Trade candidates to watch out for
April, 25, 2013
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Matt SlocumChase Utley is a free agent after this season, which makes him an obvious trade candidate.The trade market is a long way from evolving, leaving many weeks for the Tampa Bay Rays to determine when they'll begin earnestly marketing David Price, whether it be before the July 31 deadline or in the fall. There's plenty of time for Giancarlo Stanton to convince the Miami Marlins that he isn't interested in staying, if that's how he really feels, and for Miami ownership to determine what the best course of action is with their young outfielder.
The Padres have more time to try to work out a long-term deal with Chase Headley, or decide that it'd be best to trade him.
But beyond the possible marketing of these really good young stars, there could be -- speculation alert -- some interesting names that become part of the trade market, depending on whether their teams begin to drift out of the race and start to consider makeovers. For example:
Chase Utley | 2B, Phillies
He's in the last year of a contract that pays him $15 million annually, which he probably signed with the hope of finishing his career in Philadelphia. But the Phillies are off to a poor start, with a team OPS that ranks 22nd among 30 teams, and Utley has had some moments that probably gnaw on him, such as when he appeared to forget how many outs there were in Sunday night's game against St. Louis, and when he dropped a popup after ranging far to get to it Wednesday.
But generally speaking, Utley looks really good in how he's running, how he's moving, how he's hitting. (He's got a .904 OPS.)
The Phillies likely won't trade him because of his history with the team and because the front office isn't predisposed to start rebuilding in the middle of a season. (Remember the unwillingness to even discuss a possible swap of Cliff Lee after he was claimed on waivers by the Dodgers early last August.)
But if the Phillies ever let other teams know that Utley is available and Utley -- who has limited no-trade protection -- went along with it, he'd be a great fit for a number of teams, such as the Baltimore Orioles, who are currently waiting to see if Brian Roberts can come back from his injuries; in fact, it's hard to imagine a more perfect fit for Utley than the Orioles, or the Kansas City Royals, who have been waiting to see if somebody can jump up and seize their second-base job. Injuries could create needs on other teams, as well.
The Phillies lost again Wednesday. They need to tread water in April, writes Sam Donnellon.