Contenders In Need Of A Center Field Upgrade

As many as five contenders might be seeking a center fielder by the trade deadline:

  • White Sox:  Alex Rios, who is signed through 2014, is hitting .221/.272/.329 on the season after a fine bounceback 2010.  He was pulled from last night's game because manager Ozzie Guillen didn't like the way Rios was running the bases.  His replacement Brent Lillibridge could start taking away at-bats, though Lillibridge's own negligence might have cost Chicago that particular game.  The Sox have Jordan Danks (.259/.335/.461) at Triple-A.
  • Rangers:  Their games played leader Julio Borbon is in Triple-A, leaving Endy Chavez, Craig Gentry, and occasionally Josh Hamilton or David Murphy.  Chavez has played well in a small sample, and Leonys Martin could be a factor in September.
  • Mariners:  They're committed to Franklin Gutierrez, but the well-regarded defender is having a very rough year with the bat.  If the lack of production continues for, say, four weeks, the Ms could think about renting a center fielder.
  • Braves:  Jordan Schafer earned the center field job, pushing Nate McLouth to left.  Schafer hasn't done much with the bat though, so the Braves could look to upgrade.
  • Nationals:  The Nats have reportedly been looking for a long-term center fielder for a while now, with B.J. Upton's name coming up often.  Roger Bernadina's recent play may give them pause, however. 

The Braves and Nationals seem most likely to make a move, though the Nats probably won't seek a rental.  The market may include Borbon, Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp, Dexter FowlerChris Coghlan, Reed Johnson, Mitch Maier, Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera, Aaron Rowand, Rajai Davis, and Corey Patterson in my estimation.  Kosuke Fukudome could play center for someone, while Carlos Beltran played there last year.  I have a hard time seeing the Rays move Upton in the middle of a pennant race, but stranger things have happened.

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