As trade rumors circulate and Boston continues to search for a RHH OF to platoon in RF, some of the more common names include Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Ludwick, and Conor Jackson. Should the Sox be unable to acquire a player like this for reasons related to finances or outrageous asking prices, a few other less likely options remain that could be explored. Some of them include:
Chris Denorfia (Padres) – Very underrated hitter and outfielder seemingly built for part time play. Denorfia has shown to be a capable defender of any OF position and has hit both LHP and RHP very well in his career. The Connecticut native is also is the answer to the trivia question “Who is the only major leaguer ever to come out of Wheaton College?” There are plenty of reasons to think the Sox and Padres can work out a deal.
Matt Diaz (Pirates) – While the Pirates may not qualify as sellers, Diaz is buried behind some very talented players, all of whom are performing well. The emergence of Alex Presley and the pending return of Jose Tabata figures to limits his playing time even further. However, he has built a modest career on being the right-handed bat in corner OF platoons and has a career OPS of .881 vs. LHP.
Jason Michaels (Astros) – Not very likely, given his inability to hit anyone this year and the fact that he has built a reputation on being a very unpleasant person. His .399 OBP that made him so attractive is now a distant memory. Still, he won’t cost much, and has a career .281BA vs LHP. Strikes me as Jay Payton Redux, however.
Cody Ross(Giants) – If the Giants do get some offense elsewhere, Ross might be expendable and, unlike other RHH OFs such as Torres or Burrell, attractive to other teams. The Sox have tried to get him before. Ross can play all 3 OF positions very well and has some serious power. Due to potential interest from other teams, he could potentially cost as much as Yamaico Navarro, although I would expect it to be a little less. I don’t expect SF to settle for Luis Exposito.
Nolan Reimold (Orioles) – Reimold has yet to live up to the expectations the Orioles had for him, and has possibly made himself expendable. Has shown to be a capable hitter with a .821 OPS vs. LHP. Played CF in the minors, but the O’s have kept him in LF, although this probably has more to do with the players they have manning those other positions than anything else. He won’t be as cheap as most of the other options on this list, and has 4 years of control beyond 2011.
Johnny Gomes (Reds) – Monster power bat vs. LHP, but completely expendable in the National League. The Reds would probably make him available, but Gomes has almost zero in the way of defensive skills. The man couldn't catch a cold if he was naked in Norway.
Allen Craig (Cardinals) – Craig is a talented hitter who has actually fared better against RHP than LHP in his career. The Cardinals have used him in numerous positions in his brief time there, including 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF, but this is more of an indication of their desire to get his bat in the lineup than any hint about his defensive skills. Currently on the DL, Craig should complete rehab soon, but could come back to find himself expendable despite his “versatility”, due to the returns of Skip Schumaker and David Freese, as well as the emergence of John Jay. While Schumaker leaves a lot to be desired as a 2B, Craig isn’t any better there defensively. A trade of Lowrie for Craig (injury for injury) makes some sense in some ways, though it really turns into both teams gambling on the player returning healthy at some point.
From this list, I’d say Denorfia makes the most sense and is probably the most likely, but really isn't the sexy name fans want to see thrown around...