Five MLB trades that don’t need to happen

I get it – baseball trades are fun. They’re fun to speculate about, they’re fun to debate and they’re fun to analyze. But just because a club needs a bat, an arm or is just looking to shrink salary, doesn’t mean that a trade needs to happen.

I’ve compiled a list of five trade rumors and where they originated. I then discuss why each of them makes sense, but why they also don’t necessarily need to happen.

Rumor #1: The Red Sox will trade for Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Why it makes sense: Boston is growing impatient waiting for Jed Lowrie to recover from a wrist injury that has held him out since mid-April. They’re also tired of watching Julio Lugo (who is equally bad offensively as he is defensively) make a mockery of the game whenever he trots onto the field. While Nick Green has done well filling in for Lowrie while he’s been hurt and for Lugo while he continues to work on being the most overpaid player in professional sports, the Sox feel they could do better with Wilson. (There’s also a rumor making the rounds that Boston wouldn’t have to give up any top prospects in order to acquire Wilson – they just would need to take on the rest of his salary.)
Why it doesn’t need to happen: Wilson is excellent defensively, but he brings very little to the table in terms of offense. He’s also overpaid himself, as he’ll make $7.25 million this year and $8.4 million in 2010 despite being limited at the dish. While waiting for Lowrie to return to the field has been a slow death for the Sox, he’s cheaper than Wilson and gives the team a better overall player at the position (when he’s healthy, of course). Plus, Green has played well and Boston might be better served holding onto prospects in order to make a more productive move around the trade deadline (i.e. adding another bat in case David Oritz plans on hitting south of .200 all season) than one involving Wilson.

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Red Sox interested in Jack Wilson, but do they need him?

According to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, trade rumors between the Red Sox and Pirates involving shortstop Jack Wilson are starting to heat up. There is some hesitation, however, on the Pittsburgh’s behalf because the club doesn’t want to alienate its fan base by trading away another popular player as it did last week when they dealt Nate McLouth to the Braves.

While Boston would love to add a shortstop while Jed Lowrie continues to recover from a wrist injury, I don’t know if Wilson would be the right fit. While he’s excellent defensively, Wilson brings little to the table offensively and he’s grossly overpaid (he’s set to make $7.25 million this year and $8.4 million in 2010 with a club option buyout of $600,000).

Even though Lowrie is hurt, he should return at some point this year and he gives the Sox a better overall player at the position than Wilson does. Not to mention, Lowrie is also cheaper.

The problem is waiting for Lowrie to return. He’s been out since mid April and while Nick Green has filled in admirably, he doesn’t offer much long-term upside. The other issue is that with Lowrie out, there’s a possibility that Julio Lugo may continue to see the field and as all Sox fans know, that’s a tragedy.

Personally, I think Boston would be better off not making a move for Wilson. Lowrie offers the Sox the most upside at the position and while it may be painful waiting for him to return, they might be better off in the long run if they hold off on making any moves (at least at shortstop).

Red Sox desperately seeking a shortstop

According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox “have left no stone unturned” in looking for a shortstop to replace Julio Lugo. The club would love to plug Jed Lowrie into the position, but the 25-year old hasn’t played since early April due to a wrist injury.

Some of the names that the Sox have been linked to around the league include Omar Vizquel, Jack Wilson, J.J. Hardy, Orlando Cabrera, Bobby Crosby, Jason Donald and Miguel Tejada, but so far no trade has come to fruition.

I’m not a Red Sox fan, but even I’d rather scratch my eyes out with an ice pick than watch Lugo play another inning. He’s absolutely brutal in all facets of the game and it’s flabbergasting how much Boston is currently paying him ($9 million this year, $9 million in 2010, $9 million in 2011) to be the worst player on the diamond most nights. At some point, the Sox are just going to have to eat that contact to ensure Lugo never plays in Boston again.

Getting back to the club’s options, Vizquel has openly said that he wants to play for the Sox (which is a bit of a slap in the face to his current team the Rangers, but moving on…) and is currently batting .345 this season. He’s 79 years old (at least), but the guy still plays shortstop like he’s 30, so he would be an immediate upgrade over Lugo defensively.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Red Sox make a move or if they’ll just wait for Lowrie to come back (whenever that may be). If they decide to wait, here’s hoping for Boston fans that Nick Green continues to see the field and not that suck-the-life-out-of-you Lugo.

2009 MLB Preview: #2 Boston Red Sox

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Offseason Movement: The Red Sox made a slew of moves this offseason, including signing free agent starters John Smoltz and Brad Penny, as well as adding outfielders Rocco Baldelli and Brad Wilkerson. Boston also added pitchers Takashi Saito, Junichi Tazawa, Billy Traber, Ramon Ramirez, Miguel Gonzalez and Randor Bierd.

Top Prospect: Lars Anderson, 1B
Anderson was considered a top talent in 2006, but slipped to the 18th round of the 2006 MLB Draft because teams were worried about whether or not they could sign him. The lefty first basemen can hit for average and power, and has an excellent feel for the strike zone. He was named Minor League Offensive Player of the Year for the Red Sox in 2008 after clubbing 18 home runs and driving in 80 runs while hitting over .300. After spending most of the year in Single-A, Anderson has a while to go before he makes his MLB debut – especially considering the Red Sox are never out of contention these days. But he’ll be a name to keep an eye on down the road.

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2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Shortstops

All 2009 Fantasy Articles | 2009 Position Rankings

Before your 2009 fantasy baseball draft kicks off this year, do yourself a favor and repeat this three or four times to yourself: I will draft a shortstop in the first nine rounds.

Not unlike third basemen, the shortstop position is weak this season. After Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins come off the board in the first two rounds, you’re left with roughly eight shortstops that will give you adequate to good production this season. We project those eight shortstops to be selected anywhere between the fifth and ninth round in standard mixed leagues, which is why we suggest nabbing one before the conclusion of the ninth.

The good news is that in a 12-team league, you’ll definitely have the opportunity to land one of the big three (Ramirez, Reyes, Rollins) or scoop up one of the eight adequate-to-good shortstops that we’re referring to. The bad news is that shortstops can start flying off the board quickly and if you’re selecting in a snake draft, you could wind up on the wrong end of the spectrum when the run starts.

That’s why to be safe, you will draft a shortstop in one of the first nine rounds because you don’t want to be the guy that’s trying to figure out whether or not Edgar Renteria will bounce back now that he’s in the NL again, or having to choose between Orlando Cabrera’s consistent .280 batting average and Khalili Greene’s 25-plus home run potential. (Side note: If you do wind up being that guy come draft day, it might be wise to select two shortstops back to back and hope you catch lightning in a bottle with one of them.)

Obviously you still want to be smart on draft day; we’re not advising you to take Derek Jeter in the third because you’re spooked about failing to grab a shortstop before the ninth round. But taking one of the top 11 shortstops a round early might not be a bad idea considering what you’ll be left with later on.

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