Ivan Rodriguez to the San Francisco Giants and 5 Moves That Would Shake Up MLB
As the calendar turns to June, the first third of the baseball season has now slipped away and the dog days of summer are fast approaching. This season, only a very few unfortunate teams have fallen flat on their faces out of the gate and find themselves out of contention.
So far, it's shaping up to be a heated race in all six divisions this year and a year where some sleepers might be able to actually take some division crowns.
Even two months ago, no one would have guessed that the Cleveland Indians would have the best record in baseball and are on pace to run away with the AL Central division.
Injuries have been the main storyline for baseball this season, if you don't count the complete and utter demise of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. It is going to be vital for teams to replace their injured stars, such as catcher Buster Posey in San Francisco and both Howie Kendrick and Kendrys Morales for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Offensive production has been seemingly down this year across the board, which means midseason acquisitions will have even more of a vital impact on clubs that want to prove their worth as contenders.
Here are five moves that will truly bring hope to some teams in need and bring some financial relief to teams dreading sweltering through summer.
Ivan Rodriguez to the SF Giants for Alex Hinshaw and Tommy Joseph
Pudge, the immortal backstop who constantly finds ways to produce, will be the first Washington Nationals position player to be traded off this summer. Nationals pitchers such as Jason Marquis and Todd Coffey could potentially also be dealt at some point this year because of their strong early-season performance, but the Giants need a catcher now that Buster Posey is gone.
San Fransisco general manager Brian Sabean has to fill the gaping hole his prized young slugger Posey left after suffering a gruesome broken leg and can find some relief in the trusted Gold Glove and Silver Slugging bat of future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, the 40-year-old Puerto Rican native, is currently floundering while batting only .211. He only has two home runs and has only driven in 14 runs. However, Rodriguez is still a "gamer," meaning that he is motivated by competition and a challenge.
Rodriguez does not have a whole lot more in him—which is no offense considering his incredible efforts in what is now a 20-year professional career—giving him even more incentive to bring home a championship ring with what some argue is the best pitching staff in the game.
The two players the Giants would give up would be left-handed pitching prospect Alex Hinshaw, who could contribute immediately to the Nationals bullpen but could not crack the deep Giants pitching staff.
Along with Hinshaw would be young catching prospect Tommy Joseph, a 19-year-old slugger currently at High-A ball. Joseph is currently ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Giants system, but with Posey to return next season at the age of 24, there is less need for depth.
The Giants will find a way to get this done and bring some fire to their depleted backstop spot, most likely with the highly available Pudge or with some other sleeper that looms in the background.
Rangers OF David Murphy to the Diamondbacks for P Aaron Heilman
The Texas Rangers, who last year managed to pull off two highly successful deals as they managed to acquire ex-Giants catcher Bengie Molina and ace pitcher Cliff Lee from the Mariners, are once again in need of some help to get over the hump.
Although at 30-26 and in first place in the AL Western division, the Rangers bullpen has struggled this year in contrast to how it shone last year in the spotlight.
With Alexi Ogando moving up into the starting rotation, even more pressure was added to the aging arms of Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver, who are both over 40 years old. This being said, the two class acts have regressed this year, as Oliver currently posts a 1-5 record and Rhodes currently has a 4.85 ERA.
Coupled with the fact reliever Darren O'Day had hip surgery in late April and his return for 2011 is questionable, the Rangers are certainly lacking depth in the bullpen.
The Rangers always have extra offense though, and sweet-swinging David Murphy might be the Rangers meal ticket to picking up a clutch reliever. With Endy Chavez batting .351 after replacing mildly injured outfielders Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, the Rangers have been starting Chavez over the .224-batting Murphy.
However, the Diamondbacks just might want to take a flyer on Murphy's swing and might be willing to give up a bullpen arm considering their depth in that facet of the game.
Aaron Heilman was once the closer for the New York Mets and in the running for the D'Backs closer's role as well. However, Heilman has struggled to get guys out and posted an unsightly 8.15 ERA. Alas, Heilman is still 4-0 so he has just been very inconsistent and had some terrible outings.
D'Backs starting left fielder Gerardo Parra is currently only batting .264 and does not have anyone nipping at his heels. Parra is mired in a 2-for-19 slump that has raised questions about his ability to contribute to the D'Backs' successful run to first place.
This move could be a straight-up deal that provides some benefit to both clubs and to both players involved.
Twins Scott Baker to the Phillies for Much-Needed Prospects
The Twins have suffered a tragic setback this season. Their 18-37 record has depressed the Twin Cities and made most believe that this will be a long summer.
One way that the Twins can make this summer better is to get some prized prospects in return for ace Scott Baker. Baker has been a consistent starter ever since he went 11-4 in 2008 and currently has a 3.86 ERA.
The Philadelphia Phillies, two up in the NL East over the Florida Marlins, have been struggling to find a successful fifth starter. Baker would solidify the best rotation in baseball, as he can fill the void of fifth starter that Joe Blanton, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick have all been unable to satisfy.
The Phillies have replaced Worley, who has struggled after getting off to an excellent start in his first full season, with Kendrick, who has excelled out of the bullpen. Having Baker would allow the Fightin' Phils to have an even stronger bullpen.
The Twins, who do not have minor league infield depth, could really use a guy like the Phillies Cesar Hernandez, a 22-year-old second baseman currently the No. 9 prospect in the organization.
Another Hernandez—Fidel—is lighting up Double-A with a .307 average. Outfield prospect Aaron Altherr could also boost the Twins' mediocre farm system. Altherr's 6'5" frame and raw skills such as lightning speed and consistently making powerful contact.
This trade could help both teams, as the Phillies wish to bolster their team in preparation of making a playoff push and the Twins, who could wipe their tears with more prospects.
Orioles OF Vladimir Guerrero to the Seattle Mariners for RP Dan Cortes
Vladimir Guerrero, the perennial slugger that has an insatiable desire to keep proving his critics wrong, might want to jump over to the other dugout after his last couple games. Following the recent Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners series, it was clear that the Orioles have the better team.
However, the Orioles play in the AL East and therefore, they are the sellers come July.
Vlad is an incredible hitter who continues to produce while never meeting a pitch he wouldn't swing at. The 36-year-old is batting .289 for the Orioles, who at four games under .500 find themselves in the cellar with no prospects upwards.
The Orioles could get some quality relief from the Mariners, who at 28-27 are 1.5 games back of the Rangers. They could trade Vlad to the Mariners for touted reliever Dan Cortes, who throws in the mid-90s with a plus off-speed pitch could be a big benefit for the Orioles, who have the third-worst ERA in the MLB.
Cortes has struggled with his command, which has been the reason he has not been able to stick in the big leagues. But, with his kind of raw talent and the fact that he is only 24, the Orioles could find themselves a setup man or closer for a long time.
Then, the Mariners could get some production from their designated hitter spot, currently filled by the .233-hitting Jack Cust, who could be filling in at first base or the outfield.
After dismissing the disastrous Milton Bradley, his replacement in center field Franklin Guttierez hasn't been much better, posting a .220 average with no power. Big 6'4" Michael Saunders has also been given a look in center, but has disappointed with a .168 average thus far.
Putting Vladimir in the lineup would instantly bring a power threat to the Pacific Northwest, whose fans believe that behind a pitching staff anchored by Miguel Pineda and a young slugger in Justin Smoak can really do some damage.
Mets P R.A. Dickey to the Brewers for OF Prospect Eric Komatsu
The New York Mets, mired in what could be the worst run in franchise history, are once again looking at being sellers come the trade deadline. They will probably be unable to unload large contracts like Jose Reyes' $11 million yearly contract and both of Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran's bloated contracts.
However, they could get rid of a small amount of their ridiculous payroll by dealing R.A. Dickey to the Milwaukee Brewers for highly touted outfield prospect Eric Komatsu.
The Brewers, at 30-26, are only two games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central division. The Brewers have a fragile back end of their starting rotation, with the oft-injured Randy Wolf holding up thus far and the inconsistent Chris Narveson suffering growing pains in his second full season.
Narveson had a 4.99 ERA in his rookie year and we expected to see major improvements for the big lefty, but so far he has staggered to a 2-4 record with a 4.68 ERA. With Zack Greinke also experiencing struggles, as evidenced by his 5.29 ERA, the Brew Crew could use the veteran arm of Dickey.
Dickey has a 4.39 ERA right now, but had a 2.84 ERA last year and a .251 batting average against, good for the top 15 for NL starting pitchers in both categories. Dickey's current 2-6 record actually helps the Brewers because that does not mean they have to give up one of their top 10 prospects.
Komatsu, a 24-year-old left-hander, is currently batting .321 for Double-A Huntsville and his .413 on-base percentage is in the top five in the Southern League. Komatsu could be another option in the outfield for the Mets come 2012, when Beltran will be a free agent and center fielder Angel Pagan is arbitration eligible.