The trade deadline is a few weeks away, so the rumor mill is about to heat up. To prep you for the coming trade season, we're providing a primer on who the top available trade targets could be as get closer to July 31st.
The left field market at the deadline is….interesting. The position as a whole is very weak, and there aren't any super duper stars available, but there are some nice names that could help teams out a good bit.
Probably not available, but it couldn't hurt to ask
Josh Willingham – The Twins *just* signed Willingham last winter, and he's under contract for two more seasons, so I don't think they'd be jumping at the gun to move him quite yet. But he's having a fantastic year for the Twins, mashing the ball all over the park. If a team is desperate for some pop in the outfield, I could definitely see someone making a too-high offer to Terry Ryan, and with the state of Minnesota's farm system, Ryan would at least have to consider moving Willingham, a guy who doesn't fit into the Twins long-term plans at age 33.
Gerardo Parra – When the Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel this offseason, I went nuclear, because they had Parra in left. He's an amazing defender, and about a league-average hitter. Kubel has excelled with his new team, and Parra is getting a decent bit of playing time due to injuries to Chris Young and Justin Upton. Parra really deserves to play every day though, but I think GM Kevin Towers is smart enough to realize he has a fantstic asset in Parra, and he won't part with him easily.
Chris Denorfia – Chris Denorfia is really, really good, and no one talks about him. As the fourth outfielder for the Padres, Denorfia has an .803 OPS and provides above average defense. However, the same situation that applies for Parra applies here. GM Josh Byrnes knows he has something good here, and he's not going to dump him off for pennies on the dollar, especially if the Padres deal Carlos Quentin, which seems inevitable.
Seth Smith – Smith has mostly been a DH this year for the A's, but he's hitting rather well. GM Billy Beane has stated that he doesn't think he'll move Smith, but remember, this is the Oakland Athletics we're talking about. Is any one player *really* off limits?
Take my (overpaid and/or ineffective) left fielder, please!
Alfonso Soriano – Imagine the reaction in Chicago if Theo & Jed managed to dump Soriano's contract and roster spot. They'd be hailed as kings, even if the Cubs had to pick up 90% of his remaining deal. But here's the thing about Soriano this year: while he's making a ton of money, he's not playing that badly. 15 homers, an .807 OPS, and excellent defensive numbers? That's a starter on a playoff team. If Soriano was making maybe $8 million less, I don't think anyone would have an issue with him on their team.
Carlos Quentin – He's getting dealt. Quentin has seven homers since coming off the DL in early June, and with him hitting free agency at the end of the year, the Padres are going to move him and try to get some pieces in return. He's making a good bit of money, but isn't *vastly* overpaid. I'm sure suitors are lined up for the left fielder's services as we speak.
Vernon Wells – The Angels would looooooooove to get rid of Wells after former GM Tony Reagins gave up Mike Napoli and took on all of Wells' contract two offseasons ago. But I highly doubt anyone would want to take any part of this contract. This is like the Soriano contract, but much, much worse and lacking any production value at all.
Delmon Young – Off the field problems? On field struggles? Ugly contract? Young has the clean sweep going. With Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks in the fold and producing, there's no room left for Young in Detroit.
Chone Figgins – He's so awful, and hasn't produced a lick for the Mariners. This is a young, rebuilding team, and Figgins has no part in Seattle. The signing was a mistake at the time, and it's looking like even more of a mistake now.
Jason Bay – Hurt again, and still making a ton of money. It's getting close to the point where the Mets should just release Bay, eat his contract, and move on with their lives.
Something is better than nothing
Juan Pierre – Once Domonic Brown gets healthy, and if the Phillies are still struggling near the bottom of the National League, there's no concievable reason for Pierre to be on this team anymore. He's not even leading off…Pierre hit seventh for the Phillies last night! He could be a pinch runner/fourth outfielder type for a contender over the season's final two months.
Rajai Davis – I have no idea why the Blue Jays haven't gone all-in with Travis Snider yet. He's healthy and raking in Las Vegas, and Davis is just a guy in the majors, much like Pierre. Of course, if Alex Anthopolous traded Davis, he'd likely get a much better return than Ruben Amaro would for Pierre…just because.
Scott Hairston – Hairston is an absolute masher in left for the Mets, homering 12 times in just 191 plate appearances. I could actually see a team giving up a good prospect to bring Hairston in as a bench bat.
Jonny Gomes – He's part of that rotating cast of characters in the outfield and DH positions for the A's, and as a veteran platoon bat, he could get a fair return this month. I'm extremely confident that Gomes will be traded, just because he's older, and not an every day player. He just doesn't fit in with what the A's are doing long-term right now.