Trade Candidates: NL West Edition

by Chuck

I didn’t see anyone “calling” this one, so here it is.

Sorry if that’s not the case.

Arizona Diamondbacks-Stephen Drew.

Not a stranger to trade rumors (remember the much-discussed Clay Buchholz rumors in 2009?), Drew’s name is once again on the radar despite the fact he’ll start the season on the DL. Drew, whose season ended last year on July 20th after breaking his leg in a home plate collision with Milwaukee’s Jonathon Lucroy, will be entering his free agent walk year in 2012. If Drew comes back as expected around May first and plays well, and with veterans John MacDonald and Willie Bloomquist capable of handling shortstop, the Dbacks could make a move. The Dbacks are a little thin at the infield corners with veteran journeyman Ryan Roberts coming off a career year and Paul Goldschmidt almost certain to experience a sophomore slump. The Dbacks could also use some back-end rotation insurance behind Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders.

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were one of the busiest teams of the off-season and mortgaged their moves well, picking up starters at third base (Casey Blake), catcher (Ramon Hernandez), second base (Marco Scutaro) and right field (Michael Cuddyer). The even managed to get some back end rotation candidates in Tyler Chatwood and Josh Outman. In looking at the Rockies depth chart, it would seem their only need for a trade would be to benefit someone else by clearing some of their own new-found depth. The only real weakness would appear to be at first base, where 38 year old Todd Helton will be backed up by 41 year old Jason Giambi. In looking at their depth chart, the Rox have invited veteran catcher Wil Nieves to spring training as a non-roster player, ostensibly to battle Jordan Pacheco and Elizar Alfonso for the backup role to Hernandez. If Nieves manages to stick, then the Rockies could deal one of the catchers and maybe one or two of their excess starter candidates for a righty bat to spell Helton.

Los Angeles Dodgers-James Loney & Andre Ethier

On paper, Either appeared to have a pretty good season, his homers were way down but .292 is pretty decent, take away his early season 30 game hitting streak and the truth comes out; he was pretty bad. That said, I think Loney remains the odds on favorite to be moved, partly because he’s been on this list since he was drafted. If some prognosticators are to be believed, once the Dodgers’ sale becomes final sometime in May, they will all of a sudden have the gloves removed and with their new found influx of cash could be free to do whatever they wanted. Upgrading over Loney at first, Juan Uribe at third, Juan Rivera in left and AJ Ellis behind the plate would not only be possible, but in all likelihood definite, especially if the Dodgers feel like they’re a piece or two from contending this year. While Ethier would likely bring the best return, there are no other RF candidates in the system, so the Dodgers would essentially be trading him for himself, last year’s rookie hot-shot Jerry Sands can play first as can Rivera, so Loney’s the most likely candidate and he could bring a replacement for a number of spots, including the rotation.

San Diego Padres-Carlos Quentin

As is the case with their division rival Rockies, the Padres had a very productive off-season, which culminated with the return they stole from Cincinnati for staff ace Mat Latos. The acquistion of Quentin is a head-shaker, however, clearly a product of an offensive environment in Chicago, the hot-headed Quentin will start screaming about Petco’s dimensions sometime during the first homestand of the season. And let’s not forget his defensive inadequacies, which will certainly become more noticeable playing on a larger field. I would guess by June first, with Quentin hitting .220/4/18 and playing the outfield like a drunk trying to catch a frisbee,  that even Josh “I never make mistakes, it’s always everyone else’s fault” Byrnes will have no choice to find a way to get rid of him.

San Francisco Giants-Aubrey Huff

The Giants are my pre-season pick for the “Crash and Burn” franchise of the year, despite their pitching. In looking at their depth chart, it’s inconceivable to me how this team will score more runs than the 2010 Mariners. Melky Cabrera will come to earth faster than the Space Shuttle on re-entry, Angel Pagan will play a solid 70 games or so, of course forgetting it’s a 162 game season. While I might be the only guy on the planet who thinks Brandon Crawford will hit, the Giants apparently don’t as they brought in Ryan Theriot as shortstop insurance. Obviously the health of Buster Posey will play a big factor in the offense, but what team is so desperate for a potential 20 homer/85 RBI producer that they’ll stunt the development of Brandon Belt so the 35 year old Huff can play every day? And if Posey is healthy, the plan is for him to play first base against lefthanders anyway, so first base is a postion of depth even without Huff. The Rangers lost out on Prince Fielder and would still like some lefty pop to support Josh Hamilton, and they just happen to have an excess in outfielders and starting pitchers.

While much too early to make any predictions, I’m coming around on the idea of the Dodgers becoming contenders, especially during the second half. Whether they actually can make it interesting depends of course on how close they can stay during the first half. The only two teams in the divison without a snowball’s chance in Phoenix of winning are the Giants and Padres, so that leaves the other three.

The Dbacks will come down a bit after last year’s illusion, leaving the Rockies right now as the on-paper favorites.

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12 Responses to “Trade Candidates: NL West Edition”

  1. Raul Says:

    Drew isn’t an on-base machine, but with the right team, he could be valuable.

  2. Cameron Says:

    Not exactly an on-base machine, but a noticeable upgrade offensively over a good chunk of shortstops in the league.

  3. Hossrex Says:

    Stephen Drew; just like big brother, only without the hype.
    Casey Blake; one of the best 38 year olds in the game. Take that as you will.
    Todd Helton; of all guys who’ll get HOF consideration (LOL), he’ll probably have spent more time as an albatross than the other peacocks… And he ain’t no Phoenix.
    Jason Giambi; probably still surprise everyone with his OBP, but even Colorado won’t bring his homer total upto all-star level.
    Ethier; I’ve always liked Ethier… But if we can find a team who isn’t paying attention, we’ll very easily be able to et more for him than he’ll actually produce.
    James Loney; you got it right by calling him perineal trade bait. The only question is whether or not we kept that bottle of strawberry hill on the shelf too long.
    Mat Latos; lol… Quicker they move him the better. Gotta love riding one good season… Even five years later.
    San Fransisco Giants (en toto); so long as “crash and burn” is literal, I’ll be happy.

  4. Cameron Says:

    Hey Hoss, didn’t I say you acted like a Giants fan once and you threatened to kill me? …Good times.

  5. Raul Says:

    lol @ Casey Blake; one of the best 38 year olds in the game

    Reminds me of when my friend was in college in Minnesota and went to Twins games.


    Pretty much the same thing.

  6. Hossrex Says:

    Huh… Bob Wells’ mother must have been there.

  7. Raul Says:

    No. That was my friend, shitfaced out of his mind with his college buddies.

    They also once yelled “Weberrrrrr!!! You’re an animaaaallll!!!!” at former Angels reliever Ben Weber. Weber then turned to them, threw up the devil horns and stuck his tongue out.

  8. Raul Says:

    The Astros agreed to a minor league contract with Livan Hernandez. It might be the end for Hernandez but what a great career. Leaves Cuba and manages a 16-season Major League career. Very durable pitcher.

  9. Lefty33 Says:

    Livan has made over $50 million and he also has over 3,000 innings pitched.

    I think by John’s standards that makes him 1st ballot.

  10. Hossrex Says:

    “Weber then turned to them, threw up the devil horns and stuck his tongue out.”

    Fucking metal. That’s awesome.

    Almost as awesome as hearing Vinny extol the virtues of punk rock everyone Scott Radinsky took the mound.

    The Astros agreed to a minor league contract with Livan Hernandez. It might be the end for Hernandez but what a great career. Leaves Cuba and manages a 16-season Major League career. Very durable pitcher.”

    Based on nothing more than his ability to consistently throw 200 innings, there was rarely a period in his career where he wouldn’t have been one of the most valuable #3/#4 starters in the game. So long as you’re only paying him like a #3/#4 guy, he’s amazingly useful.

    One of the better pitchers in his era who shouldn’t be anywhere near any part of a hall of fame disscussion.

    Lefty: “I think by John’s standards that makes him 1st ballot.”

    I swear I wrote what I wrote before I read that. :)

  11. Bob Says:

    Chuck, thank you.

  12. John Says:

    @9, is that supposed to mean something, tough guy?

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