Potential CF trade targets

Given the rampant speculation that the Nationals will be trading a starting pitcher following the signing of Edwin Jackson, I have decided to compile a list of potential trade targets for the Nationals.

1. Marlon Byrd, CF Chicago Cubs. This is probably the most commonly discussed option. Byrd represents an excellent possibilty given that is a OBP,plus-defending centerfielder with one year left on his contract. His salary of $6.5 million is probably not impossible to manage, and the Cubs have an immeadiate replacement in Brett Jackson. The real problem here is that the Cubs have a full rotation, and 2 Lannan-esque pitchers in Randy Wells and Paul Maholm. I think the best chance of this deal going down is if Selig sends Byrd to the Red Sox as compensation for Epstein moving to the Cubs. Then the Red Sox trade Byrd for Lannan. Byrd has been an erratic player drifting from all-star caliber seasons to non-factor status. His last stay in DC was not a positive expierence. Recently, I read that Byrd maybe in shape for a bounce back year after discovering and resolving some dietary issues.

2. Jarrod Dyson, CF Kansas City Royals. Dyson wouldn't be on this list if I didn't see this article today. David Schoenfield obviously doesn't think much of John Lanan, but it is fair that I probably value Lannan over market rate. Dyson, however, would be a total failure. He's 27, never really stuck in the MLB, and his defense is supposed to be above average due in large part to plus speed. Last year at AAA, he posted .279/.356/.357 which might be passable if he was a younger prospect in a down year, but he was 26 in AAA for a second time and it was basically a career year for him. There is basically no gain for the Nationals here. I particularly like Mr. Schoenfield's inspired observation that "Jarrod Dyson is an all-speed, no-power center fielder who might be a slight upgrade over Roger Bernadina if he can get on base enough." Interestingly enough, Roger Bernadina would be an upgrade over Bernadina if he could get on base enough.

3. The Blue Jays OF except Jose Bautista- Really we are looking at 3 players here. Ben Francisco, Eric Thames, and Colby Rasmus. Francisco is a corner OF with a decent bat but not enough power to get really excited about. He might have decent enough contact skills to be a lead-off for the the Nationals. Thames is younger, left-handed, and a fair amount of pop. His ISO was .257 in AAA last year, when he slugged .610 over 241 PAs. In 2010, he mashed .526 over 573 PAs in AA. I include Colby Rasmus here only because he was mentioned in an earlier thread. Although Rasmus was not productive in his short time with Toronto (.173/.201/.316), I sincerely doubt that they are ready to give up on him after trading several players to acquire him, and more importantly giving up the draft picks those players would have granted the Blue Jays. The Jays are also one of the few teams that could get a significant upgrade at the back of a rotation that has enough room to include Dustin McGowan. I think of all these options Eric Thames is the best choice for the Nationals, though he would likely be relegated once Harper is ready to come up.

4. Charlie Blackmon or Dexter Fowler, CF Colorado Rockies, The Rockies rotation is generally in shambles, the OF well-stocked and Tim Wheeler is a quality prospect that destoryed AA in 2011. Of these two, I think the question comes down to if either can actually black CF. I wasn't able to find much on Blackmon's defense in CF, but Fowler is generally loathed as a defender with poor range and below-average arm. Fowler did post a .363 OPB though, so he could probably handle the lead-off role.

5. Gorkys Hernandez and Starling Marte, CF Pirates. Though the Pirates could really use a pitcher like Lannan, $5 million might be too expensive for thier taste. In any case, Hernandez is the more likely trade canidate. He's a speedy, plus-defending CF and shown a decent ability to get on base in the minors, however, he has little to no power, so it is hard to imagine that trend continuing to the MLB. Marte, on other hand, is a true treasure of the prospect. He destoryed AA this year posting .332/.370/.500 while generally getting good, not great marks for range, and plus (maybe plus plus) arm. However, until the Pirates lock up McCutchen, it is hard to see them trading Marte. Even if they were to trade Marte, they would want more than Lannan. It is worth noting they have Jose Tabata and Alex Presley in the majors and doing well. And Josh Bell and Robbie Grossman coming behind in the minors. Pittsburgh is also looking for a 1B, but there is almost no reason to believe they would have interest in LaRoche at $10 million, especially since he hasn't shown he is recovered yet.

6. Logan Schafer/Caleb Gindl, Milwakee Brewers- The Brewers have a reasonably deep OF, featuring with Ryan Braun, Nyjer Morgan, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart, and Norichika Aoki. The Brewers are could also use another SP to replace Naverson. My hope here would be for Schafer, lefty bat with less power than Gindl, but more likely to stay in CF.

7. Blake Tekotte, CF San Diego Padres- He's old for AA at 24, but he posted .285/.393/.498 with the Texas Missions. Here is a snippet I lifted from John Sickels reviews over at Minor League Ball: "A 5-11, 175 pound left-handed hitter, Tekotte has above-average running speed and has enough range and arm strength for center field. At the plate, he shows good strike zone judgment and has always drawn walks, back to his college days. He won't be a big home run hitter in the majors, but he has enough pop to keep the pitchers honest. His strikeout rates can be rather high, and he shows much better plate discipline and power against right-handed pitchers, hitting .301/.431/.579 against them this year vs. .296/.367/.470 against lefties. This pattern has persisted through his career." The Padres rarely have a hard time finding pitchers to play in a stadium roughly the size of Alaska, but their rotation is young, unproven and with a few question injury history. They might be interested in Lannan's durability. Another option here is to find a more traditional corner OF that we could trade for Lannan, then give the Padres someone to replace Will Venable. Although the Padres seem to be building for a 2013 run, they could make a move in the NL West if they can bring up some key prospects.

I'm sure there are other options out there, and I would like to discuss them, but this has grown over-long. Additionally, as quickly as yesterday happened, I am a little worried that by the time I post this Run Silent Rizzo will have bagged us a trade. I haven't spent a great deal of time examining each of these in detail, but I wanted create a point for converstation.

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