Batter Stock Watch

Batter Stock Watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

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Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Yankees: Perhaps the juices of the pennant race sparked Ichiro this week - he went on a 9-for-12 binge with a homer, three doubles and four stolen bases, just when the Yankees needed him most. The wheels have never really deteriorated with Suzuki over the years, so he's an outstanding stolen-base gambit down the stretch. He's also having a ball in The Bronx: .902 OPS.

B.J. Upton, OF, Rays: The team might be in the toilet now, but Upton's best game has come to the surface over the past 30 days, perhaps part of a contract drive (18 runs, nine homers, 17 RBIs, seven steals). He still has the capability to go 35-35 or 40-40 one of these years; he's only 28. See if you can sneak him under market next spring.

Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers: He's still ready to grab in about 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues, despite a ballistic month at the top of the Milwaukee order (.333, 20 runs, 16 RBIs, 10 steals). Aoki wasn't running that much in the first half of the year, but it sure looks like he has the NL down pat now. Kudos for the quick adjustment to the new circuit.

Donovan Solano, Utility, Marlins: He qualifies all over the yard in Yahoo! leagues (second, third, short, outfield), and while Solano offers no pop, he can help you with average and stolen bases. Miami faces up against Chris Young this weekend - maybe the easiest pitcher to run on in the majors - so perhaps Solano will be one of the rabbits that takes advantage. We know Ozzie Guillen will let his team run just about any time they want.

Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies: He still needs a lot of work on his defense, but with Rosario's pop at the dish, we're not going to complain. While the majority of his numbers have come at Coors Field, Rosario hasn't been a stiff on the road (.254.284.462, nine homers). He's only 23, the best is certainly yet to come.

Sell

Mark Trumbo, Utility, Angels: The monster first half was a blast (.306, 22 homers), but does Trumbo deserve a lineup spot as the Angels fight for their lives? He's slashing a paltry .211.261.339 over the second half, with 79 strikeouts over 57 games. Mike Scioscia can't watch this horror show forever, and neither can fantasy owners. You have cut-bait permission in shallow and medium leagues.

Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies: The power hasn't left with Howard (he has 10 homers and 29 RBIs over the last month), but don't lose sight of the rest of the package (.192.269.356 slash, 28.6 strikeout rate, worst WAR in the National League). If you need to keep Howard for the moment because you need the late-season pop, that's one thing. But we want no part of this diminished asset at March's draft table.

Scott Podsednik, OF, Red Sox: Okay, it was fun while it lasted. Podsednik isn't stroking hits or getting on base down the stretch (note the anemic .236.250.236 slash), and when he does reach, the running game is stuck in the mud (just two steals). Go find your speciality steals play somewhere else. Podsednik's time as a major leaguer appears to be over.

Carlos Lee, 1BOF, Marlins: He still has elite contact skills, but all that means is a lot of weak grounders to second. The Marlins are living with Lee's .214.273.327 slash over the last month because they couldn't give him away at the trading deadline. The bat is out of frozen ropes.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) to discuss the Cubs' visit to the White House.

The guys reflect on the historic day and Theo Epstein's speech. Then, the panel breaks down the Packers' impressive run and question whether it's okay for Bears fans to appreciate Aarond Rodgers and company.

Finally, are the Wild the Blackhawks' biggest threat come playoff time?

Listen to the SportsTalk Live podcast below.

 

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

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USA TODAY

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

Midfield has been an area of focus this offseason for Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and another new addition to that group was added on Monday.

The Fire have traded $400,000 in general allocation money in return for midfielder Dax McCarty from the New York Red Bulls. Paul Tenorio of Four Four Two first reported the trade.

McCarty was an All-Star in 2015 and part of the league's Best XI that season when he had eight assists to go with a goal. Last season he made 26 starts for the Red Bulls and totaled three goals and had five assists.

"Since the middle of 2016, we made acquiring Dax our No. 1 priority," Rodr√≠guez said in the club's press release. "We believe adding his character and leadership in the locker room, as well as his exceptional soccer abilities on the field, dramatically improves our team."

The last time McCarty played at Toyota Park was a 2-2 draw on July 31 when a Khaly Thiam tackle caused a fractured tibia, which forced McCarty to sit out a month.

McCarty got married on Saturday, which delayed his arrival to the current U.S. national team camp. McCarty's participation in national team camp means he will join the Fire's preseason already in progress. The final match of the camp is on Feb. 3 while the Fire are set to start preseason on January 23.

McCarty, 29, has spent the past five and a half seasons with the Red Bulls. He began his career by playing five seasons for FC Dallas and was with D.C. United for part of the 2011 campaign before being traded to the Red Bulls. As an 11-year league veteran and the Red Bulls' captain, McCarty adds leadership and experience which Rodriguez has prioritized this offseason.

The Fire already added a former MLS All-Star in midfield this offseason in Juninho. The pair could line up next to each other in the preferred 4-2-3-1 coach Veljko Paunovic used for most of last season. This also could potentially put Matt Polster's role with the team in question. As the roster stands now, the third-year midfielder would be competing for two veteran All-Star caliber midfielders who were brought in at a high price.

Not to suggest a position move is in the works for Polster, but he did split time between midfield and right back with the Fire in 2015 under coach Frank Yallop and played there for the U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying. Right back remains a position of need by Rodriguez's own admission.

The trade also adds further context to the Fire trading the No. 3 pick in the draft on Friday. The Fire swapped the pick for $250,000 in general allocation money from New York City FC and Tenorio is reporting the Fire will send $400,000 to the Red Bulls for McCarty. To add those two moves together, the Fire dealt the No. 3 overall pick and $150,000 of allocation money for McCarty.