Halpin' Hand: Trade winds
Now that the calendar has turned to July, the trade deadline is right around the corner.
Let's look ahead at the likeliest teams to trade away players, with potential fantasy fallout for those teams included. This is mostly speculation, so don't feel compelled to act on any of the advice just yet.
Until the Orioles contend, there will always be rumors surrounding closer George Sherrill. If free-agent-to-be Sherrill is dealt, Chris Ray would probably be the next option to close. Yes, I know Ray has a gruesome 9.74 ERA this season, but that's more than partially due to a ridiculously unlucky .466 BABIP. Ray has 36 Ks in 32 1/3 innings between Baltimore and Triple-A this season, and he could give you some saves down the stretch. No, really.
Also, 1B Aubrey Huff and OF/DH Luke Scott have contracts that expire at the end of the season. If one or both are dealt, look for Ty Wigginton and possibly Felix Pie to get more playing time. Wiggy could be traded too, though.
Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Indians are shopping ace Cliff Lee. If Lee gets shipped out, nobody with any fantasy value will replace him in the Tribe's rotation. That goes double for Fausto Carmona if he comes back up from the minors.
C Victor Martinez has a $7 million club option for next year, and I guess he's available if you assume that every Indian is up for grabs. If Martinez goes, Kelly Shoppach will assume the full-time role, with Ryan Garko probably getting steadier playing time at first base.
Here's a wish that might be based on a recent pickup I made in my AL keeper league: Are we completely sure that a rich team like the Yankees won't make a run at Kerry Wood to be a $10M setup man for the next year and a half? In that case, recent acquisition Chris Perez — who throws 99 mph and comes right out of Closer Central Casting — could be an option for saves. This comes completely out of my own imagination, so take that for what it's worth.
Rumor has it that every Royal besides Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Joakim Soria is available. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much, and I doubt anyone else wants to pay Jose Guillen $12 million next season.
How about this: If the Royals can find a taker for 1B Mike Jacobs, Kila Ka'aihue (12 HR, .897 OPS at Triple-A) could get the call. The Royals need to give him a chance, anyway.
Matt Holliday, you're officially on the trade block! If and when Holliday hits the road, Travis Buck could get another chance in the outfield, but the guy I'd watch for is promising power-speed prospect Aaron Cunningham (7 HR, 5 SB, .905 OPS in 31 Triple-A games this season). Cunningham doesn't have a lot of power or speed, but he has some of both.
The name I keep hearing is Nick Johnson, who's almost certain to get hurt within a month of joining his new club. A Johnson departure would likely mean that stone-gloved Adam Dunn moves to first base, with the remains of Austin Kearns getting more time in an outfield corner spot.
Dayn Perry says that SP Doug Daviscould be on the block. If so, then Billy Buckner would be in line to return to the rotation. Please try to contain your excitement.
The Padres won't deal 1B Adrian Gonzalez, and they can't trade the injured Jake Peavy. There's not much else to speak of on the roster, but Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Padres and Mariners have talked about 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff. Just what the Ms' need — another guy who can't hit.
If Kouzmanoff is traded, the Pads could go with the ferocious everyday outfield of Tony Gwynn Jr., Scott Hairston and Brian Giles (after his DL stint ends), with promising Chase Headley moving back to third base on a full-time basis. Do people in San Diego still pay for Padres tickets? That seems unfair.
Might join the rebuilding party
A rumor surfaced earlier this week that the Giants were scouting OF Jermaine Dye, but the Sox haven't yet waved the white flag. If Dye is indeed dealt later this month, he would simply be replaced by Carlos Quentin when Quentin comes off the DL, with Scott Podsednik in the opposite corner, and the punchless Brian Anderson/Dewayne Wise timeshare in center. Ugh.
Perry's aforementioned (or is it aforelinked?) article suggests SP Jarrod Washburn as trade bait. One replacement possibility for Washburn in Seattle would be lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith, who looked good in a brief stint last year (3.42 ERA in 118 1/3 innings) but has a 6.67 Triple-A ERA at the moment. That number is skewed by one outing in which RRS allowed 12 earned runs, so it only looks like he's being beaten like an Australian piñata every fifth day. I see Rowland-Smith as a deep second-half sleeper in AL-only leagues.
The Buccos are in selling mode, as usual. If they could trade SS Jack Wilson, the less-than-underwhelming Ramon Vazquez would be the only realistic replacement.
If they can find a taker for 1B Adam (not Andy) LaRoche, then 26-year-old Steve Pearce (11 HR, .839 OPS in Triple A) could be in the mix as a replacement. In an NL-only league, Pearce wouldn't be a bad flier to take — just don't expect too much from him.
The Rox are over .500, but you never know what'll happen in the next few weeks. If they fade, 3B Garrett Atkins could be shipped out. Ian Stewart would then become the regular third baseman instead of continuing his role as Mr. Super Utility Man, and OF Carlos Gonzalez would have a pretty clear path to everyday duty instead of the on-again, off-again PT he's getting now.
Closer Huston Street would likely bring a nice return in a deal, and his departure could mean a return to the ninth inning for Manny Corpas, who's currently on the DL with bone spurs in his right elbow (it's apparently not serious).
(Note: Cot's Baseball Contracts was used as the source for some of the contract information in this article.)