Would you trade for the much-maligned future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez? How about the young, talented, but wildly inconsistent Justin Upton? What about a pitcher who missed all of the 2012 season due to Tommy John reconstructive surgery?
These are some of the questions confronting GMs as they decide whether or not to pursue trades for talented players who have significant question marks associated with them.
Here are four players who GMs should think twice about before striking a deal.
One player rumored to be on the trading block is Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton.
The 24-year-old two-time All-Star has been the target of much trade speculation this offseason. Upton put up good numbers in 2012—hitting .280 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI. He also has a career .832 OPS which is really good.
Why should a trade for Upton should be avoided?
Simply because he has not shown that he can perform on a high-level for a consistent amount of time.
Upton has two All-Star appearances but has also gone through several well-publicized slumps. One in particular took place earlier this year and prompted Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick to call him out in a radio interview.
As reported by Anthony Witrado of the Sporting News, Kendrick called Upton an "enigma" and also spoke about how he needs to become a more consistent performer.
These criticisms bothered Upton, who expressed his dissatisfaction with Kendrick's comments in an ESPN the Magazine article earlier this year.
"It was one of the more frustrating days of my life," Upton told Robert Sanchez. "I know I haven't played well, but being called out? Keep that stuff in-house."
The real question for potential suitors—especially large-market clubs—is can Upton handle criticism on a consistent basis? Until he has proven that he can teams should avoid trading for this star.
Chicago Cubs fans have a love/hate relationship with Carlos Marmol.
The 29-year-old closer has drawn the ire of Cubs fans for his propensity to blow games at the most inopportune times.
One memorable blown save took place on May 3 when he blew a 3-0 ninth inning lead to the Cincinnati Reds. The loss left Cubs fans and manager Dale Sveum bewildered and cost Marmol his closing gig for the remainder of May.
Why should a trade for Marmol be avoided?
On paper, Marmol looks like a good closing option as he has compiled 115 saves in seven seasons with the Cubs. He also boasts a 3.38 career ERA, which is pretty good as well. The problem with Marmol is not that he doesn't have good stuff—he does—it's the fact he suffers bouts of wildness at the most inopportune times.
“`You’ve got to be able to throw strikes if you’re closing,’’ Sveum told the Chicago Sun-Times after his May 3 meltdown against the Reds.
Marmol was almost traded earlier this month to the L.A. Angels for Dan Haren. The deal fell apart due to health concerns with Haren and Marmol is still a Cub—for now.
One player who has failed to live up to expectations is John Lackey of the Boston Red Sox.
The 34-year-old right hander spent eight successful seasons with the L.A. Angels where he posted a 102-71 record. He was also a member of the 2002 club that won the World Series over the San Francisco Giants.
The Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract after the 2009 season and hoped he would take the helm of the pitching staff. Instead, Lackey has been a major disappointment to this point of time, posting a 26-23 record and missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John reconstructive surgery.
Why a trade for Lackey should be avoided?
There have been several prominent pitchers (John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter) who have come back successfully from Tommy John reconstructive surgery. But you have to wonder whether or not a team is willing to risk giving up prospects and paying $30.5 million over the next two seasons for a pitcher who is almost 35, coming off Tommy John surgery, and hasn't had a strong season since 2007.
Trading for Lackey at this point in his career doesn't seem like a good choice for teams looking for pitching value.
There was once a time when Alex Rodriguez was one of the most feared hitters in the game.
The 37-year-old New York Yankees third baseman had a stretch in his career where he hit 35 home runs or more in 11 consecutive seasons. He currently places fifth in all-time career home runs (647) and seventh in RBI (1950).
Why a trade for Rodriguez should be avoided?
There is no denying the fact that Rodriguez is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball. His three AL MVP's and 14 All-Star appearances speak for itself. The problem seems to be—for whatever reason—Rodriguez doesn't have the desire or determination to be the best player in the game.
His 2012 postseason showing was atrocious as he batted a miniscule .120 in seven games. He also showed a lack of focus during the ALCS as he was caught hitting on two female fans.
Rodriguez is still owed $114 million plus associated marketing bonuses. It would be very hard to justify trading for a player who has shown lack of focus in recent years. Conversely, it would be hard for a GM to justify giving up prospects and paying a large salary to a player who was exceedingly average (.272 BA, 18 HR, 57 RBI) in 2012.
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