MLB Trades 2011: A Player Every AL Team Should Have Traded
This year's MLB trade deadline was likely one of the most uneventful and disappointing deadlines, that baseball fans have had to endure, in recent memory. Fans across the nation were more worried than they were excited about the prospect of their favorite team making a trade.
Whether it was because fans were afraid they would miss out on filling a need in their lineup or because they thought they would give up too much on a questionable upgrade, this deadline seemed to leave people on edge.
Now that the deadline is passed, there are more sighs of relief, across baseball, than there are cheers. But had these 14 players been traded from their American League teams everyone would have had something to cheer about.
Baltimore Orioles: Vladimir Guerrero
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Stats: AVG .284 / HR 9 / RBI 35 / OBP .319
Take into consideration that Guerrero accomplished that at the age of 35, while also winning an AL Silver Slugger last season.
But don't get carried away.
Throughout the history of baseball, teams have learned to take seasons, like Guerrero’s last year, with a grain of salt. Many GMs have lost their jobs offering ridiculous contracts to aging stars that re-lived their former glory for a season only to implode after signing for big money at the end of their career.
Evidently, Orioles GM Andy MacPhail was absent the day they taught history in GM school.
MacPhail avoided making a “terrible” mistake by not signing Guerrero to a multi-year deal. Instead he only made a really big mistake by giving him $3-$4 million more, this season, than any other team in baseball was willing to pay him.
It gets worse.
MacPhail bid against himself in the process of acquiring Guerrero. Initially the Orioles offered Guerrero a contract of $3-$5 million, which was a competitive offer. GMs throughout baseball were laughing at Guerrero's agent for requesting more than $5 million to sign him. Yet somehow as interest in Guerrero was waning MacPhail picked up the phone, called up Guerrero's agent, and sealed the deal -- for $8 million.
Apparently MacPhail was also absent the day they taught economics in GM school.
One look at Guerrero's stats this season and it is clear why Oriole fans and GM Andy MacPhail would want to clear his payroll via trade.
Waivers anyone? Doubtful.
Boston Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka
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Stats: ERA 5.30 / W-L 3-3 / SO 26 / BB 23 / WHIP 1.47
Daisuke Matsuzaka is both loved and loathed by the Red Sox nation.
Boston took a big gamble when they spent over $51 million dollars to purchase the rights to Matsuzaka from the Seibu Lions of Japan before signing him to a six-year, $52 million dollar deal.
Daisuke was brilliant in his first two seasons with the Boston Red Sox. In 2007, his rookie season, the Red Sox won the World Series and in 2008 he posted an 18-3 record, with an ERA of 2.90 and 154 strikeouts.
Since 2008, Daisuke has been riddled with injuries that have tremendously affected his performance.
Starting just seven games this season, while pitching 37.1 innings and recently making yet another trip to the 60-Day DL, Red Sox fans are ready to send Matsuzaka packing. This makes for the third consecutive season that Daisuke has not performed.
In Boston that doesn’t cut, especially, for what the Red Sox are paying him.
Note: Daisuke Matsuzake cannot be traded while on othe DL.
(Apologies to J.D Drew)
Chicago White Sox: Alex Rios
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Stats: AVG .207 / HR 6 / 24 RBI / OBP .253
The only people who seem to get excited about Alex Rios’ play this season for the Chicago White Sox are players and managers on other teams. He has been as much a bust as he has been a success.
In 2009, the White Sox acquired Rios in a trade from the Toronto Blue Jays hoping he would be the bat that pushed the team past the Minnesota Twins and into the playoffs. Instead, over 41 games with the White Sox, he hit for a .199 AVG, with just 3 HRs and 9 RBIs. The White Sox missed the playoffs.
At the start of last season many White Sox fans feared the worst, believing that the trade to acquire Rios was a big mistake.
Rios ultimately won back much of the Sox fanbase by posting a .284 AVG, with 21 HRs, 88 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in a bounce back season. But whatever ground Rios might have made up with his poor performance in 2009, he has given back with his dismal performance this season.
If White Sox GM Kenny Williams could find a buyer he’d trade Rios just to dispatch his $12-plus million salary from the payroll.
(Apologies to Adam Dunn and Juan Pierre)
Cleveland Indians: Fausto Carmona
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Stats: ERA 5.31 / W-L 5-11 / SO 68 / BB 39 / WHIP 1.37
If there has ever been a player in the history of the Cleveland Indians organization that needed to go it would be Fausto Carmona.
Carmona’s claim to fame came in 2007, during his second season, when he nearly became a 20 game winner posting a 19-8 record.
Since then, former manager Eric Wedge and current manager Manny Acta have had to take a stroll out to the mound early, in far too many games, to pull Carmona.
It was not too long ago that the Indians rotation featured C.C Sabathia and Cliff Lee alongside Carmona, which makes this situation worse. The Indians traded away two of the most sought after pitchers in all of baseball and kept Carmona who they hoped would be their star of the future.
Now 31-43 with a 5.21 ERA since his break out year in 2007, the Indians are wishing they had a couple mulligans to use on some of their recent front office decisions.
Hopefully, they won’t need one for their newly acquired “ace” Ubaldo Jimenez.
Either way, Carmona has got to go.
Detroit Tigers: Magglio Ordonez
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Stats: AVG .236 / HR 4 / RBI 19 / OBP .297
After witnessing Magglio Ordonez’s rapid decline in production since his career year in 2007, GM David Dombrowski made the right decision to decline Ordonez $15 million dollar player option for 2011.
It was a decision that would have served him better had he not turned around and re-signed Ordonez to a one-year deal worth $10 million.
Ordonez has not produced $10 million worth of statistics in his last two seasons combined. So, when reports surfaced that Ordonez was staying in Detroit for $10 million, many people were shocked. And despite being a fan favorite in Detroit, fans are not thrilled that Ordonez is taking up roster space, especially with the numbers he is putting up this season.
With a tight race in the American League Central every year, the Tigers cannot afford to sacrifice run production by keeping Ordonez in the lineup every day.
If Dombrowski could make it happen, Ordonez would be gone.
Kansas City Royals: Kyle Davies
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Stats: ERA 6.75 / W-L 1-9 / SO 50 / BB 26 / WHIP 1.79
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost is wishing that starter Kyle Davies stat line was full of typos. If Yost took one look at Davies’ expanded stat sheet he would probably burn it and then send Davies’ packing for Double-A Northwest Arkansas where his stats say he belongs.
ESPN.com is projecting that Davies will finish 2-14 this season with a 6.75 ERA and a .322 BAA. In his six-year career in the majors, Davies has only ever had one winning season, posting a career record of 43-65. How Davies ever signed a contract that payed over $3 million dollars is baffling.
Davies has no business pitching in the majors for the Royals.
With the financial restrictions that the Royals have, Davies is someone they would like to trade to get off their payroll. If they could trade Davies for a Class A-Advanced prospect they would be getting a bargain.
Los Angeles Angels: Vernon Wells
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Stats: AVG .212 / HR 16 / RBI 41 / OBP .241
No, you did not misread Vernon Wells salary.
No, you did not misread his statistics.
Yes, he is having the worst season of his career.
Yes, the Angels know they made a mistake.
Vernon Wells is having the worst season of his career as the Texas Rangers hold a two game lead over the Los Angeles Angels. Wells has spent some time on the DL this season, but he has still failed to produce when healthy.
A glance at his HR stat leaves most people feeling like Wells is not doing too poorly, but one glance back at his salary and reality sets back in. He has scored 42 times this season, which equates to earning $634,353.73 per run. Those are some pretty expensive trots around the bases.
The Angeles acquired Wells to add power, stability and some extra speed to their batting order. So far, Wells has not been anything like what they hoped he would be when they traded catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera to acquire him this past offseason.
If Angels GM Tony Reagins could do things all over again he would keep Napoli and Rivera and let the Toronto Blue Jays pay Wells ridiculous salary.
While it's nearly impossible to imagine the Angels trading Wells, don’t think it hasn't crossed the minds of the front office staff.
Minnesota Twins: Carl Pavano
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Stats: ERA 4.90 / W-L 6-8 / SO 60 / BB 30 / WHIP 1.37
After spending almost his entire tenure with the Yankees on the disabled list, Pavano has worked hard to come back from his injuries to contribute again in the majors. Now in his third season with the Twins, Carl Pavano has probably had some of his best outings, on the mound, in Minnesota.
But one look at his stats this year and all of that fades away and one is reminded of how old Pavano is.
With so many teams looking to upgrade their rotation at the deadline, it is a wonder that Pavano wasn’t in the mix of more trade talks. The Twins likely could have secured a decent return for Pavano, a chance they probably will not get back.
With the Twins still hopeful that they can close the seven game gap between themselves and Detroit, don’t be surprised if Pavano is placed on waivers, in an attempt at alleviating payroll and upgrading elsewhere.
New York Yankees: A.J Burnett
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Stats: ERA 4.23 / W-L 8-9 / 120 SO / BB 63 / WHIP 1.29
The New York Yankees signed A.J Burnett to a five-year $82.5 million deal in December 2008. Now just a few short years later and Yankee fans are calling the deal one of the worst pitching deals of the decade, just behind that of Kevin Brown and Carl Pavano.
Burnett has failed to live up to the hype that led to his signing with the Yankees.
The 34-year-old right-hander can't seem to keep his control through a full seven inning outing. Burnett’s command has been his Achilles heel ever since he joined the Yankees. Burnett has proven that he can't be trusted in a big game situation.
In last year’s postseason run he was pulled from the rotation before he returned in the ALCS against the Texas Rangers. Burnett was rocked by the Rangers and the Yankees were pushed out of the playoffs.
With the team’s rotation struggling, the Yankees are looking for someone to step up and be the two-man behind C.C Sabathia. This season Burnett has continued to be inconsistent and unreliable. The truth is the Yankees would be better off without Burnett.
If Yankees GM Brian Cashman could have found a team in the NL with a big enough payroll, who was interested in Burnett, then Cashman would have pulled the trigger.
Yankee fans are fed up and they are ready to see A.J Burnett pack his bags.
Oakland Athletics: Brian Fuentes
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Stats: ERA 4.43 / SV 12 / SO 31 / BB 17 / WHIP 1.38
What is wrong with this picture?
Oakland Athletics closer Brian Fuentes is being pulled from the game.
If you are the closer for your team you are supposed to be lights out. Under no circumstances are you supposed to blow your save opportunity so bad that your manager feels like someone else in the bullpen could be doing a better job.
Fuentes has proven time and time again this season that the Athletics are better off with him in the bullpen, rather than on the mound. A’s manager Bob Melvin has had to take the ball from his closer and look to his bullpen way too often this season.
Fuentes has done so poorly that he is no longer the A’s closer and has not been for some time. He lost that job to Andrew Bailey, who is having a terrific season at one-tenth Fuentes' salary.
Fuentes holds a 2-8 record coming out of the bullpen and now only functions as a left-handed specialist.
The Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane will most likely place Fuentes on waivers in an attempt to clear payroll. $5 million dollars is a costly price to pay for a guy you do not want on the mound.
Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins
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Stats: AVG .185 / HR 1 / RBI 15 / OBP .239
In an attempt at rebuilding their franchise with solid and consistent players, the Seattle Mariners signed infielder Chone Figgins to a four-year, $36 million dollar deal before the 2010 season. Since signing that deal, Figgins has been nothing short of atrocious.
He has been benched on several occasions this season, in hopes a few days off might help him overcome the mental hurdles currently affecting his play. But Figgins has continued to play poorly, despite the best efforts of Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
The Mariners could easily bring up their Double-A or Triple-A third baseman and either one could post numbers better than Figgins is producing this season.
Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is really kicking himself for signing Figgins.
Expect him to be placed on waivers.
Tampa Bay Rays: B.J. Upton
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Stats: AVG .224 / HR 16 / RBI 54 / OBP .306
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has not been having a bad season. In fact, he is currently on pace to have his best season since 2007.
Still, with the Rays unlikely to make the playoffs this season, they would have liked to traded Upton this season, assuming the price was right, than have to face arbitration in the future.
If the Rays have a strong second half, and either the Yankees or Boston fall apart, they will be glad they held on to Upton this season.
Either way, Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman is still hoping to get something in return for his star center fielder.
Texas Rangers: Arthur Rhodes
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Stats: ERA 4.91 / W-L 3-3 / SO 15 / BB 8 / WHIP 1.48
After having back-to-back strong seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, the Texas Rangers signed 19-year veteran Arthur Rhodes to a nearly $4 million dollar deal hoping to bolster their bullpen. Rhodes, thus far, has failed to be the kind of bullpen support that the Rangers were hoping for.
Rhodes has become primarily a left-handed specialist for the Rangers.
Now that the Rangers have acquired relief pitchers Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles, do not be surprised if Rhodes ends up on waivers.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jon Rauch
Stats: ERA 4.06 / SV 9 / SO 31 / BB 12 / WHIP 1.26
Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jon Rauch is not having a terrible season. He is actually doing fairly well considering what he has to work with in Toronto.
One thing Rauch does have a problem doing is keeping his mouth shut. One look at his ESPN player profile picture and it will have you wondering if Rauch is using steroids. One look at this picture and you can be fairly certain something has got Rauch in a “rage.”
Rauch has bounced around the league here and there for this reason and while his arm has helped Toronto this season, they could have traded him in attempts at upgrading for next season.
Since the Jays having no shot of catching the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox and are 10 games behind the New York Yankees, they should have considered upgrading for the future.
There is still a chance Rauch could move via waivers. There is a market for Rauch as divisional races grow tighter and the need for bullpen help increases. Still, the chances are slim.