10 most likely to be traded – Outfielders

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Matt Holliday (Athletics) – The early-month surge hasn’t held up, as
the A’s have gone 3-6 since interleague play resumed. While Oakland is
still just seven games back, there’s nothing to suggest the team will
ever get healthy enough to make a real run. Holliday, who has been an
above average regular since the end of April, even if he’s still not
playing at his usual level, would have no problem bringing back more
than the A’s could get if they held on to him and let him go for draft
picks at season end. San Francisco makes more sense as a possible
destination with every victory and every Fred Lewis strikeout.

Ryan Spilborghs (Rockies) – Ideally, the Rockies would have been
able to do something with Spilborghs before they turned him into a
fifth outfielder. As an adequate center fielder and a plus corner
outfielder with a career OPS of 823 and a salary barely above the
minimum, he’d come in handy just about anywhere. The Cardinals, in
particular, could use someone with his ability to hit southpaws.

Jeff Francoeur (Braves) – The Braves still might have had a shot at
getting a prospect for Francoeur a month ago. Now they’d be lucky just
to find someone to take his salary without having to accept a similar
contract back. Interestingly, he’s gone from posting a 23/1 K/BB ratio
in May to a 6/7 this month, but he’s remained just as useless.

Cody Ross (Marlins) – Ross is pretty similar to Spilborghs, but his
home run power will likely make him more expensive to acquire. A career
.249/.305/.436 hitter against righties, he still makes a lot more sense
as a fourth outfielder than as a regular. However, he has been terrific
for the Marlins over the last two months. That he’ll likely double his
current $2.25 million salary next year is the main reason he could be
put on the market.

Josh Willingham (Nationals) – Willingham’s incredible nine-homer,
13-RBI season to date is worthy of its own post, but while he has been
a huge failure hitting with men on base this year, it’s not a
career-long trend. Willingham doesn’t offer a whole lot on defense and
his history of back troubles would make him a poor choice for a
long-term contract, but he’s a legitimate 25-homer guy and he hits
righties better than alternatives like Spilborghs and Ross. He’d be a
great fit for Minnesota’s lineup.

Eric Hinske (Pirates) – He’s been a fairly valuable player off the
bench, but Hinske never made a lot of sense for a Pirates team that
opened the season with fellow left-handed hitters at all three outfield
spots and at first base. He’ll probably be cashed in for a prospect
before the deadline. The Mets and Tigers could both use the extra
left-handed bat.

Jeremy Hermida (Marlins) – It’s the story of Hermida’s career: he
had 11 hits, three of them homers, in a five-game stretch from June
9-13, only to go hitless in five games since. There are still plenty of
teams intrigued by Hermida’s talent, and the Marlins could improve
their defense by going back to Cameron Maybin in center and shifting
Ross to right field. Still, his trade value should be just as high in
November as it is now, making it more likely that he’ll stay.

Jermaine Dye (White Sox) – While the White Sox still look like
potential buyers right now, they might turn into sellers before the
deadline. If that’s the case, Dye would be the most obvious candidate
to go. He’s been their best player with a .264/.339/.514 line, and the
$12 million mutual option on his contract might not satisfy either
party for 2010.

Jake Fox (Cubs) – Fox isn’t going to bring a whole lot in return,
but the soon-to-be 27-year-old former catcher deserves more of an
opportunity that the Cubs can give him after hitting .409/.495/.841
with 17 homers in 45 games for Triple-A Iowa this season.

Delmon Young (Twins) – Minnesota is very much in the hunt for the AL
Central, yet Young remains a big liability while hitting for no power
at all and striking out 11 times as often as he walks. The Twins can’t
glue him to the bench or send him down, so they may be better off
moving him while there are still teams out there that may think they
can turn him around. The Nationals, Padres and Pirates are among the
clubs that would have to take hard looks at Young’s upside if he became

Phil Nevin: managerial candidate for the Nats, Mariners, Marlins and Padres

Phil Nevin

Phil Nevin retired following the 2006 season so he was too early to join the trend of All-Star players who, rather than simply wait around for a big league managerial job to be handed to them, actually went and managed in the bus leagues for a while.

He started in independent ball, jumped to the Tigers’ Double-A team and then Triple-A team and then, for the past two seasons, managed the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A club in Reno. In short, the man has paid his dues and has had good reviews from his players everywhere he’s been. So this is not too much of a surprise:


The Padres feel like the most natural fit given that Nevin’s best seasons came with the club and given that he makes his home just outside of San Diego. But all of those jobs are fairly desirable, either for personal reasons or because they’re fairly talented clubs who underachieved in significant fashion this year. Nowhere to go but up, right?

No hearing today: Chase Utley to be eligible once again

Chase Utley
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Chase Utley‘s suspension is quickly turning into a more theoretical than actual thing.

Following his Sunday suspension for sliding into Ruben Tejada and breaking Tejada’s leg, Utley appealed. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement players are eligible pending appeal, and because MLB, the union and Utley’s agent could not get together for a hearing yesterday he was eligible for last night’s game. Of course he didn’t play.

Now, Tim Brown of Yahoo hears from a source that there will be no hearing today either.

This is simultaneously interesting given how much of a to-do the whole matter has become and boring given how, in reality, Utley is a pretty unimportant piece of the Dodgers roster at this point and his presence or absence will, in all likelihood, not affect any game on a level even approaching the manner in which he affected Game 2.

Clayton Kershaw on short rest: an OK idea if Mattingly has a quick hook

Don Mattingly

Last night, as Brett Anderson was being tattooed by Mets batters, I wondered when we’d see Don Mattingly amble out of the dugout to take the ball from him. Turns out he didn’t. He let Anderson finish the third inning having given up six runs and turned it over to the pen for what was essentially a mop-up job.

Maybe that was defensible. Maybe Mattingly realized that, even though the Dodgers would end up scoring more than six runs on the night, the game was already out of hand. Sort of a gut thing, maybe. Let’s not dwell too much on that except to say that Mattingly’s hook was not terribly quick given that his pitcher was having issues.

His hook had better be quicker tonight.

Clayton Kershaw is going on short rest. Historically, pitchers haven’t done too well on short rest in the playoffs. But Kershaw, who pitched on short rest in both the 2013 and 2014 NLDS, has been generally OK. He has, at the very least, given the Dodgers a chance to win.

In Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS against the Braves he allowed two runs — unearned — in six innings. He didn’t figure in the decision in that one — it was the infamous “Craig Kimbrel standing in the bullpen but not being used as the Braves’ season effectively ended in the eighth inning for some reason” game — but the Dodgers advanced to the NLCS.

Last year’s NLDS appearance against the Cards was less-than-stellar. On regular rest he was beat up badly in Game 1, allowing eight runs in six and two-thirds. Then, in Game 4, he came back on only three days’ rest. And, for a while, he pitched well, allowing zero runs through six innings on 94 pitches. Normally Kershaw can go longer than that, but on short rest? Seemed like a bad idea to send him out for the seventh. Mattingly sent him out for the seventh, however, and eight pitches and a Matt Adams home run later the Cards led 3-2 and the Dodgers’ season was over.

Don Mattingly doesn’t have a lot of options tonight and didn’t really have them even before burning Alex Wood last night. He has to use Kershaw and it’s the right decision to do so. Go with what brung ya and go with your best. But he needs to remember that his best on short rest isn’t the same as his best at other times. He should plan for, at the outside, six innings from Kershaw. Indeed, he should be ecstatic if he gets six. A reasonable plan would be for less and to have a reliever ready to go at basically any time in the game.

The Dodgers’ entire season is on the line tonight and Mattingly’s job may very well be on the line too. If he’s on his keister in the dugout watching Kershaw put two men on with nobody out in a close game, he may as well just tender his resignation right then and there.