MLB Free Agency: 8 'Lame Ducks' in Baseball
The trade deadline has come and passed and pundits have discussed at length which teams were winners and losers. Most people agree that Cleveland got arguably the highest profile pitcher at the trade deadline, while Texas made the biggest improvement obtaining Mike Adams from the Padres.
Still, there are several players who were rumored to be on the move through much of July and even as early as June. Most players say that they don’t pay attention to the rumors, but honestly how could you not?
The following are eight players that were mentioned in all types of trade rumors but weren’t moved before the July 31 deadline. It’s not to say they still won’t pass through waivers and be part of a waiver trade in August, but we’ll see how they respond to being “stuck” on teams that probably won’t make the post season.
B.J Upton: Tampa Bay Rays
Upton was linked to the Pirates (Ryan Ludwick), Braves (Michael Bourne), and Phillies (Hunter Pence), among other teams. Upton, making $4.83 million this year, can be a free agent after 2012. He is hitting just .226 this year with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs.
With the promotion of Desmond Jennings, Upton’s time may be limited and he hasn’t really shown much this year to justify keeping him around. It could be an interesting clubhouse if he decides to throw a tantrum like last year with Evan Longoria.
Heath Bell: San Diego Padres
The Rangers, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, and just about every other team in contention inquired about Bell. He has 121 career saves and is a free agent after this season. He has stated on more than one occasion that he wants to return to San Diego and may take a “home town discount” to do so. The Padres know this, and it's one reason why the Rangers possibly went towards Mike Adams instead.
Josh Willingham: Oakland Athletics
The Pirates (Ludwick) and Yankees were among some of the teams interested in Willingham. After watching him this weekend against the Twins, he seemed like a sure-fire thing to be traded, but GM Billy Beane decided to hang on to Willingham and presumably let him walk after this year.
Brandon League: Seattle Mariners
League has 24 saves this year and has done a nice job with the opportunities that the Mariners have given him. Although his chances have been few and far between, League has solidified himself as the team's closer with last year’s closer David Aardsma out for the season.
Michael Cuddyer: Minnesota Twins
Cuddyer was the subject of rumors along with teammate Jason Kubel for much of the trade season. Cuddyer was drafted by the Twins, and Minnesota usually shows unwavering loyalty to the players they’ve had, with the exception of Torii Hunter. Cuddyer is too much of a “Minnesota Twin” to throw in the towel, and absolutely vital to the Twins making any type of run in August and September.
Jeff Francoeur: Kansas City Royals
The Royals signed Francoeur this off-season in hopes that he would be a leader in the clubhouse for the new crop of Royals coming in. He’s had a great year hitting 13 home runs and knocking in 61. With the youth movement going on in KC, it may be a situation where the Royals are hoping Francoeur can stay on for another year and lead the young Royals back to respectability.
Carlos Quentin: Chicago White sox
The White Sox outfielder was sought by the Phillies (Pence) and Braves (Bourne). GM Kenny Williams has a history of “blowing up” his team when it seems they are in contention and getting prospects to move towards the future. With the White Sox being in the hunt, Williams couldn’t pull the trigger to move Quentin. His health this year has surely helped the Sox as Quentin has 20 home runs and 62 RBI this season.
Jason Kubel: Minnesota Twins
Kubel along with fellow outfielder Michael Cuddyer had been on the hot stove most of July. There was talk of Cuddyer going to the Phillies and Kubel going to the Pirates. Neither of them were moved as GM Billy Smith hopes the addition of Denard Span and Justin Morneau helps the Twins make another late run towards the playoffs. Kubel has played in just 61 games this year but is hitting .306 with 28 RBIs.