No fan likes to see a favorite player leave town, but it’s a fact of modern-day baseball. Teams that have a chance to make the postseason are always looking for a veteran guy who can help, and teams out of the hunt are often willing to part with veteran players to help build for the future. Here are a handful of potential trade-deadline targets for 2012.
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox: He’s coming to the end of the road but still has some pop in his bat. The White Sox are re-building and don’t look like contenders this year. He could help a handful of teams for a stretch run. Konerko can also veto any trade and may be content playing out his days in Chicago.
Good fit: Giants, Rangers
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds: With no long-term contract in place and Phillips appearing keen on testing free agency, the Reds may be looking to deal Phillips depending on how the season is progressing. If the Reds are out of it, Phillips, one of the few second basemen with power, could bring back a decent haul even as a rent-a-player.
Good fit: Cardinals, Rays
Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers: Similar to Phillips, with nothing long-term in place, the Dodgers may look to move on from Ethier. Ethier’s power has dipped dramatically since his hand injury two years ago and may never come back to the level needed to drive the ball out of Dodger Stadium. That being the case, he’s not worth the long-term financial investment.
Good fit: Yankees, Red sox
Adam Jones, OF, Orioles: This one will take some foresight from new GM Dan Duquette as well as the blessing of a difficult owner. A couple of years ago, the Mariners could have raided the Red Sox farm system in exchange for Felix Hernandez. Now they are a bad team going nowhere with the one great pitcher. The Orioles should take a lesson from that. The Orioles, with their pitching, are nowhere near ready to move up in this division and bringing back a huge haul for Jones makes perfect sense. The fact that he’s not a free agent until 2014 should also bring some of the mid-market teams into play.
Good fit: Braves, Cubs
B.J. Upton, OF, Rays: This could happen even with the Rays in a pennant race. They’re tired of his act, and I don’t see any chance of a long-term deal with the Rays.
Good fit: Brewers, Marlins