Trade winds: position players

Last week, I discussed some stud starters likely to be traded and the implications a trade could have on their fantasy value. This week I’d like to address position players from the same perspective. There seems to be less consensus on which position players are likely to be traded, and the overall crop is weaker than the top-heavy group of starting pitcher trade candidates. Therefore, I’m going to switch up the format a bit and go for more of a quick-hitter approach, covering more players in less depth.

Justin Upton
Upton is the best bat considered to be available. Arizona boasts a homer-friendly park and Upton has been surprisingly average on the road throughout his career, sporting a pedestrian .740 career road OPS —a stark contrast from his .924 home mark. Still there are a few considerations to mitigate the seemingly open-and-shut case. First, his road games are heavily weighted by the NL West, three-quarters of which (excluding the D-backs) play in strong pitcher’s parks. Second, it appears that a change of scenery probably couldn’t hurt right now. There are situations that would up Upton’s value, though on paper his current spot is better than most. The bigger question remains whether Justin Upton will resume being Justin Upton… for any team

Shane Victorino
It’s not certain that the Phillies are going to shop the Flyin’ Hawaiian. Rumor has it that the Yankees are interested, though. Were Victorino to land on the Yankees, we’d be looking at a top-50 player. He’d basically be Caveman-era Johnny Damon. Word is the asking price is high, and Victorino doesn’t make peanuts now, so it’s likely that if he goes anywhere, it would be to a pretty good situation with a good amount of premium talent also in place. The Philly lineup isn’t doing anything for him now. Getting out would most likely help.

B.J. Upton
Upton the elder has always been difficult to figure, and I don’t foresee a significant change in value if he’s traded. He’s still likely to be a well-rounded player who gives you gives you solid three-category production, borderline elite speed, and is a bit of a batting average drain.

Josh Willingham
Surprisingly enough, I like him where he is. Word in the offseason was the Twins pursued him (instead of retaining Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel) because they thought his swing was a great fit for their park. They look like geniuses right now.

While Willingham could move into a better lineup, it’s unlikely he’d hit in the heart of the order were he traded to a really strong team, and it’s unlikely his situation would improve much, lineup wise, were he traded to a team that needs him in the heart of its order. I wouldn’t be overly excited about fixing what’s clearly not broken.

Chase Headley
Headley is a potential 20-20 player with legitimate on-base skills who is trapped in an awful lineup, home park and division. He is one of the players who could benefit most from a trade. And, to cap it off, he seems reasonably likely to be traded. If you like to speculate, maybe a lowball offer for him in a deeper league would be a good idea.

Carlos Quentin
My overall opinion on Headley applies to Quentin as well, just a bit less so. Quentin is a bigger injury risk. He’s less likely to be traded. His value is more fixed to one category. All that said, getting out of San Diego would be a major step up for him, presuming health.

Denard Span
Span is a bit of a tricky case. He could help a lot of teams, but if acquired his role could be anything from starting number two hitter to platoon player, depending on where he goes. If he goes to the right spot, he could be standard mixed league relevant as a fifth outfielder. It’s not worth speculating on it, though, as the returns aren’t high enough to warrant placing a bet.

Juan Pierre
The possible outcomes for Pierre are similar to that of Span. However, unless he goes to the Orioles, I don’t see Pierre playing a prominent role in a new destination. I’d be shopping Pierre to teams in need of speed. I also don’t trust him to maintain a plus-.300 average.

Ty Wigginton
If you could use what he was doing before the return of Ryan Howard, grab him. He’s likely to resume doing that in a different jersey.

Bryan LaHair
LaHair gave us a taste of his power before Anthony Rizzo came on to steal his thunder. I think the Cubs bungled this situation and sapped much of LaHair’s trade value. At the very worst, he’s a platoon masher. I could see LaHair finding a job and emerging as deeper league relevant again.

Jason Giambi
I know this sounds like a crazy name, but he still has power and on-base skills. I doubt he can play first base anymore, but if he were to fall into a DH role, deeper and AL-only leaguers might stumble into one of the best potential power sources on a barren waiver wire.

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