Finding a market for our expendable junk could be easier than I thought. According to several reports, the latest being this Tracy Ringolsby piece, the Rockies are looking to deal one or more of our utility infielders and may also be willing to shop Brian Fuentes in the right deal. This to me seems difficult, I mean how many GM's say something like:
"You know, I love ace starters, but what I could really use right now is a really good utility infielder."
To my surprise, it turns out that there's actually a team that might be a decent fit as a trade partner for us, as the Atlanta Braves are looking for utility infielders and left-handed relievers pending Ron Mahay's departure. In the always fun and always silly world of fan speculation, I would attempt to pry Brent Lillibridge and one of their several young bottom of the rotation type starters, Jair Jurrgens, Jo-Jo Reyes or Jeff Bennett (all three have mid-rotation potential) for Fuentes and Carroll or Barmes. If we can pry a young relief arm like Manny Acosta away as well, so much the better. We give up a high quality lefty -and closer insurance- the likely accompanying pair of high Type A draft picks (Brian's currently ranked #5 among NL relievers) should Fuentes leave the Braves after 2008, and a standout defensive infielder for the risk of unproven youth, but we will also get two or three players under our team control for several seasons, so asking for more seems presumptuous.
Lillibridge would slot nicely at second base for the Rockies, probably better than our currently available in-house options, and the starter would fill a gap both for this year and heading forward. I could see us throwing in Joe Koshansky to give the Braves one last reason to add the reliever and complete a deal like this, and I really think it would be one that would benefit both teams.
Kaz's pal and Rockies teammate Willy Taveras was instrumental in getting him to consider Houston as a destination, and now that Matsui has landed, the Astros seem more open to dealing Chris Burke, who the Ringolsby piece mentioned the Rockies are interested in. It's harder to find a fit for a trade with the 'Stros, however, as while each side can fill the other's needs, the parts just don't add up without one team or the other adding prospects to fill the gaps in value:
Available Rockies prospects > Available Astros prospects
While the last couple of weeks have shown that prospect trades are happening with greater frequency than they have in the last couple of seasons, I don't think this is a scenario where a trade is likely to happen. However, I can envision one trade with Houston that seems like it might be equitable for both sides, and that would be a Jeff Baker for Chris Burke straight up swap but Houston seems content right now with the fading Ty Wigginton manning third and haven't put upgrading the hot corner as the priority they probably should. I realize they are counting on Billy Hart rising to take over, but that's a lot of eggs to put in one basket, no matter how talented.