Friday, August 2, 2013
August trade candidates across MLB
By Buster Olney
A fly ball pitcher stuck in Yankee Stadium, Phil Hughes could benefit from a move.
The names have started passing through the waiver wires, and there will be a lot of deals this month, some general managers are predicting. More players will change hands as more teams wave the white flag on the 2013 season and try to save a little money or recoup a little value.
Below, some of the guys who are candidates to be traded this month, either because they get claimed by a team and a deal is worked out or because they pass through waivers and are subsequently swapped:
Phil Hughes, Yankees: They are not going to re-sign him, but they could give him a one-year qualifying offer after the season in order to recoup a compensation draft pick. If the Yankees deal him this month, they’ll want at least the value of a pick in return.
The best thing for Hughes, undoubtedly, would be a trade, because otherwise he could become the Kyle Lohse of the forthcoming winter, with the draft-pick compensation dragging down his market value as a free agent. (Lohse has a $7.15 million salary this year.)
John Danks, White Sox: He’s having a rough season, with a 4.57 ERA and a 2-8 record. Keep in mind, though, that he’s 28 years old and is signed through 2016 at $14.25 million annually. If the White Sox get an opportunity to move at least some of that money, they could jump at it.
Mike Pelfrey, Twins: He’s eligible for free agency in the fall and has struggled, generally, but he did throw better in July and some contender hit by injuries might want to take a shot. (He has a $4 million salary in 2014.)
Joe Saunders, Mariners: The Orioles added him late last season and he responded well. His recent outings have not been good, however. (His salary in 2014 is $6.5 million.)
Darren Oliver, Blue Jays: He’s not really a specialist, given the fact that left-handers have an OPS of 1.112 against him this year. But he’s been around and at low cost, some team might bite ($3 million salary this year).
Javier Lopez, Giants: He’s good and he has demonstrated he can thrive in October, and it figures somebody’s going to claim him. Before the trade deadline, the Giants asked for a starting pitcher in return for him, a demand that was perceived as really high by opposing teams ($4.25 million in salary this year).
Rafael Betancourt, Rockies: He’s on the disabled list and due back soon, and could be a good gamble for some contender because of his experience in a variety of different roles. He’s making $4.25 million, with a mutual option for 2014.
John Axford, Brewers: He’s pitched effectively the past few months, but he struggled at the end of July, and his salary -- $5 million this year, in his first year of arbitration eligibility -- might be prohibitive.
Matt Belisle, Rockies: He hasn’t pitched effectively lately, and with a salary of $4.1 million, he could clear waivers. There is a mutual option on his contract for 2014, at $4.25 million.
Huston Street, Padres: It’d be a surprise if he failed to clear waivers, given the $7 million salary he’s making this year and next. If a contender loses a closer to injury, it’ll be interesting to see if somebody calls the Padres about him.
Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: He’ll get through waivers because of all the money owed to him, $13 million annually through 2015 with a vesting option for 2016. The question will be whether the Phillies aggressively market him in an effort to (1) save some money, and (2) get him off the team. But the Phillies weren’t really that interested in dumping salary at the deadline, inexplicably; had they unloaded Michael Young, the Yankees would’ve taken on the $4.3 million owed to him for the rest of the season.
It’d be a surprise if he gets swapped this month.
Mark DeRosa, Blue Jays: He’s a respected veteran, he’s making very little money ($750,000), and he has an .856 OPS against left-handed pitchers. The question will be whether Toronto can get enough in return to coax it into making a deal. It’s probably a lock that he’s going to be claimed by some contender, and the Blue Jays will have to decide whether to move him.
Emilio Bonifacio, Blue Jays: He’s had a really poor season, with a .254 OPS, and his best skill -- stealing bases -- hasn’t manifested itself; he’s got only 11 steals in 16 attempts this year. But he’s got experience, he’s versatile and he’s not outrageously expensive, with a salary of $2.6 million.
Chris Iannetta, Angels: Word has been burbling among scouts that the Angels are not happy with him, in spite of his solid on-base percentage of .357; he’s hitting just .211. Iannetta is signed for the next two seasons, at $4.975 million in 2014 and $5.525 million in 2015. He’s 30 years old, and remember: Catching is really scarce.
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: He’s having a terrible season, he’s 34 and he’s making $5 million. But inevitably, some team is going to suffer a big injury at catcher -- heck, the Cardinals already might have -- and Ruiz could be attractive, if the Phillies entertain the thought of letting him go.
Nick Franklin's bat is another reason Morales' bat seems more expendable.
Kendrys Morales, Mariners: It seems really unlikely he’ll be traded, because the Mariners want to re-sign him. But remember, Scott Boras is his agent, and Seattle might decide to recoup some value for him if the Mariners determine he’s not coming back for 2014.
Paul Konerko, White Sox: The only way he would move, in all likelihood, would be if the White Sox leadership offers to deliver him into a pennant race and Konerko accepts that, at the end of what could be his final year in the big leagues. Chicago would have to eat most or all of the $13.25 million salary remaining.
Erick Aybar, Angels: Some executives believe he won’t be traded because some team will claim him, given that he’s still a good value, and the Angels will want to have a wider market for him before they deal him. Aybar is signed through 2016 at $8.5 million annually. If the Angels want to trade him to shave payroll, they’d be better off moving him in the winter.
Michael Young, Phillies: It makes no sense that Young wasn’t traded before the deadline. Presumably, the Yankees will place a claim on him, and right now, they’re in front of Texas and Boston in the claiming process.
Rajai Davis, Toronto: He’s 32 and making $2.5 million this year. He’s batting .276. You wonder if he might be a platoon guy for the Rangers; he’s got an .876 OPS against lefties.
Alex Rios, White Sox: Other teams weren’t interested in taking on the money owed to Rios, about $17 million through next year, at a time when he’s not distinguishing himself as a player. But he can play some defense when inspired, and can run and hit for some power. It might make sense for the Yankees or Rangers to claim him and tell the White Sox: Look, we’ll take the contract of the player, but we’re not going to give you much in return. The White Sox could always pull him back from waivers.
Juan Pierre, Marlins: He is making $1.6 million this season, and -- who knows? -- maybe some club will make a deal in order to use him as a pinch hitter, pinch runner and occasional starter.
• The Braves are just beating the tar out of opponents these days, and it seems like their lineup is starting to develop an identity beyond all of those strikeouts racked up early in the season. Jason Heyward is settling into the leadoff spot, Andrelton Simmons had many more extra-base hits than strikeouts in July, and Evan Gattis’ daily presence has cemented the middle of the order.
• The Red Sox' comeback, says their manager, was magical.
• The is the first season the Red Sox have as many as 11 walk-off wins since 1978. They’re only two walk-off wins short of tying the franchise record. They had 13 in 1940, and 12 each in 1961, '42, '31 and '20.
• If Jhonny Peralta accepts a suspension, the Tigers will face a really interesting decision in late September when he comes back: Stick with Jose Iglesias, who figures to be the regular shortstop between now and then and is better defensively than Peralta, or go with Peralta, an All-Star this year.
Per Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN Stats & Info: Darvish struck out 14 hitters while walking none against the Diamondbacks on Thursday. It was his third start with 14 or more K's and no walks this season, tying Randy Johnson in 2001 and Roger Clemens in 1997 for the most such starts in a single season in modern MLB history. He’s one of only four pitchers in modern MLB history to have at least three such starts in their careers. The other three have combined for 15 Cy Young awards.
Also from Elias, most strikeouts through 50 career games:
A) The White Sox were 0-7 in at-bats ending in a slider; in his past four starts (during which he has a 1.29 ERA) opponents are 0-25 versus Masterson's slider.
B) Chicago missed on 58 percent of its swings (7 of 12) against Masterson's slider, his third-best slider swing-and-miss rate this season.
C) He threw 39 of his 104 pitches to the glove side (inside to righties, outside to lefties) and the White Sox were 0-7 in at-bats ending in a pitch to his glove side. Opponents are 1-44 (.023) in at-bats ending with a glove-side pitch in his past six games.
• At the outset of this season, Josh Johnson had a whole lot at stake, with his free agency looming. But he has been hit hard -- as he was on Thursday -- and if that continues, he may have to consider a one-year deal for next season to restore his value.