If your team is already out of the running for the playoffs, then you’re probably already looking forward to finding out what trades and signings your team’s general manager willl swing in the offseason. Here are four players to watch this offseason, which could wind up being one of the busiest in recent memory. Did somebody say “hot stove!”
1. Manny Ramirez Last year he demanded to be traded, but the Red Sox couldn’t find anyone willing to take on his giant salary. But considering that Ramirez has just two years left on his original eight-year deal and will be coming off his best offensive season since 2002, he should have more trade value than he has had at any point in the last few years. He’s owed another $38 million plus a $1 million trade bonus and some deferred money. The Sox are almost certain to shake things up after losing out to the Yankees in the AL East for the ninth consecutive season. Ramirez is a likely candidate to get moved.
2. Andruw Jones It’s hard to imagine the Braves centerfield playing anywhere other than Atlanta, but Braves GM John Schuerholz has shown he is willing to let hometown heros like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine walk. And Andruw’s best ball is probably behind him, so this might be the time to trade him. Word is the Sox are working hard to land Andruw, but first they’ve got to find a taker for Coco Crisp.
3. Hank Blalock Texas was willing to trade their slugging 3B last winter and again at the trading deadline. The third time, they might just pull the trigger. Blalock has a nasty habit of fading fast in the second half of the season, and Texas ownership is tired of watching their playoff hopes crash and burn in August.
4. A-Rod It’s not that A-Rod has played badly in New York. He won the MVP last season, for heaven’s sake. But this year he was booed repeatedly. A recent Sports Illustrated article suggested that his teammates don’t like him. And, as luck would have it, the Angels are in the market for a slugger to compliment Vlad Guerrero. Can’t you just picture Rodriguez in red and white? He’d no doubt get a warmer reception from Angels fans than he has in New York. It seems like a move that could really benefit him. But the question remains: Does A-Rod want to move? He’s got a no-trade clause in his contract, so the final decision is his.