There are several big names who will become free agents at the end of this season, and their teams may be looking to involve them in moves before the trade deadline on July 31.
Often, teams look to trade players who will likely become free agents if they are already looking to the next season, and are not planning or cannot afford to extend their talented veterans.
Montreal Metros reliever Bill Henson may be 38 but he still throws strikes very well. Metros are not likely to move him, given that they are in first place and looking to a playoff run. But, nor have they extended the $12.3 million-per-year veteran. With a management change imminent in Montreal, it is likely Henson will finish out his season there and then head to the bargaining table in October. Henson’s stats this season: 3-0, 2.63 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 24.0 innings.
Narushi Ohata is another big name veteran who could see a uniform change. The 39-year-old Boston Brawlers slugger has been plagued by injuries all year, just managing 21 games so far. But he is hitting .256/.295/.476 and shows no signs of losing any of his legendary power or contact. Boston is in the wildcard race as well, but could deal him if they could shore up their pitching rotation, where they have had two starters go down with injuries.
Another Lake League wildcard contender, New York Dragons, are facing the loss of Setsuo Kimura (1B) and William Febres (SP) at the end of this season. Left-hander Kimura has been solid all season, but the Dragons may be willing to give up his power in exchange for a younger, faster first baseman if they think it will help them outscore Boston and Montreal. Febres is having a great season, despite missing 9 days with recurring shoulder problems. New York could deal him to an American Eagle League team for that speed and youth as they have other solid arms to rely on in their rotation.
Dallas Deputies have been looking to move closer Jon Courteau for some time, even though they value his excellent shutdown relief work. The team is last in the AEL in home runs and runs scored, and are all but out of the running for 2017. They could give serious consideration to moving Courteau, who at 31 would want to sign at close to his current $12 million salary. Dallas needs serious help in the middle infield if they hope to contend for next season, and could move the pieces around now to start laying that groundwork.
Ohio Oxen’s Casey O’Beer is a dead weight in their bullpen, and Ohio may look to retool their ‘pen (currently 8th in the Lake League) with better, younger options. O’Beer has been challenged to produce this season, going 0-1, 5.74 ERA, 1.24 WHIP over 26.2 innings. But he is young and has a solid history overall (a career ERA of 3.89), so Ohio may look to offload him to a team struggling to find veteran relievers in exchange for a here-and-now speedster or defensive whiz, or for talent to stock their faltering AA and A level system.