SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) – You’re favorite team is just one key piece away from awkwardly hoisting that flagpole-laden World Series trophy, at least that’s what any self-respecting fan should think. But who should they add leading up to the July 31st trade deadline? Everyone with a blog thinks they know who’s on the move and where they will fit best, but successfully mixing up championship chemistry is tough, and that’s why General Managers make a ton of dough. What’s easier to figure out is who’s available that can’t help you. Here are our picks for (allegedly available) players that you don’t want your team to swap for leading up to the July 31st trade deadline.
Bartolo Colon, (SP, Mets) – No ageism here, we’re not discounting this guy just because he was an All-Star during the Clinton Administration. Bartolo’s numbers are still good (8-5 with a 3.67 ERA) and anyone who can win 8 games on the Mets is worth considering adding to your team, but you’re going to have to give up prospects for a guy who was suspended 50 games just two seasons ago for testosterone use. And he’s a rental making $9 million, with no chance of fitting in to your team’s long-term plans. He’s only worth grabbing at a real bargain. On the plus side, he is 2-29 at the plate this year good for .069 average, that’s his best offensive campaign in the better part of a decade, bonus!
Chase Headley (3B, Padres) – The guy had a monster 2012 (31 homers and a whopping 115 RBI), but since then? He’s been swinging it in the low .200’s. Is that what your team needs to get over the hump? A career .265 hitter with a .615 OPS this year? We’re all for the “change of scenery can do a player good theory” – Hey we’re the ones who told you to take a flyer on Michael Morse for your fantasy baseball team – but were not sure he’s capable of the kind of jump you’re hoping for. To put it in sabermetrics terms, the guy is playing at a .3 Wins Above Replacement – yuck. For $10 million a year, find somewhere else to roll the dice.
A.J. Burnett (SP, Phillies) – It ain’t easy to hold your ERA under 4.00 over 16 years in Major League Baseball, and Burnett has done just that – kudos. But he’s also got a .522 winning percentage over that time, less impressive. Add to that a 2-3 postseason record and a 6.37 ERA in the playoffs, paired with a $15 million salary, and we’re going to look at other options to get our team to the promised land.
Huston Street (Closer, Padres) – I feel like we’ve been down this road before. Every year Street is rumored to be on the move, but thus far he’s only been dealt in the offseason. His numbers this year are better than ever: a .96 ERA and an even more impressive .786 WHIP, way down from his (still quite stellar) career numbers of 2.88 and 1.o3 respectively. Time to lock in a reliable relief arm while he’s in his prime, right? Well maybe not. Street has rarely gone this long without missing significant time due to injury, as A’s fans will remember from his time in Oakland. You willing to gamble that he stays healthy? It’s also hard to tell what the asking price for Street will be given the fact that the Padres just dumped their GM.
Chase Utley (2B, Phillies) – Nothing against the player here. This former 5-time All Star was a stud who still has a little bit of tread left on his 35-year-old tires. But sadly, he doesn’t offer the same kind of pop he had back when the Phillies were a perennial playoff team, he’s on pace for about a dozen homers this year, down from a career high of 33 back when the Phils won the ’08 Series. His base stealing has also essentially vanished from his game, only two this year, meaning he won’t add many more to his career total of 131. The only reason to add him at this point is because he consistently turns in a tough at-bat and adds experience and leadership to the clubhouse, but to pry the fan-favorite away from the Phillies you’re going to have to pay a small ransom. He’s also signed through next year and would have to waive his no-trade rights, not likely. Look elsewhere for a bat.
Adam Dunn (OF/DH, White Sox) – The old saying is that “chicks dig the longball,” but the truth is we all do – and Dunn has always been good at hitting them (452 in his career – wow). Adding the 34-year-old thumper sounds like the kind of power threat that will strike fear into opposing pitching staffs during the postseason, right? Hard to know, he’s never appeared in a playoff game during his previous 13 seasons. He also strikes out in more than a third of his at-bats and is a career .238 hitter who’s not going to be winning any Gold Glove awards. I’m being nice, the folks at Fan Graphs label his defense “dreadful.” So that rules out the whole – no DH – National League. I’m starting to dig the longball a lot less.
You willing to give up a prospect to land any of these guys on your team? Leave a comment below and let us know.