With the trade deadline near, teams are starting to evaluate their positions and have begun determining if they are buyers or sellers at the deadline. The talk around most of the league is that bats are being valued a bit more than arms (although there are a number of teams in the market for a reliever). Teams that are looking to add at bat have plenty to choose from, as many teams that are sellers have outfield bats that they are looking to get rid of. Here are four bats that are likely to be dealt before the trade deadline:
Alex Rios (CWS, OF): Rios, at age 32 is still getting it done and is playing some of the best baseball of his career. His .277/.330/.442 line will water the mouths of many GM’s who need to add some life to their lineup. On top of that, Rios has 11 HRs and 40 RBIs. Rios adds instant offense to any team that gets him and it seems as if the White Sox are looking to unload Rios. His contract isn’t the best, but won’t cripple an organization (7 yrs/$69.84M, which expires after the 2014 season). So he not only gives the team some pop but he is under control beyond this season, which makes him a more attractive grab. A team like the Yankees might be interested in a guy like Rios. Due to Rios’ defense, it would be a surprise to see him stay in the AL where he can DH from time to time.
Nate Schierholtz (CHC, OF): The Cubs have already been active this season, shipping Scott Hariston to the Nationals. But, they are far from done. Nate Schierholtz is one of those names that isn’t thrown around very often. He is the type of player that every time wants and wishes they could have. Well soon those wishes could be granted. Schierholtz is having a great year for the Cubs, sporting a .275/.330/.510 line and producing 11 HRs and 34 RBIs (both of which outperform all of last year). Part of this production level might have to do with the fact that Schierholtz is only on a one-year deal and is looking to cash in next season, where he only turns 30. Schierholtz is the run-of-the-mill player: he bats well, gets on base, can drive guys in, plays decent defense and he bats lefty. He can go to both the AL and NL and play well. He might go to a team and be the 4th outfielder utility player. With only a one year deal, it’s appetizing to teams like the Pirates who might be looking to bolster their benches come playoff time.
Carlos Quentin (SD, OF): This isn’t the first time Carlos Quentin’s name has been in the trade rumor mill.Quentin has been a guy teams have circled on their lists as a guy who can come in and instantly add power to the lineup. His only fault: his health. But 2013 has had good fortunes for Quentin, who after only playing in 86 games in 2012, has played in 68 in 2013. When healthy, Quentin is a huge addition to the Padres lineup. He’s carrying a .274/.365/.487 line with 11 HRs and 31 RBIs. Quentin needs to cut back on the strikeouts a bit to really keep his success up. The contract Quentin has is also a concern for prospective teams. He has three years left on his deal which pay out the following money: 2014($9.5M), 2015 ($8M) and a $10M option for 2016. So, any team that is looking at Quentin is going to be willing to take on that contract or hope that the Padres will pay some of it in order to get a good return. The Padres might also hold on to Quentin for as long as they can, as they sit only 6.5 games out of first in the NL West.
Marlon Byrd (NYM, OF): As the media in New York would say: “Byrd is the Word”. Marlon Byrd has been doing it all for a Mets team that has had it’s fair share of struggles offensively. Byrd has exploded onto the scene in New York, playing a key role in the Mets current 15-9 stretch. To date, Byrd has a .268/.313/.506 line with 15 HRs and 49 RBIs. Byrd, a player many thought would be done as a major leaguer, is reviving his career this season. Signed to a minor league deal in the off-season, he has come up time and time again with the big hit for the Mets. This success won’t stop Mets GM Sandy Alderson from cashing out while on top and continuing the rebuilding process that is underway in Flushing. If Alderson can get talent back in return that he thinks can help the Mets more than Byrd can, he will pull the trigger. Byrd brings veteran leadership, a hot bat and some good defense to the table. With the playoff push underway, Byrd can play his way onto a contending team and into the postseason.
The trade deadline always comes with it’s twists and turns and this year will be no different. These are just four of the many names that will be spoken over the next three weeks. As the rumors grow and the speculation begins, players will begin to be looking for new homes, either permanent or temporary, as the prepare for the last two months of the season and the push into the playoffs.