MLB Trade Scenarios: Underachieving Veterans Who Teams Must Replace ASAP

Zachary PeterselFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2012

MLB Trade Scenarios: Underachieving Veterans Who Teams Must Replace ASAP

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    A little more than a week into the regular season, there are a lot of front offices hoping for underachieving veterans to turn their seasons around.

    For some, the season is already going against them and without quick adjustments, it may be lost completely. For others, changes need to be made to keep the positive flow going to stay ahead of the competition. Lastly, there are some organizations on this list that need to trade their veterans now in spite of subpar performances because, believe it or not, their value may never be higher. 

    Here are 12 teams that need to adjust their roster as soon as possible to enhance the value of their team as much as possible moving forward in 2012. 

Los Angeles Angels: Vernon Wells / Bobby Abreu

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    The Angels are 3-6 and already 4.5 games back of Texas for the division lead.

    Vernon Wells is hitting .229 without a walk in 35 plate appearances, and Bobby Abreu is hitting .231 without a home run. 

    Texas looks like the same team that made it to the World Series the last two seasons and will not be slowing down any time soon, so something needs to change.

    I know these two are making a boatload of money ($30 million combined), but with Mike Trout raking in Triple-A, the Angels need to get rid of at least one of Wells/Abreu, and play Trout everyday before it is too late. 

Arizona Diamondbacks: Jason Kubel

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    The Dodgers are not going to win 90 percent of their games all year, but the way Matt Kemp is playing, he is certainly capable of carrying them to the division title.

    When looking at the D-Backs, they are a very respectable 6-3, but they could be better.

    Gerardo Parra has been splitting time with Jason Kubel, but the results could not be more different. Not only does Parra provide Gold Glove defense while Kubel is below league average, but he also has more runs, hits and steals in fewer at-bats.

    To catch up to the streaking Dodgers, Kubel belongs on the bench and Parra should be starting everyday.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Uribe

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    I already mentioned how well the Dodgers are playing, but they are not foolproof.

    Juan Uribe has started nine games for L.A. and only has a hit in four of them. He has not scored a run, only has one extra-base hit and one RBI.

    Enter Jerry Hairston.

    In each of his four starts this season, Hairston has gone 1-for-3, and while he may not have the power upside that Uribe once had, Jerry had a higher average, OBP and SLG last season.

    In order to stay in front of the D-Backs, Giants and Rockies for the long haul, Hairston needs to play over Uribe.

Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins

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    After a quick start to the season, Figgins has started struggling again for the Mariners.

    Sitting at 6-5, the Mariners have out-performed expectations thus far into the season, but after going 4-for-27 with only one extra-base hit, zero RBI and zero steals over the past seven days, Figgins has not been contributing.

    With Kyle Seager playing well, and when Mike Carp returns from the DL, the Mariners may not have a place for Figgins to play and should look to get rid of him. While there may not be a huge market for him, since the M's are reportedly willing to include cash in a trade, Figgins' value may never be any higher. 

Washington Nationals: Mark DeRosa

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    Another team that has gotten off to a great start in spite of subpar performance from key positions.

    Mark DeRosa may be a great presence in the clubhouse, but slugging .091 without a single extra-base hit while playing left field isn't helping anyone.

    His last good season came in 2009 as he has been sidetracked by multiple wrist surgeries these past few seasons. 

    With Rick Ankiel now healthy, and Roger Bernadina average at the big league level, and Bryce Harper developing for a couple more months in the minor leagues, it is time for DeRosa to shift back to the bench and become the role player he was meant to be. 

San Diego Padres: Orlando Hudson

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    If it was not for the Pirates, the Padres would be the worst hitting team in baseball by a wide margin.

    Coming into Monday, San Diego had eight players with more than 20 at-bats, but only one of them had an average greater than .233.

    Orlando Hudson's batting average has steadily declined each season since 2008, and he's gotten off to an awful start this season, going 4-for-35 for a .114 average. The Padres need to spark their inept offense, and benching and/or trading the O-Dog would be a great start. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Placido Polanco

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    Akin to Orlando Hudson, Placido Polanco has been in a decline for a long time. Since 2007, his slugging percentage has declined every season, and for a lineup that is already without its two best players, the Phillies can no longer afford to sacrifice the power position that is third base.

    With Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, John Mayberry, Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, and even Scott Podsednik in the minors, Charlie Manual has plenty of options to field his infield, even without Howard and Pierre. 

    It is too early to panic, but with the second-fewest runs in baseball and the Nationals, Mets and Braves already ahead of the Phillies in the division, the Phillies would be wise to make an adjustment before it is too late. 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Pedro Alvarez

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    Pedro Alvarez may not yet qualify as a veteran, but with his profound struggles at the plate, the Pirates desperately need to send him to Triple-A.

    Last year, they did not have an adequate replacement, but Casey McGehee looks like he has returned to the form that drove in 100 runs in 2010. Alvarez is now 1-for-19 with zero walks and 12 strikeouts!

    His power is obvious, but his confidence has disappeared. The Pirates have only 18 runs on the year, 10 fewer than second-worst team in baseball, so they need to make this switch and do so quickly.

Tampa Bay Rays: Sean Rodriguez

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    Sitting at 5-5, the Rays could be doing worse, but they could be doing a lot better as well.

    Sean Rodriguez has 25 at-bats on the season but only has five hits and none have gone for extra bases. Tampa does not have a ton of infield depth, but there are some options.

    Jeff Keppinger has played shortstop full time in the big leagues, so if Zobrist becomes the everyday second baseman, Keppinger can slide over to short and Rodriguez can move to the bench.

    If they do not want to mess around with their other players, there are options available such, as ex-Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett, that would provide added consistency for the Rays and would not cost very much since he is still owed $7 million.

Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Ludwick

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    When the Reds signed Ryan Ludwick, I was a little confused, as they already had a solid left fielder in Chris Heisey. 

    Thus far into the season, Ludwick has not done much to change my opinion.

    Outside of his grand slam against the Nationals, Ludwick has continued to show signs of his precipitous decline since his 2008 season, which looks more and more like an aberration every year. 

    The Reds have struggled to score runs this season, as they currently have the fifth fewest in all of baseball. Heisey slugged 18 homers in only 279 at-bats, and they need to add that power to the lineup on a consistent basis. 

    Sitting at a 4-6 record, Cincinnati is already three games behind the Cardinals, so the Reds need to make a change soon as the Cards do not look like they will be slowing down any time soon. 

Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Broxton

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    The Royals have a ton of young talent, but with the Tigers in the Central, this will not be their year.

    After the debacle that was Broxton blowing a game by hitting two consecutive hitters, the Royals should try and sell high on Broxton before his value implodes in front of them. Not only has he not looked good, but they have their closer of the future in Greg Holland and should see what he could do with the role. 

    With the variety of injuries that have already occurred to contending teams' closers such as Brian Wilson and Andrew Bailey, the market value for Broxton will never be higher. 

Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham, Alex Rios

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    Both Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios have had their moments for the White Sox, but those days appear to be long gone.

    In 2009, Beckham's rookie season, he hit 14 homers with a .270 batting average. He has never been able to approach those numbers since, and he's gotten off to a terrible start this season with a .136 average. 

    Rios' story is very similar. Outside of his great season in 2010, Rios is hitting .220 in 704 at-bats and has gotten off to another awful start this season, hitting .190 through 21 at-bats. The White Sox should replace him with OF Kosuke Fukudome, who has always been outstanding in April throughout his career in the U.S.

    To replace Beckham, the White Sox should look to another man on this list, Chone Figgins, as he would not cost that much because of his salary, and a change of scenery could bring back his old form.