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Talkin' trade

It makes sense for clubs to move Sweeney, Zito

Posted: Wednesday May 25, 2005 4:18PM; Updated: Wednesday May 25, 2005 4:19PM
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Mike Sweeney
Mike Sweeney is batting .325 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs for the downtrodden Royals.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Tom Verducci will answer select questions from SI.com users in his Baseball Mailbag.
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The Royals are without a doubt the worst team in the majors. How bad will they become if they trade Mike Sweeney since he is the only threat in their lineup and he is still putting up great numbers?
-- Joseph, Kansas City, Mo.

Well, if they lose 115 games instead of 105, so what if they can make a deal that makes good sense? Sweeney is a good fit for the Rangers.

With trade rumors surrounding Barry Zito, do you think a change of scenery would help him? Do you think he would do well playing for a big-market team?
-- Jessica, New York

Yes, I think that's what he prefers. Zito has a lot to give somebody. It's not as if there's been a big dropoff in his stuff.

Is there any hope for Danny Kolb to keep the closer job in Atlanta? And if not, will the Braves go with the "closer-by-committee" approach or go out and get someone?
-- Matt, Denver

The Braves still want Kolb to be the closer, but not the way he's allowing baserunners (22 hits, 17 walks in 18 2/3 innings). Bobby Cox will go with the hot hand, which may turn out to be Chris Reitsma. Kolb scares Cox with the way he has been walking batters and not striking anybody out, a very bad combination for a closer.

The Reds have so many problems right now, and everyone is calling for manager Dave Miley's head. Should he be fired? What do you think is the Reds' biggest problem, and what can they do to solve it?
-- Laura, Dayton, Ohio

Miley needs more of a run. Obviously, the Reds don't have anything close to a competitive pitching staff. They better make sure they get good value for one of their outfielders. They'd consider trading Ken Griffey Jr., but there's not much of a market for him because of his age, health history and especially the contract with years and years of deferred money. Austin Kearns has good value. There is just no sense in keeping Kearns, Griffey, Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena when they need so much pitching.

Having grown up during a time when baseball had balanced leagues/divisions and an orderly schedule, I find the current setup to be a mess. Now that contraction appears to be off the table, do you think baseball will someday expand to 32 teams? This would allow for four, four-team divisions in each league and would improve scheduling.
-- Steve Pastre, Springfield, N.J.

I hope not. I don't even like the four-team divisions now with just 30 teams. A one in four chances of making the playoffs? Too easy. I know it does make for easier scheduling, but I can't think of two slam-dunk expansion sites -- not while Oakland, Florida and Tampa Bay have their own issues right now.