Quantity, not quality, hallmark of market for position players
Prince Fielder is a bona fide star but odds are he will stay with the Brewers
Jayson Werth, Corey Hart and Adam Dunn are others who might be dealt
The Toronto Blue Jays could be active sellers by the July 31 trade deadline
Last Friday, I took a look at the best pitchers available in a trading market that has thinned now that the biggest prize -- Cliff Lee, who was dealt from Seattle to Texas on July 9 -- is off the board. Today, I'm listing the position players who are either available or could be available before the July 31 trade deadline. While the market has plenty of quantity it is lacking in quality. Says one NL GM, "There are a lot of players available but they're mostly complementary pieces."
1. Prince Fielder, Brewers 1B. Odds are he stays. The Brewers might entertain trade talks when things get closer to the deadline, but don't look for any team to offer what Texas got from Atlanta for Mark Teixeira two years ago, which was five players, including three top prospects. While Fielder has put up big numbers (22 HRs, 44 RBIs, 56 runs entering Monday), he doesn't seem popular with GMs. Plus, his salary, which is $10.5 million this year, will be considerably higher next year through arbitration or a settlement. "I'd be surprised if they move him,'' said another GM who suspects the Brewers will give the Fielder-Ryan Braun combo one more chance in 2011.
2. Jayson Werth, Phillies OF. The team has talked to him about a new contract, but if the sides can't agree and the Phillies don't start to play to their potential, he could go. The Giants, Rays, Yankees and Red Sox would figure to have varying degrees of interest in the five-tool right fielder, who is batting .276 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs.
3. David DeJesus, Royals OF. His name is out there, but a competing GM is skeptical about whether the Royals will actually deal him. His value is very high now, now that he's batting .320, but the Royals will want to make sure they get a haul. As with all the outfielders, the Red Sox and Giants are candidates for interest. The New Jersey native could possibly interest the Yankees, as well, with Nick Johnson seemingly not headed back from the disabled list anytime soon.
4. Corey Hart, Brewers OF. The Brewers don't appear serious about dealing their stars yet. But if they do, Hart's big year should enhance his value. He's batting .295 and is tied with his teammate Fielder for the NL lead in home runs with 22. Milwaukee needs young pitching, and the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Brewers requesting Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner back from the Giants, seemingly reasonable offers that have apparently been rejected. Hart, who is arbitration eligible next year after beating the Brewers in the process this year, would be a fit for the Red Sox, as well.
5. Adam Dunn, Nationals 1B. One GM called the asking price "prohibitive.'' However, GMs can still see the Nationals dealing Dunn, whose big power should make him an attractive rental even with what's left of his $12 million 2010 salary, then perhaps signing him back as a free agent. The Yankees could envision him in Yankee Stadium, aren't focused on starting pitching anymore and would like to make up for missing out on Lee. The Angels make sense, too, with the loss of Kendry Morales to injury, and so do the White Sox. "They should probably move him, but the Nationals do some curious things at the deadline,'' one GM said, referring to their decision to keep Alfonso Soriano a few years back and various trades. They also are a rare potential seller that might be able to take some well-salaried players in return, putting them in a unique situation. "They could do unusual deadline deals,'' one GM said, meaning they could seek proven players back, not just prospects.
6. Josh Willingham, Nationals OF. The productive hitter has 15 homers and 49 RBIs and would be popular as a trade chip. But one competing GM, noting Willingham is under the Nats' control through arbitration another year, said, "I think they should keep him.'' Yet another hitter who could help the weak-hitting Giants.
7. Adam LaRoche, Diamondbacks 1B. He could provide someone an injection of power and is a professional first baseman.
8. Luke Scott, Orioles OF/1B. Although his raw numbers (.274, 12 homers, 30 RBIs) aren't great, he's been the Orioles' best hitter lately. Could help a lot of contenders if he's moved.
9. Vernon Wells, Jays OF. He's had a nice bounce-back year and even made the All-Star team but there's still plenty left on that $126 million contract. After this season, Wells is owed $86 million through 2014 so he will be tough to move.
10. Jose Bautista, Jays OF/3B. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos is "being very aggressive'' according to a competing GM, as evidenced by his trading veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez to the Braves for talented but underachieving Yunel Escobar. While Braves manager Bobby Cox is surely thrilled to be rid of the inattentive Escobar, GMs say this trade makes perfect sense for the Jays, who are building for the future. Bautista, whose 25 home runs lead the majors, could attract someone.
11. Dan Uggla, Marlins 2B. He's seemingly been on the trade market forever, and one GM said he still envisions Florida keeping him. His big-time power -- he's hit at least 27 home runs in each of his first four seasons and has 16 this year -- makes him attractive though, perhaps for the Giants.
12. John Buck, Blue Jays C. This is somewhat speculative, but with the Blue Jays being aggressive, there are GMs who could see them listening to offers for the All-Star catcher. He should bring back a haul, if available. Long shot to go, though.
13. Xavier Nady, Cubs OF. Productive hitter never really fit Cubs. Padres and Rangers are possibilities.
14. Lance Berkman, Astros 1B. With the Astros said to be listening on just about everyone except Hunter Pence and maybe Michael Bourn, Berkman's name is out there. Originally, he wanted his $15 million option for 2011 picked up, and if that holds true, he will be tough to unload without Houston paying most of the deal (and that isn't something they'll want to do). "That's silly. No one's picking that up,'' one GM said. "He's been better lately but age is catching up a little bit.''
15. Derrek Lee, Cubs 1B. While Lee has outperformed Aaramis Ramirez, he is having a "horrendous'' year in the words of one GM, batting just .238/.329/.376 compared to .306/.393/.579 last season. Still, he has a big-time track record, and the Angels have always made some sense. "Given his good history and clubhouse presence, I could see some interest, but not at $13 million (his 2010 salary),'' one GM said. Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who received the dreaded vote of confidence, is said to be in "listening mode'' for now, but is likely to do a couple deals closer to the deadline.
16. Jorge Cantu, Marlins 3B/1B. He's slowed down but is a productive hitter on a reasonable contract (he's playing this season under a one-year, $6 million deal) and could bring back something decent.
17. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks 2B. The price tag will be high since he's under contractual control for another year after a very good 2010 so far that includes 15 home runs and 49 RBIs.
18. Ty Wigginton, Orioles INF. Versatile player with some power and decent contract should bring back a prospect, though not necessarily a great one considering he's been a utility player until this year.
19. Cody Ross, Marlins OF. Could be part of the Marlins' potential selloff. Decent hitter and outfielder would help the usual suspects.
20. Nyjer Morgan, Nationals OF. With a batting average that has dropped from .307 last year to .255 this year, he's not matching his previous production. Any team in need of speed could look to him, since he does have 21 steals (although he also leads the NL in being caught 13 times.)
21. Jose Guillen, Royals OF. That $12 million salary and bad-boy rep still means the Royals would have to pay part of his salary despite a productive season.
22. Jhonny Peralta, Indians 3B. Lacks power for a third baseman. Very little value.
23. Miguel Tejada, Orioles 3B. He just isn't showing much power for a third baseman (and is no longer seen as a shortstop by anyone). Limited value.
24. Lyle Overbay, Jays 1B. First baseman has been out there forever, it seems. He's doing a bit better lately but his contract (he's in the last year of a four-year, $24 million deal) is still high relative to his production (.250, 10 homers, 32 RBIs, .328 on-base percentage this season).