The obvious names are out there and available via trade. You’ve got the pending free agents for struggling teams (Casey Blake, Vladimir Guerrero); those that clubs are desperate to dump (Francisco Rodriguez, Chone Figgins); and some that are having good years but, for one reason or another, are on the trade block (Jason Isringhausen, Michael Bourn).
But here are some under-the-radar names about whom clubs should inquire just to see if they’re potential targets.
I may not have the “whispers” of Ken Rosenthal; the “genius” of Billy Beane; the “numerous insiders that I may or may not have conjured out of thin air” like Joel Sherman; and I may not be a “thin-skinned and smarmy” baby like Jon Heyman, but I can tell which way the wind is blowing.
Bear in mind that when the Diamondbacks got off to an atrocious start in early 2010, I said teams should start calling about Dan Haren.
No one else was saying it and, lo and behold, Haren was traded at mid-season.
So let’s have a look at some names I’d call and ask about.
Just to see.
Logan Morrison, OF—Marlins
The Marlins will listen on and trade anyone. They’ve spoken to, warned, threatened and benched Morrison, but he’s not listening. He’s young and he can mash, but since they’re playing the tough-love game with Jack McKeon, maybe a shockwave would be sent through the clubhouse by trading their mouthy, tweety young star.
They’d get a lot for him.
Chase Headley, 3B—Padres
He plays a hard-to-fill position, switch hits, is arbitration-eligible and doesn’t appear as if he’s ever going to hit for much power—at least in San Diego’s cavernous park.
The Padres aren’t going anywhere this year; Headley would bring back a couple of good prospects.
Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP—Rockies
He’s signed cheaply through 2014. The Rockies are in a winnable division and are within striking distance of first place; their trade for Mark Ellis indicates they’re still going for it despite being 4 games under .500.
But what happens in three weeks if they’re still floundering? Jimenez would bring back multiple, high-end prospects.
Brandon Phillips, 2B—Reds
He’s got a $12 million, 2012 club option (that becomes mutual if he’s traded), the Reds can score enough without him and are desperate for pitching. They’re under .500, but are still only 4 games out of first.
Gordon Beckham, INF—White Sox
It’s going on a year-and-a-half with Beckham struggling at the plate and the White Sox are always ready and willing to do something drastic. They seem to be getting annoyed with him. Annoyed enough to trade him.
These names aren’t out in the public consciousness because the media “insiders” don’t mention them; nor have they been planted by the clubs to gauge public reaction for the possibility of trading them.
All are worth a call because unless you ask the question, you don’t know what answer you’ll get.
Sometimes, the answer is yes.