With baseball’s trade deadline approaching, several American League players are being targeted by clubs in contention. But one thing that could complicate potential deals would be the injuries being sustained by some of those players. Several have been bitten by the injury bug and that could throw a monkey wrench into the plans to make deals.
Josh Willingham is one of the position players in the American League heavily mentioned when it comes to trade rumors. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi recently confirmed that, tweeting that the Twins have fielded calls for him. But the outfielder was just placed on the disabled list with a knee injury and is expected to miss from four to six weeks. A player on the 15-day DL who is only out for a couple of weeks isn’t a huge deal – especially if he is slated to return to action before the trade deadline. But four to six weeks is a large chunk of the games left and teams could be wary of making a move for a player out that long. Teams needing a playoff push want players available now and waiting for a mediocre outfielder until the middle of August will surely scare some away.
Willingham has power (ten home runs) but his .224 batting average means he’s not really a great option for a team in need of a starter. Still, when healthy, he is a serviceable reserve capable of upgrading a bench. The only question at this point is how much the injury will decrease his value. He could still get traded at this point if a team runs out of other options and is convinced that he can help after he gets healthy … but the odds could be against it.
Then there’s the White Sox’ set up man, Jesse Crain, who is perhaps the best non-closer available on the market. Chicago is reportedly open to dealing almost anyone and Crain is one of their most desirable players. But with news that Crain hit the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, his situation will be one to watch. The move is retroactive to June 30th, so Crain should be ready to go well in advance of the deadline, though. The reliever has been nothing short of incredible this season with an ERA of .074 and 19 holds and the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo says the Orioles, Yankees, and maybe the Red Sox will be seeking his services.
In 38 games this season, Crain has given up a total of only three runs and he’s on pace to top his career highs of runs allowed (fewest), strikeouts, and holds. He’s also failed to give up even a single home run this season and has been flat out dominant. Despite the injury, you can still expect Crain to be a hot commodity. He’s shown too much this season for teams to be completely run off by a short stint on the DL.
Teammate Paul Konerko is also on the disabled list with a back injury. Even though Chicago has already said he’s not being moved, that could change if the White Sox get a deal that’s too good to be true. But in reality, the injury probably eliminates the small chance there was that he got dealt.
Another player with a chance to be traded is the Angels’ Jason Vargas. Vargas is having one of the best seasons of his career and his 3.65 ERA would be a career-low if he maintains that pace. With the Angels nine games out of first place in the AL West, they may not be ready to throw in the towel just yet. But if they don’t turn things around later this month, Vargas is one player that could potentially be dealt – MLB.com writer Alden Gonzalez is one person that says he could be dangled as trade bait.
Teams are always looking for starting pitching and Vargas is a guy capable of stepping into the middle or tail end of a rotation. Only problem is that he landed on the disabled list with a blood clot and is expected to miss a couple of weeks. Vargas is due to become a free agent at the end of this season and you can bet teams will line up to trade for him if the Angels decide to make him available.
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