A buyers' trade market for outfielders

Updated: July 15, 2011, 11:24 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Jeff Francoeur has told Royals general manager Dayton Moore he'd like to stay, writes Bob Dutton, after having a good first half. Francoeur is hitting .263 with 12 homers and 56 RBIs, and by all accounts, he has had an excellent influence on the Royals' young players.

Francoeur has a mutual $4 million option with the Royals for 2012, and maybe Moore would rather just keep him around -- especially given that he might not get a lot in return for the right fielder, who is part of a thick market of right-handed-hitting outfielders.

The Padres are expected to trade Ryan Ludwick, the Oakland Athletics are listening on Josh Willingham and the Mets are prepared to deal Carlos Beltran for a top prospect. If the Twins' surge toward the top of the standings falters -- and they won again on Thursday -- they could feed Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young into the outfield mix. So, generally, this will be a buyers' market despite the needs in Boston, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

Something worth remembering: The Phillies, Braves and Red Sox are all important members of the buyers' market for outfielders, and in theory, they have major assets. The Phillies and Red Sox are rich franchises, and the Braves are loaded with prospects.