Archive for the ‘What's His Trade Market?’ Category

Lyle Overbay: What’s His Trade Market?

December 19, 2009

Now that the big four-team trade between the Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland A’s is officially completed, it’s time to take a look at some of the fallout from the trade.

One of the players moved in the trade was 1B/3B Brett Wallace from Oakland to Toronto. While Wallace came up in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization as a third baseman, he is widely viewed as a first baseman in the future.

With Wallace seemingly ready to take over the first base duties in Toronto, it means current first baseman Lyle Overbay might be out of a job. With just one year remaining on his contract and the Blue Jays in complete rebuilding mode, Overbay seems like a prime trade candidate either this offseason or during the regular season.

Overbay could be traded

That being said (cue Larry David), lets take a look at the pros and cons of Overbay and what teams might be interested in trading for the former University of Nevada, Reno star.

Pros

At 32-years-old, Overbay has been a pretty consistent player over his nine-year major league career. You can usually pencil Overbay in for a .275 average with 10-15 home runs and an OBP above .350.

Here is a surprise about Overbay–his OPS has increased each of the last three years (.706 to .777 to .838).

Where Overbay really shines is on the defensive side of the ball. Overbay is one of the better defensive first baseman in the game.

During the 80’s and early 90’s, guys like Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, and Will Clark showed us the value of having a great defensive player manning first base.

The value of a good defensive first baseman was lost a little during the late-90’s and early 2000’s when slugging, DH-types were playing first base. Now with guys like Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Gonzalez, playing great defense at first is in vogue again.

Overbay can help any team defensively.

The last pro for Overbay is his contract. As I mentioned above, Overbay has one-year remaining on his contract and is owed $7 million for that one year. It’s a very reasonable contract for what Overbay should produce.

Over the last three years, Overbay has been paid $13.2 million by the Blue Jays and according to Fangraphs, Overbay has been worth $18.5 million to the Blue Jays.

Cons

Overbay has been consistent alright–consistently average. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a big star? He is a poor man’s John Olerud.

Perhaps Overbay was never supposed to be a star. Perhaps he was just meant to hit like I said, .275 every year.

While Overbay’s contract doesn’t seem prohibitive at $7 million, in this economy it might be. $7 million in today’s economy is probably the equivalent to $12 million a couple of years ago.

Every team is looking for a bargain these days and the Blue Jays might have to eat a couple of million on Overbay’s contract in order to trade him.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Overbay, lets take a look at what teams might be interested in the native of Centralia, WA.

Atlanta Braves: Talks between Atlanta and Adam LaRoche seem to be going nowhere. The Braves need a bat and could replace LaRoche with Overbay.

New York Mets: The Mets have current first baseman Daniel Murphy still on the roster, but I don’t think Murphy will be the Mets’ full-time first baseman in 2010.

The Mets are talking about bringing Carlos Delgado back, which would be a mistake. Overbay would help improve the Mets’ below average infield defense.

San Francisco Giants: I have no idea what Brian Sabean is doing at this point. The Dan Uggla to the Giants trade, which seems like has been rumored to be happening for the last five months, is on life support.

Overbay wouldn’t be a bad Plan B. The Giants need a first baseman and a gap-to-gap hitter like Overbay could hit 40+ doubles in AT&T Park.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are in full defense first mode this offseason. GM Theo Epstein is determined to improve the Red Sox defensively in 2010.

The talk now is that the Red Sox are comfortable going into 2010 with Casey Kotchman as their first baseman. Overbay is just as good defensively and is a better offensive player.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners could be waiting for last year’s first baseman Russell Branyan to lower his demands of a two-year deal. Overbay could be a nice fallback option.

Overbay fits GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense first mentality.

I am going to say there is a very good chance Overbay gets traded at some point. However, he’s more likely he gets traded during the regular season.

The Blue Jays will most likely have Wallace start the season in the minors in order to increase his service time. Overbay will start the season as the first baseman and then will be moved in June or July once Wallace is ready.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Derek Lowe: What’s His Trade Market?

November 23, 2009

On January 13, 2009, the Atlanta Braves signed Derek Lowe to a four-year, $60 million deal. The Braves signed Lowe after they failed to sign AJ Burnett, who signed with the New York Yankees.

Now less than one year later, the Braves are looking to trade 6’6” righty.

Why would the Braves look to trade Lowe just after one year? Well, for one, they feel they have an excess of pitching. And two, if they are able to trade Lowe, they could free up some money to add offense.

The Braves want to unload Lowe

So can the Braves trade Lowe? Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Lowe and what teams would be interested in trading for the former member of Red Sox Nation.

Pros

If you trade for Lowe, you are going to trade for one of the most durable pitchers in the game.

Lowe has started 30-plus games every season since moving from the bullpen to a starter in 2002. And since moving to the National League in 2005, Lowe has led the league in starts three out of those five years.

Over the last three years, Lowe is third in the National League in innings pitched with 605. In a sport where quantity counts just as much as quality for a pitcher, Lowe’s durability goes a long way.

Perhaps Lowe’s best asset is his ability to pitch well in big games. We all know what he did in the 2004 playoffs for the Red Sox winning the clinching game in all three series.

Lowe was also solid in two out of his three starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2008 playoffs.

Cons

Can you believe Lowe is going to be 37-years-old next year? It’s a little surprising considering that he looks a lot younger.

And with Lowe getting older, perhaps his age started to show in 2009. Lowe’s ERA rose from 3.24 in 2008 to 4.67 in 2009 and Lowe’s hits/9 increased to 10.7, which was his highest since 2004 (11/9).

Lowe K’s/9 went down from 6.3 in 2008 to 5.1 in 2009 and his BB/9 went up from 1.9 in 2008 to 2.9 in 2009. And while Lowe is known as a sinkerball/groundball pitcher, in 2009 he threw a lower percentage of groundballs (56.3) than at any point during his career.

It’s never a good sign when a groundball pitcher is throwing more flyballs than ever.

Lastly, the biggest con Lowe has going for him is his contract. Lowe still has three years and $45 million on his contract. The Braves overpaid for Lowe last year and they are going to hard pressed to move that size contract in this economy.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Lowe, let’s take a look at the teams that might be interested in trading for the native of Dearborn, MI.

Milwaukee Brewers: There was a lot of talk recently of a Lowe for Corey Hart swap, but that was correctly turned down by the Brewers.

I know the Brewers are desperate for starting pitching, but even if all things were equal I wouldn’t have made that move if I was the Brewers’ GM.

New York Yankees: The Yankees had their choice between Burnett and Lowe last year and went with the younger Lowe. However, if Andy Pettitte doesn’t come back they feel Phil Hughes is still better suited to be in the pen, then Lowe could be an option.

It would be a long shot, but an option none the less.

Seattle Mariners: Another long shot, but the Mariners do need a number two starter and perhaps the Mariners could bring back the pitcher they traded away almost 12 years ago.

For those of you not familiar with what I am talking about, the Seattle Mariners trade Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Boston Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb.

I’ll check that one off as a win for the Red Sox.

Texas Rangers: Unless the Braves ate a significant portion of Lowe’s contract, it would be hard for the Rangers to acquire Lowe.

However, the Rangers could use a guy like Lowe and if they can get the Braves to eat a large portion of Lowe’s contract, then he would make sense for the Rangers.

As I have mentioned, the biggest problem the Braves will have with trading Lowe is his contract. Unless the Braves eat a significant portion of the deal, they are going to have a tough time trading him.

Now if it were my decision–I wouldn’t trade Lowe. This whole “the Braves have an excess of pitching” is comical to me.

Guess what? There is no such thing in baseball. The Red Sox had more pitching depth than any team in baseball going into 2009 and they still had to bring in Paul Byrd off his couch in August.

I guarantee that if the Braves trade Lowe or Javier Vazquez, something will happen to one of their remaining starters and they will be searching for a starter by the July 31st trading deadline.

That’s just the way baseball works.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Milton Bradley: What’s His Trade Market?

November 20, 2009

On January 6th, 2009 Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry signed OF Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract.

At that point everyone screamed “Nooooooooooooo!!!” This was a disaster waiting to happen and it was.

Not only did Bradley grossly under perform in a Cubs’ uniform, but on Sept. 20, Bradley was suspended for the rest of the season because of conduct detrimental to the team.

Bradley was a disaster in Chicago

“Recently, it’s become intolerable to hear Milton talk about our great fans the way he has,” Hendry said. “We pride ourselves on having the greatest fans in baseball, so at this time we felt it was best to send him home for the rest of the season.”

Now almost one year later, Hendry is looking to ship Bradley out of town. Who would possibly take on Bradley and his contract?

Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Bradley and what teams would be interested in trading for the beleaguered outfielder.

Pros

If there is one thing that has been consistent with Bradley’s play on the field throughout his career, it’s that the man knows how to work the count.

Bradley had a .378 OBP in 2009, which ranked him fifth amongst all major league right fielders. For his career, Bradley has a .377 OBP including leading the American League in OBP with a .436 mark with the Texas Rangers in 2008.

And while Bradley’s overall numbers were down in 2009, there was a period in the season where Bradley was doing what he was brought in to do–hit. From May 1st-August 31st, Bradley hit .281 with a .402 OBP.

He had his best month in August when he hit .308 with a .911 OPS.

Bradley is also only 31-years-old. Doesn’t it seem like Bradley should be older than that? I feel like he has been around forever.

But at 31, Bradley should still have a lot left in the tank.

Cons

Where do I begin? Outside of his one year in Texas, Bradley has been a problem everywhere he has been.

You name the place and you can name an incident where Bradley has cost himself a long-term contract. There is a reason why this guy hasn’t been on a team for longer than two years.

Not only does Bradley have a tough time staying on one team, but he has a hard time staying on the field once he is on that team. The most games he has played in one season is 141 with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2004.

He is an injury waiting to happen.

And of course, there is the issue of his contract. Bradley has two years and $21 million remaining on his contract. Is a team really going to take on that salary and have the risk of Bradley losing his mind 50 games into the season?

Now that we looked at the pros and cons of Bradley, let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in trading for the former Expo, Indian, Dodger, A, Padre, and Ranger.

Texas Rangers: The one place where Bradley really thrived was Texas. There has been a lot of talk recently of a reunion between Bradley and the Rangers.

Texas is a perfect place for Bradley. There is no pressure, the fans really don’t care, and Bradley can just come to the ball park and attempt to play baseball.

Bradley could serve as the Rangers’ DH, while Nelson Cruz plays left, Julio Borbon plays center, and Josh Hamilton plays right.

Tampa Bay Rays: There was talk earlier in this offseason of a Bradley for Pat Burrell swap. Outside of trading down year for down year, I really didn’t understand the trade for either team.

Burrell is less of a headache than Bradley and is more than capable of having a bounce back year in 2010.

And while Tampa is another good spot for Bradley to go (see Rangers above) and Bradley would present an upgrade in right field over Gabe Gross, I am just don’t see it happening.

Outside of those two destinations, I am not sure what team would have an interest in Bradley. Hendry has really dug himself a hole with Bradley.

However, I am going to say there is a 75 percent chance of the Cubs trading him just because they have to. I don’t think there is any way they can bring him back in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Roy Halladay: What’s His Trade Market?

November 18, 2009

I apologize for the late post today, but it was a long, long, long night last night for The Ghost of Moonlight Graham. Beer and late-night eating don’t mix to well anymore after the age of 30.

That being said, I thought I would take it easy on myself today. Today, I am going to take a look at the most coveted player on the trade market this winter–Toronto Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay.

With Halladay a free agent after the 2010 season, the Toronto ace was the hottest name on the trade market during the days leading up to last year’s July 31st trading deadline.

Halladay can be had this offseason

Blue Jays’ GM JP Ricciardi could have traded Halladay at last year’s deadline and have gotten maximum value for him. But he didn’t and that’s one of the many reasons he is no longer the Blue Jays’ GM.

This winter will be the last time the Blue Jays will have the opportunity to trade Halladay and receive top value back. If they wait until the 2010 trading dealine, then teams won’t have to give up the farm because they know the Jays will be forced to trade Halladay.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Halladay and what teams would be interested in trading for the native of Denver, CO.

Pros

Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball. Period. End of sentence.

Any team he gets traded to, he becomes that team’s ace. And that’s ANY team including the New York Mets, who have Johan Santana.

Not only will you get an ace, but you are also going to get a guy who is going to save your bullpen. Halladay has led the American League in complete games five out of the last seven years.

As a matter of fact, Halladay’s nine complete games in 2009 were more than 27 teams in baseball. That’s probably the greatest feat in baseball that nobody ever talks about.

Cons

There are only two cons for acquiring Halladay.

First, you are going to have to give up some top prospects to get him. In terms of prospects, Halladay is not going to come cheap.

Second, you might only have him for one year. Like I said, Halladay is a free agent after the 2010 season and at 32-years-old, he will be looking for one last payday.

Now that we looked at the pros and cons of Halladay, let’s look at the teams who have the resources to acquire Halladay.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies were in on Halladay last year, but they acquired Cliff Lee instead. The Phillies are a win now team and acquiring Halladay would give the Phillies the best one-two punch in the National League.

The Phillies still have the top prospects to pull off a deal for Halladay.

New York Mets: After a disastrous 2009 season, the Mets are desperate to make a splash this offseason. Halladay would not only be a splash, but he would be a Ron Burgandy cannonball.

The Mets are hoping the same scenario plays out with the Blue Jays that helped them land Santana from the Minnesota Twins. The Twins didn’t want to trade Santana to an American League team and they accepted a penny on the dollar for Santana.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have a new owner who wants to win. I think the Cubs have finally realized Carlos Zambrano is not an ace and Halladay would give the Cubs the ace that Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were supposed to be.

Remember, they were hot on Jake Peavy last year, so they know they need a number one. They are my sleeper to land Halladay.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are an interesting team because they clearly have the need for an ace. Clayton Kershaw clearly isn’t there yet and I have no idea what happened to Chad Billingsley in the second half.

Halladay would thrive in Dodger Stadium. Of course, the big question will be whether or not the Dodgers can add payroll in 2010.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox were all over Halladay at last year’s trading deadline. The Red Sox realize that offense might be a problem going forward, so they might try to win with pitching.

The Red Sox have the prospects and the money to get a deal done. Halladay, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester would give the Red Sox a formidable three-headed monster.

Yesterday, the Blue Jays made it even more appealing for teams to trade for Halladay by saying they would allow another team a window to negotiate a contract extension with Halladay and his agent.

All signs are pointing towards the Blue Jays trading Halladay this winter. I am going to say there is a 85 percent chance Halladay gets traded this winter.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Brandon Phillips: What’s His Trade Market?

November 17, 2009

Yesterday, I talked about one of the Cincinnati Reds trade candidates, Bronson Arroyo. Well today, I’ll talk about another Reds trade candidate, second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Phillips has had a pretty interesting career so far. He has been involved in two extremely lopsided trades.

Phillips could be traded this offseason

In 2002, Phillips was traded from the Montreal Expos to the Cleveland Indians along with Cliff Lee, Lee Stevens, and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.

And in 2006, Phillips was traded from the Indians to the Reds for the ever so popular player to be named later. Or PTBNL as all the cool kids say. That player turned out to be Jeff Stevens.

So Phillips has already been involved in two lopsided trades–will he be involved in a third? Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Phillips and what teams would be possible suitors for the man who went to high school in Stone Mountain, GA.

I wonder if he knows Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who also hails from Stone Mountain, GA?

Pros

Because Phillips hasn’t played on a national stage since joining the Reds, people don’t realize how good Phillips actually is.

Over the last three years, Phillips ranks third amongst all major league second baseman in home runs with 71, sixth in hits with 494, third in triples with 19, and second in stolen bases with 80.

Not only can Phillips do it with the bat, but he can do it with the glove. Phillips is one of best defensive second baseman in baseball.

Phillips won a Gold Glove in 2008 (not that it means much), but more importantly, Phillips has ranked at the top in second baseman UZR over the last three years.

As a matter of fact, only Chase Utley has a higher UZR over the last three years than Phillips.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Phillips is his contract. Phillips has two years remaining on his contract with a club option for 2012.

Phillips is set to make $6.75 million in 2010 and $11 million in 2011. That is very reasonable for a man who is only 28-years-old and has been worth $28 million over the last two years according to Fangraphs.

Cons

In a game where OBP is highly valued, Phillips hasn’t seen a pitch he hasn’t liked. Phillips did set a career high in walks in 2009 with 44, but that is nothing to get excited about.

Phillips ranked 12th in OPS amongst second baseman in 2009 behind guys like Alberto Callaspo and Martin Prado.

Perhaps the only other question a GM could have with Phillips is can he produce on a big stage? It’s one thing to put up big numbers when your team is 20 games out of first in August, but can you do it when your team is battling for a playoff spot?

There is only one way to figure out the answer to that question.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acquiring Phillips, let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in the Reds’ second baseman.

New York Mets: Obviously the Mets would have to find a taker for their current second baseman, Luis Castillo. That is a task all by itself.

However, if they can get rid of Castillo, I think Phillips would be perfect with the Mets, who should be building their team around pitching, defense, and speed.

Los Angeles Dodgers: As I mentioned yesterday with Dan Uggla, the Dodgers need a second baseman. Phillips and Rafael Furcal would be a lethal double play combination in L.A.

Unfortunately, because the McCourts are making a made for TV movie, I am not sure how much salary the Dodgers are willing to take on.

San Diego Padres: The Padres are a lot closer to competing than people think. They have talked about adding payroll in 2010 and if they feel Matt Antonelli isn’t quite ready yet to be their second baseman, Phillips could be a nice player for them.

Minnesota Twins: Nick Punto is a nice little player, but should be a utility on a good team. The Twins are moving into a new stadium, which means new revenues.

They have already added payroll in the form of JJ Hardy and Phillips fits the Twins style of play to a tee.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Are the Angels ready to give up on Howie Kendrick? Every year is supposed to be “Kendrick’s breakout year” and it hasn’t happened yet.

Phillips seems like a perfect fit in Anaheim. He is a great defensive player and can’t you see him being Bobby Abreu’s latest patient pet project?

Believe it or not, the market for second baseman these days isn’t as good as one would think. There are a lot of teams in baseball, who already have quality players at that position.

I am going to say that Phillips does get traded this offseason, with the Twins and Angels being the most likely suitors

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Kerry Wood: What’s His Trade Market?

November 16, 2009

Yesterday, the MLB Network replayed Kerry Wood’s 20-strike out game against the Houston Astros in 1998. I have been watching baseball for almost 25 years and in my opinion, that was most dominating regular season performance I have ever seen.

The Astros didn’t have a chance that day.

Flash forward 11 years later and Wood is still throwing 97 mph in the major leagues. Did he become the pitcher everyone thought he would be after watching him pitch in 1998? No he didn’t.

Kerry Wood

Wood is a trade candidate this winter

But Wood has made a very nice career for himself. Because of injuries, Wood moved into a relief role in 2007 with the Chicago Cubs and became their closer in 2008.

Wood excelled as the closer in Chicago and in the winter of 2008, he signed a two-year, $20.5 million deal with the Cleveland Indians to be their closer.

The Indians signed Wood expecting to compete in 2009. Things really didn’t work out that way and now the Indians are in rebuilding mode yet again.

When a team is rebuilding, they really don’t have any use for a 32-year-old closer who will be making $10.5 million in 2010. We should be hearing Wood’s name in trade rumors this winter.

Let’s look at what a team would be getting with Wood. Here are the pros and cons of trading for Wood and the teams who might be interested in trading for the former Grand Prairie High School star.

Pros

Can you believe Wood is only 32-years-old? It seems like he has been around for 20 years. Even at 32 (not that old mom!!!), Wood can still throw 97 mph.

He can still blow the fastball by hitters when he needs to. Wood still struck out 10.3 hitters per nine innings last year.

Despite getting off to a rough start in April and May (6.08 ERA), Wood had a stellar second half of the year. In the second half, Wood was eight for 10 in save opportunities and had a 2.86 ERA.

And Wood is still better than half the closers in baseball. I would take Wood over a lot of the pitchers who are closing games for contending teams.

Cons

In the last 11 years, Wood’s arm has been through hell and back. He has had Tommy John surgery, a partially torn rotator cuff, a sore elbow, a strained triceps, and blisters on his fingers.

You name the arm injury, Wood has probably had it.

Health is the number one concern for any GM who is willing to trade for Wood. The other concern with Wood, would be his relatively down year in 2010.

His WHIP of 1.382 was his highest since 2000 (1.453), his strike out rate went from 11.4/9 to 10.3/9 in 2009, his walk rate almost doubled from 2.4 in 2008 to 4.6 in 2009 and threw more pitches per inning (17.6) than at any point of his career.

Has age and injuries finally caught up to Wood?

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acquiring Wood, let’s look at the teams that might be interested in Wood.

Atlanta Braves: Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano are both free agents and if they leave, the Braves have no internal option to replace them. Wood would be a nice replacement for the Braves.

Chicago Cubs: Could the Cubs possibly bring Wood back? It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Wood and the Cubs had a pretty clean break and the Cubs don’t have a closer going into 2010. Carlos Marmol is much better suited to be a set-up guy than a closer on a team trying to compete for a pennant.

Houston Astros: Wood would love to follow in his idol’s (Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan) footsteps by pitching for the Astros. Jose Valverde and Latroy Hawkins are both free agents and Wood would make sense.

With Wood making $10.5 million in 2010, I am not sure the Astros have the ability to take on the salary or the prospects to acquire Wood.

I would never count out Drayton McLane though.

Tampa Bay Rays: For me, the Rays are a match made in heaven for Wood. They have the surplus of mid-level prospects and they have the need to get a deal done.

The Rays can’t go into 2010 with JP Howell and Dan Wheeler as the closers. They caught lightning in a bottle in 2008 and it’s not going to happen again.

This team needs a closer and Wood would be a great fit.

Detroit Tigers: Trading Wood within the division isn’t as crazy as it sounds for the Indians. The Indians aren’t expected to compete this year and by the time the Indians are ready to compete, Wood will be long gone from the Tigers.

I know the Tigers have said they are in cost cutting mode right now, but saying it and doing it are completely two different things. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon are free agents and I don’t think the Tigers feel Ryan Perry is ready to close.

On the surface, Wood makes sense for the Tigers.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels are known to fix their mistakes rather quickly. Signing Torii Hunter to replace Gary Matthews Jr. is a perfect example of that.

The Angels found out first hand in the postseason Brian Fuentes might be a nice regular season closer, but he is not big time. Acquiring Wood would give Mike Scioscia options at the end of a game.

When acquiring Wood, a GM has to ask himself the tough question of which Wood am I getting? Am I getting the Wood who was rock solid in the second half of 2009 or am I getting the injury-prone closer who struggled for the first half of 2009.

My prediction is that Wood stays with the Indians through the winter and they trade him close to the July 31st trading deadline when teams are making one last playoff push.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Dan Uggla: What’s His Trade Market?

November 16, 2009

Outside of Roy Halladay, the player we are most likely to hear involved in trade rumors is Florida Marlins 2B Dan Uggla. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as any player on the Marlins making more than $1 million is a trade candidate.

Dan Uggla

Uggla is most likely to get traded this offseason

So if the Marlins are to trade Uggla, what type of player are they trading and what type of return should they expect? As always, here are the pros, the cons, and the potential suitors for Uggla.

Pros

In terms of being an offensive second baseman, Uggla ranks right at the top. In the last three years, Uggla leads all major league second baseman in home runs with 94 and ranks fourth in OPS with a .829 mark.

Uggla also knows how to work the count, which is ever so important in today’s game. Over the last three years, Uggla ranks second amongst all second baseman in walks with 235.

Last year, Uggla set a career high in walks with 92.

Cons

Poor Danny Uggs. Uggla was rolling in 2008 to the tune of a first half line of .286/.374/.605 with 23 home runs. Then the night of July 15th happened.

That night was the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

Uggla had perhaps the worst All Star Game for a position player in the history of the game. Uggla struck out three times and committed three errors in the 4-3 National League loss.

Uggla hasn’t been the same since that night.

Since that night, Uggla has hit only .235 with a .774 OPS. I don’t think we can attribute all of Uggla’s struggles to that faithful night in the Bronx, but I don’t think it is just a coincidence either.

Uggla was embarrassed on a national stage and you never know how that will affect someone in the long-term.

Not only has Uggla dipped offensively since that night, but Uggla is a terrible defensive second baseman. Uggla consistently ranks towards the bottom amongst all second baseman in fielding.

2009 was no exception.

In 2009, Uggla made 16 errors which was the second most by second baseman and had a -10.1 UZR. His -10.1 UZR ranked him second to last amongst second baseman, only ahead of Luis Castillo.

Uggla will probably have to move to third base, first base, or even DH. However, Uggla and his agent don’t see it that way. Here is what Uggla’s agent told Yahoo! Sports.

“Danny Uggla’s been a full-time second baseman for the last four years,” agent Jeff Borris said. “He’s performed exceptionally well at that position. Although he has the athleticism to play other positions, he’s performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.”

Uggla’s resistance to changing positions could be a hinderance for the Marlins in trading Uggla.

The last con with Uggla, is perhaps his contract. Uggla made $5.3 million in 2009 and has two more arbitration eligible years ahead of him.

Are teams going to pay $9 million-$10 million in arbitration to a defensively challenged second baseman?

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Uggla, let’s look at what teams might be interested in the former University of Memphis Tiger.

Atlanta Braves: Normally teams don’t trade within the division, but I don’t think that matters to the Marlins. The Braves need a right-handed bat and if the Adam LaRoche doesn’t re-sign with the Braves to first base, Uggla could be an option.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Orlando Hudson and Ronnie Belliard are free agents for the Dodgers, so therefore they have a need at second base.

Though, if they are going to go the Uggla route, they should just re-sign Hudson. Uggla and Hudson were of equal value in 2009 according to Fangraphs and Hudson wouldn’t cost the Dodgers any players.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants just re-signed Freddie Sanchez to play second base, but the Giants could look at Uggla as a first baseman.

Oakland A’s. Though GM Billy Beane has tried to build a more athletic A’s team recently, Uggla is a classic “Moneyball” type player–low average, high OBP, can’t play defense.

Uggla would be a nice DH option for the A’s.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners need a third baseman and a DH. If Uggla is willing to shift over to third, Uggla could be a good fit in Seattle.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers are a little bit of a stretch, but Uggla could serve as the Rangers’ DH and insurance at second when Ian Kinsler makes his annual trip to the DL in 2010.

I am going to say there is a 95% chance Uggla gets traded this offseason. When the Marlins want to move someone, their history suggests they do.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Bronson Arroyo: What’s His Trade Market?

November 16, 2009

One of the bigger stories of last week was the Cincinnati Reds desire to cut payroll. It’s been reported that the Reds want to have a payroll less than the $73 million it was in 2009.

The easiest way to reduce payroll, of course, is to trade away some of your highest priced players. If the Reds were to trade some of their players, Aaron Harang, Brandon Phillips, Francisco Cordero, and Bronson Arroyo are the most likely trade candidates.

Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo plays the guitar just as well as he pitches

For the purposes of today’s post, let’s take a look at Arroyo. Here are the pros, the cons, and the teams who might be interested in trading for the Reds’ Guitar Hero.

PROS

Ever since Arroyo was traded to the Reds from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Wily Mo Pena (not one of Theo Epstein’s finer moments, though I didn’t mind the deal for the Red Sox at the time) in March of 2006, Arroyo has been one of the most durable pitchers in the game.

Arroyo over the last four years have averaged 34 starts a year and 218 innings pitched. Twice in that span he has led the National League in starts (2006 & 2008) and once led the league in innings pitched (2006).

In a game where starting pitchers average five innings and are constantly on the DL, Arroyo makes all his starts and goes deep into games.

Teams also have to like the fact that as Arroyo gets older, he is throwing more groundballs than ever. Arroyo’s groundball rate of 44.8 percent in 2009 was the highest of his career.

Lastly, Arroyo gained valuable postseason experience pitching for the Red Sox in 2003, 2004, and 2005. While he didn’t pitch well (7.41 ERA in 10 games) in those October’s, he usually does he best work late in the season.

Arroyo is 22-9 with a 3.22 ERA in his career during September and October.

Cons

While Arroyo is one of the most durable pitchers in the game, there is a lot of tread on his tires. Over the last three years, Arroyo has thrown 10,275 pitches. That ranks him sixth amongst all starters in baseball.

That’s a lot of pitches for a guy who is going to be 33-years-old in 2010.

And while Arroyo’s contract seems reasonable at one-year and $11 million with a club option for $11 million for 2011, we are in a down economy in baseball.

Normally, $11 million for a pitcher like Arroyo is not outlandish, but not only does a team have to assume his contract in a down economy, but they would also have to surrender a couple of prospects.

That’s a lot to ask a team for essentially a number three pitcher on a contending team.

Now that we have seen the pros and cons of Arroyo, let’s take a look at what teams could be possible trade partners.

New York Mets: Right now, the Mets rotation is Johan Santana and a bunch of question marks. The Mets can afford Arroyo’s contract and he would give the Mets a solid number two or three starter going into 2010.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Vicente Padilla, Randy Wolf, and Jon Garland are all potential free agents leaving only Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers’ rotation.

For a team who’s starters ranked 11th in the National League in innings pitched, Arroyo would be a welcomed site for Joe Torre.

New York Yankees: If the Yankees don’t feel Phil Hughes is ready to start and Andy Pettitte decides to retire, then Arroyo is a realistic option for the Yankees.

Minnesota Twins: I know this is a stretch because of Arroyo’s salary, but the Twins are looking to add a veteran starter or two this offseason. I would much rather have Arroyo than Carl Pavano, who they are looking to re-sign.

Seattle Mariners: The like the Mets, the Mariners have an ace in Felix Hernandez and then a bunch of question marks. With the Mariners great defense, Arroyo could thrive in the great northwest.

It would be a shame if the Reds had to trade Arroyo. With a great, young nucleus, the Reds are closer to contention than most people think.

I would say if the Reds were to shed salary, Arroyo is the most likely to go. His one-year contract and his performance to date would make him attractive to teams who need a starter.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Josh Willingham: What’s His Trade Market?

November 15, 2009

In Ken Rosenthals’ Latest Buzz From The MLB Offseason piece on FOXSports.com, he mentions that the Washington Nationals are receiving strong interest in OF Josh Willingham.

I have always liked Willingham and have believed he has been one of the more underrated players in the game for the last couple of years. I guess underrated comes with the territory when you play for the Florida Marlins and the Nationals.

Josh Willingham

Willingham could be trade bait this offseason

Now that Willingham’s name has emerged in trade rumors, let’s take a look at what GM’s are potentially getting. Here are the pros, the cons, and what teams would be interested in trading for the Nationals’ OF.

Pros

As I mentioned, Willingham has been vastly underrated over the last couple of years. Since 2006, Willingham has averaged 22 home runs with a .256 avg., a .362 OBP, and an .844 OPS.

Willingham’s .863 OPS in 2009 was 13th amongst all oufielders in baseball–ahead of Matt Kemp, Bobby Abreu, Carlos Lee, and Nick Markakis.

Willingham is also very consistent versus left-handed and right-handed pitching. He has a .264 avg. versus righties and a .265 avg. versus lefties. A team doesn’t have to worry about a platoon situation with Willingham.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Willingham is his age and his salary. Willingham is only 30-years-old and should be entering the prime of his career.

That coupled with which ever team would trade for Willingham would have him under team control until after the 2011 season at around $4.5-$5 million in salary, makes Willingham a very appealing option for teams.

Cons

While Willingham might be a consistent offensive player, his defense makes him a borderline DH. Willingham has always ranked towards the bottom in UZR for left fielders and he is no better in right field.

Besides defense, teams might be concerned with Willingham’s health. He has never played more than 144 games in a season and has battled back problems the last couple of years. One has to wonder if those back issues will get worse as Willingham gets older.

The last concern teams might have about Willingham is that he has never played in a big game in his life. It’s one thing to put up numbers when your team is 20 games out of first, but it’s another thing to put up numbers in a pennant race.

I am not saying Willingham wouldn’t thrive in a pennant race, but it is something for a GM to think about.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Willingham, let’s take a look at what teams might be interested in the former University of North Alabama star.

Atlanta Braves: Rosenthal mentioned the Braves as having interest in Willingham and it makes sense. The Braves need a right-handed bat and Willingham is a southern guy.

He was born in Florence, AL and as I mentioned above, went to the University of North Alabama.

San Francisco Giants: Randy Winn is a free agent and the Giants could use a left fielder. Perhaps if the Giants miss out on Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, they can go for a more cost-effective option in Willingham.

Oakland A’s: The A’s could really use an offensive boost. Willingham would be an upgrade over Jack Cust at DH or Scott Hairston in left field.

Kansas City Royals: Mike Jacobs figures to be a non-tender candidate, leaving an opening at the DH spot for the Royals. Willingham would be a huge upgrade over Jacobs.

Willingham could also be an internal option to fill the open spot in right field in 2011 once the Jose Guillen era thankfully comes to an end in Kansas City.

Seattle Mariners: Willingham really doesn’t fit GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense first philosophy, but the Mariners need a left-fielder and they need a DH.

Both needs make Willingham an appealing option for the M’s.

It will be interesting to see if the Nationals trade Willingham this offseason because they really don’t have to. I would say the Nationals would have to be really blown away to trade him.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Curtis Granderson: What’s His Trade Market?

November 12, 2009

One of the biggest shocks coming out of this weeks general manager’s meeting in Chicago was that the Detroit Tigers have let it be known that OF Curtis Granderson could be had in a trade.

This was shocking to everyone because I don’ think the word trade and Granderson have ever been used in the same sentence. Why would the Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski look to trade Granderson?

Here are some of the contracts the Tigers are paying in 2010:

Nate Robertson: $10 million

Dontrelle Willis: $12 million

Carlos Guillen: $13 million

Jeremy Bonderman: $12.5 million

Magglio Ordonez: $18 million

That’s *$65.5 million committed in 2010 to a bunch of players who probably aren’t worth $15 million. Since those contracts are untradeable, the Tigers are looking to trade some of their more valuable pieces.

Curtis Granderson

Granderson could be on another team in 2010

Hence, the Granderson and Edwin Jackson trade rumors.

For a GM to say a player can be had and for him to actually trade that player are two different things. But if a team were to look into trading for Granderson, what are they getting?

I did this last month with Brad Hawpe, so let’s now look at the trade market for Granderson. What are his pros, his cons, and what teams could be interested in the Tigers’ center fielder.

Pro’s

I think we can all agree on that Granderson is one of the great ambassadors for the game of baseball. He is extremely smart, he extremely well spoken, he has worked for TBS during the playoffs, and has traveled all across Europe promoting baseball.

Off the field, he is everything a team would want.

On the field, he is no slouch either.  Last year, he set a career high with 30 home runs and continues to be one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. He also is one of the more durable outfielders in the game as he has averaged 155 games played over the last four years.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Granderson is his contract. Granderson is due only $5.5 million in 2010, $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012. Granderson also has a club option for $13 million in 2013.

That is a very reasonable contract for a guy who is only 28-years-old and in the prime of his career.

Cons

While Granderson’s power numbers have increased over the last two years, everything else offensively seems to have declined.

His average has gone from .302 to .280 to .249 in the last three years

His OPS has gone from .913 t0 .858 to .780 in the last three years

His walk percentage decreased from 11.4 percent in 2008 to 10.2 percent in 2009. Not good for a leadoff hitter.

You really have to start wondering if Granderson thinks he is a legit power hitter? His groundball percentage was 29.5 percent in 2009. By far and away the lowest of his career.

It’s like he has Willie “Mays” Hayes syndrome.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Granderson, now let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in trading for Granderson.

Chicago Cubs: Anytime you have Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley manning the corner outfield spots, you have one of the worst outfield defenses in baseball.

Granderson would give the Cubs a plus outfielder and someone who could track down balls that Soriano and Bradley couldn’t get to. Kosuke Fukudome is basically a fourth outfielder at this point.

Born in Illinois, Granderson would be perfect for the Cubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks: If the Diamondbacks are willing to pick up Brandon Webb’s $8.5 million option and they are looking to sign pitchers on multi-year deals this offseason, then trading for Granderson is not the craziest thing in the world.

A Chris Young for Granderson swap might make sense for both teams. Granderson would bring leadership to the Diamonbacks locker room, which is something they desperately need with all of their young talent.

Young would provide a young, low-cost replacement for Granderson.

New York Yankees: Granderson would be a great fit in the media capitol of the world. He would also be a major upgrade over Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. Both of whom are fourth outfielders.

A package including David Robertson would be a good start for the Tigers.

Texas Rangers: With Marlon Byrd and Andruw Jones free agents, the Rangers could use a center fielder. Now, they do have Julio Borbon who can play center field and they could put David Murphy in left and Nelson Cruz in right in 2010.

But if they can get Granderson, then they can put him in center, put Borbon in left, and Cruz in right. This would give the Rangers a superior fielding outfield and would allow Murphy to move into a outfield/platoon roll.

Of course, in both scenarios Josh Hamilton would be the DH for the Rangers.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox need a center fielder, but there is a better chance of me playing center field for the White Sox than Granderson.

What is fascinating, is that if this was five years ago the Tigers would have no problem finding a suitor for Granderson. But now, there are so many teams who have young, good center fielders, that the market for a player like Granderson is pretty thin.

There is probably more talent now at the center field position than there has been in the last 25 years. From Grady Sizemore to Drew Stubbs to Matt Kemp to Andrew McCutchen, baseball is flooded with talented center fielders.

I am going to say, at the end of the day,  there is a 10 percent chance Granderson gets traded.

*All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg