Once the draft ends tomorrow, we'll turn our attention to the trade market and many GMs will be doing the same. We'll monitor dozens of names throughout the next couple months, but here are seven to watch especially closely as the July 31st trading deadline inches closer. First, three players whose teams have to falter before they become trade bait:
- Matt Holliday has been on a tear since May 5th, walking more than he's striking out with an OPS of .989. The A's have heated up, too. Their seven game win streak ended last night, but they're only 6.5 games out, so they'll have to fall off if Holliday's going to hit the market.
- Mark DeRosa's Indians are seven games out of first place, and they aren't selling now, but the versatile 34-year-old could be appealing to teams like the Cardinals and Mets if the Indians struggle.
- Erik Bedard is pitching well, but the Mariners, now five games back, aren't out of it yet.
- Holliday's former teammate, Brad Hawpe, is hitting .335 with power. His OPS is just shy of 1.000 and he's striking out less than ever. The Rockies aren't going anywhere, but they're on a six game win streak of their own, and Dan O'Dowd is not in a hurry to deal.
- Aubrey Huff will be a free agent after the season and though he's not matching last year's numbers, he's a solid bat.
- Another lefthanded hitter, Nick Johnson, could be a nice addition, though teams might be wary of his past injuries.
- Jake Peavy's already vetoed one trade and would likely use his no-trade clause to keep himself in the National League. Not many teams can afford to take on his salary, but the Padres would like to move him and he's the best pitcher available.