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13 MLB logjams -- and possible solutions

January 9, 2016

Some things you just don't have to be told.Like, for instance, that the Nationals weren't going to have both Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen in the clubhouse when they reported to Florida. Mike Rizzo did a nice job getting a valuable piece back (Ben Revere) while clearing up his closer

Some things you just don't have to be told.
Like, for instance, that the Nationals weren't going to have both Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen in the clubhouse when they reported to Florida. Mike Rizzo did a nice job getting a valuable piece back (Ben Revere) while clearing up his closer redundancy. The guess here is it won't be the last of these type trades we see between now and the time equipment trucks leave for Florida and Arizona.
Hot Stove Tracker
There's still a long list of situations where players need fresh starts or face logjams that complicate the outlook for them and their teams. In honor of Revere's new manager, here are a Dusty Baker's dozen of them:
1. Wilmer Flores / Ruben Tejada, Mets
Remember when no one thought the Mets had one shortstop? They've got three now, since signing Asdrubal Cabrera a few days after Terry Collins said Tejada and Flores would compete for the everyday job. Teams like the Padres and White Sox are still exploring shortstop options, so maybe there's a deal to be made for Flores, who raised his stock after Chase Utley took Tejada down in the National League Division Series.
Best fit: White Sox.
2. Matt Garza, Brewers
OK, the last time this guy paid a dividend was when the Cubs traded him to the Rangers (for Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards and Mike Olt). But he did post a 3.64 ERA in 2014, the first season in his four-year deal. Garza lost a lot of points with teammates and the organization when he rebelled against a move to the bullpen last year. He's owed $25 million. Could Garza get his act together elsewhere if the Brewers cut their losses by paying half of what they owe him?
Best fit: Rockies.

3. Jay Bruce, Reds
Brandon Phillips wants to stay in Cincinnati, and has the 10-5 rights to give him that option. That makes Bruce the next to go behind Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman. Unfortunately he's been a subpar regular the past two years (combined WAR of minus-0.3), severely damaging his value. Bruce is owed only $13.5 million at the end of a six-year contract,. With Bryan Price looking to find playing time for Scott Schebler, Rule 5 Draft pick Jake Cave and maybe prospects Jesse Winker and Yorman Rodriguez, this might be the best time to open up right field.
Best fit: Orioles.
4. Hector Santiago, Angels
Here's a great guy in the clubhouse who was an All-Star on the field last season. What's the problem? Well, while the Angels have a hole in left field, they had a rotation surplus, especially from the left side. Santiago could be forced to the bullpen. He probably won't complain, but he's at a point in his career when he should be given a chance to build off the success he had as a starter last year (3.66 ERA, 177 innings, 32 starts).
Best fit: Orioles.
5. Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
Out of shape and underproductive, Ozuna regressed badly in 2015 after a breakout season when he looked like a rising star. He's been in trade talks throughout the offseason without any action. The front office would signal a new way of doing business by following through on a trade while signing a solid veteran like Dexter Fowler or Austin Jackson to replace Ozuna. Don Mattingly needs all the help that Michael Hill can give him.
Best fit: Indians.

6. Andre Ethier and Alex Guerrero, Dodgers
Speaking of Mattingly, isn't it time to clear up that dysfunctional, overcrowded roster for Dave Roberts, the new manager? A Yasiel Puig trade would have been welcomed in the clubhouse, but it doesn't seem to be happening. If that's the case, then the Dodgers should pay some of the salary to send Ethier to the Angels, Orioles, White Sox, Tigers or Mariners. Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke are solid backups for the outfield of Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson and Puig. Guerrero? He's a nowhere-to-play man who offers right-handed power but comes with a contract that says he cannot be optioned to the Minors. Guerrero would be a better fit in the American League.
Best fit: Orioles for Ethier, Rays for Guerrero.
7. Jason Hammel and Chris Coghlan, Cubs
Valuable pieces on the 97-win roster last season, they've been made expendable by acquisitions in the offseason. Hammel is one of five veterans in the fifth-starter mix for Joe Maddon. Coghlan, who had an .849 OPS in his last 45 games to finish 2015 at .784, was displaced by Kyle Schwarber and seems an iffier fit with Ben Zobrist in town. Like Santiago, neither is the type to complain, but it could take all of Maddon's resourcefulness to make them feel valued.
Best fit: Padres for Hammel, Orioles for Coghlan.
8. Jake Marisnick, Astros
Like Hammel and Coghlan, the 24-year-old center fielder helped his team be one of the big surprises of 2015. But the addition of Carlos Gomez limited Marisnick's role down the stretch and in the postseason, and his fit got a lot tighter when Colby Rasmus accepted a qualifying offer. He still seems like a useful piece long-term -- both Gomez and Rasmus can be free agents after this season -- but at best will fill the smaller side of a platoon.
Best fit: Braves.

9. Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, Braves
These aren't exactly rebuilding pieces, and playing them got a little trickier with Ender Inciarte coming aboard in the Shelby Miller trade. The Indians made life simpler for themselves by releasing Chris Johnson -- their end of the trade that sent Bourn and Swisher to Atlanta -- but Fredi Gonzalez and his coaches are apparently being asked to build some trade value for his guys.
Best fit: See below.
10. Rusney Castillo, Red Sox
Only two years into a seven-year, $72.5 million deal, Castillo joins Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in the pile of expensive, underappreciated toys in Boston. The addition of Chris Young along with the play of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt will make it tough for John Farrell to find at-bats for Castillo, who had a .647 OPS in almost 300 plate appearances last year. Maybe the Braves should trade Swisher and Bourn for him.
Best fit: Braves.
11. Jurickson Profar, Rangers
One of the most productive hitters in the Arizona Fall League, the 22-year-old switch hitter will test his surgically repaired shoulder in the field during Spring Training. All indications are that Profar will be fine to play second base, maybe even shortstop. He's as blocked as blocked can be with Elvis Andrus signed through 2022 and Rougned Odor five years from free agency. Expect Profar to be the most heavily scouted player in Arizona.
Best fit: Dodgers.
12. Sean Doolittle, A's
After an injury-diminished season, Doolittle was Oakland's closer when the season ended. Billy Beane, however, added two guys capable of working the ninth inning, signing Ryan Madson and John Axford to multiyear contracts. A Doolittle trade might help the A's put the 2014 Wild Card meltdown behind them after a season in which they seemed stuck in the past.
Best fit: Cardinals.

13. Andrew Miller, Yankees
His reward for a breakout season was to have Chapman added as the closer, shuffling him and Dellin Betances back into setup roles as Brian Cashman envisions a bullpen like the Royals' circa 2014. Miller carries tremendous value if the Yankees decide to move him, but for now, consideration is on hold as they await MLB's findings on possible suspension after a domestic violence incident. This is a good kind of awkwardness, but it remains to be seen how the dynamic will work with Chapman aboard.
Best fit: Cubs.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for