This text originally appeared as part of Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notes column that ran May 24.
The Athletics could provide the trade-deadline goodie bag if their current play continues. Along with the Red Sox, Pirates, Padres, and Marlins, the A’s are one of the more disappointing teams in baseball.
In fact, two special assistants to general managers we spoke to see the A’s, Phillies, Brewers, Rockies, and Reds as providing contenders with the most attractive players closer to the deadline.
The prize off the A’s roster would be lefthander Scott Kazmir, who could enhance the rotation of any of a number of contenders. Among those who would be interested are the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Rays, and Giants.
Kazmir makes $13 million and is a free agent at the end of the season, a cheaper alternative to Cole Hamels. But there are many more possible targets, including Sean Doolittle, Tyler Clippard, Stephen Vogt, Josh Reddick, Billy Butler, and Coco Crisp (if healthy).
Reddick could be a sought-after lefthanded bat, and he is also a very good outfielder. Vogt is having an excellent offensive year and rakes against righthanders (1.064 OPS). Butler would provide a strong righthanded bat, and while primarily a DH, he also can play first.
Of course, underachieving teams such as the Red Sox and Pirates could also be in sell mode by the deadline if they don’t pick it up. The Sox have the expiring contracts of Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino that could be moved, not to mention Allen Craig, who has been banished to Pawtucket.
The Pirates could probably draw interest on A.J. Burnett.
The Blue Jays have a terrific offense but aren’t pitching well enough. If they don’t pursue Hamels and can’t stop the bleeding, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey would be out there for anyone needing middle- to back-of-the-rotation starters.
Others players who may be available:
Phillies — Jonathan Papelbon, Aaron Harang, Ben Revere (already linked to the Angels), Chase Utley (who would have to relinquish his 10-5 rights), and Ryan Howard (the Phillies have said they will assume most of the $60 million remaining on his contract; the big first baseman appears to have regained his power and is on pace to hit 40 home runs).
Brewers — Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Aramis Ramirez, Jonathan Broxton, and Francisco Rodriguez.
Reds — Johnny Cueto (attractive free agent-to-be with only a $10 million price tag this season), Mike Leake, Jay Bruce, Burke Badenhop, Marlon Byrd, Jason Marquis (horrible season so far), and Aroldis Chapman (a long shot to be dealt, but a nice haul of prospects could get him).
Marlins — Steve Cishek, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Mike Dunn, and Martin Prado.
Braves — Johnny Gomes, A.J Pierzynski, and Jason Grilli.
Rockies — Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Jorge De La Rosa, Rafael Betancourt, John Axford, Boone Logan, Kyle Kendrick, and Justin Morneau.Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.