In baseball, players are going to have slow starts. Some can have slow enough starts that teams and fans get frustrated with them, leading to trade talks.
It makes sense, since the player isn't producing, but if a player is in fact in a slump, then trading them can become that much harder. You really have to sell the player as well as being completely tired of him.
Here are 10 struggling MLB players who could be trade bait.
A year ago, Jair Jurrjens was off to a hot start and was an All-Star. Now, he had a rough offseason with all the trade rumors, and in four starts he's been awful.
The Braves have enough pitching depth that they can trade him, and his All-Star appearance shows that he can be very good. If there wasn't a trade market in the offseason, though, the Braves may have to wait for an injury on another team.
With all of the ups and downs, is anyone going to take a chance on Francisco Liriano? Well, Dontrelle Willis has gotten enough chances, so it's possible.
Liriano had a poor 2011 and is having an even worse 2012; he's 0-4 with an ERA of nearly 10. A team can get him dirt cheap if they feel a change of scenery will help him bounce back to his former self.
I had a feeling Casey Kotchman would revert back to being a serviceable first baseman at the plate in 2012. I did not expect him to be flat out bad, hitting well under .170 this season.
With the addition of Johnny Damon and Matt LaPorta perhaps earning one more shot, Kotchman may already be expendable. His numbers made his prospects scarce, but first basemen with good defense aren't as easy to find as you would think.
The Texas Rangers seem entirely content with Mitch Moreland right now, so this may be speculation on my end. Still, Moreland is a first baseman yet perhaps the lightest hitter on the squad. His .228 batting average doesn't help either.
More importantly, Brandon Snyder has been playing great in limited time, and could end up being better than Moreland if plugged in. Moreland is young enough that a few teams would gladly give him a shot to see if he can further improve his game.
Somehow players end up struggling to hit when they join the Seattle Mariners, Miguel Olivo being the latest. He hit for power last year with a .224 average, but now he's down to .210.
Teams are always on the hunt for catcher depth, and Jesus Montero is clearly proving to be the real thing; he can split time between DH and catcher and likely improve the team by doing so.
A year ago, Nyjer Morgan went from having some issue with other teams to being a fan favorite with the Milwaukee Brewers as his career seemed to be on the right track.
Now, he's lost playing time to Carlos Gomez after hitting .175 so far, and Morgan doesn't seem like the fourth outfielder type (Gomez does, but he's hitting nearly .300 right now). He's a guy that could be moved especially if another team has an outfield injury.
It's one thing to be struggling in the major leagues after playing well last season. It's another entirely to have a solid 2011 season, play in Triple-A and struggle there.
That's where we are with John Lannan, who has an ERA of over five in five Triple-A starts. If he hasn't been traded yet, it's because teams haven't asked about him yet; he already is trade bait if any team changes their mind. Obviously he's not cracking the Nats' suddenly great rotation.
Why would a team pick up a player who just got a major contract extension, let alone one who has an ERA of over six? When it comes to the White Sox, I've learned that you can never rule anything out.
Danks has been struggling, and if it continues, he could very well move back onto the trade block, even though I'm sure any teams contacting the Sox would be far more interested in Gavin Floyd, who's pitching well.
Joe Blanton was the subject of some trade rumors this past offseason, but now that it's in the past, he's pitching well for the Phillies. Kyle Kendrick, on the other hand, isn't.
He's usually solid and the Phillies need some offense, so he's a guy who they could definitely try trading, as he'll get some interest from teams whether he improves or not. It may be the Phillies best chance to improve their hitting.
Kevin Youkilis is one of the people I did not think would have any trouble this season, but he's been struggling. He's hitting .219, and just can't seem to get on base.
Not only is he heading to the DL, but Will Middlebrooks will get his shot. And if he's as hot in the majors as he was in Triple-A, Youk is expendable. He's the type of guy that teams would gladly pick up even when he's not at his best, so if Middlebrooks is good then Youkilis will be gone sooner rather than later.