MLB Trade Speculation: Updating 5 Players Who Could Still Move in August
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Sure, July 31 has come and gone. With that, the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline has expired. But that doesn't necessarily mean that teams are done trading here in 2011.
August is a period in baseball where contenders find those final pieces to shore up their rosters for their playoff push, while teams who are out of the race look to shed payroll and refurbish their farm systems.
According to Cot's Baseball Contracts:
In August, clubs submit revocable waiver requests for most players. If a player is not claimed within 47 business-day hours, he may be traded to any club. If a player is claimed by another club, the request may be withdrawn, allowing the player’s current club to pull him back.
However, the player’s current club also may 1) work out a trade with the claiming club within 48 ½ business-day hours, or 2) elect to allow the claiming club to take the player and assume responsibility for his current contract.
So let's take a look at some players who could be dealt over the next three-to-four weeks, including players who were expected to be dealt prior to the July 31 deadline, but still remain with their original ballclubs.
Jeff Francoeur is having a nice bounceback campaign in his first season as a Royal.
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After hitting just .249 with 13 home runs between New York and Texas in 2010, Jeff Francoeur is having a solid rebound season in 2011. In his first season with Kansas City, Frenchy has already smacked 15 home runs and is hitting at a .273 clip. The veteran presence he provides to the Royals' young club can't be underestimated either.
Yet, Francoeur, who was sought-after prior to the July 31 deadline, is a prime August trade candidate. He's currently playing on a one-year deal, which contains a $4.5 million mutual option for 2012—a reasonable price for his services.
Assuming he passes through waivers, a contending team with a hole in right field could scoop him up to help give their offense a boost heading towards October. To me, the Boston Red Sox, who had kicked the tires on Francoeur last month, make the most sense.
If he's traded this month, it would mark the second consecutive August that the right fielder is dealt. It was last August that the Mets traded Francoeur to the Rangers, as he helped them reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Kyle Farnsworth is having a fine season as the Rays' closer in 2011
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In January, the Tampa Bay Rays signed right-hander Kyle Farnsworth to a one-year deal to become the team's closer. In an offseason where the majority of their relief core departed for other clubs, the Rays needed a power arm out of their bullpen.
But Farnsworth has taken the role and run with it, sporting a nifty 2.05 ERA, striking out 34 and walking only eight batters over 44 innings. Quietly, Farnsworth has put together a very fine 2011 campaign.
The Rays, however, have pretty much fallen out of contention in the American League. And, though his contract includes a club option for 2012, Farnsworth could be an August trade target for a team that did not solidify its bullpen before the July 31 deadline (the Cardinals and Twins could be considerations).
Aramis Ramirez has full-no trade protection
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Aramis Ramirez is an interesting case.
Third basemen in baseball have collectively struggled this year. So just about any contender could use an upgrade at the hot corner, and Ramirez could certainly provide a needed boost, both offensively and defensively.
The Cubs third baseman does have 5-and-10 rights, meaning he can veto any trade. He has repeatedly said he wants to stay on the North Side. But the appeal of playing for a contending team may have its perks to the 33-year-old.
The Angels, Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks are all contenders who could use Ramirez' bat in their lineup.
Wandy Rodriguez is owed almost $40 million over the next three years.
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Up until the 4:00 deadline on July 31, there were rumors swirling around the Houston Astros and Wandy Rodriguez. Some say he was close to being dealt to the Yankees. Others had him going to Boston. But all signs were pointing towards the lefty being dealt prior to the deadline.
Nevertheless, the left-hander is still donning an Astros jersey. It's understandable that Astros were unable to find a trade partner, as they were asking teams to eat a large portion of the near-$40 million left on his contract. As MLBTradeRumors.com reports, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees were willing to take on $21 million, but the Astros wanted more.
Rodriguez still remains a high candidate for an August deal, as he will likely clear waivers due to his large contract. But the Astros will thereby gain another month to try and deal the talented left-hander to a contending club. We usually don't see big-name players moved in August, but Rodriguez could be an exception to that in 2011.
Rafael Betancourt has been one of the more reliable set-up men over the past few seasons.
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It's hard to find a more reliable and dependable middle reliever than Rafael Betancourt. Since appearing in 38 innings during his rookie season in 2003, the right-hander has pitched fewer than 60 innings in a season just twice (56 in '06 and '09). And, he's been consistent and effective over his career as well.
Over his eight-plus seasons in the big leagues, Betancourt owns a 583/30 K/BB ratio. He also has a lifetime 3.26 ERA, which was inflated by a rough 2008 campaign (5.07 ERA).
In January, he signed a one-year extension with the Colorado Rockies, which also includes a mutual option for 2013. The Rockies, however, have bottomed out and are likely out of contention in 2011.
Betancourt, profiles as a potential trade chip for a contender in need of some bullpen enhancements. The Angels, Diamondbacks and Red Sox were all in on him during trade talks last month, though the D-Backs are likely out after acquiring Brad Ziegler from the A's.