Saturday July 31st, 2010

With just hours left before this afternoon's 4 p.m. EDT non-waiver trading deadline, here's a quick look at some of the players widely rumored to be on the market who have yet to switch teams.

RELATED: Jon Heyman on latest deadline news

Adam Dunn, 1B/OF, Nationals: With the Brewers reportedly electing not to deal Prince Fielder, who won't become a free agent until after next season, Dunn, a free agent this winter, is far and away the best hitter on the market. The White Sox were reportedly in hot pursuit on Friday, going as far as to acquire Edwin Jackson from the Diamondbacks supposedly to flip him for Dunn only to find the Nationals' interest in Jackson cooling.

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Diamondbacks: Historically a huge second-half performer (he hit .325/.401/.557 after being acquired by the Braves at last year's deadline and is a career .298/.362/.540 hitter in the second half), LaRoche is a big-time sleeper at this deadline. Whichever team loses out on Dunn would be wise to look here. Bonus: LaRoche has a $7.5 mutual option for 2011.

Ted Lilly, LHP, Cubs: The top starter on the market, Lilly is in the final year of his four-year deal with the Cubs, but does have a no-trade clause that will need to be bought out. (UPDATE: Lilly has been traded to the Dodgers.)

Brett Myers, RHP, Astros: Myers is having arguably his finest season for the Astros, is making just $3.1 million this year and has an $8 million mutual option for 2011. Recent reports say the Astros want to keep him, but that could just be a negotiating tactic. After dealing franchise cornerstones Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman on the cheap, it seems unlikely that Houston would show any particular attachment to Myers.

Paul Maholm, LHP, Pirates: Maholm is considered Plan B for the teams perusing Lilly, but because he's signed through 2011 with a $9.75 million option for 2012, he might not come much cheaper.

Jose Bautista, OF/UT, Blue Jays: The rebuilding Jays would be wise to cash in major league home run leader Bautista's career year, but with Bautista under team control for one more year, Toronto's asking price is reportedly so high as to kill most of the interest in Bautista.

Kelly Johnson, 2B, Diamondbacks: Everything I just wrote about Bautista applies here as well, just sub in "D-backs," "Johnson," and "Arizona" for "Jays," "Bautista," and "Toronto" and strike "major league home run leader."

Scott Downs, LHP, Blue Jays: With Matt Capps now in Minnesota, Downs might be the best reliever on the market, and there are many teams that need relief help, including the Yankees and Red Sox. But once again the Blue Jays seem to be asking for too much, particularly for a 34-year-old reliever in his walk year.

Octavio Dotel, RHP, Pirates: Pittsburgh closer Dotel hasn't generated much heat thus far, but he has posted a 2.35 ERA since May 1, is still striking out a ton of batters, and has an affordable $4.5 million club option for 2011, making him a solid relief option for a team that does its homework.

Aaron Heilman, RHP, Diamondbacks: Heilman has been an oasis of effectiveness in the execrable Arizona bullpen and will be a free agent this winter, making him an attractive option for contenders in need of set-up relief help.

Kevin Gregg, RHP, Blue Jays: Gregg has 107 saves over the last four seasons and a $4.5 million club option for 2011 that could alternately be a $8.75 million option for 2011 and 2012. He's not an elite closer, but he's a good arm that could be more than a rental.

Jake Westbrook, RHP, Indians: Pending free agent Westbrook has made a solid comeback from Tommy John surgery this season, making him a good, innings-eating rental for a team with a big rotation hole. (UPDATE: Westbrook has been traded to the Cardinals as part of a three-team deal.)

Ty Wigginton, IF, Orioles: As an offense-first infielder who can play everywhere but shortstop, Wigginton is an attractive roster plug for contenders, but after getting off to a big start, he's hit just .223/.299/.348 since May 15, undermining the Orioles' attempts to cash him in.

Jose Guillen, OF, Royals: Guillen is a pending free agent with the capability of getting hot and going all Glenallen Hill (the aging slugger who had a huge finish after being traded to the Yankees in 2000) for some lucky contender, but that's a long shot, and the Royals haven't gotten much play for him to this point.

Jason Frasor, RHP, Blue Jays: Frasor is a pending free agent with closing experience (35 career saves). He's not a difference maker, but he has a 3.26 ERA since April 30 and will come significantly cheaper than his pen-mate Downs.

John Buck, C, Blue Jays: With top catching prospect J.P. Arencibia hitting .306/.359/.638 with 29 homers in Triple-A, first-time All-Star and pending free-agent Buck is available. Buck has hit .266/.305/.498 with 22 homers in 492 plate appearances over the last two seasons.

Joe Beimel, LHP, Rockies: Downs has an appeal beyond the LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY) role, but Beimel is only that. In the last four years, he has pitched just 203 innings in 270 games, but he's appealing in that role as a veteran on a one-year deal who has held lefties to a .175/.230/.246 line this season.

David Aardsma, RHP, Mariners: A hard-thrower with closing experience, Aardsma won't be a free agent for a few more years, but he's arbitration-eligible and overrated by his role. Since May 2, Aardsma has a 5.32 ERA, has blown three saves and taken three other losses. It's no wonder the rebuilding M's have been shopping him.

Lyle Overbay, 1B, Blue Jays: There's some thought that, after trading Triple-A first base prospect Brett Wallace to the Astros and picking up washout Mike Jacobs from the Mets to replace him, the Jays might keep Overbay after all, but there's no reason for this rebuilding club not to try to cash in a 33-year-old pending free agent. The only question is whether or not Overbay (hitting .246/.322/.414 on the season) has much market value with Dunn and LaRoche still available.

Cody Ross, OF, Marlins: Ross doesn't get on base very often, and his power has vanished this year, yet he's still been a hotly sought outfield option. Perhaps more shockingly, the Marlins reportedly took him off the market on Friday. The Fish own him for another year, and the cynical view is that he won't get much more expensive in his final year of arbitration after this poor season, but Florida would be wise to strike while the iron is hot with a player who is ultimately no more than a fourth outfielder on a contending team.

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