Trading Asdrubal Cabrera in early July 2012 would have been a very wise move.
For all of you forward-thinking fantasy players, you're probably way ahead of me in coming up with a list of players who've given you great value in the first half, but won't come close to maintaining production for the remainder of the season. You'll spend the next few weeks looking for the best trade before their value begins to dip too much.
If you need help identifying this year's version of Asdrubal Cabrera (.286 BA, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 20 2B, 34 BB in 1st half of 2012; .251 BA, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 15 2B, 18 BB in 2nd half of 2012), let me give you some suggestions.
Here are seven players you should consider trading before midseason.
The 26-year-old shortstop was enjoying a breakout season with a slash line of .305/.382/.418 and on pace for over 60 stolen bases. Everth Cabrera was also hitting .459 (28-for-61) with 12 stolen bases this month before a strained hamstring landed him on the disabled list earlier in the week.
While he's expected to return when eligible on July 1, it's important to note how common it is for players to come back too soon and re-aggravate such an injury.
As an arbitration-eligible player putting up big numbers, Cabrera does not want to spend too much time out. As one of their key players on a surprisingly competitive team, the Padres might not be as patient as necessary, either, if they begin to struggle.
Other risk factors include the potential for Cabrera to take a more cautious approach on the base paths to avoid re-injury and the fact that he probably won't be in the same groove he had been once he returns to the lineup in a few weeks.
Lastly, a suspension could be looming as Cabrera was one of the players named in the Biogenesis scandal currently being investigated by MLB.
Since entering the San Diego Padres rotation back on April 20, Andrew Cashner has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the league. The 26-year-old has also pitched at least six innings in nine of 11 starts, while allowing three earned runs or less eight times and no more than four earned runs in any start.
While this is a very encouraging sign for the Padres, who are 37-36 and only 2.5 games out in the NL West, Cashner has been injury-prone throughout his career and has only pitched more than 100 innings twice in his career (2009: 100.1 IP in AA; 2010: 111.1 IP between MLB, AAA, AA).
The Padres reportedly want to limit his innings to around 150, which could end his season after he makes roughly eight to 10 starts after the All-Star break. In order for him to last further into the year, he could be pushed back a day or two whenever possible or be removed from games earlier than normal. Neither option would be good for your fantasy team.
The 40-year-old Bartolo Colon is on a roll with a 6-0 record and a 1.05 ERA over his last six starts. He was having a great season in 2012, too, before his season ended with a 50-game suspension for a positive PED test.
Aside from the fact that he faces another possible suspension, according to an ESPN report (h/y Paul Gutierrez of CSNCalifornia.com), this time 100 games, in connection with the Biogenesis investigation, I couldn't give you a specific reason as to why there's no way he'll have a productive second half.
He was still going strong when he made his last start of the 2012 season on August 18 (8 IP, ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 K).
But if whatever illegal substance he took helped his out-of-shape 39-year-old body succeed late into the season last year and he's not taking anything anymore, I can almost guarantee you he won't hold up.
Twenty-year-old rookie sensation Jose Fernandez is already establishing himself as one of the great young pitchers in the game. Making the jump from High-A, he's had no problem adjusting to the big leagues as he's posted a 3.05 ERA with a 3.3 BB/9 and 9.2 K/9.
The Miami Marlins plan on shutting him down, however, somewhere between 150-170 innings. On a non-playoff contender, expect them to take the more cautious approach and lean toward the 150-innings cap.
While Fernandez's readiness for the majors is extremely rare for a player his age, it's yet to be seen how he can hold up, both mentally and physically, over the course of a big league season. That uncertainty and the eventual shutdown should be enough reason to trade him in a few weeks.
It took an oblique injury to finally slow down Evan Gattis, who has been on a tear since the start of the season and continued even when Brian McCann's return took away some of his playing time. The 26-year-old continued to mash when given the opportunity and has made himself into one of the most-feared pinch-hitters in the game.
The concern is that the sporadic playing time may have finally affected his sharpness at the plate. He was only 2 for his last 26 —both homers, by the way— before going on the disabled list.
A rehab stint where he can get at least four or five games of regular playing time would be ideal before he returns, although it's hard to see him having the same impact later in the year when he's only getting a couple starts per week.
Daniel Nava's been a huge part of the Red Sox's first-half success, which isn't a total surprise. The switch-hitting outfielder hit .300 with 10 doubles in 80 first-half at-bats in 2010 and .275 with three homers and 17 doubles in 171 at-bats last season before tailing off badly during the second half on both occasions.
So it's an easy call here, right? He'll be terrible in the second half because the same thing happened in his other two big league seasons. Well, yeah. But before the numbers start to dip, he's already boosted his value a ton by hitting .281 with 10 homers and 45 runs batted in, and expectations will be for him to keep it up in the second half.
I don't think he'll be completely useless, but I also don't expect him to be as good. With Mike Carp also hitting the ball well and the potential that Jackie Bradley Jr. heats up in Triple-A, Nava could get a quick hook if he does slump. And act quick just in case it's already happening. The 30-year-old is 2 for his last 20.
Originally slated as the team's fourth outfielder, Gerardo Parra is having a breakout season while playing everyday, courtesy of an Adam Eaton injury and a lack of production from Jason Kubel and Cody Ross.
I'm a believer in Parra's talent, and his Gold Glove defense makes him deserving of an everyday job. But with Eaton due back in a few weeks, the Arizona Diamondbacks will likely have a four-man rotation going.
And let's face it. Veteran players like Kubel and Ross eventually get hot and will likely starting hitting at some point. Expect Parra to lose some at-bats and don't be surprised if he cools down after an impressive start (.311 BA, 5 HR, 23 RB).