With all the rumored trades now being proposed, I thought it might be a good time to maybe identify a few prospects at the rare infield positions that could be moving near the deadline. I would hate to see a waste of talent and possibility.
Reid Brignac (TB) - The 23 year-old lefty and 2004 2nd round draft pick has experienced various levels of success and was just a few years ago considered the top SS prospect in baseball. Jason Bartlett has cemented himself as the starter in Tampa Bay and prospect Tim Beckham is there for insurance. Brignac is a fine fielder with a strong bat and even though his impending superstar status has faded some, he's still a top SS prospect and would be an upgrade to many teams without an offensive capable SS or a team without a capable replacement for an aging regular. He reminds me of a left-handed J.J. Hardy. Fellow AL East teams Blue Jays (Scutaro) and Orioles (Izturis) are both without an impact in their organization but the inter-division rivalry likely ends and discussion but teams like the Reds (replacing Gonzalez), Astros (moving Tejada to 3B), Padres (replacing Everth Cabrera), Pirates (if Wilson is traded), Cubs (allowing Theriot to move to a utility role), Giants (Renteria is 34), Tigers (replacing glove-only Adam Everett), Twins (replacing Brendan Harris), and Mariners (moving Cedeno to utility).
Jason Donald (Phi) - The former USA Team standout has continued to entice interest from many teams during this time. The Red Sox were reportedly inquiring on him and with Jimmy Rollins entrenched at the SS position for the Phillies, Donald has become a luxury the Phillies can use to obtain a wanted quality starter. Donald actually reminds me of Stephen Drew in size and ability. The 24 year-old 2008 3rd rounder would look good in either Toronto or Baltimore uniform and all of the above teams with a hole at SS. IMO, he should be gladly be included in a possible Roy Halladay trade.
Chis Nelson (Col) - The 2004 1st round (9th overall) is firmly blocked for many years from by Tulo and I mean blocked. He's only 24 but he's basically spinning his wheels in AAA. At 5'11 175lb he's small enough to move to 2nd base but even then it likely wouldn't be with the Rockies as the have Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes, Hector Gomez, and Eric Young, Jr. Nelson mirrors the track of a mini-Brandon Phillips but he'd be a big upgrade for a team like the Orioles or a team with hole at either SS or 2B. Beaz for Nelson
Brandon Wood (LAA) - Whether you believe Wood can play MLB SS or not he'd be an upgrade at SS, 3B, or 2B for many teams. His powerful bat and decent glove would give a boost too many offensively challenged teams. He could also be a prime candidate to be one of those offensive 1st 2B like Mark Teahen, Ian Stewart, Dan Uggla, and possibly Andy LaRoche. The fact that he's been getting the cold shoulder from the Angels likely means he'd welcome a change in scenery. If the Angels look to add bullpen help I could see him included in a deal. Package for Valverde maybe? Just a thought.
Sean Rodriguez (LAA) - Yet another Angels prospect that needs a change of scenery. Its apparent that Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick have the hold on the middle infield spots for the Angels with Maicer Izturis and some of Chone Figgins filling in at those spots. Thats fine but they are seriously hurting Rodriguez's progress and he's a quality player with a nice bat. I would love to see him get full-time and maybe in a trade with Wood even. I would love to see a Houston Astros infield of 3B Tejada, SS Rodriguez, 2B Wood, 1B Berkman.
Chin-lung Hu (LAD) - The former Futures Game MVP is a defensive specialist with contact bat. WIth Furcal at SS, he is another MLB quality player spinning his wheels in AAA simply based on being blocked. He's not a power bat but his glove and contact skills make him valuable to a team in need of defense. At 25 years-old, 5'11, 195 he does possibility have some room to add to his frame which could add some power. I think he'd be a cheap and good replacement for Jack Wilson if Wilson is traded.
Joel Guzman (Was) - Don't look now but the former uber-prospect is back to his impressive ways. The previously rushed 24 year-old still exudes potential in his large 6'5 245 lb frame. Add to the fact that Guzman can effectively play 3B, SS, 1B, & OF means this kid is still likely to get a shot in the majors. The biggest knock on Guzman, and most tall prospects, has been his K rate which he has shrunk nicely by only striking out 35 times in 73 game in AA. Add the fact that he's batting .311 with 10 HR could means that his prospect status is still alive. Guzman could be a good get for a Nationals deal involving Nick Johnson, Josh Willingham, and maybe Austin Kearns. Still, even if he doesn't get traded he may benefit from a trade by getting called up to play 1B.
Cliff Pennington (Oak) - It has become apparent that the A's will likely move Orlando Cabrera near the deadline and right now it's looking like Cabrera's destination is going to be to Minnesota. This move is going to allow Oakland to insert Cliff Pennington as the starter which will help the rebuilding A's. If and when the A's sign 2009 1st round draft pick Grant Green out of USC and he moves as quickly as people think he will, think Gordon Beckham, then Pennington will likely be supplanted in the future but until then Cliff looks like the guy for Oakland if Cabrera is dealt. Also, some team may take a chance on the disgruntled Bobby Crosby as a possible cheap upgrade at a weak SS position.
Andy Marte (Cle) - Anybody wanna guess what the former stud prospect is currently hitting in AAA? Well, that would be .328/.365/.590 with 17 HRs, 65 RBIs, and only 48Ks in 79 games! Where does he fit in for the Indians? Well, that is the question but if they could trade him or even make room for him these might translate over as Marte is still only 25. There has been talk that Jhonny Peralta and maybe Victor Martinez are on the move which might give Marte a chance to play in the bigs again. The trend of moving power hitters to 2B for offensive support over defense might also be a possibility. Possible infield prospects Matt LaPorta, Josh Barfield, Beau Mills, and Marte all remain intriguing.
-Please note that almost all of these players have MLB service time