Kauf Drops: Tis the Season to be Traded

by Todd K | Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Jeremy Guthrie - Oakland Athletics v Colorado Rockies

Image: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

By Todd Kaufmann

Sr. Columnist

toddmkaufmann@att.net

This time of year, just about every Major League Baseball team has started to put together their trade wish list and making phone calls to other general managers to see if there’s a match.

Whether naughty or nice, there’s no Santa Claus to fly in on a sleigh and deliver their favorite player in a red velvet sack. Besides, I’m pretty sure the big man already designated Rudolph for assignment…but I digress.

The trade deadline is one of the more fun times for baseball fans. It means everything from speculation to pure unadulterated stupidity when it comes to who wants what and who can the Rangers give that team to get him?

Take, for example, a conversation that came up about trading Josh Hamilton to the Colorado Rockies for their outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez. It led me to these four words: It Will Never Happen.

The Rockies have absolutely no reason to trade their star outfielder right now. Even if they did, it would cost a team their best prospects in return. They aren’t going to take Hamilton for Gonzalez straight up. Why would they trade a player who is yet to turn 27-years of age for a guy who just turned 31 and has an injury history that most Ranger fans and media alike love to bring up.

This is what’s fun about this time of year. You hear the most ridiculous stuff about trades that you won’t hear the rest of the year, except for the Winter Meetings that is.

So, since we are talking about trades, I may as well give my two cents about players who are on my wish list. Keep in mind, this list has changed since the last list I put together but it’s because I’ve realized the Rangers most likely have no need to acquire a few of them.

I’m going to start with a guy that I’ve brought up before and a guy Texas Rangers fans got to see this past weekend while the Rockies were in town—Jeremy Guthrie.

Before you Rangers fans grab your torches and pitchforks, I’m not wanting to bring Guthrie in as a starter. What I saw from him as a reliever against Texas impressed me enough to put him back on my list.

Here’s the simple reason he’s on my list at all. I’d rather have him than Scott Feldman. Guthrie not only brings you solid stuff out of the bullpen but also gives you a guy who can come in as a long reliever from time to time.

The best part about Guthrie at this point is not only are the Rockies willing to trade him, he won’t come at a steep price either.

I had a hard time convincing myself to keep this player off the list because of the position he plays, which isn’t much different from Guthrie.

Ryan Dempster, the right-hander of the Chicago Cubs, is a guy that is definitely going to get a lot of interest on the trade market. He’s a guy that can not only give you 30 starts every year but he’s also a guy who can fill in well in anyone’s bullpen.

The only problem is if you bring him in it’ll most likely be as a starter. Something the Rangers really don’t have room for at the moment. But, as Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels said Sunday afternoon during the Baseball Prospectus event at Rangers Ballpark, they’re one injury away from looking at another starter.

When Matt Harrison exited his start after only five innings last night, it looked like Daniels may have jinxed his own team. Luckily it was only soreness in his back and he’s expected to make his next start.

But back to Dempster.

Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara are both on the disabled list and we don’t know when either player is going to be able to return to the bullpen or if they’ll be at full strength if or when they do return.

If neither is as strong as they were when they went down, the Rangers won’t be able to rely on Mike Adams, Robbie Ross and Joe Nathan to carry the bullpen for the remainder of the year. Not to say all three guys aren’t good enough, it’s just a lot of pressure to put on them each and every night.

Not to mention in a deep playoff run. Yes, Dempster is on the disabled list as the moment but it’s because of a minor lat injury which shouldn’t be concerning to any team wanting to acquire him.

The final player on list, only because Santa is working on my other list for things that have nothing to do with baseball, is an outfielder for the Minnesota Twins and a guy I’ve watched since he was with the Washington Nationals—Josh Willingham.

He won’t be a guy that’s going to hit .300 or better in one season but he’s a guy who brings you above average defense in one of the corner spots and he brings you power as well as a guy who can hit with runners in scoring position.

The 33-year old outfielder is currently hitting .278 with 15 home runs and 48 runs driven in, not to mention his .307 batting average with runners on and .316 average with runners in scoring position this season.

At this point, I’m a guy who is going to want the best team on the field for a run and what should finally be a World Series championship.

I’m going to put him in left field and have him rotate with David Murphy. It’s a better combination going forward than what the Rangers have right now. It’s not that I’m not a fan of Craig Gentry; you just lose something offensively when he gets a start over Murphy.

If you start Willingham and bring in Murphy, you may lose a little offensively but not nearly as much as Gentry coming in for Murphy.

I came close to putting Carlos Quentin, the outfielder for the San Diego Padres, on this list but if I know the Padres well enough I know they’re going to want more in return than the Rangers are willing to give up.

Hence the reason his name doesn’t get submitted to Santa’s trade list.

I know Jon Daniels and company know better than I do and I know they can run a front office better than I can run a computer. That said, the Rangers as they are now aren’t good enough to make a serious run at the title in my opinion.

Do they absolutely need to make a trade? No. They can still win the AL West staying with what they have no. But, once they hit the playoffs, the question should really be, are they good enough to stay with the likes of the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays and a few others?

The answer to that question should lead this front office to make a few changes. Nothing big or earth shattering but enough of a change to make a difference when it matters the most.

This is my wish list for Santa, a list I’m sure will be crumpled up into a nice little ball and tossed into the nearest waste receptacle.

But I at least hope my ideas weren’t too crazy.

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