MLB Trade Scenarios: Baseball's 'Trade Me Now' Team
Get me outta here!
That may be what some MLB players are screaming to themselves as the non-waiver trade deadline creeps ever closer.
Whether they're disgruntled due to a lack of playing time or some other reason, many players would welcome a change in venue as the July 31 deadline date approaches. Some simply want a chance to play for a contender, and still others will be looking for a team that is willing to pay them what their current team likely won't dish out.
While we rarely hear rumors about players requesting trades, that doesn't stop speculation from occurring. After all, how fun would it be if we didn't participate in speculation? Keep in mind that many of the players on this team have not specifically requested anything—but at some point they had to have been thinking it.
In any event, here is the MLB "trade me now" team.
Catcher: J.P. Arencibia
I'm guessing that Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia is a pretty intelligent guy. He did attend the University of Tennessee for three years; I'm sure he received a fair amount of sound education during that time.
With that in mind, he must hear the accolades being thrown around regarding Jays catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, who is currently hitting .343 with 15 HR and 46 RBI in 56 games at Triple-A Las Vegas.
As the great 2003 movie suggests in its title, something's gotta give.
In the case of the Jays, that something could just be Arencibia. He may not be requesting a trade, but I can't imagine he would mind one, given the fact that, eventually, something's gotta give.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported last month that there appeared to be no chance that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos would deal either Arencibia or d'Arnaud. However, if I were Arencibia, I'd be looking over my shoulder.
First Base: Kevin Youkilis
During his weekly appearance on Boston radio station WEEI on Wednesday, Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine addressed the rumors circulating about his third baseman, Kevin Youkilis:
It is part of the baseball world. Every team every year basically every month of the season have some designated person where trade rumors swirl around and I feel for Kevin to have to be distracted by them. I feel for him to have to answer questions that no one is able to answer. Whether he's affected by them when he goes out on the field I really couldn't tell you, but I can tell you that his effort and his preparation and his desire is there every second of the day.
Youkilis has been moved from third base to first base and back on several occasions since his return from the disabled list, mainly because of the hot bat of rookie Will Middlebrooks. As a result, Valentine has juggled the lineup just about every day in order to get at-bats for Youkilis, Middlebrooks, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz.
Youkilis has been tied to several teams who are looking to upgrade at either third or first. Again, Youkilis has never voiced a desire to be traded, but how fun can it be in the situation he's in now?
Second Base: Jamey Carroll
Do you think that Minnesota Twins shortstop/second baseman Jamey Carroll wishes he were still in Los Angeles right about now?
Unfortunately for him, he's stuck on the Minnesota Twins, a team that's going nowhere in a hurry.
Carroll signed a two-year, $6.75 million contract to play shortstop for the Twins, and thus far, his time in Minneapolis hasn't exactly been memorable. Carroll hit just .214 in the month of April and was benched for a brief time by manager Ron Gardenhire. His play has heated up of late, as he's hit .364 in the month of June thus far to raise his average to .255.
When GM Terry Ryan eventually decides to sell off players, Carroll's name will likely be on that list. It's a shame, because he's done everything the Twins have asked of him with nary a word. When Brian Dozier was called up, Carroll moved to second. When Danny Valencia was sent down, Carroll moved to third.
Now, Carroll's name may be called again, but likely to the GM's office to notify him that he's no longer wanted in Minnesota.
Carroll may not be yelling "trade me now," but all signs point to an eventual trade.
Shortstop: Yuniesky Betancourt
The revolving door at second base for the Kansas City Royals this season has been both confusing and puzzling.
First, they acquired former Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, whom they had jettisoned to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Zack Greinke prior to the 2010 season, receiving Alcides Escobar in return.
Re-acquiring Betancourt created a logjam at second base, where the Royals already had promising prospect Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz.
So far in 2012, Betancourt, Getz, Giavotella and even Irving Falu have split time at second base, with Getz recently getting the nod once again after being activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Betancourt will never be identified as a stellar defensive shortstop or second baseman by any means, but his bat is a plus. I can't imagine for one second that he is happy with his current role in Kansas City. Surely someone will be beckoning for his services in the very near future.
Third Base: Pablo Sandoval
San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval came off the disabled list over the weekend after successfully rehabbing from a broken hamate bone in his left hand. However, his hand isn't the issue for the Giants.
Sandoval's portly presence has come into play once again after a lack of conditioning cut his 2010 season short. The Giants gave him a three-year, $17.15 million contract before the start of 2012, but they're clearly not happy with Sandoval's attitude concerning his physique and how he stays in shape.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn't been afraid to use backup infielder Joaquin Arias in late innings and has implored Sandoval to stay in proper shape so that he can handle the hot corner, as he said last week before Sandoval was reinstated from the DL:
We've told (Sandoval) we have enough first basemen. We need to get him in shape to get him to third. I hope we're not forced to make a change. That's in Pablo's hands.
He has to be able to make the plays that Arias is making. ... Before he comes up here, it's not just his hitting. We have to see how he plays third base.
At what point do the Giants say "enough"? At what point does Sandoval say, "screw you, trade me if you don't like my weight"?
This appears to be an issue that isn't likely to go away anytime soon. Sandoval has to be tired of hearing about it, and the Giants have to be getting tired of talking to him about it as well.
Outfielder: Gerardo Parra
Last year, Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Gerardo Parra went out and won a Gold Glove Award. His reward? A spot on the Diamondbacks bench for the 2012 season.
Parra finds himself behind Justin Upton, Chris Young and Jason Kubel on the outfield depth chart for the D-Backs, and while manager Kirk Gibson has done a credible job finding at-bats for Parra, it has to be frustrating for him nonetheless.
Parra has received more playing time lately with Upton slumping at the plate, and he has hit .313 in June. Parra has given no indication that he's unhappy in his role—at least not with the press—but he no doubt thinks he should be starting, if not in Arizona.
Outfielder: Coco Crisp
When outfielder Coco Crisp signed a two-year, $14 million contract to return to the Oakland Athletics, he thought it was going to be as their everyday center fielder. The signing of Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes put a screeching halt to that thought.
Now Crisp is manning left field, at times moving to center with Cespedes nursing a strained hamstring. Crisp is hitting just .172, so it's highly unlikely that GM Billy Beane would be able to move him without paying most of the money the A's currently owe him.
Outfielder: Alfonso Soriano
It must get very grating to hear your name constantly mentioned in trade rumors, knowing that your team is going to whatever lengths necessary to move you.
That has to be wearing on the mind of Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano is still owed close to $48 million on a contract that runs through the 2014 season, and that fact alone makes any trade difficult at best. But it apparently hasn't stopped the Cubs from trying to move him anyway.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweeted late last month that the Cubs were prepared to foot the bill for almost all of what's remaining on Soriano's contract.
Not surprisingly, Cubs are telling teams they will eat almost all of Soriano $$ (maybe all but $3 mill) if they can dump him.
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) May 31, 2012
Heck, if I kept hearing that, I'd want out of Dodge as well.
Starting Pitcher: John Lannan
When Washington Nationals starting pitcher John Lannan was sent to Triple-A Syracuse at the start of the season after losing his role in the starting rotation, he immediately requested a trade.
That thought in Lannan's head probably hasn't diminished much, especially after seeing Chien-Ming Wang replacing Ross Detwiler in the starting rotation in favor of Lannan.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Colorado Rockies "kicked the tires" on Lannan but turned the other way when the Nats revealed what they wanted in return.
Relief Pitcher: Grant Balfour
Okay, so first he loses his closer role and voices his displeasure about it. Now, he's back in that role, but with a caveat—he'll share it with two other pitchers.
Such has been the season thus far for Oakland Athletics reliever Grant Balfour.
Balfour was anointed the team's closer after the A's shipped Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox, but he was demoted in late April after a couple of shaky outings, with former closer Brian Fuentes taking over.
Now, after shaky outings by Fuentes, A's manager Bob Melvin has decided on a closer-by-committee approach, using Balfour, Fuentes or Ryan Cook, depending on matchups.
You think Balfour wouldn't like a ticket out of town right about now?
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.
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