And I'm not talking about on the Reds here. The season is more than 1/3 finished and a number of teams need to understand that 2006 is already a lost cause for them. There's also a fair number of clubs on life support who might be in divestiture mode in another month. Here's one man's breakdown of what might be for sale as the trading season swings into full gear.
Kansas City Royals - Part of being one of the worst teams ever assembled is you don't have much of anything to trade away, though I'm sure the Royals are still willing to be persuaded to part with the excremental Jeremy Affeldt in return for some honest-to-goodness talent. Otherwise the most they can offer is veteran filler like Mark Grudzielanek, Reggie Sanders and Doug "My Ball!" Mientkiewicz.
Florida Marlins - The Fish are actually a bit better than their record indicates, still they're nowhere near good. Dontrelle Willis is the most obvious talent for the club to peddle as he'll fetch the most and he's on the verge of making some decent money next year. I suppose Miguel Cabrera could join him on the auction block, but that seems severe even for the Marlins. Otherwise Miguel Olivo is probably the best player they might kick into the trade pool.
Too Dumb to Know They're Dead
Chicago Cubs - A horrible team that's only going to get worse in the coming years. If somebody would take Juan Pierre off their hands, possibly Jacque Jones and Michael Barrett too, in return for some quality young talent (think the Marlins would give back Reynel Pinto and Ricky Nolaso for Pierre? stupid Cubs), that would be a boon. You want some Todd Walker? They got your Todd Walker right here. Yet the real tough calls will come in the pitching staff. What's the point in holding onto Greg Maddux when you suck? Bobby Howry's doing fine right now, but he's expensive and he might fall apart before the franchise is any good again. Then you've got the two sacred cows. If Kerry Wood and Mark Prior could get healthy enough to have a market, the Cubs would be well-served to use them to re-tool the franchise. Someone will pay for those names and a shot at glory. Unfortunately the Cubs are still under the delusion that they're a team that matters.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays - When your franchise goal is to NOT lose 90-plus games for the first time ever and it's once again looking like you'll fall short, it's time to consider an overhaul. The D-Rays have a slew of bats getting ready to hit the majors and no semblance of pitching anywhere in the organization (thus they drafted a bat instead of the all-universe southpaw stud today). The new regime over there hasn't shown itself to be any smarter than the last when it comes to team construction. Sure, they'll probably try to move Julio Lugo (and they won't get much for him). They might put Jorge Cantu on the block, but that's another small return staring them in the face. Everyone knows the D-Rays have one guy who'd garner a big pitching return -- Carl Crawford. He's not even all that good a player, yet he's become this odd sort of sacred cow in Tampa Bay. The club could replace him without losing a beat. There's a number of contenders (the Cardinals, Tigers and Dodgers leap to mind) who might open a vein to get Crawford. This of course means there's no way the D-Rays will trade him.
Los Angeles Angels - They play in a weak division, but there ain't going to be a threepeat for this club. Not even Vlad Guerrero can put this team on his back. None of the prospect bats have been able to add squat. Garret Anderson is near out of gas (he could use a good trading) and Orlando Cabrera is an expensive redundancy with two hot SS prospects waiting in the wings. Kelvim Escobar and Brendan Donnelly might fetch a little something as well. When Darin Erstad gets back I'd suggest trading him to whomever thinks there's anything left in that well too. Mainly what the Angels need to do is clear the decks for an off-season spending spree.
Sucks to Be You
Pittsburgh Pirates - The Bucs are a lot better than folks think. Seriously, the offense (thanks to pleasant surprises like Freddy Sanchez and Jose Castillo) is fairly productive and young pitchers like Zach Duke and Paul Maholm are starting to come around. I'd trade Jack Wilson in a heartbeat and Sean Casey (who's been productive on both sides of 41-game injury) could help a contender or two. Yet David Littlefield can't deconstruct this club. He needs it to pull together to save his job. That's why the most you can probably expect is a deal of Damaso Marte, who'd be a decent target for the Reds. Perhaps the Pirates are insane enough to deal away Craig Wilson or someone's insane enough to deal for Jeromy Burnitz, but I don't see either as likely.
Seattle Mariners - Pat Gillick fiddles in Philly while the Jet City burns. This club has been dead for three seasons now. I'm now convinced the most amazing thing I ever saw was Adrian Beltre's 2004 season. He's easily the worst player to have an amazing season in my 35 seasons of watching the game. Unfortunately for Bill Bavasi, you couldn't trade Beltre for a bucket of fish intestines at the moment. Richie Sexson's doing no better, but there might be a team that will think he'll break out of whatever funk he's in. Unlike Beltre, Sexson's been a consistently good player until now. That leaves guys like Jamie Moyer (who'd fetch a modest return), Gil Meche (I wouldn't want him, but you never know), Raul Ibanez and Carl Everett as the most likely punts. Trading Ichiro is where the franchise eventually will have to go, but I doubt that will happen this season.
Baltimore Orioles - They're not an awful, but they're going nowhere in the AL East. Mind you, the Orioles have been completely unable to trade players for prospects since the franchise fell apart in 1998. No reason to think that will change. If they were able to be honest with themselves, Melvin Mora would make for some prime trade bait. He's a gifted OF who's playing 3B because the O's seem to need to play Jay Gibbons (whom I'd also trade). Mora could help a number of clubs and he'd be one of the more interesting players moved before the deadline if Baltimore wasn't so obsessed with trying to maintain its fourth-place status. Leo Mazzone apparently left his magic wand in Atlanta because he's getting nothing out of this pitching staff. Maybe the Orioles will part with an Eric Bedard or Daniel Cabrera, but another team has got to wonder how much do you want to trade for an arm that's failing under Mazzone?
Washington Nationals - Better than I'd have expected, but this club would need to overachieve just to reach .500. Jose Vidro and Alfonso Soriano (who's having a great season) would be highly coveted if JimBo wants to get his deal on. Livan Hernandez has been awful this season, but there isn't a lot of pitching out there and someone might be willing to take a flyer on him.
Colorado Rockies - Remember those "Who's for real?" articles a month ago? Well, the Rockies weren't. They've got a young team so they might not have a lot on the block. Maybe somebody wants some Jose Mesa. Jason Jennings should probably petition for release from the high-altitude penal colony where he's been held captive that past four-plus seasons. If the Rocks really wanted to make waves they could peddle Todd Helton, but would you let Dan O'Dowd make that deal? I wouldn't.
Not So Fast There Buddy
Oakland A's - The Rangers are beatable, but the A's might not have the offense to catch them. With Rich Harden back they might have enough pitching, but they've got to claw over .500 in the next month or you've got to believe Billy Beane will try to send guys like Mark Kotsay and Jason Kendall to the mattresses.
Minnesota Twins - Truth be told they might be too dumb to die. They aren't a dumb organization in a classic sense of the word, but the club has a lousy offense and no prospects on the horizon who seem likely to help the situation. With much of the pitching staff going off the deep end it's time for the Twins to retool. Could they get something Brad Radke even though he's been awful this year? Quite possibly. Torii Hunter and Luis Castillo could stand to go elsewhere.
Milwaukee Brewers - The offense came together just fine, but the pitching (which had been some of the best in the NL the previous two years) went kaboom. The Brewers have OF prospect bats in AAA so if they can't get the pitching in gear in the next month it might be time to see what Carlos Lee and/or Geoff Jenkins could fetch.
Houston Astros - But Roger Clemens will be back soon. And I ask again, can he hit? Oh, the Astros might get it together for another second half run, but this pitching isn't anywhere near as good as the 2005 model and the offense isn't much of a threat. Too many easy outs. Chances are Houston will refuse to give up on the season until it's too late to cash in some guys they should trade. Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler might be able to fetch something in the way of offensive talent. Theoretically they could trade Craig Biggio, but he's collecting his 3,000th hit next year so that's not going to happen.