The New York Yankees just finished their parade celebrating their 27th World Series. Do you know what that means? It is officially the MLB off-season and teams are looking to make a deal. For reasons that only they know you will see teams either cut or add payroll. And with that comes the trade rumors.
Here are some of the names and rumors that are making the rounds in a variety of MLB circles that I have been hearing and want is being reported by the mainstream media.
Curtis Granderson- CF- Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball in a city that may have been hit the hardest by the nations economic crisis. Granderson is the guy that many teams want, including the Yankees, Angels and Cubs.
All three are a teams that could afford to take on the remaining amount of Granderson's contract, $25.75 million guaranteed over the next three years. The Yankees though seem like the most likely landing spot. They have a need for a center fielder that can play gold glove defense and leadoff hitter with pop. Granderson fills both those needs. He also would be cheaper than Johnny Damon, who is seeking a deal that would pay him in the $13 to $17 million dollar range.
The rumor is Brian Cashman and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski met with each other at the GM meetings and had a "preliminary discussion" involving players changing teams in a Granderson deal. A deal could happen soon, real soon according to some sources close to both teams.
Roy Halladay- P- Toronto Blue Jays: "Doc" maybe the best pitcher in the big leagues right now and the Blue Jays know he will not resign with them after the 2010 season so they are willing to deal him (and that includes to other AL East teams). The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Marlins and Phillies all have been linked to him.
This will be steep for Halladay. By all accounts the Jays are looking for two pitchers with one being Major League ready and a positional player. All the teams involved have the players to get it done and he may be cheaper than free agent pitcher John Lackey.
B.J. Upton- CF- Tampa Bay Rays: Upton is a gold glove caliber center fielder coming off a bad year at the plate. He played most of 2009 injured (shoulder and ankle) and it effected his over all performance. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Rangers checked on his availability as part of their offseason routine, but no talks are ongoing.
Other teams that may have interest are the Yankees, Angels, Mets and the Cubs. The price for Upton will be steep if the Rays are willing to deal him, which I think is highly unlikely. Upton, when healthy, reminds me of Eric Davis, a 5 tool player that can the change the game offensively or defensively.
Adrian Gonzalez- 1B- San Diego Padres: Gonzalez is a bargain with a very affordable contract. He has been linked to the Red Sox, but the Dodgers, who almost dealt for him at the trade deadline, are also a very likely landing spot. Gonzalez plays very good defense and is a good clubhouse guy as well.
Carl Crawford- LF- Tampa Bay Rays: Why would the Rays be willing to trade both Upton and Crawford? Because Crawford will walk after the 2010 season. Reports are he is miffed at Rays management because they picked up his $10 million dollar option. Reportedly, Crawford had a "handshake agreement" not to pick up the option which would have happened when he signed his current deal before the '05 season, under a completely different regime.
Teams that Crawford could be a good fit for Crawford include the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox (if they don't re-sign Jason Bay), Angels, Rangers, Braves, Brewers and Cubs.
Ryan Doumit- C/DH- Pittsburgh Pirates: According to multiple sources the Pirates "first made it clear" they were willing to deal Doumit before the trade deadline last June. Reports are the Pirates "would not hesitate" to move him for the right package.
Doumit struggled through an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, posting a .250/.299/.414 line in only 75 games. He's just one year removed, however, from a .318/.357/.501 season in which he played almost exclusively behind the plate. His ability to play multiple positions (including catcher), combined with his power, could make him an attractive option to a handful of teams such as Giants, Mariners, and Rays.
Justin Verlander- P- Detroit Tigers: The Tigers moving their ace is not something I see happening, but like the Granderson situation, the Tigers are trying to dump payroll. Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski said "I won't get into that because that is best kept internal." He went on to say that the team is "looking to be fiscally responsible".
Verlander had an outstanding year in 2009, winning 19 games and leading the American League in strikeouts. Verlander can become a free agent after the 2011 season, so you can bet he will be looking for a huge payday.
Edwin Jackson- P- Detroit Tigers: Jackson has been dealt from the Dodgers to the Rays, the Rays to the Tigers and is likely to be moved again this off-season. Jackson's rumored suitors include the Brewers and Dodgers.
Though Jackson is coming off of a breakout season and is still until Detroit's control through 2011, payroll considerations may force the Tigers to include Jackson in trade talks.
For more in-depth baseball rumors please check out http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/. It may be the best site for baseball rumors on the web.
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