Eleven days from the non-waiver deadline, the buyers are sounding their usual complaints:
Asking prices are ridiculous, nothing will happen until the sellers turn realistic, etc.
When it comes to two of the top available hitters, the frustration level among some buyers is especially high.
Because Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick and Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham are good — but not that good.
As potential free agents, both Ludwick and Willingham are two-month rentals. As players, both are flawed.
Consider Ludwick’s OPS-plus, a statistic that adjusts a player’s OPS to his park and league in an effort to remove biases. Ludwick is at 96 — below the defined league average of 100.
Another oddity about Ludwick: Though he is hitting lefties better than righties this season — something you would expect from a right-handed hitter — his platoon splits in 2009 and ’10 were reversed. He had a .793 OPS against righties in those two seasons, a .672 OPS against lefties.
Willingham, too, comes with questions — he recently spent time on the disabled list with a strained left Achilles, and rival clubs consider him a below-average defender.
So, while Willingham’s OPS-plus is 108 — above the league average — his overall impact might be comparable to Ludwick’s due to his defensive shortcomings.
Let's not get carried away here: Both Ludwick and Willingham are likely to get traded, and both are likely to help their new clubs.
Right now, it’s just a question of price.
— Ken Rosenthal