The trade deadline is now officially less than a week away.
You, a fantasy baseball owner, will want to know both who is likely to be traded and what the fallout will be for the teams said traded players leave behind.
Below, reader, please find all the answers you'll ever need. (Or, at least the answers you'll need about the impending trade deadline. For other stuff, talk to your therapist, probably.)
Here are eight likely trade targets, in nothing even remotely resembling a real order:
Player: Carlos Beltran, OF, NYM
Fallout: Without Beltran around, Lucas Duda almost certainly becomes a regular, likely in right field. That's not such a bad thing in fantasy terms. While Duda's defense is certainly a question mark, he's slashed .280/.351/.441 (.320 BABIP) in 134 major-league plate appearances this year -- with a pretty impressive 13:19 BB:K ratio. Another option is Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who slashing .298/.403/.505 while playing mostly center field at Triple-A Binghamton. Of course, Fernando Martinez is a third option, but he makes me sad to think about.
Player: Jeff Francoeur, OF, KC
Fallout: Francouer isn't necessarily a player over whom opposing teams are clamoring, but (a) he's had a decent season and (b) he's probably owed only about $1.0M dollars. The real incentive would be for Kansas City to open up an outfield spot for Lorenzo Cain (.321/.390/.526, .387 BABIP, at Triple-A Omaha), or Johnny Giavotella (.340/.396/.484, .370 BABIP, also at Omaha). While the latter has played mostly second base, he's plated some outfield and is really the superior prospect in this author's opinion.
Player: B.J. Upton, OF, TB
Fallout: Upton actually has one year of arbitration eligibility left, meaning Tampa Bay isn't in a position where they really must deal; however, it's also the most expensive year -- one that could net Upton somewhere in the $8-$10M range. Beyond that, the Rays have a ready replacement in Desmond Jennings, who's made the outfield situation crowded of late with his recent promotion. Jennings had hit 12 homers and gone 17-of-18 on stolen-base attempts. The presence of Brandon Guyer -- who himself possesses a power/speed combination (11 HR and 13 SB at Triple-A) -- is also somewhat intriguing.
Player: One or More OFs, OAK
Fallout: David DeJesus, Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, and Conor Jackson all (a) play outfield for the A's and (b) are all shceduled to become free agents this winter. In the case of Oakland, it's probably less a case of whether they're willing to trade and more if another team is able. With Ryan Sweeney around, as well, it's possible that the only true fallout from a trade would be something closer to a full slate of PAs for the remaining group. Because of his pedigree, prospect Michael Taylor (.282/.357/.468, .319 BABIP, at Triple-A Sacramento) is the most likely to be given a chance in the event that GM Billy Beane looks towards the minor leagues.
Player: Aramis Ramirez, 3B, CHC
Fallout: Ramirez is on record as saying he's likely to veto any trade for the time being; however, (a) there's little chance that the Cubs want a $16M Ramirez around for what will likely be a disappointing 2012 and (b) there's obviously the chance that Ramirez would change his mind when faced with the actual prospect of postseason baseball (something mostly foreign to him as a Cub). A Ramirez trade could mean good things for fantasy owners, as the Cubs have no fewer than four interesting players in the minors. DJ LeMahieu has already gotten some major-league plate appearances, while Josh Vitters is the most prospecty of those waiting in the wings. My personal favorite is Marquez Smith, who, despite slashing a totally reasonable .283/.353/.448 (.343 BABIP) this season at Triple-A Iowa, is actually known as a glove-first guy.
Player: Livan Hernandez or Jason Marquis, SP, WAS
Fallout: No one imagines that either Hernandez or Marquis are top-flight starters. They could, however, serve as back-of the rotation support for teams looking to make playoff run. For the fantasy owner, it'd be ideal if both Hernandez and Marquis went away, as then both Tom Milone (114.2 IP, 118 K, 10 BB, 6 HR at Triple-A Syracuse) and Brad Peacock (98.2 IP, 129 K, 23 BB, 4 HR) could make their respective major-league debuts.
Player: Hiroki Kuroda, SP, LAD
Fallout: There's no reason for the Dodgers not to trade Kuroda: the clubs is 13.5 games out, is in financial peril, and Kuroda is probably owed at least another $3M this year. Plus, were the team to free up a rotation spot, it's entirely possible that we could see the promotion of Double-A Chattanooga's Nathan Eovaldi. Blessed with legitimate stuff, the 21-year-old Eovaldi has posted 95 strikeouts and over a 50% ground-ball percentage in 98.1 innings this season.
Player: Bruce Chen, SP, KC
Fallout: Much like the case with the Nationals pitchers above, this might be more a case of wishful thinking on my (a fantasy owner's) part, as opposed to a real legitimate chance of a trade occurring. Still, Chen does have a 3.30 ERA in 12 starts and he is a free agent after this season. If anything, he should be available cheap. And the best part will be if a trade does occur, on account of the Royals have one of the most prospect-rich farm systems around. Despite a 84:52 K:BB, Mike Montgomery is likely to see time should Chen leave.