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Trade the Face of the Franchise? It Might Help Article

source: author:Dave Cameron time:2009-05-12
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It might be sacrilege in Red Sox nation to consider trading David Ortiz, but now may be the right time for Boston to deal Big Papi. In fact, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein isn't the only one who should be considering the unthinkable, as several teams could improve by trading away their franchise player.

Mr. Ortiz has had a miserable start to this season, hitting just .221 without a single home run. Players with his body type don't age gracefully, but instead their performances plunge off a cliff. The Red Sox are currently paying him $12.5 million a year, and they could put that money toward finding a real shortstop.

Likewise, in Tampa Bay, it might be heresy to consider trading Scott Kazmir, the young ace who was once a shining beacon of hope for the laughingstock of the American League. However, Kazmir's fastball has steadily lost velocity, causing his strikeout rate to plummet. The budget-conscious Rays could trade him for a shutdown reliever who doesn't take up as much room in the payroll.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Mariners must decide if Ichiro Suzuki is someone they want to rebuild around. At age 35 and with a contract that pays him $17 million a year, the Mariners' new front office might rather have that money to spend on some hitters to prop up their anemic offense.

After a terrible 2008 season, Cleveland's Travis Hafner showed that he could still hit with a tremendous start to the season, but continuing shoulder problems landed the former All Star back on the disabled list. As a team with a medium-sized payroll, the Indians can't justify $14 million on a player who can't stay in the lineup, and trading him could help fix one of the league's worst pitching staffs.

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