because of his stellar spring, his value on the trade market has gone up tremendously, and with the pitching depth that the Royals have, there would be plenty of teams with interest if the Royals decide would rather use him in a trade to acquire other assets.
Bobby Abreu is one of the few players on this list who is actually in the doghouse. He thinks he deserves more playing time, while the Angels do not.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said at the start of spring training that Bobby Abreu could get 400 plate appearances but with Kendrys Morales returning to health to be the team's DH, his at-bats begin to disappear.
If they can find a taker for Abreu and his $9 million salary, they would make a deal. However, after coming into camp overweight and with a bad attitude, things have gotten tougher.
Coming off a season where he hit .204 with a paltry .557 OPS, Juan Uribe really needed a strong spring training.
As of March 20, Uribe is hitting .217 in 10 games, and has done nothing to acquit himself of his terrible start in a Dodgers uniform. With Josh Fields coming out of nowhere and hitting like the top prospect he used to be, if the Dodgers could trade Uribe for a bag of balls, I think they would do it.
With an outfield of Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio and Mike Stanton, the Marlins do not present a great opportunity for playing time for a guy like Chris Coghlan heading into 2012 or beyond.
A Rookie of the Year under his belt and a strong spring returning to full health, Coghlan would provide a team looking for some outfield help. A team like the Mets, with Andres Torres' recent calf injury, would be interested in exchange for some pitching depth.
Think a Melky Cabrera-Jonathan Sanchez trade, but to a lesser degree.
Cesar Izturis was brought in to the Brewers organization to be a backup infielder for both Rickie Weeks and Alex Gonzalez.
While he is not known for his bat, Izturis has gone 5-28 for a .179 average and has the Brewers looking for help up the middle of the diamond.
When the Twins signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka last offseason, they were hoping to bring along a defensive whiz who could contribute offensively.
Unfortunately for both Nishioka and the Twins, he was unable to perform offensively with a .226 BA and .527 OPS, and his performance this spring forced the Twins to send him down to Triple-A. Publicly, it looks as if the Twins are trying to get him some more playing time so they can evaluate him and improve his skills, but I believe they are trying to sell whatever skills he may have left on the trade market.
After last season produced terrible results, the Mets were not sure what they had in Carrasco heading into 2012. With the improved performances from Miguel Batista and more importantly Bobby Parnell, it may not matter.
With only $1.2 million left on a two-year deal Carrasco signed last season and a career ERA of 4.31 before last season, it may not be as tough a sell as it appears. Although he has not pulled the trigger yet, Sandy Alderson and his staff have certainly been scouring the market for a deal.
Signing Andy Pettitte did two things.
One, it annoyed the entire baseball world outside of the Bronx, and two, (for something more relevant), it created a serious surplus of pitching for the Yankees.
When the Athletics acquired Daric Barton from the Cardinals in the Mark Mulder deal, they thought they were getting their first baseman for the next decade.
Barton has not lived up to expectations.
He has been very injury prone, averaging 105 games played over the past four seasons and his spring in 2012 has not helped. While Barton was recovering from offseason shoulder injuries, he was usurped by Brandon Allen and now sits number two on the A's depth chart.
He is yet another player who could find himself in another uniform by the end of the 2012 season
Much like Gavin Floyd of the White Sox, Joe Blanton has repeatedly popped up in trade rumors for teams that need starting pitching.
As philly.com reports, Blanton's name has popped up recently with teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. Despite the denial from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. the rumors are out there, and with the infield injuries continuing to climb and the Red Sox perpetual need for starting pitching, these two could be a match.
Depending on the severity of Chase Utley's injury, something along the lines of Mike Aviles and cash for Joe Blanton could be a match.
After a tumultuous 2011 season, Alvarez is another player would could have used a great spring training. Unfortunately, like the other candidates on this list, Alvarez has come up short.
Alvarez is hitting .148 thus far into spring training, with 11 strikeouts against only one walk. There is definitely a team out there that should be willing to take a chance on this kid and his unlimited potential, after all, he did slug .461 in his rookie year. However, unless he gets off to a hot start with the Pirates in April or May, I think his time on the Pirates is coming to a close.
The Padres have never been a team to spend a lot of money. Last season, they had the fourth lowest salary of any team in baseball.
That is why Jason Bartlett and his $5.5 million salary for the 2012 season has him on the top of the Padres trade candidate list. To pay a "defensive" short stop who had 18 errors last season and a negative UZR rating the last three seasons totaling -21.8 that much money is way too much for a team on such a small budget.
After hitting .254 and .245 the last two seasons and .214 this spring, all the Padres can do is hope a team gets desperate and needs a shortstop.
Aubrey Huff has not had a terrible spring, hitting .290 with a .484 slugging percentage over 11 games but when you compare it to Brandon Belt's .359 average and .692 slugging percentage and his upside potential, and Huff finds himself on the trading block.
Huff will have some value as he was instrumental in the Giants World Series run in 2010 and seems to play well every other season, but with at least $12 million owed to him over the next two seasons, he may be hard to get rid of.
Chone Figgins is hitting just .231 this spring. Coming off two seasons where he hit .259 and .188 after signing a four-year, $36 million deal, now he gets to replace the greatest leadoff man in Mariners history in Ichiro. I guess he needed some more pressure.
In the offseason, the Mariners reportedly were willing to include cash in a trade to get rid of Figgins. He has not been as prevalent in the trade rumors recently, but unless Figgins gets off to a hot start in April, the Mariners may be willing to do just about anything to trade him off their roster.
The Cardinals had a tremendous amount of depth in their bullpen in 2011. Heading into 2012, that is not about to change.
With Skip Schumaker's oblique injury, the Cards may explore McClellan's market with a new sense of vigor. In addition, with Chris Carpenter's health in question, trading McClellan's salary and roster spot would give the Cardinals additional flexibility to add a starting pitcher. Someone like Roy Oswalt or even Joe Blanton come to mind.
Wade Davis looks to be the casualty of the Rays incredible pitching staff.
With David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Jeff Niemann, it looks as if Wade Davis is going to be the odd man out of the rotation.
After making 29 starts each of the last two seasons, Davis has proven he is a major league caliber pitcher. Davis still is young and still has some upside which is why the Rays may choose to hold on to him and throw him in their bullpen.
If Davis is made available on the trade market as we near the regular season as I expect, there will be a long line of teams waiting to acquire his services.
The only reason Koji Uehara is still a member of the Texas Rangers is because he has a limited no-trade clause.
Texas had been looking to move Uehara in order to free up some payroll and sign a left-handed pitcher for the bullpen. They have not made any additions to this point and for now, they look to be staying in-house to find their lefty. However, if the time comes that they are not happy with their own players, look for Uehara to be the first one out the door.
For years, Brett Cecil has not lived up to his potential as a Toronto Blue Jay and it appears as if his time is running out.
Ken Rosenthal reported that Cecil had been attracting interest from other teams, so it may not be long before Cecil is moved.
John Lannan's name has been riding around the rumor mill for what seems like months now.
While he may have caught a break with Chien-Ming Wang’s recent injury, there have been teams as recently as March 13 that have expressed interest and they will continue to do so as we approach the regular season.
The Nationals starting rotation includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and Edwin Jackson turning John Lannan from the Opening Day starter in 2009 and 2010 to the pitcher most talked about in the trade market.
If Wang can return from his injury before the spring training ends and perform as he had this spring pre-injury, expect Lannan to be dealt before the regular season begins.