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
available.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Travis Ishikawa hits an RBI-single off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias to drive home Neil Walker in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.