MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Hot Names to Watch as Depth Charts Are Finalized
The first game of the 2012 MLB season is actually tomorrow, as the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics face off in Japan. The other 28 teams, however, still have a week to prepare, and there are still a lot of roster spots to be filled and problems to be solved.
Here, we take a look at 10 players who could be moved or could be targeted by a team with a gaping hole in its roster.
Remember, though, that March to May is the downtime for trades, after the offseason shopping and before the trade deadline frenzy, so it remains fairly unlikely that many of these players will move before the season gets under way.
Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes, New York Yankees
Andy Pettitte's decision to come out of retirement has thrown the back end of the New York Yankees rotation into a bit of disarray.
With CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda expected to be the top four, the addition of Pettitte leaves some of New York's starters out in the cold.
CBS Sports' Danny Knobler tweeted this weekend that the Yanks attempted to entice the Miami Marlins into a trade for Freddy Garcia, but the new-look fish weren't interested. Garcia had something of a renaissance in 2011, posting his best ERA since 2001, at 3.62.
Another potential trade candidate is Phil Hughes.
The 25-year-old was brilliant in the first half of 2010 but has struggled since then. He made the All-Star Game that year, after going 6-1 with a 2.69 ERA in April and May. A poor finish to the season and a woeful 2011 have left Hughes very much on the outside looking in, but his upside might entice a buyer.
Kurt Suzuki, Oakland
Kurt Suzuki's poor 2011 would probably put most teams off of seeking to acquire him were it not for the fact that catchers are at a premium in baseball, plus the Oakland Athletics' penchant for getting rid of players,
Reportedly, it hasn't put off the Tampa Bay Rays, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
The Rays have the worst catching situation of all contending teams this season and would love to get a legitimate starter behind the plate. The acquisition of catcher Derek Norris in the Gio Gonzalez trade will only make Oakland GM more likely to part ways with Suzuki.
Mark Reynolds and Kevin Gregg, Baltimore
Danny Knobler tweeted last week that the Baltimore Orioles were looking to offload third baseman Mark Reynolds and reliever Kevin Gregg.
Both will make upwards of $5 million this season, so from a financial point of view, shopping them is a good move. Also, Kevin Gregg had a poor season as the Birds' closer in 2011, and they have Jim Johnson as a replacement.
As for Mark Reynolds, his strikeouts are once again the biggest drawback, though his weak glove comes a close second.
In the last four seasons, Reynolds has struck out 834 times, more than any other player over a four-year stretch in history. He has K'd 200 times in three of those seasons. Only one other player has ever reached 200 strikeouts, and he only did it once.
Despite that, he has a big home run swing. In the last four years, Reynolds has averaged 35 home runs a season. He hit 37 last year and had a slugging percentage of almost .500.
The return on Reynolds and Gregg will not be great, but it still makes sense for Baltimore to trade them, and there will be teams interested if the O's are willing to eat a little of the money.
Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot, San Francisco
CSN's Andrew Baggarly says that the strong spring performances from Joaquin Arias and Emmanuel Burriss have impressed the San Francisco Giants to the point where they are confident in putting Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot on the trading block.
The Giants are reportedly actively shopping both players, but they would likely only trade away one of them, given Freddy Sanchez's slow recovery from shoulder surgery.
The Philadelphia Phillies have seen their infield decimated by injuries to both starters and backups and are in desperate need of help, making them the most logical trade partner.
Ramiro Pena, New York Yankees
The Philadelphia Phillies are desperate for infield relief, and the New York Post is reporting they have an interest in Yankees utility man Ramiro Pena.
At just 26, the Yankees have Pena under control until 2016. In 300 at-bats, he has a batting average of just .233.
Kevin Youkilis, Boston
New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine seems hell-bent on having Jose Iglesias in the starting lineup on Opening Day.
Boston's Cuban defensive phenom might be the best shortstop in the league but cannot hit a lick. However, his defense is so good that he has a decent shot at starting on April 5.
His inclusion would be another step toward the increasingly likely trade of third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youk has been hampered by a myriad of injuries in the last few seasons, and Boston will be acutely aware that if it doesn't trade him soon, his value will only continue to fall.
Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs aren't going anywhere just yet, but under new president of baseball ops Theo Epstein and new GM Jed Hoyer, they have totally transformed their roster.
That transformation, you would think, would at some point include the trade of starter Matt Garza.
Hoyer may have said that he would like to pursue signing Garza to a long-term contract, but as competitive teams (we're looking at you, Boston) start to offer to overpay for the services of a reliable starter, it will be tempting to pull the trigger.
The buzz is only going to grow between now and the July 31 trading deadline.