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.
Last year, the World Champion Cardinals acquired shortstop Rafael Furcal at the trade deadline. His season with the Dodgers before the trade was injury-laden, and bad. Now, he's got a ring, and he's starting the All-Star Game next Tuesday. There might be an impact guy like Furcal out there, right?
Probably not available, but it couldn't hurt to ask
Jed Lowrie – when we heard the rumors last week that the Dodgers and Astros were possibly talking about Lowrie, eyeballs were raised. Then, it turned out Lowrie wasn't really a player, and that somebody had likely heard the name "Lee" and "Astros" and immediately thought "Zach Lee for Jed Lowrie!" At any rate, that's the type of player it would take for Houston to give up Lowrie: a top 25 prospect in the league, plus more. Lowrie is third among all shortstops in fWAR this year, and is second in homers. This is the type of guy you can build a franchise around, and it would take more than a Mark Melancon type player (thanks Boston!) to pry him from Houston's grasp
Starlin Castro – I really doubt that the Cubs will move Castro, just because of how highly they talk of him as a building block for the team in the future. But if some crazy team offers Theo and Jed a bounty for the free swinging 22 year-old….they'd be crazy to at least not listen for a little bit, right?
Take my (overpaid and/or ineffective) shortstop, please!
Yunel Escobar – Escobar is an insanely talented player, but he's also quite erratic. Conflicts with Bobby Cox and struggles at the plate got him sent packing from Atlanta in 2010, and after a solid 2011 with the Blue Jays, he's struggling again and reportedly pissing a lot of the Toronto management team off in the process. With Adeiny Hechavarria waiting in the wings (poor bat and all)…Escobar might get moved this month.
Marco Scutaro – Scutaro is a jack of all trades in the infield for the Rockies, but does a team as bad as they do really need a veteran middle inflelder? It's not as if he's destroying the ball, but Scutaro is solid defensively and relatively affordable. Whatever.
Clint Barmes – Pirates fans were cursing this contract from the moment it was signed, and with the team contending here in July, the veteran is…somehow worse than expected. What a horror show. An upgrade at short facilitated by kicking Barmes to the curb would be huge for the Pirates.
Something is better than nothing
Tyler Pastornicky – After Andrelton Simmons was promoted to the majors last month and captivated the league with his spectacular defense, Pastornicky no longer has a shot in hell at starting as a Brave. He's still quite young and a little raw, but if the Braves are chatting to a team about a player and they want a shortstop…Pastornicky isn't a bad choice to use as a mid-range building block.
Jamey Carroll – The Twins stink. Carroll has been terrible on offense, but fantastic on defense. He could probably be had for very little and still give you production on defense alone.
Brendan Ryan – What I said about Carroll is true to even more extremes for Ryan. He's worse offensively, but an absolute magician defensively. He's been nearly a two win player this year, based solely on his defense. That's special.
Willie Bloomquist – Stephen Drew is back for the Diamondbacks, but is struggling from the getgo. If he taps into his former talents this month, I can see Arizona dealing the veteran Bloomquist, a bench player thrust into an every day role for the Diamondbacks.