Trade Candidates Part 1
With the hot stove not all that hot at the moment, I thought I'd run down some guys who could be traded between now and July 31st in an attempt to peer into the future. Part 1 of the series will focus on some of the players in their contract year.
Barry Bonds is unlikely to be dealt, given that the Giants have pinned most of their offensive hopes on him. But if, for some reason, the team is out of contention in July and Bonds is looking more awful than usual in the field, a deal to the AL could be in the cards. Adding Bonds at DH could mean 4-5 extra wins in the second half alone, so I'd expect a big bounty even with his $18MM salary and impending free agency.
We're all pretty much assuming Jose Contreras will be dealt. Some say it'd be most prudent for the Sox to wait til spring training and take stock before sending him off to the Mets, Phillies, or wherever else. On the other hand, if there was ever a time to sell high, it's right now.
One name I haven't seen thrown about in trade rumors at all is Greg Maddux. I assume it's because he's over 40 and makes $9MM in 2006, but Mad Dog could be a big help to a contender at the deadline. I've projected a 3.84 ERA and 1.21 WHIP; he's got plenty left. Even if the Cubs had to eat a few mil, it'd make more sense to trade Maddux than Jerome Williams. If the health of Wood, Prior, and Miller works out in their favor the Cubs could have a surplus.
Jason Marquis is projected to post a 4.43 ERA in 200 innings. He'd be serviceable as rental for the season, and he's still on the right side of 30. I'm not sure which teams will be chomping at the bit to give him the three year, $21MM extension he'll require, but someone will.
Mark Mulder is also under 30, though he's shown some ugly trends over the past three seasons. It'll be interesting to see how Walt Jocketty views Mulder - perhaps Mulder will take the St. Louis discount to keep that top-notch defense behind him?
It seems that Andy Pettitte wouldn't be dealt by the Astros midseason pretty much no matter what. Even when the Astros have been counted out they've made the playoffs, so it'd be impossible to justify trading Pettitte to the fanbase.
I'm fairly certain the Cubs will sign Juan Pierre to a long-term deal. Especially if he hits .309 as projected and impresses the old hands with his bunting skills and work ethic. Politically, Jim Hendry almost has to keep Pierre around in case one of the three pitchers sent to Florida pans out.
Jason Schmidt could be a hot commodity, but, like Bonds, is a long shot to be dealt. I think the Giants would look for a young bat in return.
More impending free agents and trade candidates to come...