Felix Hernandez and 5 Other MLB Players That Should Be Picked Up by Contenders
We are still two months away from the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline, and the season is not even close to halfway over.
But, we know that each year contenders make acquisitions to boost their team for the playoffs.
With the exception of the Cleveland Indians, it is no surprise to see many of the same teams fighting for their respective divisions and suiting up for an interesting wildcard race.
The following players are guaranteed to lift any team that acquires them.
Feel free to share your thoughts. Now let's get to it!
Players are ranked in order of their potential impact after a possible trade.
6. Vladimir Guerrero, Baltimore Orioles
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
2011 Stats: .309 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI, .333 OBP
Postseason Exp: 2004-2010 (except 2006), 2010 WS Appearance
If Vlad gets traded, he is more likely staying in the AL since he rarely sees the field anymore. He only played in the outfield 18 games last season with Texas and is yet to touch a glove this season.
At 36, Guerrero might not reach 30 HR again, but he's still good for his fair share of dingers. Also, a .319 career BA shows he can still swing the bat and be productive.
The Orioles are in the toughest division in baseball. Chances of them finishing higher than fourth is slim to none, so it would benefit them to get something in return for Guerrero while they still can.
5. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets
Carlos Beltran, RF
2011 Stats: .280 BA, 8 HR, 25 RBI, .377 OBP
Postseason Exp: 2004, 2006
The last time Carlos Beltran was traded was in 2004 to the Astros. He was sensational and went on a postseason tear in which he hit 8 HR. His great postseason run is what landed him a seven-year, $119 million contract with the Mets.
That huge contract expires at the end of this season. After several injury-plagued seasons in New York, Beltran is unlikely to receive another big contract. Age also factors in since he is 34.
Beltran's production so far in 2011 indicates he is still capable of providing a contender with a potent bat in the lineup.
As a "10-and-5" player, Beltran will have the luxury to veto any potential trades.
4. Jose Reyes, New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS
2011 Stats: .310 BA, HR, 15 RBI, .362 OBP, 17 SB
Postseason Exp: 2006
It is no secret that throughout his career, Reyes is the engine that gets the Mets going by getting on base and then wreaking havoc on them with his legs.
He can continue doing the same anywhere else he goes.
The dynamic shortstop will be a free agent at the conclusion of this season. Also, Reyes is still young; he'll be 28 in a few weeks.
A contender that acquires him can possibly make Reyes more than just a rental.
3. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder, 1B
2011 Stats: .282 BA, 11 HR, 37 RBI, .375 OBP
Postseason Exp: 2008
Fielder didn't perform well when the Brewers made the playoffs in 2008. His only hit in four games was a 2-run HR. If Fielder returns to the playoffs in 2011, he cannot disappoint.
Regardless, there is no denying the talent he brings to the plate. A hot streak at the right time can carry his team through the playoffs.
What also can't be denied is the group of players Milwaukee already locked up that doesn't include Fielder.
If Milwaukee doesn't plan on resigning the big guy, trading him this summer would be best. As a marquee slugger, the Brewers can get some good assets in return.
Like Reyes, Fielder is also young. At 27, he can still earn another big contract with a new team.
2. Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle, RHP
2011 Stats: 4-3, 3.92 ERA, 66.2 IP, 32 SO, 0 CG
Postseason Exp: 2000, 2005 WS Champion, 2008
The 32 year old qualifies as a 10-and-5 player, meaning Buehrle cannot be traded without his permission.
He will likely accept any trade that sends him to a bona fide contender. This is the classic case of renting a player for a playoff push. Buehrle's contract expires at the end of the season.
We all know the cliche, "good pitching always beats good hitting."
Buehrle still has several good years left in him. He is exactly the kind of pitcher any contender is looking for: a lefty that can go deep into games, isn't afraid of the big stage and has been to the promised land before.
Unless the White Sox still believe they can make the playoffs, look for Chicago to be sellers in July. Plenty of teams will be calling for Mr. Buehrle.
1. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Felix Hernandez, RHP
2011 Stats: 5-4, 3.01 ERA, 77.2 IP, 77 SO, 2 CG
Postseason Exp: None
Felix Hernandez signed a five-year, $78 million extension with Seattle last year that includes a limited no-trade clause. However, if a team puts the right offer on the table before GM Jack Zduriencik, it will be tough for him to turn it down.
It would be a win-win for both sides, as the Mariners cash in on their superstar in an effort to build towards the future and Hernandez can finally showcase his talent in the postseason.
The entire AL West is separated by three games, but the Mariners are not expected to hang around much longer.
It is safe to say that the price tag for Hernandez will be greater than what the Houston Astros gave up for Randy Johnson in 1998 (minor league prospects Carlos Guillen, Freddy Garcia and John Halama).
Due to the high price tag, few teams have a chance to acquire Hernandez. The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are both World Series contenders clearly in need of pitching help.
A team that can pull off this blockbuster deal will receive a player that can dominate in October for many years to come.