I usually hate reading about goofy, fantasy-type baseball trades, but I took a look around at some players who might be available and no one is talking about. I admit, I don't know much about what it takes to make a trade at the major league level, but below are some deals using my limited knowledge. Let me know what you think...
My thoughts on the state of the Angels' roster are the Angels' batting order is predominately right-handed. Although they do have 7 switch-hitters on their major league roster, they have no left-handed hitters. So if I were the Angels GM I'd be looking to acquire a left-handed or switch-hitting corner OF or corner infielder, and/or a #5 starter. Here are the players I'd be kicking the tires on...in no particular order:
Aubrey Huff ($8M - 2009) - In 2008, Huff had his best season since 2003 when he hit 32 HR and batted .304 primarily being used as the Orioles DH. Huff is 32-years old and in the walk year of his contract which calls for a reasonable salary of $8M. An average defender at third and first base, Huff also is capable of playing RF, but is below average in the outfield. Proposed deal: Dustin Moseley for Aubrey Huff and cash.
Rich Harden ($7M - 2009) - The Cubs have been rumored to covet Chone Figgins. Why not deal Figgins, who is also in his walk year, for the oft-injured Harden? Harden could fill the #5 rotation spot vacated by the departure of Jon Garland, while trading Figgins would open up third base for Brandon Wood. Proposed deal: Chone Figgins for Rich Harden.
Lance Berkman ($29M - 2010 NTC) - Berkman would be my primary trade target as he'd fill the hole left by Mark Teixeira. Although Berkman is 4 years older than Teixeira, he hits for more power (career slugging pct of .560 vs .541), gets on base more often (OBP .413 vs .378), and he can steal a base (18 last season). Plus, Berkman is a very good fielding first baseman. It's unclear if the Astros are in a rebuilding mode or if they think they can compete in 2009. Last season they made a deadline deal for Randy Wolf while they were 12 games behind (and tied for last in the NL Central), so it's hard to figure out what they're doing. If the Astros would deal Berkman, and he'd be willing to waive his no trade clause, I'd propose: Brandon Wood, Jeff Mathis and Nick Adenhart for Lance Berkman.
Johnny Damon ($13M - 2009) - The pluses for Damon are he bats left-handed, he has the ability got on base (OBP .375 in 2008), can lead-off in the event Figgins is dealt, can play a slightly above average leftfield, and is in his walk year. If the Angels don't re-sign him after 2009, which they probably wouldn't, there's the opportunity of gaining 2 draft picks when he signs elsewhere. The negative thing about Damon is his age as he turned 35 last month. Proposed deal: Justin Speier for Johnny Damon.
Nick Swisher ($21M - 2011) - To me, Nick Swisher is "Adam Dunn-lite". You can expect Swisher to hit about half as many HR as Dunn, get on base around the same rate, and have almost the same batting average. Swisher is a switch-hitter who can adequately play all 3 outfield positions and first base. Proposed deal: Two mid-grade prospects for Nick Swisher.
Todd Helton ($52.3M - 2011 NTC) - I'm going out on a limb with this one, as Helton had season ending back surgery during 2008 and prior to that, his season wasn't anything to be too thrilled with. Although Helton's days of hitting 30+ home runs are gone, he does get on base at a good rate and plays an above average defensive first base (pre-surgery). However, Helton will turn 36 during the 2009 season, will earn an average of over $17M the next 3 years and has a full no trade clause. Proposed deal: Gary Matthew Jr. (if he'd waive his no trade clause) for Todd Helton; or Justin Speier for Todd Helton and cash.
Adam LaRoche (Arbitration Eligible) - Left-handed hitting LaRoche is an above average defender at first base with a career OPS+ of 114. LaRoche made $5M last season and will probably see an increase for 2009 after arbitration causing the salary-cutting Pirates to look to deal. The Pirate minor league system ranks near the bottom and they may be willing to take a couple mid-level prospects in exchange for LaRoche. Proposed deal: Tyler Chatwood and Jose Perez for Adam LaRoche.
Rick Ankiel (Arbitration Eligible) - Ankiel, who is his walk year entering 2009, can play all three outfield positions, although he doesn't play them very well. His 2008 season was hampered by to what was believed to be an abdominal strain, but was diagnosed as a sports hernia ending his season in early September. The Cardinals were rumored to be willing to deal Ankiel for some pitching from the Braves or Yankees earlier this off-season. Proposed deal: Dustin Moseley for Rick Ankiel.