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June 25, 2012

Resident Fantasy Genius

Potential League-Hoppers, AL-to-NL Edition

by Derek Carty

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A couple weeks ago, I looked at a few National League players who could be on the move come July and might be worth stashing in AL-only leagues that allow such moves.  Reader Robotey wanted to see the flip side of that—American League players who could be traded to the NL—so I thought I’d oblige that request today.

Kurt Suzuki | Oakland A’s | C
With the promotion of top catching prospect Derek Norris this weekend, it could be the beginning of the end for Suzuki’s tenure in Oakland.  Suzuki is still under contract through 2013 with a club option for 2014, but if Norris plays well over the next couple weeks while splitting time behind the plate, he could force the issue.  And if the A’s can shed some salary while adding a good piece or two for the future, you can bet they’ll jump on it.  While there’s never a guarantee that these kinds of players will be traded across leagues, this is more of a concern with Suzuki than with other players as the Rays are in desperate need of a catcher and are apparently hot on Suzuki.  That’s not to say Tampa is his only potential destination, but they may be the most likely.

Denard Span | Minnesota Twins | OF
Trade rumors involving Denard Span have been swirling for over a year now, and they’re revving back up again as the 2012 trade deadline approaches.  Span still has two years left on his deal, so the Twins aren’t necessarily in any rush to deal him, but with the team looking to acquire young pitching, he could be one of their better trade chips.  The Marlins—an NL team!—are already being rumored as interested.  With Emilio Bonifacio out for a while, the team would like to acquire a speedy center fielder to replace him.  The Nationals were interested in Span at last year’s deadline and are still reportedly interested given their outfield situation.  With Jayson Werth on the DL, Bryce Harper has been manning center field, but the team would prefer to have him in a corner, and a Steve Lombardozzi/Tyler Moore/Xavier Nady platoon in left field is far from ideal for a first-place team.

If the Twins remain in the basement of the AL Central (and let’s be honest, they will) players like Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham could also become available.

Kevin Youkilis | Boston Red Sox | 3B
Umm, never mind.

Jeff Francoeur | Kansas City Royals | OF
Yes, it’s possible Dayton Moore may be the only GM in baseball who actually wants Jeff Francoeur for the final three-quarters of his two-year, $13.5 million deal, but it’s possible the team kicks in some money and deals Frenchy this summer.  The team’s top prospect Wil Myers is tearing up the minors and seems in line for a promotion, but a spot would need to open up in order for that to happen.  Trading Francoeur makes the most sense to open up such a spot if Moore can live with a Frenchy-less team and find a suitor.

B.J. Upton | Tampa Bay Rays | OF
Upton is in the last year of his deal and is constantly involved in trade rumors, but unless the Rays fall out of the playoff hunt, it seems pretty likely they’ll hold onto him.

Peter Bourjos | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | OF
Like Upton, Bourjos’ name comes up a lot in rumors, but it seems doubtful he’ll be dealt, even given his limited playing time at the moment.  Bourjos is a young, talented, cost-controlled player who should find himself commensurate playing time in 2013, at the latest.  With Torii Hunter’s deal expiring this off-season and Vernon Wells potentially on the verge of being released, the Angels could be sporting an impressive young outfield of Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and Bourjos come March.

Related Content:  Justin Morneau,  Peter Bourjos,  Kurt Suzuki,  BJ Upton

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