Baseball’s rumor mill got an early kick-start last week when the San Diego Padres reached an agreement to trade ace right-hander Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox.

The news was not welcome for Peavy’s fantasy owners. The 2007 Cy Young award winner had thrived at San Diego’s Petco Park, baseball’s best environment for pitchers. Now Peavy was apparently headed to US Cellular Field, a notorious hitters’ park. Owners in National League-only fantasy leagues faced the prospect of losing Peavy’s services altogether in the event he moved to American League.

That worry, it turned out, was for naught. Peavy chose not to waive his no-trade clause, preferring to remain in San Diego. Meanwhile, Peavy’s fantasy owners began to breathe more easily. For now.

Speculation about possible trades has only just begun. In the weeks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the rumor mill will grind on with whispers about deals that could affect both the post-season race and a player’s fantasy value. Each trade has the potential to be a fantasy boom or bust as the player moves on to a league or park with an environment that enhances or reduces his production.

Buyers or sellers?

With nearly a third of the season in the books, each club faces the question: Buy or sell? The Padres, for example, begin play this weekend only three games out of the NL wild card race. But, in the wake of significant payroll cuts and an ownership change, no one expects the Padres to be a buyer.

In a 2006 study calculating the Marginal Economic Value of one additional win, analyst Nate Silver identified a “sweet spot” that exists between 86 and 93 wins because each victory in that range dramatically increases a club’s chances of reaching the playoffs. A post-season appearance, Silver found, could be worth an additional $25 million to a franchise.

According to Clay Davenport‘s ELO-adjusted Playoff Odds Report, 14 clubs project to finish within five wins of the 86-93 range: the Phillies, Mets, Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs and Reds in the National League and the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Tigers, Twins, Rangers and Angels in the American League.

That leaves 16 clubs in the role of sellers. For these clubs, trade chips usually come in three varieties, depending on a player’s age and contract status: 1) rentals, or players who will be free agents after the 2009 season, 2) high salaries, or players with expensive contracts which their current clubs would like to move off the books, and 3) controllable players, or those players who are still one or more years away from free agency.

So what names are candidates for a trade?

Starting pitchers

The IndiansCliff Lee has rebounded after two rough outings to begin the season. But Cleveland might not be willing to sell anytime soon, given that the AL Central race appears wide open. Houston’s Roy Oswalt might be an attractive target, but, like Peavy, he holds a full no-trade clause.

  • Erik Bedard, Seattle, age 30. 2009 salary: $7.75 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Matt Cain, San Francisco. 2009 salary: $2.65 million. Due $4.25 million in 2010, with a 2011 club option which may become guaranteed based on performance.

  • Doug Davis, Arizona. 2009 salary: $8.75 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Jon Garland, Arizona. 2009 salary: $6.25 million, with a mutual option for 2010. A club trading for Garland may not offer him arbitration when his contract expires.

  • Lee, Cleveland, age 30. 2009 salary: $5.75 million. The Indians hold an $8 million club option for 2010.

  • Roy Oswalt, Houston, age 31. 2009 salary: $14 million. Due $33 million for 2010-11. Full no-trade clause.

  • Peavy, San Diego, age 28. 2009 salary: $11 million. Due $52 million for 2010-12. Full no-trade clause for 2009-10, with a limited no-trade 2011-12.

  • Brad Penny, Boston, age 31. 2009 salary: $5 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Jarrod Washburn, Seattle, age 34. 2009 salary: $10.35 million. Free agent after 2009.


Huston Street, averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings for the Rockies, is the clear top target for a club looking for a closer.

  • Octavio Dotel, Chicago White Sox, age 35. 2009 salary: $6 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Ron Mahay, Kansas City, age 38. 2009 salary: $4 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Street, Colorado, age 25. 2009 salary: $4.5 million. Free agent after 2010.

  • Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox, age 32. 2009 salary: $1.325 million, with 2010-11 club options.

  • Jose Valverde, Houston, age 29. 2009 salary: $8 million. Free agent after 2009.

First basemen / Designated hitters

San Diego is unlikely to deal All Star Adrian Gonzalez, but with an affordable contract and a batting line of .285/.385/.622, he could bring the Padres a package of premium prospects. The Nationals are likely to find a match for Nick Johnson, who has been healthy and productive.

  • Russell Branyan, Seattle, age 33. 2009 salary: $1.4 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Jorge Cantu, Florida, age 27. 2009 salary: $3.5 million. Free agent after 2010.

  • Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego, age 27. 2009 salary: $3 million. Due $4.75 million in 2010, with a $5.5 million club option for 2011.

  • Todd Helton, Colorado, age 35. 2009 salary: $16.6 million. Due $40.1 million for 2010-11.

  • Aubrey Huff, Baltimore, age 32. 2009 salary: $8 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Nick Johnson, Washington, age 30. 2009 salary: $5.5 million. Free agent after 2010.

  • Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox, age 33. 2009 salary: $12 million. Due $12 million in 2010. Free agent after 2010. Konerko may block any trade as player with 10 years in majors, five with the same club.

Second basemen

Florida’s Dan Uggla has been to arbitration just once, but he already has become expensive for the small-payroll Marlins. Felipe Lopez‘ affordable salary and line of .323/.380/.485 could be attractive for a team looking for help up the middle.

  • Lopez, Arizona, age 29. 2009 salary: $3.5 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh, age 31. 2009 salary: $6.25 million. Club option for 2010 worth $8 million. The option may vest based on performance.

  • Uggla, Florida, age 29. 2009 salary: $5.35 million. Free agent after 2011.


Oakland holds two middle infield chips in Orlando Cabrera and the suddenly versatile Bobby Crosby.

  • Cabrera, Oakland, age 34. 2009 salary: $4 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Crosby, Oakland, age 29. 2009 salary: $5.25 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Miguel Tejada, Houston, age 35. 2009 salary: $13 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh, age 31. 2009 salary: $7.25 million. $8.4 million club option for 2010.

Third basemen

Cleveland’s Mark DeRosa has been linked to the Yankees, Braves and seemingly every club in between. Like the other Indians, his availability hinges on Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro deciding to join the ranks of sellers.

  • Garrett Atkins, Colorado, age 29. 2009 salary: $7.05 million. Free agent after 2010.

  • Adrian Beltre, Seattle, age 30. 2009 salary: $12 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • DeRosa, Cleveland, age 34. 2009 salary: $5.5 million. Free agent after 2009.

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, San Diego, age 27. 2009 salary: $432,000. Free agent after 2012.


The premium bat on the market is Oakland’s Matt Holliday, though GM Billy Beane has suggested he is willing to keep Holliday and collect two draft picks as compensation when he leaves as a free agent.

  • Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox, age 35. 2009 salary: $11.5 million. Mutual option for 2010. A limited no-trade clause allows Dye to block deals to six clubs.

  • Jeff Francouer, Atlanta, age 25. 2009 salary: $3.375 million. Free agent after 2011.

  • Brad Hawpe, Colorado, age 30. 2009 salary: $5.5 million. Due $7.5 million in 2010, with 2011 club option which Hawpe may void if he is traded.

  • Matt Holliday, Oakland, age 29. 2009 salary: $13.5 million. Free agent after 2009

  • Austin Kearns, Washington, age 29. 2009 salary: $8 million. Club option for 2010.

  • Carlos Lee, Houston, age 33. 2009 salary: $18.5 million. Due $55.5 million for 2010-12. Full no-trade clause.

  • Josh Willingham, Washington, age 30. 2009 salary: $2.95 million. Free agent after 2011.


Victor Martinez is healthy again, ranking second in the American League with a .438 on-base percentage.

  • Martinez, Cleveland, age 30. 2009 salary: $5.7 million. $7 million club option for 2010.

  • A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox, age 32. 2009 salary: $6.25 million. Due $6.25 million in 2010. Free agent after 2010.

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Jeff might play a bit too much to his strengths here. Contracts don't tell the whole picture and by the midway point, that's pretty much all this is. I feel like it lacked context or a real takeaway. Yes, I have a list of possible trades, but how does that really help *my* fantasy team? For as good as Jeff was last week, this one just never got there for me.
I have to agree with Will, as outstanding as this was as a rundown of available talents and their respective contractual situations, and thoughtful as it might be in terms of considering who's the most likely shopper, what this piece lacked--perhaps for reasons of space--was something that brought this back to team payroll (to suggest who might add), team needs (to suggest who they might want), and additional environmental considerations that might make that added player that much more (or less) valuable, to tie this into the points Jeff brought up with Peavy. An interesting first draft, and I like how Jeff gets into a problem with a certain pragmatism.
Yeah, I'm going to be a broken record here -- it's just a list of guys with very little analysis.
There's not a whole lot to say since there's not a whole lot in the article. The introduction re: Peavy was relevant because it brought to mind the relevance of trades for fantasy owners (despite ignoring the NL/AL-only aspects of situations like Peavy's), but the rest of the article had zero connection to fantasy baseball. For me, this wasn't a swing and a miss, it was closer to missing your flight on a road trip. Jeff didn't even show up for the game this week.
Sorry, I missed the one sentence about NL-only owners, I'll own up to that. But it doesn't change the fact that the article was clearly about something different than the topic for this week.
Much of the article rests on this premise: "Each trade has the potential to be a fantasy boom or bust as the player moves on to a league or park with an environment that enhances or reduces his production." I'm not sure if that's so true for fantasy owners (unless they're playing in an NL or AL only league). Aside from league-exclusive fantasy leagues, would you really add or drop anyone based on a trade?
As a Peavy owner, I might be more inclined to entertain trade offers now, before a likely trade happens. It's not like he's going to get traded to a stadium that's more friendly than Petco. Jeff, I basically stopped reading your submission once you got to the list. For your consideration, I'd suggest that a position-by-position list is useful only when it includes more analysis about the players listed. Since word-count is a limiting factor for this contest, you might have been better served to focus on one position and then provide a few insights about each of the players listed as possible trade fodder. How's he doing so far fantasy-stat-wise? What impact might a new team and hitting/fielding environment have for him and his fantasy stats? Then end the article by providing a lead in to the position you'll cover in your next article.
I think that line has some merit. I may not make an immediate change based on a trade of one of my players. However, that player's stat-gathering environment has completely changed from all information I had on hand prior to the trade. I'm going to watch my traded player a little closer, small sample sizes be damned.
I thought the beginning was interesting - how does a trade in which a player changes leagues (or even stadiums) effect their fantasy stats? For the rest of the article, I was waiting for Jeff to come back to this, and explain how the performance of each player on the list might change based on potential trade options.
Jeff, this wasn't what I was hoping to read from you this week. How do these potential trades affect fantasy owners? Can we quantify through analysis which players are most likely to be traded? Can use of the Retrosheet trade database show anything useful? I hate to write this, but I perceived yours as an article without value this week. Your previous work has been better, but votes go week-by-week.
Agreed. I liked the beginning, but once those lists came out I was expecting analysis. How is Bedard being traded going to help or hurt my team? Who are the teams looking at him, and how does his value change with each team? The name dropping also irked me a little.
The beginning is an interesting point about trade value. The last three quarters of the article is a list. Illustrating an interesting point by making a list makes for an uninteresting read. Why not illustrate the point with an in depth analysis of the situations of two or three players who will be subject to trade rumors in the next two months? Why not discuss potential trades? This is hard to do well, given how many writers already do those sorts of articles. But it presumably would have been better than listing the contracts of most of the players who meet the criteria developed at the beginning. And this isn't even the main problem. The main problem is that this article doesn't have anything to do with fantasy baseball. If I could, I would vote for this as the worst of the week.
This is an interesting set of data, but mostly irrelevant to fantasy and very little actual writing. Even the data presented is weird for the presented topic. The list of players has salaries, but MLB doesn't have a cap. Yes, it gives an idea of what a receiving team might have to pay, but contending teams are usually willing to pay the rental fee, so the salary data doesn't really eliminate any team from the picture. On top of that, the guys that are not going to be FA's after this season don't have the cost of the remaining years listed. Does Atkins make 7.05 in 2010? How much is owed to Kousmanoff in '10, '11, '12 ? This article has too many holes.
I liked the article until it got to the discussion Clay Davenport's ELO's. To be within 5 wins of 86-93 wins doesn't mean diddly in the American League East and the fact you listed the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays all as buyers indicates you were quoting source material without realizing how it contradicted the concept you were trying to show. Then, in the haphazard list that followed, you identified a trade candidate on one of those "buyers" teams (Penny). None of anything I read really applied to fantasy baseball, which was this week's theme. This is the third article I've seen with questionable structural issues. Everything after the "So what names are candidates for a trade?" seemed like filler. If that's the case, why not just use a chart? Maybe Jeff's style is more suited to short blogs than full-length articles... and if that's the case, how can I trust he would have the stamina to write a well-researched article and maintain thorough analysis of the topic throughout? Even the parts of it that I had liked, though, really didn't introduce me to anything new or insightful that couldn't have been gleaned from all the Peavy trade rumors that happened over the last year.
He was asked to sing country, and he sung pop.
Jeff’s writing seems to improve with each entry. This was clear and strait to the point. However: It seems too early to be discussing buyers and sellers. Too much can happen between now and mid July, when teams really have to consider committing themselves one way or the other. I appreciate the notion that it is a good idea to get a jump on the rumours, although I missed your making that point explicitly. I, too, thought the connection to fantasy baseball was weak. As Richard noted, the list of starting pitchers includes Penny who is on one of the teams in the “sweet spot”. That doesn’t make sense – or needs an explanation. And, yes, I had the same thought as Will that availability of players is often related to plenty of things other than payroll. Some teams will pay more attention to the payroll than others. The analysis here is a bit shallow. Finally, one nitpick (the rest are major problems), it was discussed on one or more of the entries last week that ending an article with a list is a little abrupt. Some of these post article commentaries have been as interesting as the entries – although some are a bit nasty. You would have caught the objection raised against articles ending in lists if you read them all, although, I admit the quantity of comments was daunting – and I realize you had another article to write. Nonetheless, the article ended with a fizz.
Okay, where's the second half of the article? Did I miss a link somewhere? Oh, wait...
Started out great, but the laundry list lost me. Instead of the large lists, expanding on the intro sentence or two at each position would've made for a better read. Particularly, which guys moving where will matter to me?
Interesting data. Author might have tried to tie it into how it can be used to win a fantasy league or some sort of analysis.
Btw, I haven't seen Jeff reply to any of the feedback he has received in his three articles...
As he got to the list of available guys, I thought to myself "This is the most useful article so far. I wonder where he'll go with it after the lists." I'm wondering if there's a second half to this piece lying around somewhere...
Well, you can't really analyze until a guy is slated to go some place. Like Peavy, there was a piece on how his numbers would be inclined in his new windy home. I enjoyed the piece and I think this is something the site does not cover. Playing Devil's Advocate, the one piece that you missed Jeff..... If you would have just added some metrics for the players for this year and their career... you could have put some stats in this. Example, Branyan's 2009 VORP along with his career VORP. That would at least tell some more of your story for someone who may have been looking at this from a fantasy perspective. You have my vote. One of my two btw.
I actually liked that this article had a lot of non-fantasy value in it. Most fantasy articles aren't that helpful to people who don't play fantasy, but if I'm off rosterbating on some team's blog, knowing what players are credibly available helps prevent me from looking like an idiot (which I already do enough on the interwebs).
Also, this is the second week running where Jeff gets a borderline vote from me.
This article is a list. And I am not sure how this helps my fantasy team. Knowing Roy Oswalt is a trade target with a no-trade is interesting, but I'm certainly not going to go out and trade for him in my league without knowing A) if he's being traded for sure, or B) where he is going. It would suck if he accepted a trade to the Toledo Mudhens and my team was negatively impacted.
The other thing about the laundry list is that it includes guys like Ron Mahay, Matt Thornton, and Jack Wilson. I'm not sure they have fantasy value now even in an AL or NL only league. I'm definitely not wondering what value they have if they get traded. To me, that seemed to be the clearest indicator that the discussion was no longer about fantasy baseball. I liked the concept about the effect of trades and the potential to forecast them, but I'm not so sure about the execution.
I liked this article. It was an easy-to-read list of players filtered for likelihood of being traded. That is not something I can find elsewhere. I found the author's opinions to be more convincing than those of most "deadline deal prognosticators." It may have been a bit off-topic, but the article was quick, painless and informative. I don't need to wade through tortured prose to get at information; I appreciate the author's direct style.
I actually enjoyed this article despite it's non-direct relationship to fantasy. Most of the people reading the articles on this site are going to be experienced fantasy owners that can use this information to determine what it means to their teams (i.e. they don't need to be spoon fed, as some of the above comments seem to suggest). I consider myself hardcore, but even I rarely look at a the players on my team's contractual status. Nicely done article with a lot of informative stuff.
Most of the experienced fantasy owners (and even non-fantasy owners) can find salary lists for players on any of a number of other websites.
Value = how much time and effort is saved.
Value = utility versus the cost (whether time saved, financial, etc). 1/4th of the article is an introduction. 1/4th of the article is citing other (BP Authors) work, the last half of the article is a list. I can get this information elsewhere without paying for a BP subscription. If he added in some analysis, I'd pay for that, but he didn't provide any. Factor in that my fantasy team probably won't have 3/4ths of these players and then factor in that not everyone on this list will be traded, and this information doesn't have much utility, and thus, little value to me. Instead, I'll pay (or vote) to read Clay or Nate's work directly.
Er, I mean time spent, not time saved. Why would I spend time to learn about players trade potential if I find little value in acquiring them for my fantasy team and if those trades don't appear to be happening yet?
I am not interested in helping your specific fantasy team. I am interested in learning about player contract statuses with as little effort as possible on my part.
Ok. Glad I could help.
No, actually, I prefer to read intelligent compilations of relevant salary info. Hence, value. And if you are seriously using USA Today for your baseball contract info., then you clearly *don't* value your time...
There are more players than what was listed who have similar contract situations, are on "seller" teams and are not on this list. Again, why not just use a chart? And I was using my time trying to help you out, though in hindsight, Jeff's website itself is a much better resource. Even there though, it is a compilation of numbers without analysis or interpretation. I mean, the purpose behind the BP idol contest is to find someone who is a analyst/writer/sabremetrician/reporter of some sort and not just a reference manual, right?
Am I dating myself by saying that I finished the article and in my head I heard that old lady from the Wendy's ad (Clara Peller?) saying "Where's the beef"?
This is definitely useful. I've bookmarked it. Yeah, it'd be nice if there was more analysis of the players involved, but still, gathering the contract data of the likely trade chits, early, has a strong use value to the fantasy player.
Informative but I think he missed the target, "choose the wrong song."
I can not say much more than the 3 BP authors other than to agree that this is a list. Where is the analysis? Really off here for what a BP author needs to deliver, IMHO.
This was just bad. It completely missed the point and worse, it was boring.
I'm afraid I agree with the nay-sayers. It starts off promisingly (though to nitpick, you should have written that the White Sox and Padres "allegedly" consummated a Peavy deal. To recap. 1) Nothing that couldn't be found on several other sites like Rotoworld in terms of player contracts and even extrapolated potential buyers and sellers. 2) Trying to cover too much territory. Throw in a line that it's first in a series. Cover pitchers or hitters (or better, break it down even further). 3) A laundry list -- well-researched, granted -- lacking any sort of FBB context and analysis. True, you can't analyze deals that haven't been made. But for example, you can note player splits (the most obvious being Rockies players... and you can even throw Holliday and his struggles until recently into the discussion as an example of what might be expected from other would-be Rockies sluggers in other environments)... If you'd stuck to one position, you could have speculated even on May 31 about potential suitors. Which teams have the need and/or the money, as well as the trade bait, for Player X? And then how will that key chip's move affect fantasy teams in each scenario? 4) Granted, trade rumors are notoriously fickle. But it looks like the Indians won't shop DeRosa for the moment, given his flexibility and tgheir injuries, and that no one has expressed interest in Atkins. This knowledge has been disseminated for a week. You might consider handicapping the odds of potential trades, as well. Thumbs down (if I can get it to work, LOL). Sorry.
What Jeff seemed to be trying to do given the 1500 word limit is to list out those players who may be traded. Analyzing the impact of any trade requires one to know where the player will be traded. Anyone owning a player on his list would then be required to do their own research to determine the potential impact.