It’s hard to imagine that 4 1/2 months from now teams will be looking at trading players who haven’t even shown up to spring training yet. I get it, it’s early. Not even one spring game has been played. But if you asked every general manager in baseball who’s going to get moved by the waiver deadline of August 31st, I’m sure they could provide you a list of names.
I’m sure that Andy McPhail has an idea of what he’s going to do in July. If he doesn’t, that’s a problem. What will he do if the O’s are 4 games out of a playoff spot? Will he add a player or two in order to go for it? Will he recognize that it’s not their time and stand pat? Will he decide that some of his roster would be better served playing elsewhere? This may be the last time he is labeled a seller at the trade deadline. Obviously, that’s music to the ears of all the long suffering Orioles fans.
Here are a few players that I think will need to contact the U.S. Post Office prior to August 31st.
Ben Sheets – Oakland A’s
Billy Beane has become a better flipper than the guy running the grille at the local McDonalds. Matt Holliday was acquired from the Rockies for Houston Street and then flipped to the Cardinals before the deadline. Tim Hudson went to the Braves. Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks. So why hang onto Ben Sheets? If he’s healthy, he will be worth a ton at the deadline. He’s a top of the rotation starter. The 10 million dollar question though is will he be healthy. If he is, I hope he’s only renting.
Carl Crawford – Tampa Bay Rays
According to many published reports, the Rays are over their payroll limit. Crawford is in the final year of his current deal, and is not expected to be resigned. The Rays were one of baseballs most disappointing teams last year. They struggled out of the gate, got hot, but faded down the stretch. They addressed a major weakness by acquiring Rafael Soriano from Atlanta. They now have a closer. If the Rays are on the fringe in July, look for them to move Crawford. He’s a special player, one who can run, hit, hit for power, and play good defense. He would look good in any of the other 29 uniforms.
Manny Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers
After yesterday’s personal announcement that he would not be back with the Dodgers in 2011, Mannywood may close by the end of July. As I think the Dodgers are a 4th place club in 2010, I think they will be looking to move Manny. The Dodgers will need to eat a big chunk of the 10 million that he will be owed come the deadline. But Manny can still rake. I’m sure he’d be a nice fit in Seattle during the second half of the season as a designated hitter. Somebody in the American League will be calling the Dodgers.
Jayson Werth – Philadelphia Phillies
This is one that I’m struggling with. I think he is the least likely of this group to be moved. Reason being, that the Phillies are built to win it all again in 2010, and Werth will be a big part of it. However, he is at the end of a 2 year, 10 million dollar contract. He is coming off a career year in which he was an All-Star for the first time, hit 36 homers, and drove in 99 runs. His offensive numbers were tremendous. He plays good defense, can run, and led the NL in pitches seen per plate appearance. With a similar type season, the market price will be in the 16 million range for 2011 and the Phils will be priced out of his market. I think that they ultimately try to win with him again. But if a huge need arises for the second half of the season, he would definitely be bait in order to acquire the missing piece.
Miguel Tejada – Baltimore Orioles
Will Andy flip him at the deadline again? It’s hard to say. First, Josh Bell will need to prove that he’s ready for big league duty. Second, someone other than the Astros will have to show interest in the former MVP. Tejada was second in hits in the NL last year, led the league in doubles, and hit .312. He’s happy to be back in Baltimore, for now. That may change come July. And if it does, I’d press the issue with Bell.
Opening Day is still 6 weeks away, but some player’s time with their current team is coming to an end. It will be interesting to see who goes where.