10 most likely to be traded – Infielders

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Mark DeRosa (Indians) – With Grady Sizemore back, the Indians aren’t
likely to sell just yet. Still, at least as big of a problem as being
10 games behind is that they have four teams ahead of them in the AL
Central. DeRosa has been talked about as trade bait for close to two
months now, and the Indians have soured on him as a third baseman after
originally acquiring him to play the position. Given that he’s on pace
for about 30 homers and 110 RBI, it shouldn’t be a problem getting more
for him in trade than they would by letting him walk for draft picks at
season’s end.

Garrett Atkins (Rockies) – It certainly doesn’t bode well for
Atkins’ future in Colorado that he’s been given a total of one at-bat
with the DH available in Anaheim the last two games. At this point, the
Rockies are looking at giving him up for a fraction of what they would
have asked for a year ago or keeping him on the bench and letting his
trade value decline further. It’s unlikely that Atkins has completely
forgotten how to hit; while he was positively brutal during May, he
posted a .247/.289/.429 line in April and he’s at .256/.356/.410 in 39
at-bats during his limited opportunities at month. That he isn’t much
of a third baseman is a problem, one that really cuts into his value,
but he’s gone from overrated to potentially underrated in a hurry.

Nick Johnson (Nationals) – While some free agents-to-be are more likely
to stay with their current teams because of the ramifications of
draft-pick compensation, it only makes Johnson more likely to go. Since
Johnson was limited to 38 games last year, there’s little chance that
the Nationals will receive a pick by keeping him and letting him walk
at season’s end. Perhaps on his way to his first healthy season since
2006, Johnson is currently hitting .315/.423/.444. The OBP is no fluke
and Johnson is a quality defender, so he’s the Nationals’ best
bargaining chip as they attempt to add more young talent to their
organization.

Adam LaRoche (Pirates) – The comments he made after the Nate McLouth
trade didn’t help matters, but LaRoche was already unlikely to finish
the season in Pittsburgh. A divorce would be best for both parties, as
it’d surely help LaRoche to have a chance to ply his trade for a
contender as he heads into free agency at season’s end. While he’s been
a reliable first baseman since the day he debuted in 2004, he’s still
never topped 90 RBI in a season, partly because he sat against lefties
early on and partly because he’s hit in some poor lineups. However,
it’s also the case that his power has tended to disappear in big
situations. A few key homers down the stretch for a more visible team
might do wonders for his reputation as he enters the market.

Orlando Cabrera (Athletics) – There’s no denying that Cabrera has
been one of the AL’s weakest regulars this season, but at least the
price should be right. The A’s have no reason to hold on to him, as he
could well accept arbitration if the team tries to get draft picks for
him this winter. Cabrera is coming off three straight seasons with at
least a .280 average and a .330 OBP, and he was the AL’s best defensive
shortstop in 2008. He’s probably not through as a useful starter.

Aubrey Huff (Orioles) – It was about this time a year ago that Huff
really took off on his way to a .304-32-108 season. However, outside of
that three-month run in 2008, he’s been strictly an 800-OPS guy since
2006. The Orioles, who inked him to a three-year, $20 million deal
prior to 2007, could opt to try to re-sign him for a couple of years,
but they’d likely be better off moving on, especially if they could
cash him in for a couple of prospects this summer. Because of the lofty
RBI totals, he’ll probably be more attractive to some than LaRoche.

Dan Uggla (Marlins) – The Marlins are still a long way from being
out of the race, but unless things go very well over the next month,
both Uggla and Jorge Cantu will be trade candidates. Uggla’s average
remains down, but he has improved to .239/.357/.465 this month and he’s
on pace for 30 homers and nearly 100 RBI. There’s almost no chance that
he’ll be back with the Marlins next season, since he’s due to become
their most expensive player at $7 million-$8 million.

Freddy Sanchez (Pirates) – While it’s always Jack Wilson’s name that
comes up in trade rumors, his double-play partner is at least as likely
to be dealt this summer. If they keep him, the Pirates will have to
decide whether to pick up his $8 million option for 2010 or buy him out
for $600,000. He’s probably worth the cash, but he is 31 and second
basemen tend to age especially badly, making it unlikely that he’ll
still be a quality regular when the Pirates are next ready to contend.
He’d be an upgrade for the Giants, White Sox, Twins, Brewers, Cubs,
Angels and Cardinals.

Felipe Lopez (Diamondbacks) – Lopez could help all of those same
teams. Maybe. While Sanchez is a legitimate .300 hitter, Lopez is 40
points above his career mark in batting .303/.356/.420 this season. On
the plus side, he is cheaper, both in terms of salary and probably in
the talent that it would take to acquire him.

Miguel Tejada (Astros) – The Astros probably won’t be in the thick
of the NL Central race come September, but they’re also unlikely to
give up and start selling off veterans, no matter how much they could
use some young talent. As is, they’re still just six games back in NL
Central and five in the wild card. Tejada is a weak defender at
shortstop and he’s back hitting nothing except singles lately after his
brief power surge in May, but there’s no one in the organization who
would serve as an adequate replacement.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.