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7/18/2007 01:57:00 PM

NL Central: Trade bait

By Albert Chen

As the July 31 trade deadline nears, a look at some notable players that could be on the move in the NL Central:

Brad Lidge

With the closer's stock is higher than it's been in a few years, it's a no-brainer for Tim Purpura to deal Lidge, but it's looking increasingly likely that the righthander isn't going anywhere. Don't put all the blame on Purpura, though. Here's Houston owner Drayton McClane on trading Lidge: "I see no reason we should even consider it." According this note to the Red Sox are more interested in Lidge's teammates, Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler.

Jason Jennings

An Astros blogger says that Purpura dealing Wily Taveras and Jason Hirsh for Jason Jennings "could very well be the move that gets him the boot." But with starting pitchers hard to find in the trade market, Jennings could have some good value. A pennant changing player, he is not.

Adam Dunn

The Big Donkey thinks he's good as gone, and he's probably right. An intriguing destination is San Diego, where GM Kevin Towers is desperate for a big bopper. "San Diego's one big hitter away from running away with the NL West," says an NL GM. By the way, Dunn is on pace to become the eighth player with four consecutive 40-home run seasons all in his 20s. Pujols, A-Rod, Griffey, Kiner, Snider, Banks, and Killebrew are the others.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Griffey shot down a report that said he expected to be traded this summer but GM Wayne Krivsky will have dropped the ball if he doesn't make a move with Junior's stock as high as ever. If you believe the talk, Griffey is only willing to accept a trade to Chicago, Atlanta, or Seattle.

Bronson Arroyo

Quietly, Arroyo reverted to his 2006 form over the last month; last week he was dazzling in seven shutout innings against the Braves. (Last year Arroyo led the majors with 3851 pitches thrown.) The Boston Globe wonders if the Red Sox would deal Arroyo to Cincy for Wily Mo Pena.

David Weathers

Stormy has been remarkably effective as Cincy's stopper, but how long can he keep it up? Not much longer; the Reds have gotten as much as they could possibly ask for out of the 37-year-old, plus Eddie Guardado should be back soon.

  • The latest from Baseball Prospectus' playoff odds: the Brewers have a 66.3 percent chance of winning the division. But now that Ben Sheets is out four to six weeks, I say the Cubs will be in first place by mid August.

  • Will Carroll says Chris Carpenter's injury could be career threatening.

  • Should the Astros rebuild? The folks in the Crawfish Boxes have the right answer..

  • Richard Justice says the Astros' season was sealed when they swapped Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens for Woody Williams and Jason Jennings.

  • Ryan Braun, Hall of Famer? John Sickels projects the phenom's career from 2007 to 2029.

  • Contrary to early reports, Sean Marshall is still a Cub, says Bleed Cubbie Blue. The blog on the Jason Kendall trade: Well done, Jim Hendry.

  • Rick Telander says John McDonough has steered the Cubs in the right direction.

  • The Red Reporter tells Wayne Krivsky to be very careful as the trade deadline nears -- or the Reds could tun into the Pirates. Says the Reporter on Krivsky: "I don't have any reason to believe that the guy in charge knows what the hell he's doing."

  • Rich Hill throws a hellacious curve and does a mean Napoleon Dynamite impersonation.
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