We're just about forty percent done with the season so the teams in contention have mostly separated themselves from those out of contention. In an ideal world, the best players in baseball would still be playing their hearts out come September and October, so let me do my best to shift the rosters around a bit. Here's a list of four veteran players who deserve an upgrade; be forewarned that it's not an official prognostication because I am not taking contractual issues or desire to actually trade these folks into account. I'm merely playing God.
- Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks: The middle infielder wears a lot of hats and not just because Arizona has changed their team colors twelve times in the past four years. Fella can play second base, third base, shortstop, outfield, peanut vendor, what have you. He's putting up very good numbers (.352 OBP, 21 XBH) for an otherwise poor-hitting D-Back team and, altho he wants to stay in Phoenix' hot hot heat and help the team contend, he's in the final year of his contract. He'd make a nice utility player for the Brewers, struggling to fill holes since Rickie Weeks went down for the year.
- Matt Holliday, Athletics: Honestly, wouldn't you want to see what this kid can do in a normal situation in a neutral ballpark? Coors Field skewed his numbers positively for years while McAfee Coliseum and the poor A's lineup reversed the trend and skewed them back into the basement. He's not swinging and missing as much as his strikeout percentage has dropped 11% since last season but his line drive percentage is way down, and hence his power has diminished. Get this kid in, say, the Rogers Centre or Angel Stadium and you've got yourself an interesting experiment and a way for teams to evaluate this future free agent in a neutral park.
- Wandy Rodriguez, Astros: His outstanding home run numbers have regressed a bit in the past two weeks but that's what you get when you throw a game in the hot hot Arlington heat against the hot hot Rangers hitters. Of course, Wandy's actually had great home numbers over the past few years with an ERA under 3.00 in Minute Maid Park and an ERA over 5.00 away from Houston. Still, this fly ball pitcher might fare better in a park that discourages tater tots, like Comerica or Busch.
- Kerry Wood, Indians: It's just not fun to see Wood blow saves for a last place team. What's he got to lose? You can't get any lower than 'worst team in the AL'. Wood's lost weekend against the Cubbies was fun, but imagine how much more fun it would be to see Wood blowing saves for a contending team with bullpen needs, like the Cardinals or Rangers. Schadenfreude is better when the stakes are higher.
Any other players you want to see pack up their suitcases and move up in the standings?