The trade deadline is a few weeks away, so the rumor mill is about to heat up. To prep you for the coming trade season, we're providing a primer on who the top available trade targets could be as get closer to July 31st.
Ah, left field. All bat, no glove for the most part. But hey, that's what matters most for a lot of teams going into the playoffs. However, to say there's "not much" out there in the way of left fielders is probably a massive overstatement. A team's best bet might be to look for a player who has primarily played in center or right this year and convert them to left.
Probably not available, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.
Josh Willingham – for all intents and purposes, Willingham fell off of the trade market when he underwent knee surgery and was placed on the DL. He won't be back until after the trade deadline, and an August trade would probably be far more likely than a July one…only he likely wouldn't clear waivers. With the Twins getting swept by the Yankees this week, Willingham would have been a perfect acquisition for a team looking for a solid power bat in the middle of their lineup.
Take my overpaid/underperforming left fielder, please!
Alfonso Soriano – a potential Soriano trade has been discussed multiple times. I think it'll finally get done this summer, though Soriano's value is back in the tank after peaking back up last season. He's still got one year left under his current contract, and his $19 million salary for next year could scare off a lot of teams…or force the Cubs to pick up a huge chunk of it.
Carl Crawford – the Dodgers need to trade either Crawford or Andre Ethier, or give one of them less playing time when Crawford returns from the DL due to the presence of franchise player Matt Kemp and phenom Yasiel Puig. After two lost years in Boston, Crawford is actually having a good year for the Dodgers, and could help out a team in the leadoff spot. But I think the Dodgers will instead look to move Ethier, as the four years remaining on his contract are cheaper than the four left on Crawford's contract.
Well, at least they have a pulse
Raul Ibanez – Ibanez has more than a pulse, and is actually having a really good season for the Mariners. In 64 games, Ibanez has smashed 21 homers, which is already his highest total in a year since 2009. However, the 41-year old is such a liability in the field that he should probably be a full-time DH at this point, which is an issue in Seattle, which has to play Kendrys Morales there.
Juan Pierre – Pierre can still run, swiping 18 bags this season. But he can't hit at all, and his .258 wOBA and 59 wRC+ are the worst marks of his unspectacular career. He's also an adequate fielder in left, which pretty much makes him a solid fourth outfielder bench option for a team and little more.
Dayan Viciedo – everything is for sale in Chicago, and that would presumably include the 23-year old Viciedo, who has shown solid pop thusfar in his major league career, but little else. Viciedo is a horrendous fielder and should probably be at first base or DH, but those aren't exactly vacant jobs right now on the South Side. He's also shown some pretty severe platoon splits over his career, which makes him a poor man's Ibanez…not a good comparison when you're 23.