Jason Michaels just can’t get a break. He was kicked around the minors long enough to lose the "prospect" label, and then he was branded a part-time player despite out-hitting many regular center fielders. I touted Michaels in my recent Center Fielders With Potential article, noting his .380 OBP in 808 Major League at-bats.
After Kenny Lofton‘s contract expired, Michaels finally figured to be pressed into full-time duty. Of course, the Phillies decided to import Aaron Rowand instead. Not a bad trade for the Phils, but now they have a clear surplus of center fielders. It remains to be seen what kind of bounty Michaels will bring.
Odds are that Pat Gillick waits until most of the other CFs are off the market to make his deal for Michaels. The Yankees are Pirates are already poking around. The Cubs could get in on the act if Milton Bradley, Juan Pierre, and Brad Wilkerson fall through the cracks.
The Phillies have asked for Chien-Ming Wang from the Yanks, a very even trade as far as I can tell. They were rebuffed, and then chuckled when the Pirates offered Mark Redman. Some pitchers I’d consider comparable to Michaels are Jorge Sosa and Bruce Chen. While Chen is certainly available, the Phillies don’t want him back for a second tour of duty.