Tag:Twins
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Players that could be dealt before August 31

Rodriguez
By Evan Brunell

Although the trade deadline expired on Sunday, it... didn't. At least, not really.

What did expire was the non-waiver trade deadline, in which teams can trade players without restrictions that aren't built into a player's contract such as no-trade clauses and the like. However, trades can still occur for the rest of the season -- players just have to pass through waivers. These waivers are revocable, so if a team claims a player, the original team can revoke waivers. However, it then cannot deal the player, and if he goes on waivers a second time and is claimed, he is lost. That team can also choose not to revoke waivers and give away the player and his contract. This is what happened to Alex Rios when he joined Chicago in 2009 when Toronto no longer felt like paying his deal.

The original team and claiming team can also work out a trade, but a trade can only happen with the team that placed a claim. If the player passes through waivers, he can then be traded to any team. Most teams place the majority of players on waivers, both to hide players the team really wants to deal and to broaden options. Waiver claim priority works in order of worst record to best in the same league, then it moves to the worst record in the other league. These types of trades can happen through September, although August 31st is effectively the cutoff point.

While there have been September trades, they are few and far in-between for two reasons. First is that with the expansion to a 40-man rosters, most teams no longer struggle for depth. Secondly, and more important, is the fact that any player outside of the organization acquired after August 31 is not eligible for the playoffs.

Got all that? Good. Let's take a look at nine players or positions of interest who could be on the move in August (and possibly September).

Heath Bell, Padres
: Heath Bell surprisingly stayed at home at the trade deadline while setup man Mike Adams was sent out. This came as a surprise, as everyone assumed that Bell would be dealt. Clearly, the Padres didn't get an offer that was worth giving up the two compensatory draft picks they would have received once Bell rejected arbitration and signed a lucrative contract with another team, or re-upped with San Diego on a hometown-discount deal.

Except Bell said he plans to accept the Padres' offer of arbitration if they can't come to an accord on a contract. That's how motivated Bell is to stay in town, so the Padres can no longer bank on the compensatory draft picks. Unless traded, Bell is staying a Padre. That could motivate GM Jed Hoyer to kick him out in August, although with a $7.5 million contract on the season, Bell figures to be claimed by many teams who could use a top-flight reliever at little cost.

Randy Choate, Marlins: Not exactly a big name, I know, but Choate is the kind of player that gets dealt every August. He's a left-handed reliever who can plug in a gap for a contender. The Yankees, Red Sox and many other teams would be interested in Choate, who is signed for 2012 at just $1.5 million. He's got peanuts left on his $1 million deal this season and has a sterling 1.66 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. That's not much, but Choate's value is tied up in being able to get left-handed hitters out.

As we see every October, that's incredibly valuable, and Choate has held lefties to a .131/.185/.123 mark on the year, which comes out to a .398 OPS. That's really low. Choate has been linked to the Yankees, but he would have no shortage of suitors if the Marlins made him available.

Ramon Hernandez, Reds: There was plenty of consternation as to why the Reds stood pat at the trade deadline, as well as why Hernandez wasn't moved. With top prospect Devin Mesoraco waiting in the wings in Triple-A, one would think that GM Walt Jocketty would want to capitalize on Hernandez's value, especially to the Giants. Alas, nothing transpired, not even once the Giants and Reds completed their game on Sunday, which some felt might be holding up a deal.

Hernandez is still a good bet to go, even if Cincinnati climbs back into the race thanks to the presence of Mesoraco, as well as help at other spots that the backstop would fetch in a deal. If they begin rebuilding, they have even less need for Hernandez. The only problem is that catching depth is so thin in the majors and Hernandez's salary is so cheap that, like Bell, plenty of teams figure to be interested in placing a claim and blocking a deal.

Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: For some reason, GM Jim Hendry stood pat at the trade deadline and didn't bother to try and convince third-baseman Aramis Ramirez that accepting a deal would be to his benefit. Hendry wants to keep the core of a 90-loss team together for some reason, so even bandying about Ramirez as a possible piece to be moved probably is pointless. But if Hendry has a chance of heart, Ramirez might too.

You see, Ramirez loves Chicago and has his family based there -- except in mid-August, his wife and children pack up and head back to the Dominican Republic. Thus, where he plays to finish off the year becomes less important once his family leaves, which could convince Ramirez to waive his no-trade deal. If that happened, Ramirez could interest the Angels and White Sox, to name two teams. The White Sox would allow the ability to stay in the city, but the roadblock to that is that the Pale Hose are not looking to add payroll.

Athletics outfielder: Oakland really needs to subtract at least one of its outfielders in Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham or David DeJesus, as I mentioned Monday when looking at teams that stood pat at the deadline. Any of these outfielders can help a team, and Willingham and DeJesus may have a pulse in their bat if they can get out of the Coliseum. Free-agent compensation matters here, and Willingham will fetch a price commensurate with two compensatory draft picks, as he's currently set to be a Type-A free agent even if only tenuously. DeJesus is a Type-B free agent and Crisp does not need compensation.

Simply put, Oakland needs to look ahead at 2012 and what it can do to bolster the team. It's one thing if all they're being offered are organizational guys for these players. At that point, GM Billy Beane is probably best suited to just hang onto the players. But Willingham and DeJesus aren't the kind of players that would have scrubs offered. There's real value in these players, and given the unlikelihood of both returning to town, Beane needs to jump on any interest.

Jim Thome, Twins: Here's an interesting name. The Twins, if they fall out of the race, have no need for Thome. In fact, they may be looked upon as doing a favor to Thome in trading him to a contender for a chance to win a World Series in what is likely Thome's final season. Just three home runs away from 600, some have speculated that he will be moved after he reaches the milestone. But given how impressively the Twins draw and the fact Thome doesn't have deep roots with the team makes that hard to believe. He's a candidate to be traded before and after 600 home runs.

The Phillies have been linked to Thome, which would be a fantastic option. Philadelphia is obviously headed toward October, and Thome would be the big bat off the bench that becomes so paramount. Just like left-handed relief specialists, pinch-hitters increase in importance as the amount of games decrease. And if the Phillies somehow make it to the World Series, Thome is a fine DH. Jason Giambi is another player who could fit this mold.

Right-handed hitting platoon outfielder: Might not sound terribly appealing to discuss outfielders that wouldn't start regularly, but as has been mentioned, shoring up depth at the major-league level takes on added importance for the postseason. To be sure, several teams need starting outfielders like any of the A's outfielders or perhaps even the Twins' Jason Kubel, who is also a candidate to be traded in August. But players that can help counteract left-handed pitchers like Choate but don't require a full-time job and don't cost a lot of money are valuable.

Playing time and big bucks aren't necessary for players like Scott Hairston, Jeff Francouer, and Ryan Spilborghs, who can come off the bench and serve as injury replacements, pinch-hitters or platoon outfielders. Hairston and Francouer, especially, have noted success against left-handed pitching and were names to watch at the trade deadline for that very reason. Francouer, in particular, is used to being traded in August, as the Rangers acquired him last season on the 31st to fill the exact role that a team would want him this year for: to hit lefties.

Jeff Francis, Royals: The last two names on this list are both left-handed starters, but that's not why Francis is on the list. No, he's on the list because he's a cheap, back-end option in the rotation. While there might be some better pitchers on the market (see the next name), Francis would work well in the middle of the rotation, perhaps the last starter in a postseason four-man rotation. Injuries will continue to happen between now and the end of the year, and one of those injuries could be a big blow to a contender's rotation -- much like Boston has to deal with the absence of Clay Buchholz.

Francis has soaked up 135 2/3 innings on the year with a 4.38 ERA, which is impressive given he pitches in the AL albeit in a weak division. His peripherals are strong, so that 4.38 ERA isn't a fluke. He can be a real shot in the arm for a contender. While the Royals could really use him in the rotation, which has yet to be anything less than awful, Francis is also a free agent and will certainly parlay his season into a nice contract from a team closer to contending, so K.C. shouldn't be worried about long-term effects of trading Francis, only who they can get in return.

Wandy Rodriguez, Astros: Rodriguez is a step up from Francis, but it's not entirely clear how big of a step up he is. He's working on his fourth straight season of an ERA below 4, but there's serious question among American Leaguers as to whether he could withstand a league switch, which depresses his suitors and the price for the left-hander. His contract is also looking like a pill, as he has $34 million due him from 2011-13 with a club option for 2014 -- but becomes a player option with a trade, and not many teams have interest in Rodriguez choosing to stay with his club for $13 million in a year where he will be 35.

The Astros are willing to eat a good chunk of the contract though, even if they refuse to eat the $17 million that might have made Rodriguez a Yankee before the trade deadline. If the Yankees or another team want Houston to eat that amount of money, it would take a strong prospect surrendered. Rodriguez is a good pitcher, but it seems his stock has dropped just below that tier, so it may be difficult for Houston and other teams to agree to both a return and how much cash the Astros would cover. Still, he's certainly not being claimed on waivers and will be a top-end option for any desperate teams.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:15 pm
 

Saturday's late afternoon trade rumor roundup

By Matt Snyder

We're less than 24 hours on the countdown to the MLB's non-waiver trade deadline -- 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday -- and the rumors are flying left and right. We've seen the Phillies make a huge splash by acquiring Hunter Pence, and already Saturday three trades have been agreed upon -- the Tigers getting starting pitcher Doug Fister (Knobler), the Brewers acquiring Jerry Hairston (Miller) and the Red Sox acquiring Mike Aviles (EOB). More moves are certainly on the way, if not Saturday night, sometime Sunday. Let's dive in to what we've seen since the early afternoon post -- and remember, everything is fluid right now. Things could change in a literal heartbeat, so make sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest.

• As you may have seen, CBSSports.com's own Scott Miller reports that the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are hot on the trail of Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Miller also reported that the Cardinals and Dodgers are very close on a trade that would send shortstop Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals.

MLB Trade Deadline
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the White Sox are willing to part with right fielder Carlos Quentin and left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, but the price is high. Also those are the only two pieces general manager Kenny Williams is willing to move.

Miller reports the Twins would like to trade pitcher Kevin Slowey to the Rockies, but the Rockies are unmotivated to make such a move at this time.

• In our earlier roundup, we noted the Red Sox have talked to the A's about outfielder Josh Willingham and starting pitcher Rich Harden, and Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston adds outfielder Coco Crisp's name to the mix, though it sounds like there's no match there.

ESPN's Jayson Stark reports the Nationals are making progress on a deal that would land Twins center fielder Denard Span, but the Twins are insisting closer Drew Storen be included in the deal. The Nationals would prefer to deal Tyler Clippard instead, reports Miller. Miller also mentioned the Twins would not trade for a setup man -- but that was earlier this morning -- so it's possible Stark's report is a signal the Nats are thinking of moving Storen or are warming up to Clippard. Also, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported that the Twins will want center fielder Roger Bernadina along with a reliever for Span.

• The Pirates and A's are talking a bat and a reliever, reports Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

• Finally, the Ubaldo Jimenez rumor mill is running at full capacity. Here's what is new since earlier this afternoon: Per Morosi, the Reds aren't talking to the Rockies about Jimenez any longer. Troy Renck of the Denver Post says the Rockies haven't spoken with the Yankees Saturday, but the Yankees are unlikely to include both Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances, two of their most highly-touted prospects. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Rockies have a scout watching Ivan Nova Saturday night. Possibly a package revolving around Montero and Nova? We'll see ...

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Saturday afternoon trade rumors

By Matt Snyder

We're approaching the 24-hour mark on the countdown to the MLB's non-waiver trade deadline and things are definitely starting to heat up. We've seen the Phillies make a huge splash by acquiring Hunter Pence, and already Saturday two trades have been agreed upon -- the Tigers getting starting pitcher Doug Fister (Knobler) and the Brewers acquiring Jerry Hairston (Miller). There's bound to be more on what should be a big day in Major League Baseball. Let's dive in to what we've seen thus far -- and remember, everything is fluid right now. Things could change in a literal heartbeat, so make sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest.

Ubaldo Jimenez's name just won't go away, so let's sum up all the rumors here. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports not much has changed, as the Yankees and Red Sox have the best shot, while the Indians and Blue Jays are on the fringe -- also reporting that the Rockies might just keep Jimenez. The Yankees are "all over" him, reports ESPN's Tim Kirkjian. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the price for Jimenez may go down, though Troy Renck of the Denver Post says it won't. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Yankees and Rockies aren't even close to finding "common ground" on Jimenez's value. SI.com's Jon Heyman has the Red Sox, Reds, Blue Jays, Indians and Yankees in on Jimenez.

• The Twins are unlikely to trade Jason Kubel or Michael Cuddyer, reports Miller.

MLB Trade Deadline
• The Rangers are after White Sox reliever Matt Thornton, reports Rosenthal. He added that the White Sox want starter Derek Holland in return, but the Rangers wouldn't do that unless they got a starter like John Danks in return.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports the Red Sox have discussed a deal for Josh Willingham and Rich Harden with the A's.

Jim Bowden of ESPN reports the Red Sox have pulled out in front in the race for Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda, though he was emphatic the Cardinals wouldn't trade Colby Rasmus. Rosenthal reports the Red Sox interest picked up after Erik Bedard's bad start Friday night. Olney reports the Yankees and Dodgers haven't discussed Kiroda for a bit.

• The Phillies called the Twins about Jim Thome, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.

• Finally, having lost out on Pence, the Braves are looking for outfield alternatives. Marlon Byrd of the Cubs could be an option, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rosenthal reports the Braves are "almost certain" to land someone before the deadline, naming B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham and Carlos Quentin. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports Bourn is definitely on the Braves' radar. Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Braves are heavily in on Quentin. Of course, Nightengale also notes the Red Sox are hot after Quentin. And Fox Sports reports the Indians, Nationals, Braves and Reds are after Bourn.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:36 am
 

Friday night trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Now that Hunter Pence is off the table, it seems Heath Bell is the latest big name certain to move. But that doesn't mean he's the only one. There are plenty more rumors out there.

One of the most interesting is the Cardinals having interest in Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports

This comes after the Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss tweeted shortstop had become the team's "priority" at the non-waiver trade deadline. 

Furcal, 33, is struggling this season, hitting .195/.267/.241 coming into Friday's game but could still help the Cardinals -- which tells you all you need to know about the team's struggles at the position.

• A new hot rumor is that the Tigers are making a push for Ubaldo Jimenez and have offered top prospect Jacob Turner, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Turner, the team's 2009 first-round pick, is 3-5 with a 3.48 ERA at Double-A Erie this season. He has 90 strikeouts and 32 walks in 113 2/3 innings. The Tigers would prefer not to deal anyone from their big-league roster.

The Tigers are also dangling lefty Andy Oliver in return for a pitcher that can help them now, such as Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda or even the Nationals' Jason Marquis, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Oliver was rated as the team's No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America heading into the season. He's 6-7 with a 4.64 ERA at Triple-A Toledo with 102 strikeouts and 52 walks in 106 2/3 innings. He was the team's second-round pick in 2009. He made five starts for Detroit last season and two this season. Overall he's 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in the big leagues with 23 strikeouts and 21 walks in 31 2/3 innings.

• The Astros dealt Pence on Friday, but MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets the Astros have told inquiring teams that shortstop Clint Barmes is unavailable.

• The Pirates are still looking for an outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets, and that bat may be the Twins' Jason Kubel, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch writes.

• Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the odds of his team making a deal are "50/50."

Towers also said there are six or seven prospects he doesn't want to deal.

• Brewers general manager Bob Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is still looking at deals, but wasn't hopeful of completing another. On Thursday the Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays and brought him from Triple-A Durham where he was playing for Tampa Bay before bringing him to Milwaukee to replace the injured Rickie Weeks.

Melvin said the team would love to find another infielder, but isn't seeing many on the market. The Brewers have rumored to have talked to the Dodgers about both Jamey Carroll and Furcal.

However, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweets the Dodgers' conversations about Carroll "have died."

• Orioles reliever Koji Uehara is a hot name, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets. He says Uehara will go somewhere. He'll make any bullpen better. However, Rosenthal tweets that it's only a 50-50 chance the Orioles move Uehara. He is 13 appearances shy of a $4 million vesting option for 2012. The Baltimore Sun links Uehara with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers and notes all five of those teams have had scouts around the Orioles in recent series.

• The Rangers are certainly interested in bullpen help, but San Diego may not be their only trading parter. Brady Tinker of Fox Sports Southwest, tweets Andrew Bailey of the Athletics is the "most likely top bullpen addition" by Texas.

• The Braves may be reluctant to make much of a deal at the deadline so they don't repeat the Mark Teixeira mistake when the team sent, among others, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The Braves are refusing to give up any of their top four pitching prospects -- Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor. They could look at dealing from that grow in the offseason when the team could be searching to fill more holes. Atlanta has placed center fielders Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list in the last two days with Jose Constanza starting on Friday, making his big-league debut. Yahoo!'s Passan tweets the team is targeting center fielders. Rosenthal writes Atlanta is looking not only at center fielders such as B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, but also corner outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham.

• The Marlins appear to be holding pat at the deadline, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. That means they'll keep closer Leo Nunez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Friday afternoon trade rumor roundup

Pence

By Evan Brunell

Today's the last weekday prior to the trade deadline, which expires on Sunday. Will there be a flurry of activity much like there was Wednesday when Colby Rasmus was part of a three-team deal and Carlos Beltran headed to San Francisco? It's too early to tell, but here's the latest rumors, headlined by Hunter Pence. If you're looking for information on Ubaldo Jimenez, we've broken that off into its own story -- head here and check it out.

HUNTER PENCE

MLB Trade Deadline
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says the Reds are on Michael Bourn, Houston's center fielder. An odd fit, given the team has Drew Stubbs, but Stubbs has been struggling this year and Bourn can impact Cincinnati at the top of the lineup. The team is also in on Hunter Pence, but Rosenthal tabs Pence as the "Phillies' to lose."

On Thursday, a deal between Philadelphia and Houston was so close that Pence was told during the game that night he was being removed due to a trade, as Heyman reports, but he never came out of the game. That's because a potential deal Philadelphia would have engineered with Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart and a third piece fell through when the 'Stros wanted Domonic Brown. Both sides are so close, though, it's hard to imagine a trade doesn't eventually happen. Heyman, for his part, thinks a deal will happen if it's Brown and Cosart for Pence.

However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post isn't ready to count out Atlanta. The 'Stros appear to prefer the Braves' prospects, but Atlanta refuses to deal Mike Minor. If that changes, Pence could be a Brave. Will that be enough to keep him out of Philly, a team Heyman says will "do whatever it takes" to get Pence?
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Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:38 pm
 

Thursday afternoon rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It appears the Padres' Heath Bell may be the next big name off the trade board. CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller writes the talks are heating up, but there's still plenty of other trade rumors out there, so here we go:

• The Red Sox are looking at starting pitching, but they are telling team's they're focused on a right-handed-hitting outfielder, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler tweeted.

• Knobler also reports the Tigers are down to three options for a starter -- Hiroki Kuroda, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Guthrie.

• Have the Red Sox and Mariners matched up for a deal? FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports the Mariners had two scouts watching the Red Sox's Triple-A team on Wednesday and another eyeing the Double-A team. The Red Sox are "all over" left-hander Erik Bedard, a source told Rosenthal. Boston could also be interested in right-hander Doug Fister or closer Brandon League, too.

• Bell expects to be a Ranger by Friday. Why? His parents are flying in from Texas on Thursday to spend 10 days with his family in San Diego, Bell joked to reporters after Wednesday night's game. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune also says the Braves, Indians and Reds are the most interested in Ryan Ludwick, but you may want to cross the Indians off the list after they acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on Thursday. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets that the Philles are also interested.

• After Wednesday's loss to the Rockies, Kuroda -- who has a no-trade clause -- told reporters, "My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform [other] than the Dodgers uniform right now." Still, MLB.com's Ken Gurick writes the Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers are still making a push for the right-hander. 

• The Brewers are interested in the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal and Jamey Carroll, but the Dodgers will only trade one of the two, Rosenthal writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said the Giants have talked to Los Angeles about Furcal.

• La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Twins aren't looking to deal Denard Span, but notes the Nationals may be interested in Ben Revere or prospects Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks.

The rumor on Wednesday was that the teams were considering a Span for Drew Storen trade, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson cites a "baseball source" as saying the Nationals wouldn't do that deal.

• The Twins are looking for bullpen help, FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes, and could be targeting the Rockies. Colorado could deal right-handers Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle, and could even give up closer Huston Street for the right price. The Rockies would be interested in Minnesota's Kevin Slowey.

• Rangers manager Ron Washington reiterates his call for bullpen help. The team is apparently interested in Bell and Leo Nunez, with Robbie Erlin and Chris Davis being dangled.

• The Phillies have given up on getting Houston's Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. The Braves are the last team in on Pence, he said.

• The Mariners will be busy selling off pieces between now and Sunday's deadline, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes.

• The Cardinals are focusing on middle-infield help, Rosenthal tweets, as shortstop Ryan Theriot struggles.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:23 pm
 

5 under-the-radar trade targets to watch

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sure, Carlos Beltran has been traded and there are still waves about Ubaldo Jimenez and other big names, but often it's the role players that are important in a pennant race. Here's guys that won't exactly stop the press, but could make a new team very happy they made a deal:

Josh Willingham1. Josh Willingham, Athletics: While not quite as sexy an acquisition as Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence, B.J. Upton or even Ryan Ludwick, Willingham is certainly in demand.

Willingham is currently hitting .240/.327/.428 -- turning in his lowest OPS since becoming a regular big-leaguer. Playing in pitcher-friendly Oakland certainly doesn't help, but he does have 13 home runs in 324 plate appearances and a career .363 on-base percentage. Willingham has 116 career homers and could supply some pop to a team that needs a right-handed bat, and there are plenty of those. Both the Braves and Red Sox are in need of a right-handed bat in the outfield.

Willingham is a free agent after the season and currently projects as a Type A free agent, so it's possible the A's keep him if nobody meets their asking price.

Jamey Carroll2. Jamey Carroll, Dodgers: Carroll was a guy that was getting interest from Milwaukee before Rickie Weeks suffered a severely sprained ankle on Wednesday, and now he makes even more sense.

Not a bopper by any stretch of the imagination (he has just 12 career homers in 3,273 career plate appearances -- that's one homer every 272.75 plate appearances, and none since 2009), but he's a solid, steady bat hitting .291/.362/.356, a line that's pretty consistent with his .277/.356/.349 career slash line.

The 37-year-old can play around the infield and would step in at second for the Brewers -- and even be part of a mini-youth movement in Milwaukee where he'd take over the spot of 40-year-old Craig Counsell

The Indians are also interested in Carroll, who played in Cleveland in 2008 and 2009. There he would be used to back up rookies Jason Kipnis at second and Lonnie Chisenall at third base.

Coco Crisp3. Coco Crisp, Athletics: Crisp isn't having his best season, but the veteran center fielder could still help plenty of teams looking to shore up an outfield rotation or add a fourth outfielder.

Hitting .266/.317/.384 for Oakland this season, the 31-year-old has seen his stats drop from last season, and his .317 on-base percentage is his lowest since 2006. He does have 27 stolen bases, just five from his career-best.

CBSSports.com colleague Scott Miller made an interesting observation about Crisp, saying he's similar to Dave Roberts in 2004. Red Sox fans don't have to be reminded about Roberts' impact on Boston's title chase. 

The Indians and Reds have shown interest in Crisp, who could also help out the Pirates.

Koji Uehara4. Koji Uehara, Orioles: He's not exactly a household name, but the 36-year-old Japanese right-hander has been one of the game’s best relievers the last couple of years. 

Uehara has a 1.80 ERA this season in 45 innings, striking out 59 and walking eight. His WHIP is down to 0.689, but he has given up six homer so far this season, but that's about the only chink in his armor. In his career he's struck out 6.48 hitters for every walk.

Last season he closed some for the Orioles and converted 13 of 15 chances, so he could even fill that role if needed.

The Rangers, Pirates, Tigers and Twins have shown interest in him. He would upgrade any bullpen he joins.

Clint Barmes5. Clint Barmes, Astros: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And in the NL Central, Clint Barmes is a legitimate shortstop.

The Astros traded for the player better known as the guy before Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado or the guy who fell down the stairs carrying deer meat, but he's had a decent season in Houston. He's hitting .254/.320/.402 with seven homers for the Astros. Better yet, he's a good defensive shortstop -- and Ozzie Smith compared to the likes of Yuniesky Betancourt, Edgar Renteria and Ryan Theriot.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler wrote the Brewers are interested in Barmes. The Brewers added Felipe Lopez on Thursday, but Lopez is not a legitimate shortstop (of course, neither is Betancourt) and will report to Triple-A.

Another team to watch may be the Diamondbacks, who lost Stephen Drew to a broken ankle. 

Barmes is a free agent after the season.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:35 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:36 am
 

Nationals, Twins discuss Span, Storen

By Scott Miller

Looking to plug an organizational hole in center field, the Nationals have approached the Twins about a possible deal involving center fielder Denard Span, sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com Wednesday night.

The Twins want Nationals closer Drew Storen in return in a deal that could expand. The talks were first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com.

Washington has been involved in multiple talks for a center fielder this week, including Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton and, before he was dealt to Toronto, St. Louis' Colby Rasmus. The Nationals currently are going with Roger Bernadina but really are not in love with any of their long-term candidates going forward.

Minnesota, according to one source, is not shopping Span but became interested when approached by the Nationals. The emergence of Ben Revere this season could make Span expendable.

Furthermore, the Twins, who Wednesday gained another game on Detroit with a win over Texas, now are six games back and continue to view the AL Central as a winnable division. They came into July intent on acquiring bullpen help and think they could accomplish that in a Span deal to Washington.

The Twins are looking at relief help not only this year, but for 2012. Both Joe Nathan and Matt Capps could become free agents this winter.

Minnesota holds a $12.5 million option for 2012 on Nathan, or a $2 million buyout. The Twins are not expected to pick up the option, though they could negotiate a new deal to bring Nathan back.

Meanwhile, Capps' contract is up after 2011 and he will be a free agent this winter.

Acquiring Storen not only would add late-innings depth during this summer's stretch run, it also could give the Twins a long-term solution at closer if Capps and Nathan both leave this winter.

There is a live trade deadline chat this Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. Write it into your calendar now!

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