Ten Predictions for the MLB second half

The second half of the 2009 MLB season has kicked off and with that, I’m going to make some predictions that are sure to be proved wrong in a couple months.

Feel free to whip out your crystal ball in the comments section but before you do, please do everyone a favor and take off your favorite team prescribed glasses and be objective for once in your life, will ya?

1. The Blue Jays will trade Halladay…to the Phillies.
Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is reminding everyone who will listen that he doesn’t absolutely need to trade Roy Halladay – which he doesn’t. But the bottom line is that he’ll probably get more in return for the “Doc” this season than he would next when Halladay is set to become a free agent after the 2010 season. And despite Ricciardi stating that he’s open to trading Halladay within the division, he’s not stupid. He’s not going to trade Halladay to the Red Sox or Yankees and risk becoming public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Jays fans for not only getting rid of their best and most popular player, but also trading him to a division rival in the process. In the end, I think Ricciardi will trade Halladay to an NL team and my guess is that it will be Philadelphia that will eventually puts a package together to acquire him. Although they might balk at the $7 million that’s remaining on Halladay’s contract, the Phillies are built to win now and need more starting pitching to make another run at a World Series. They also have enough appealing prospects to entice Ricciardi to make a deal.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Halladay, Wells and Rolen

– Anthony Riber of Newsday writes that if the Yankees really want ace Roy Halladay, they might have to take Vernon Wells too, who could fill their potential void in left field…

…however, Ken Davidoff of Newsday essentially contradicts his co-worker by writing that GM Brian Cashman prefers to improve his roster this year without taking a dive into the trade market. So in essence, the Bombers might be fine with staying pat around the trade deadline.

– Speaking of Halladay, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the Brewers could have the ace in their sites, as GM Doug Melvin has already had a conversation with the Blue Jays regarding the “Doc.”

– The Giants are still in search of bats, but it’s unclear if GM Brian Sabean wants to pull the trigger or not on a bat like Matt Holliday or Jermaine Dye. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News threw out Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen as a possibility for San Fran as well.

– Bill Ladson of MLB.com is reporting that there isn’t much of a market for Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns, who has been delegated to back up duty in Washington.

Hairston traded to A’s, is Holliday the next to be moved?

On Sunday, the Padres traded outfielder Scott Hairston to the A’s in exchange for minor league pitchers Ryan Webb and Craig Italiano, in addition to a player to be named later.

MLB FANHOUSE discusses the possibility of the A’s acquiring Hairston as a precursor to a Matt Holliday trade:

For the A’s, they already have Ryan Sweeney and Matt Holliday in the outfield. Hairston gives them the ability to play Sweeney in right field instead of either Travis Buck or Jack Cust. Digging deeper, though, the A’s could easily be preparing to trade Holliday, who is in his walk year, certainly won’t be re-signing in Oakland and would likely be a hot commodity in the trade market. According to a source close to the A’s, Hairston will initially split time in center field with Rajai Davis, but they are looking at him as a corner outfielder in the long term. There’s no real word from Oakland about Holliday specifically, but it certainly looks like a precursor-type move — especially with the news that Hairston will begin in center and eventually shift to a corner.

At this point, it seems inevitable that Oakland will move Holliday. Trade wizard Billy Beane isn’t going to accept just anything in a deal, but he’s going to get something in return for Holliday, especially after giving up multiple pieces to acquire him from Colorado last winter.

The Cardinals, Giants and Reds have all been linked to Holliday, although nobody should ever count out the Yankees making a move.

The five most (potentially) intriguing names on the MLB trade market

With the All-Star break quickly approaching, many MLB teams are trying to figure out whether or not they’ll be buyers or sellers later this month. It’s a tricky game front offices must play, because they don’t want to alienate their fans by suggesting that their club is already out of contention with half the season left to go, but teams also don’t want to miss out on adding a piece for the future because they’re hanging onto a veteran that won’t play a significant role down the line.

That said, I’ve compiled a ranking of the five most intriguing names that either are on the trade market, or could be. Granted, every player outside of guys named Pujols, Jeter and Howard could potentially be on the trade market, but I tried to keep the list to only those names that continue to pop up in the weekly rumor mill, whether their teams have officially those names as available or not.

Two names you won’t find on the list are Dan Haren and Jake Peavy, even though they have been brought up in various trade rumors. The Diamondbacks aren’t going to trade Haren unless some team offers a ridiculous package (as in multiple top prospects) and Peavy’s injury situation has all but killed his trade value. I would be shocked if either player gets dealt this season.

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Report: Cardinals to go after Holliday

According to a report by the St. Louis Dispatch, the Cardinals are “redoubling efforts” to acquire A’s outfielder Matt Holliday, who is 29 and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Even though the club acquired utility man Mark DeRosa from the Indians over the weekend, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa still wants to add a bat to serve as protection for Albert Pujols, who is essentially exposed in the Cards’ lineup with nobody hitting around him.

Holliday certainly isn’t setting the world on fire with his bat (he’s hitting just .274 with 8 HRs and 39 RBI) this season, but he could certainly get hot in the second half, especially if he winds up back in the NL were he’s used to the pitching.

The Cards actually tried to acquire Holliday last fall, but weren’t unwilling to part with the prospects that the Rockies wanted in order to complete the deal. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch speculates that the Red Birds would be willing to include Ryan Ludwick and either reliever Jason Motte or Kyle McClellan, plus a prospect.

St. Louis already has enough offense to battle the Brewers in the NL Central, but if they could acquire Holliday to go along with the addition of DeRosa, the Cards might be able to create some separation in the division.

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