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MLB Trade Rumors: Why J.J. Hardy Could Be In Heavy Demand

The General Manager Meetings open today in Dana Point, CA. With free agency still eleven days from opening, this is where the the trading will occur or where the groundwork for trades will be laid. For a quick review of teams' needs, click through to read John Perrotto's take at Baseball Prospectus

While free agent signings are somewhat easier to track, guessing which team will trade for what player or to fill which position is not quite so easy. The Florida Marlins have made their desire to deal arbitration-eligible players quite clear with the swap of 1B Mike Jacobs for reliever Leo Nunez and desire to deal closer Kevin Gregg and LH starter Scott Olson.

What about the unforseen deals? How can we ready ourselves to anticipate those? To begin, I used Baseball Prospectus' League Position Batting Stats to see which positions under-performed relative to the whole and sorted them by HR because that is the easiest measure of power production to understand. I also included XBH to see if there were positions loaded at doubles and triples or wholly-dependent on HRs.

This data pointed out where teams could look to improve. The most obvious positions to be improved are 2B and SS in the American League. Which teams have an extra power-hitting middle infielder that would be attractive to an American league team? The Milwaukee Brewers have SS J.J. Hardy and 2B Rickie Weeks. Hardy finished 2nd amongst SSs with 24 HRs and has AA star Alcides Escobar knocking on the door. Rickie Weeks hit just 14 HRs, but that ranked 9th amongst 2B-men.

Another couple positions top the list, catcher and centerfield in the American League. Will there be obvious counterparts to fill these positions amongst NL teams or other AL teams? Maybe not, but I feel confident averring the American League teams will be looking to acquire power production from any of these positions.

LG POS HR XBH
AL SS 129 628
AL 2B 165 756
NL SS 192 837
AL C 207 673
AL CF 221 742
NL C 235 741
NL 2B 236 856
AL 3B 269 804
AL LF 286 795
AL RF 302 883
NL CF 307 928
AL 1B 333 823
AL DH 333 770
NL RF 333 989
NL 3B 370 966
NL LF 372 1003
NL 1B 444 1065