The AL west offers some unusual excitement this season as the Rangers and the Angels look to be the two top contenders heading into the second half. Seattle and Oakland will prepare for the future. Here are some trade possibilities for the AL West.
After losing the first two games of their four-game series in Texas, the Angels struggled to keep their post season hopes alive. It makes sense that they traded pitchers Joe Saunders , Pat Corbin, and Rafael Rodriguez as well as a player to be named for Dan Haren . Haren left his first start for the Angels on Monday after being hit by a line drive off the bat of Kevin Youkilis . Haren will have his bruised right forearm examined again today.
Dan Haren (SP ANA) The good news is that he moved from the fourth-rated batters park to the twenty-fifth rated batters park. The bad news is two-fold. Pitchers get better numbers when they are on a national league team. Haren has not had great numbers anyway this season, and is known to be more effective in the first half of the season. His BABIP is pretty high, but who is to say it will go down in the American league? Even though his strikeout rate is right on track with 141 strikeouts in 141 innings, he is walking too many batters. It is so easy to want Haren’s fantasy value to rise, but be cautious on this one and don’t trade the farm to get him.
Joe Saunders (SP ARI) In 120 innings, Saunders has struck out only 64 batters and walked 45. His numbers have not improved in the last five seasons, maintaining an ERA of around 4.2. His WAR (wins above replacement) value is less than one at .8 this season, showing us that the Angels literally gave up nothing by trading him.
As much as this move seems to increase the fantasy value of Haren, we must remember that it is Saunders moving into the national league where pitchers simply put up better numbers. Two pitchers of equal talent will perform better in the NL. Those pitchers in the AL are already burdened by the DH rule, but they are facing stronger batters than in the NL. Give some to the player in the weaker league, which is Joe Saunders.
Pat Corbin (SP ANA) is 13-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts in Triple-A so far this season. Corbin was a second-round pick in 2009, but did not come into the season rated as a top prospect. He only pitched 46 innings before this season and is already at 118.2 innings for 2010, so don’t count on him to be helpful to your fantasy team this season.
Rafael Rodriguez (P ANA) In 30.2 innings for the Angels this season, Rodriguez has struck out ten batters, given up four home runs, walked nine and allowed 19 earned runs. These are not good numbers by any means and he was probably just thrown into the deal to make it look better. Ah, the classic quantity over quality tactic. Don’t ever fall for it.
The recent signing of Alberto Callaspo was an upgrade from Brandon Wood. Mike Scioscia made it clear the Angels had a depth issue and feels Callaspo can make a difference with his bat. Many have questioned the move since Macier Izturis is now healthy and available to take over for struggling Brandon Wood.
David Aardsma (RP SEA) is signed for $2.75MM in 2010 and becomes a free agent next season. Who knows what Aardsma is worth, but there are several contending teams targeting a relief pitcher, and the best teams in baseball could benefit from Aardsma’s services, but according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the Mariners would need “their socks knocked off to move Aardsma.
Brandon League is next in line at the closer position in Seattle and would cost the Mariners much less than resigning Aardsma for 2011. League has not been impressive this season with two saves, five blown saves, and walks three batters per nine innings on average. It is pretty safe to say that one of these two relief pitchers is about to be traded.
Jose Lopez (2B SEA) has a salary of only $2.3 million this year and could be a target for teams needing infield help. Considering all the “loafing around” the Mariners are doing on the field, Wakamatsu would most likely have no problem trading him away.
Lopez is having a dismal season so far, with only six home runs and three stolen bases in over 400 plate appearances. Even though his offense suffers, he is rated one of the top defensive players in the league. The Red Sox may have interest in his defensive abilities if they do not expect Dustin Pedroia to be healthy in the near future.
Casey Kotchman (1B SEA) costs $3.71 million in 2010, making him an affordable option for any team looking to add depth. Now that the Mariners have Russell Branyan and prospect Justin Smoak, there is no reason to keep Kotchman around.
Watch for the Mariners to bring up Michael Pineda who is having great success in the minors is 11 and two with an ERA of 2.68, and K/9 rate of 11.1. Seattle may consider moving Ryan Rowland-Smith to the bullpen to bring Pineda up to pitch in the rotation.
On Saturday ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that there is a "major split between the Mariners' front office and field staff.” This comes the morning after Chone Figgins and manager Don Wakamatsu were seen in a physical confrontation on Friday night in the dugout. Apparently, Wakamatsu was getting on Figgins for his lackadaisical attitude on the field.
When Mike Cameron hit a line-drive toward the left field wall, Michael Saunders threw it in to Figgins, who didn't make any attempt to pick it up. Instead he watched it roll right by, turning a double into a triple.
Morosi of FOX Sports tweets on Saturday, “It's unlikely that the M's move Jason Vargas .”
Chris Iannetta (C COL) could be an option for the Mariners, who are also struggling behind the plate. Iannetta hasn’t had much opportunity to play this season since Miguel Olivo has proven to be the Rockies number one catcher.
The Mariners have declared they will be “competitive in 2012” and will continue to sign international prospects throughout the year. They are off to a busy start, signing a total of six international prospects since mid-July.
Rigoberto Garcia (SP SEA) The right-handed Pitcher from the Dominican Republic was described by V.P. of International Operations, Bob Engle, as “a tall young man who has strong arm and all the makings to become a true power pitcher.” He is showing solid fastball with potential to grow into a nice starter in the next couple years.
Luis Pina (SP SEA) A 17-year-old left hander from Venezuela, Pina has a “good feel for pitching,” according to Engle but expects some time for adjustments. He is accomplished, poised and already has good feel for pitching. He will have to make some adjustments in his delivery as many young pitchers do, but physically has ability to be solid in all areas.” Pina will receive an invitation to the 2010 Instructional League in Arizona.
Erick Gomez (SP SEA) The Venezuelan left-hander is said to show good “mechanics” but most likely will not see the majors for several years.
Phillip Castillo (OF SEA) Receiving a $2.2 million signing bonus, the 16-year-old Colombian right-hander is a power hitter who Baseball America refers to as “a wiry corner outfielder with good hitting ability and above average raw power.”
Jose Torres (SP SEA) Receiving an $851,000 signing bonus, Torres is known as Colombia’s top pitching prospect and arguably Columbia’s top prospect overall this year. He is 6’3 with a fastball reaching 90 MPH, and could develop a decent curveball as he matures.
Yordyn Calderon (3B SEA) Receiving a $477,000 signing bonus, Calderon is showing raw power at the plate but could grow into a five tool player. He is ranked 18th by Baseball America.
During a bankruptcy hearing involving the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, a Dallas lawyer showed up and told the court that he represented an undisclosed bidder for the team. A lawyer for prospective owner Nolan Ryan quickly revealed the name of that bidder: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Jorge Cantu (1B FLA) is owed $2 million for the rest of 2010, which has many scratching their heads as to how in the world the Rangers can afford to acquire him without letting go of some payroll. The presiding judge in the Rangers’ bankruptcy trial has decided to “allow for the team to extend their line of credit to MLB.”
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, “The Rangers are making a strong push for an infielder as the deadline approaches.” Texas is in search of a right-handed batter to play first base to replace Chris Davis, who may be batting poorly for the last time in the majors this season. The Giants, Marlins and Rockies have also been mentioned have interest in Cantu.
Lance Berkman (1B HOU) Batting at .250 this season, Berkman does not have the same value he used to, but fantasy owners could certainly benefit if Berkman if traded to the powerful Texas line-up. Berkman is in the final year of his contract making him an easy target.
Derrek Lee (1B CHC) is having the worst season of his career, showing his contact rate down from over 80% in 2009, to approximately 70% in 2010. Lee is also in the final year of his contract leading many to believe he will be traded.
Ty Wigginton (1B, 2B, 3B BAL) is batting .272 with 16 home runs this season while being used at several positions as a replacement for injured players including Garrett Atkins, Brian Roberts, and Miguel Tejada. Wigginton can play nearly any position on the field making him one of the top targeted players at the deadline.
Xavier Nady (CHC 1B, OF) was mentioned by ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine, who said the Rangers have "serious interest".
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland A's pitcher Ben Sheets has re-injured his elbow, sending him back to the disabled list. This is trouble given Sheets injury history and the fact that he said he “might be” out for the season. Brett Anderson will take over the empty spot in the rotation as he is set to come off the disabled list this week.
Oakland signed Sheets to a one-year deal worth $10 million and because the team is not in contention this year, Sheets would have most likely been used in a trade to help build the team for the future. On Saturday general manager, Billy Beane states, "it would behoove" the A's to hang on to Sheets. That is nice since they most likely have no other option.
The Mets, Phillies, and Rangers are just some of the teams that were said to be eyeing Sheets. So far this season, he has a 4.53 ERA with 6.3 strikeouts per nine, and 3.2 walks per nine.
Kurt Suzuki (C OAK) signed a four-year contract on Friday, agreeing to a salary of $16.25 million per year through 2013. The new contract includes a vesting option that kicks in at $9.25 million in 2014 if he plays at least 118 games in 2013. If not, the team option is to keep him at $8.5 million or buyout for $650,000.