With the All-Star game just four weeks away, we will soon start to hear the rumor mill churning out potential trades. There are a few teams in the hunt for a playoff berth but have glaring holes in their lineups and rotations (yes that means you, Mets). For teams not in contention, now is the time to start selling and getting back some young prospects and building for the future. Let’s take a look at three players most likely to be dealt soon:
1. Erik Bedard – Seattle Mariners Pitcher – This season Bedard’s numbers have been rather impressive: 5-2 record with a 2.47 ERA. Currently the Mariners are only 5.5 games out of first place, but with an anemic offense hitting only .257 and scoring the least amount of runs in all of baseball (234 thus far), they are further out than those 5.5 games would indicate. Bedard is a strong left handed pitcher that can help a few clubs out. The Milwaukee Brewers, who have a one game lead in the National League Central, can always use a good arm. After their ace Yovani Gallardo (6-3 record 2.88 ERA), their next best option is Jeff Suppan (I know, that hurt just typing his name). Suppan on the year is 5-4 with a 4.48 ERA. The Brew Crew can thank their offense and bullpen for keeping them in games. Starting pitching is a big hole for Milwaukee, and in a tough NL Central, they will need all the help they can get to fight off the Cubs and Cardinals.
2. Brad Penny – Boston Red Sox – Pitcher – Let’s be honest…Brad Penny’s best years are now behind him, as I’m sure Alyssa Milano could attest to. Penny had his moment in the sun in 2006 and 2007 when he won 16 games each year. Last year, however, he finished with a 6-9 record and an ERA of 6.27. This season, he is 5-2 (thank you Boston bats) with an ERA of 5.32. At least his ERA is lower than Chien-Ming Wang’s. Penny is making $5 million this season, which won’t break too many banks. With Clay Buchholz tearing it up in the minors, and John Smoltz to be healthy real soon, Penny is now the odd man out. The Phillies could use another starter with Brett Myers being out for the season. Depending on what the Mets do in the coming weeks could determine if the Phillies stand pat, but they still might need to make a move if they want to go far in the playoffs.
3. Jack Wilson – Pittsburgh Pirates Shortstop – Wilson is a decent shortstop, but the only reason his name is in here, is because the Red Sox have been talking to him. The Sox have had issues all season at shortstop, but Wilson isn’t the answer (although it looks like he might end up in Beantown). On the season, Red Sox shortstops have been hitting .252 with three home runs and 25 RBI. Wilson, whose contract is up after this year and is making $7.25 million this season, is hitting .259 with one home run and 20 RBI. Not a great upgrade if you ask me. Miguel Tejada is available, but he’s also 35 years old and making $13 million this season. However Boston tries to remedy their shortstop issue, they will need to do something to help fight off the Yankees and Rays.
Those top three players seem most likely to be packing their bags in the near future, but players such as Matt Holliday, Jose Valverde, and LaTroy Hawkins could also be on the move. Holliday would make plenty of sense in a Mets uniform to provide some pop in that stale offense, and it’s not like they can’t afford him. If they can pay Oliver Perez $36 million over the next three years, they can surely afford Holliday. Valverde is a quality closer, and could help a team such as Tampa Bay, with their closer Troy Percival having shoulder problems, and Jason Isringhausen out for the year (surprise, surprise). Hawkins would be a great set up man in Minnesota for Joe Nathan. With all of these teams having needs to fulfill, it will be interesting to see how they go about fixing them.