Justin Upton

So who’s available at the trade deadline?


The non-waiver trade deadline is coming. July 31, as usual. After a slow beginning to crazy season due to so many teams being in contention or erroneously believing so, the rumblings are getting louder. It’s great fun, yes?

Over the next couple of weeks, we will obviously be writing individual posts for each of the trades that go down and a lot of the rumors that swirl. We’ll also, once trades start happening, put up a trade tracker so you can keep all the deals straight. But for now, let’s see if we can’t get a list of guys who are or who may be on the market.

This is a pretty expansive list, I think, as it includes guys like Josh Willingham who, just a few minutes ago, we noted probably won’t be traded. And it also includes guys — especially some pitchers — that no one may want. It further includes guys who haven’t had any trade heat around them but, man, they play for a team going nowhere, so maybe they SHOULD be dealt. Ergo, lots of Astros and Padres. It also includes a lot of Athletics because, in contention or not, the A’s like to deal people at the deadline.  This isn’t merely list of names being tossed around actively. It’s more akin to a list of possible dudes your team may reasonably inquire about and/or want.

Point is, never say never. Teams don’t do dumb things at the rate they did ten years ago, but it’s not impossible to think that someone would offer the Twins a ridiculous return for Willingham, making them change their mind. Or that someone may think that a Safeco-fueled half season by Kevin Millwood has rendered him not-Kevin Millwood.

Anyway, below is who we reckon to be on the market at the moment. If we missed some — and I’m assuming we did — let us know. Keeping track of this stuff is like herding cats, so the more herders the better.

Available bats:

Justin Upton
Carlos Quentin
Shane Victorino
Justin Morneau
Josh Willingham
Denard Span
Michael Cuddyer
Alfonso Soriano
Bryan LaHair
Chase Headley
Adam Lind
Mark Kotsay
Marco Scutaro
Chris Johnson
Chris Denorfia
Seth Smith
Jonny Gomes
Coco Crisp

Available arms:

Cole Hamels
Zack Greinke
Wandy Rodriguez
Matt Garza
Ryan Dempster
Francisco Liriano
Edinson Volquez
Brandon McCarthy
Bartolo Colon
Kevin Millwood
Huston Street
Jonathan Broxton
Rafael Betancourt
Francisco Rodriguez
Matt Capps
Grant Balfour
Bret Myers
Brandon Lyon

So, who did we miss? And who shouldn’t be here? Note: If you name someone who wasn’t originally on the list and should be, I will update it here.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero
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Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.

Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was let go because he was “too negative”

marlins logo wide

We heard earlier this week that Marlins television analyst Tommy Hutton was let go after 19 seasons on the job. By all accounts, he’s well-liked and respected, so it smelled a little fishy with a team that has owner Jeffrey Loria calling the shots. Well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source close to the Marlins that Hutton was let go because he was “too negative.”

Jackson was also able to get in touch with Hutton, who provided some details about how things went down.

“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”

After being told that his salary wasn’t a factor in the decision, Hutton suspected that his candid, blunt analysis might be the impetus for his ouster.

So after learning his fate on Monday, he asked that question – whether they thought he was too negative — to both a Fox producer (at a meeting at Starbucks) and the Marlins’ vice president/communications (by phone).

He said the question was met with silence by both executives.

“I couldn’t get a yes or a no,” he said.

Hutton said there were three incident in recent years where he was told the Marlins were uncomfortable with something he said. He disclosed one example where he was exasperated at the ballpark’s dimensions after former catcher John Buck flew out to the warning track for the final out of a game. He was told by a Marlins vice president after the game that Loria prefer he not talk about the ballpark’s dimensions. Of course, the team is moving in the fences this winter.

To be clear, Hutton said he was told it was a “mutual decision” between the Marlins and FOX to let him go, but Jackson’s source hears that the concern about his “negativity” came from the team.

Hey, do you know the best way to prevent “negative” talk about your team? Fielding a winning baseball team without a dysfunctional ownership and front office. Crazy idea, I know, but it could be cool?