Helping Uncle Walt: Middle Infield Targets

A couple days ago, on Jim Bowden's radio show, Walt Jocketty discussed the team's need for an offensive middle infielder. Here are some intriguing possibilities:

Derek Dietrich

Why he’s on the list: Dietrich has an outstanding minor league track record, with well above average pop for a 2B. While he’s not a SS now, he does have quite a bit of SS experience, having played it for two years in the minors. As a stop-gap/ non-everyday player, he’s serviceable.

Why he shouldn’t be on the list: There’s a reason Dietrich was moved from the more demanding SS spot. His range at second is relatively poor; it would be much worse as a SS. He’s also unproven and his time in the majors last year proved that he may not be ready.

What do the Marlins need: In a word, everything. They tend to gravitate toward high upside prospects, so a deal of, say,Yorman Rodriguez for Dietrich would likely get it done (though the Red may need to throw in another high upside wildcard like Juan Duran or Amir Garrett to get it done).

Roadblocks to a deal: Dietrich is still cheap, and the Marlins are remarkable cheap at pretty much all times. FLorida is also flush with minor league OFers and may want a reliever like JJ Hoover (which is likely a non-starter for Jocketty).

Chris Owings/ DiDi Gregorius

Why they’re on the list: We know they’re available. Both would provide exceptional depth up the middle, with the possibility of taking ABs away from regulars, Cozart and Phillips. Owings is a potent stick who blossomed last season. Gregorius profiles as a better defender, but (relatively) weaker stick.

Why they shouldn’t be on the list: None, really. Cost, perhaps. Or, in the case of Gregorius, dealing for a prospect the year after you trade him is kinda weird.

What do the Diamondbacks need: DBack GM said they’re looking for a young catcher in a deal for either young SS. Devin Mesoraco could get it done, if Towers still likes him after two years of stagnation and non-productivity.

Roadblocks to a deal: The Reds have a good backup in Pena, but he’s not a starting guy. Barnhart isn’t ready, and the cost would be high, in terms of public relations. Too, the catcher position would likely remain a black hole offensively, while the payoff (a very, very good bench bat/ player) would provide less than what they need.

Kolten Wong

Why he’s on the list: With the signings of Jhonny Perralta and Cuban prospect Diaz, the Cardinals have some high-end talent with high-end dollars. Those two guys are going to play and play often, pretty much no matter what Wong is able to do. And what he can go looks promising. He’s an above average offensive player who profiles as a plus power, plus patience typical Cardinal.

Why he shouldn’t be on the list: Wong’s glove isn’t great for 2B—how would he handle SS? Also, he really struggled his first time through the league. It’s not like he has a ton of success in the minor leagues either. He’s been decidedly average, statistically. Too, St. Louis may not want to deal the 33rd ranked prospect in baseball in a buy-low situation.

What do the Cardinals need: Nothing, really. Maybe an established bullpen arm. Maybe a backup catcher. Mesoraco for Wong and a prospect arm would probably work for both teams.

Roadblocks to a deal: The Cards and Reds are in the same division and don’t want to help the other team get better. St. Louis also doesn't need all that much and can play hardball.

Grant Green

Why he’s on the list: Green was, once upon a time, a quality prospect who then couldn’t hit. Then he has problems fielding. He had a very good 2013 with the Angels, providing solid defense at both SS and 2B and a potent bat. He also has a very nice minor league career, with solidly above average pop and patience.

Why he shouldn’t be on the list: Green Ks a bunch and his power may be a PCL mirage. Better prospects than he have struggled with the transition between the hitter’s paradise of the Pacific and the major leagues.

What do the Angels need: Arms, both bullpen and rotation. I’d think a discussion around a Carlos Contreras may work well. Maybe even John Broxton, if he can show health. I could see Seth Mejias-Brean being a part of a deal to get Green, but he alone won't likely get it done.

Roadblocks to a deal: The Angels want to start Green and get rid of the much more expensive Howie Kendrick. They also love Green’s utility and plan to play him a bunch even if he isn’t the de facto starter. He has serious value and the Angels know it.

Daniel Murphy

Why he’s on the list: I like him, basically. He’s a LH hitter who’s consistently put up above average offensive numbers and runs well (and aggressively). He has mlb experience all over the field as well, and, through hard work, has become an adequate 2B defensively.

Why he shouldn’t be on the list: He is not a SS, nor has he ever played that spot. Were he added, he’d need to play much more than the typical bat-only PH Jocketty seems to be targeting. He has a relatively expensive deal ($5.7 million) with two years of arbitration to follow.

What do the Mets need: A SS. Badly. OF pop. Starters. Relievers. Another 2B if Murphy is in a deal. I’d love to see the Reds deal Phillips and Cozart to the Mets for Murphy, live arm LH reliever Josh Edgin, and Lucas Duda. (This would obviously have to correspond with another deal, like the DBack’s trade above for Owings or Gregorius.) A smaller deal could revolve around Chris Heisey or perhaps Yorman Rodriguez. (Ryan Ludwick is untradeable.)

Roadblocks to a deal: For all his positive attributes, Murphy is really a redundant piece in Cincinnati, as he cannot play SS at all. He’s more of a starter anyway and that necessitates a much larger deal than Jocketty and company seem to want to do. Too, the Mets have shown a reluctance to add money at all and are going very cheap, even in the largest market in the game.

Anybody got others? How much would they cost, in terms of prospects? Add options here.

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