Trading Lance Berkman: The Outliers

Ever since he did that interview with Jerome Solomon, the baseball world can't help but speculating where Lance Berkman will be traded. OremLK brought up numerous rumors about the Chicago White Sox being interested. Buster Olney even devoted a good bit of cyberspace to talking about Berkman and Roy Oswalt's value. Why do I bring this up?

One of the points Olney made was that it'd be hard to trade either contract. That started the gears in my head a'rumbling. When the White Sox were mentioned, I thought about one non-prospect swap that might make the Astros better now. What if the Astros traded for Jake Peavy?

It's preposterous for a number of reasons, I know. For one, Peavy has a full no-trade clause, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. He'd never agree to go to a team as terrible as Houston is playing right now. Secondly, the White Sox just gave up a boatload of prospects for him and they wouldn't be very willing to cut bait with him this soon.

Why would they trade him? Because he's scuffling pretty badly right now and he's owed a lot of money. Ed Wade could prove himself to be pretty shrewd if he could steal Oswalt's buddy from Kenny Williams. Then, Berkman could re-sign with the Astros next offseason and all would be right with the world.

Except that it'd never happen. Trades like this (high-profile, big contract guys swapped for each other) never happen any more, because of the no-trade clauses and because teams want prospects back. They don't want aging veterans with big contracts. Why not, I ask? Wouldn't Peavy fit right into this rotation, sending Bud Norris down to Round Rock to clear his head? Also, there's the little fact that Peavy is playing poorly right now, but his peripherals are pretty good. He's given up some home runs and his walk rate is at an all-time high, but he's still got a good pitcher underneath that facade. White Sox GM Kenny Williams would be a fool to give up on him now.

But, it didn't stop me from throwing that trade out there. Now, for five more trades that'd never happen but are fun to kick around:

1) Carlos Zambrano for Berkman

2) Brian Roberts for Roy Oswalt

3) Mike Young for Carlos Lee

4) Gil Meche for Berkman

5) Carlos Guillen for Berkman

None of these make great sense. Zambrano is owed a TON of money and the Cubs would be overreacting by trading him now. Plus, where would he play in Wrigley? Roberts for Oswalt is probably the best of them, since Roberts is a pretty good player and you could designate Matsui for assignment if no one wanted to pick him up in a trade. And on and on...

My question to you, dear readers, is this: are there any trades like this you'd make? Who would you want in return for Lance? Who's contract isn't horrible enough to keep you from trading for them? Who would make you excited again about this season? The only rule is this discussion has to be about established big league players. I'll cover the minor leaguers in another story later this week.

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