With the MLB trade deadline inching closer every day, the number of rumors around the NL West is increasing more rapidly than my waistline during the holidays.
Any number of players could be on the block due to there being no clear-cut favorite to run away with the division.
Three teams have a legitimate shot this season, but while the San Francisco Giants are looking to add a power bat to their bench, the Arizona Diamondbacks could be looking to get better by parting with their biggest star.
San Francisco Giants
Currently leading the NL West, the Giants want to add a right-handed power bat—likely to come off the bench—and/or bullpen help (h/t San Francisco Chronicle).
Their bullpen is No. 7 in the NL with a 3.50 ERA and is one of the oldest in baseball. Getting young MLB talent could benefit them now and for the future. They have at least twice as many bullpen arms over 30 years old as every other NL West team.
There apparently is no interest in adding a starting pitcher, even though ace Tim Lincecum continues to be blasted each time out.
Though he’s not a true power bat, Shane Victorino has been linked recently to being coveted by the Giants. He was scouted by San Francisco along with four other teams recently—none including NL West teams.
If he ends up in a Giants uniform, Victorino would be an immediate upgrade to center field, where Angel Pagan has been good, but he has not been that good.
Victorino is one of MLB's best fielding center fielders. He would be a big help, as the abyss in the AT&T Park outfield is known for turning home runs into deep fly balls and he can cover as much of the field as anyone in baseball.
According to Nicholson-Smith, baseball insider Ken Rosenthal says that rival executives believe Los Angeles has enough prospects to build a package for Dempster. He has a career 21-25 record with a 5.42 ERA against what could become his four rival NL West teams.
Side note: Dempster is 7-3 with a career 2.71 ERA against the Dodgers.
Though Rollins is 33 years old, he has been just as good defensively this season as he has been throughout his illustrious career. In 776.2 innings at shortstop this year he sports a .980 fielding percentage, right on par with his career .983 percentage.
While he’s not what he once was with the stick in his hands, he is certainly better than what Dodgers shortstops have mustered. As of Monday, they had produced a weak .227/.284/.302/.586 slash line, while Rollins is at .262/.217/.421/.739 and rising. He’s been on a bit of a hot streak of late.
Since the All-Star break, Rollins has been on a tear to the tune of .400/.471/.867/1.337, and the longer he stays in his current groove, the more willing teams on the cusp will be to acquire him, including Los Angeles.
Justin Upton has not ruled out the possibility of being traded to one of the four teams listed in his no-trade clause, according to a tweet from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The list recently changed and now includes the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have emerged as the most interested party to take Upton off the D-backs’ hands, but they are apparently not willing to part ways with two of their prospects—outfielder Starling Marte and pitcher Jameson Taillon (per FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi).
Rosenthal reports the Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in Upton as well and are willing to deal prospects. But a former No. 1 overall pick—a disappointment or not—will command more than just prospects. D-backs general manager Kevin Towers echoed that recently, saying in an interview with The Arizona Republic that a deal for Upton would likely only include current major league players.
“We’re not looking for prospects,” Towers said. “We’re still in win mode. We’re certainly not in sell mode at all.”
That is in the early stages, so it’s likely more teams will begin to call about one or both players. It is unknown whether the D-backs would trade Drew, but with a $10 million mutual option for next season in Drew’s contract, this could be his final summer with the team anyway. Getting something for him could be smart on Towers’ part.
Rosenthal is reporting that the Tigers have interest in infielder Marco Scutaro. He is batting .273 with four HRs, 25 RBI and a .324 OBP this season. Scutaro has provided a better glove than bat and would likely be a second option if a deal for the D-backs’ Drew doesn’t happen.
Which Is More Likely To Happen?
While it was the New York Post reported last week that the New York Mets were interested in catcher Ramon Hernandez, it now seems the Rockies are happy with the way Hernandez is helping young catcher Wilin Rosario with game calling and receiving and are less willing to deal him away.
With the Rockies out of the NL West and playoff race this season, selling off the team would normally be the thing to do. But when a veteran is willing to help a youngster become a better professional, it may be best to keep him around.
Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, Mark Kotsay.
All are Padres, but for how long?
San Diego is once again in sell mode and has been fielding calls for Chase Headley, in particular, for the better part of a month. Rosenthal reported (h/t MLB Trade Rumors)that the Padres are more likely to keep Quentin and trade Headley because there have been more teams showing interest in the third baseman than in the outfielder.
Supply-and-demand drives the price of players up just as it does to gas for your car. As many as 10 teams have called about Headley. He is as good as gone.
According to Morosi, the Cincinnati Reds have shown interest in Kotsay, who is batting .289 with just one HR and seven RBI this season in 42 games—mainly as a pinch-hitter. The 36-year-old major league journeyman apparently has the confidence of team management—they appear uninterested in moving him.