Now two weeks from Opening Day, the Nationals are still sitting on far too many corner outfielder / first-basemen types. The candidates to trade are probably Josh Willingham, Nick Johnson, or Lastings Milledge. Austin Kearns is untradable because of the contract, Adam Dunn has to play at least a few months to drive ticket sales, and Elijah Dukes is still more valuable to us than anyone else given him risk/reward factor.
For the sake of this post, let's assume that it's Willingham who goes. Personally, he's the guy I'd want to trade, mainly because I still lust after a full season of Nick the Stick, and Milledge obviously is a guy who has a chance to be a factor long-term. Also, since Willingham was just traded we have some sense of his trade value. There's been a lot of chest-beating among Nationals fans (and groaning among the Marlins') about how little value they got for Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham, but the reality is that if someone had offered more value, the Marlins would have taken it. Their track record for grading prospects is pretty darn good. P.J. Dean and Jake Smolinski became the #20 and #25 ranked prospects in the Marlins' very deep system, and although there are widely varying assessments of Emilio Bonifacio, he was traded straight up for Jon Rauch not long ago and at least some GMs still project him as a speedy, glove-first starting second baseman.
So evening all that out, let's assume that Willingham alone could fetch a low B-level prospect or a maybe couple Cs on the John Sickels scale. The ideal trading partner would be a contending team in need of a corner OF or 1B with a pitching or middle-infield prospects available. Here are some teams that jumped out at me:
The Braves have one of the better farm systems in baseball, and, even after signing Garret Anderson, are in a pretty ugly state right now in the OF. They're banking on Jeff Francoeur, who was in Austin Kearns territory among the least valuable offensive cornder outfielders in baseball in 2008. If nothing else, Willingham could get 350 at bats platooning with the left-handed hitting Anderson and Casey Kotchman. If Anderson can't stay healthy (or stinks), he could become the first option in left.
We hardly need another outfielder and this is probably wishful thinking, but Gorkys Hernandez could make sense. He came to the Braves with Jair Jurrgens for Edgar Renteria and could be a true center-fielder to go with Dukes and Milledge down the road, or make one of them trade bait in the future if they all pan out. With Jordan Schafer and Jason Heyward ahead of him, he might be blocked in Atlanta, and it might be worth throwing in another guy to make it work. Otherwise, the Braves also have a whole slew of B-level pitching prospects, like Cole Rohrbough, Jeff Locke, Julio Tehran, Craig Kimbrel, Brett DeVall, Zeke Spruill, and Kris Medlen. Brandon Hicks, a 24-year-old middle-infielder with power, is another interesting name.
The Snakes badly need some more pop in their lineup. Willingham would represent an upgrade over Chad Tracy or Mark Reynolds (if Tracy could be moved to third). Eric Byrnes is probably done. They'd probably rather find a left-handed bat, but Rizz might be able to work something out with his old team.
Of course, their system isn't anything to write home about. Mark Hallberg is a 24-year-old second baseman who BA compares to Mark Loretta. Like the Braves, they have a batch of B-/C+ type pitchers who could be a match, like Kevin Eichhorn, Wade Miley, or Trevor Harden.
San Francisco Giants
No, they're probably not going to contend this year, but that never seems to stop Brian Sabean from acting like he's one or two pieces away, and Travis Ishikawa at first base just doesn't cut it.
You might not have noticed, but the Giants have built up a nice little farm system. Baseball America rated theirs the fifth best in baseball this year, and Keith Law had them at number nine. Ehire Adrianza is a soft-handed shortstop who fits Rizzo's affection for defensive middle-infielders. Otherwise, the Giants just keep stockpiling the power arms. Waldis Joaquin, Henry Sosa, Clayton Tanner, and Scott Barnes are a few.