On the block: Middle infielders

On the block: Middle infielders

Brian Roberts, Orioles
Why he's available: Roberts might be the rebuilding team's best trade chip.

Will he go? He's signed through 2009, but likely to be dealt well before then.

Where might he go? The Cubs and Indians are the most oft-rumored destinations.

Orlando Cabrera, White Sox
Why he's available: Cabrera is thought to be one year and done with the White Sox. Alexei Ramirez figures to take over at shortstop in 2009.

Will he go? Highly unlikely. After a slightly turbulent start, Cabrera has done his usually stellar job in the field and has been a true plus from the leadoff spot in the lineup.

Where might he go? Any team that wants to rent a solid veteran shortstop with postseason experience for the rest of the 2008 season.

David Eckstein, Blue Jays
Why he's available: Only signed a one-year deal in the offseason and might not be in Toronto's plans for 2009.

Will he go? The Jays have other options at short -- an area to be addressed again in the offseason -- so they'd likely entertain offers.

Where might he go? Any team with a need for a shortstop or a leadoff hitter with playoff experience.

Placido Polanco, Tigers
Why he's available: It's unlikely, but with next season the last year on Polanco's contract, the Tigers could decide to deal him while his value's up if they go into full-blown rebuilding mode and promote Michael Hollimon to a full-time spot.

Will he go? Probably not, unless the Tigers are overwhelmed by a deal. His $4.6 million salary isn't nearly large enough to force a deal.

Where might he go? Though he has a history of playing many positions, Polanco's a full-time second baseman these days and would be dealt as such.

Juan Uribe, White Sox
Why he's available: Alexei Ramirez has proven he can play every day at second base. With Orlando Cabrera at shortstop and Pablo Ozuna in the utility role, Uribe and his .198 average have become expendable.

Will he go? The White Sox like Uribe's defense, even in reserve, but in search of possible upgrades on offense, he would be the most likely to move.

Where might he go? Any team that needs a veteran presence up the middle.

Mark Grudzielanek, Royals
Why he's available: The Royals have younger possible second basemen already on the club, notably Alberto Callaspo. Mike Aviles is a recent intriguing possibility.

Will he go? At 37, Grudzielanek is still attractive because he's been a solid hitter this season and he's a natural No. 2 hitter, able to spank the ball to the right side. A Gold Glover in 2006, he's still agile on the double play although knee problems have cut his range a bit.

Where might he go? Clubs needing a second baseman who'll be calm and a leader down the stretch could use him.

Robert Andino, Marlins
Why he's available: A second-round pick in 2002, Andino is a plus fielding utility infielder, but he has the misfortune of being blocked at shortstop by Hanley Ramirez. He isn't seeing much playing time, and he's already bounced up and down with the Marlins and Triple-A Albuquerque.

Will he go? There is no urgency to move a player with little service time, so odds of him moving seem to be if he is attached to other parts in a deal for either a catcher or a reliever.

Where might he go? Anyone looking for middle-infield depth.

Felipe Lopez, Nationals
Why he's available: He is a free agent after this season, and the Nationals are hoping to get a young player in return.

Will he go? It depends on how much money the opposing team is willing to take on. Lopez makes $4.9 million.

Where might he go? There were rumors that the Cubs had interest, but the Nationals may not get what they want because Lopez is having a subpar year.

Jack Wilson, Pirates
Why he's available: Though a fan favorite, Wilson will be in line to make nearly $16 million over the next two seasons, a price that the Pirates may not find cost effective.

Will he go? Wilson probably won't go simply because the Pirates got a taste of playing without him when he missed seven weeks earlier in the season and were quickly reminded that they have no adequate offensive or defensive replacement waiting in the wings.

Where might he go? Again, the likelihood is low that Wilson will be at the forefront of the trade winds like last season, though if St. Louis remains in the race, they may start asking about Wilson yet again.

Mark Loretta, Astros
Why he's available: Loretta is a good offensive veteran utility man who could be a nice addition to a contender looking for some help off the bench.

Will he go? He sparked interest from contending teams at the deadline last year and may again this year, and Ed Wade could pull the trigger if offered a prospect with value.

Where might he go? One of the surprise contenders with young teams may find value in adding a veteran like Loretta. Florida or Tampa Bay could be interested. He may be a fit for the Dodgers as well.

Bill Hall, Brewers
Why he's available: Hall, who has struggled against right-handed pitching this season, asked for a trade after the Brewers started platooning him with lefty-hitting Russell Branyan at third base.

Will he go? He wants out, but Hall has two years left on his contract after this season, his trade value is way down since hitting 35 home runs in 2006, and he has become more valuable to the Brewers since injuries to second baseman Rickie Weeks and shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Where might he go? Hall's original position was shortstop, but he has also played second and third base for the Brewers and was the center fielder in 2007. His versatility could make him attractive to a number of clubs.

Alex Gonzalez, Reds
Why he's available: Since he's been out all season with a compression fracture in his left knee, both Jeff Keppinger and Jerry Hairston Jr. have emerged as quality and cheaper options.

Will he go? Unlikely. Gonzalez has yet to play a game because of his injury. He'd have to be healthy first. He's also owed $5.375 million for 2009, the final year of a three-year deal.

Where might he go? Any team that needs strong defensive help and someone with postseason experience might be interested.