Hopefully sometime last week you were able to pull off a Kosuke Fukudome for Justin Upton trade. But even if you stood pat there are still plenty of trade targets and trade bait guys out there for you. So, here are five guys to pick up and five guys to move.
Jose Guillen – Much like Raul Ibanez, Guillen goes through streaks where he just crushes the ball. In 2008 he had a 31-game stretch where he batted .369 with 8 HR and 29 RBIs. In 2007 he had a 53-game stretch where he batted .336 with 10 HR and 42 RBIs. He was hurt in 2006 but in 2005 he had a 30-game stretch where he batted .327 with 8 HR and 21 RBIs. So what, you may be thinking, you can find lots of guys with streaks like that if you cherry pick the end points. Well, how many of those guys are likely to be on the waiver wire or not valued highly by their current owners? Guillen spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list but now looks like he’s going on one of those hot spells. Get him and enjoy a month of great production at very little cost to you.
Cliff Lee – Okay, with a 1-4 record and an ERA approaching four, Lee is not going to win the Cy Young Award this year. But his peripherals show a pitcher who should be solid from here on out. Lee has a 2.80 K/BB ratio, his HR/9 is at a nice 0.69 percent and the 90.9 he is averaging on his fastball is a career best. Lee is being hurt by a .364 BABIP. His lifetime mark in the category is .304 and he has never had a mark over .315 in his career.
Kendry Morales – After failing to win a full-time job the past three seasons, Morales fell into the “Overrated Cuban Star” category. But with little competition for the first base job, Morales figures to get 500 or more at-bats this season. And the last two years at Triple-A, he has a .341 batting average. He is probably not a threat to hit 30 HR, but a guy who can hit .315 with 20-25 HR in your corner infield slot is not a bad thing to have.
Rich Harden – The usual MO with Harden is he’s great when he’s healthy but you have no idea how long he’ll be able to hold it together. This year he’s been (knock on Kerry Wood) healthy, but the results have been less than stellar, with two of his five starts being pretty awful. Right now he is being really hurt by walks and the long ball. Harden always walks his fair share of batters but the HR rate is likely to go down. He has a lifetime HR/9 of 0.73 and only once has he posted a rate over 1, with his 1.05 mark in seven games in 2007. Right now, Harden’s HR/9 sits at 1.82 after five starts. If you need to make up ground in pitching, this is a high-risk, high-reward gamble to consider.
Troy Tulowitzki – A 4-for-39 stretch is really dragging down Tulowitzki’s overall numbers at this point. But I like the .200 ISO and I just cannot see the combination of a 25.3 percent strikeout rate and a .245 BABIP lasting for much longer.
Hunter Pence – If you were going to describe Pence, how would you do it? Is he an average hitter or a HR guy or a SB threat? Perhaps he contributes in every category but does he really help you in any of them? His batted ball profile (12.8% LD, 60.3% GB, 26.9% FB) suggests average hitter, but he has a .300 AVG with a .319 BABIP. It is hard to imagine the average staying that high going forward. It looks like 2008 is the high end of what to expect from Pence, and that is only if he can keep his HR/FB ratio in double digits, something no one else of the 18 players with a GB rate over 50 percent was able to accomplish last year.
James Shields – The strikeouts are down, the walks are up, the home runs allowed are up and yet somehow Shields’ ERA is almost identical to where it was a year ago. It is funny what a .245 BABIP and an 81.7 percent strand rate can do for a fellow. Sell high before the hits start falling in against him.
Magglio Ordonez – The batting average will probably rebound some but the power is gone. He hit two home runs in April, which was the eighth-straight month in which he failed to hit more than five homers. See if you can find someone who remembers 2007-vintage Ordonez and views him as a buy-low candidate.
Jason Marquis – It was hard to imagine a worse fit than Marquis pitching in Colorado. He had a lifetime 1.42 WHIP and a 1.51 K/BB ratio. So of course right now he is sitting at 4-1 with a 3.31 ERA, a 1.42 K/BB and a 1.19 WHIP. It is going to be hard to find someone who wants to trade for him, but at the very least ask around and see if you can find a taker.
Jeff Francoeur – All we hear these days is how newspapers are in trouble. Papers are either shutting down or are on life support. Even the venerable Boston Globe is on shaky ground. But you never hear anything about the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And that is because they write at least one glowing article on Francoeur per week. He has reworked his swing and he is not striking out. This is a player that it seems people are actively rooting for to do well. Yet his average is nothing to get excited about and he is not hitting for great power. And it is debatable if he is going to maintain a K% less than half of his career average going forward.
We are discussing having either a mail bag or a live chat to answer trade questions. So, instead of posting trade proposals and asking for feedback, please respond as to which of the two formats you would prefer seeing. A mail bag is easier on our end and is something we could get going sooner. A live chat offers a much quicker response but will require the RotoGraphs authors to coordinate our schedules, which may not match yours.
As always, comments on the individual players listed here are welcome and encouraged.