As many as six contenders might aim to improve at first base as we approach the trade deadline: the Rays, Angels, Braves, Pirates, Giants, and Diamondbacks. Let's take a closer look.
- The Rays have used Casey Kotchman at first lately, and with a .335/.392/.445 line he has not disappointed. Kotchman has scuffled in 39 June plate appearances, however, and if that is a sign that he's back to the level of his previous few seasons, the Rays will need to upgrade.
- Rookie Mark Trumbo is the Angels' first baseman. He's shown some power, but a .248/.294/.454 line is subpar at the position. Russell Branyan is also in the mix.
- The Braves are using rookie Freddie Freeman, who has played fairly close to expectations at .268/.335/.416. You'd like to see more power, but the Braves might be content here.
- Pirates first baseman Lyle Overbay is hitting just .236/.305/.369. Typically the Bucs are not mentioned in posts about contenders, but at five games back they could be more buyers than sellers.
- Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff has struggled to a .234/.288/.393 line, though he's been better in June. Given his contract, the Giants will probably stick with him. Top prospect Brandon Belt could be Plan B if Huff is struggling when the rookie recovers from a broken wrist.
- The Diamondbacks have been using Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady at first base. Miranda has been solid overall, though not in June. Nady hasn't done much. Brandon Allen is an option at Triple-A.
That makes six contenders that might consider a first base upgrade, though all of them could easily stand pat. Who's available? Carlos Pena, Michael Cuddyer, Wilson Betemit, Yonder Alonso, Brad Hawpe, Juan Rivera, James Loney, Derrek Lee, Chris Davis, and Kila Ka'aihue can probably be had, but they're not clear upgrades for anyone. The best bet to be dealt might be Pena, who is hitting .250/.388/.492 since May 1st. Loney has also been better lately.