Trade secrets

It's the last day of May, which means it's never too early to look ahead to the July 31 trading deadline. In fact, with several teams on the cusp of packing the season in, an early move could make sense for organizations looking to unload free agents-to-be. The pitching-needy Phillies could be the beneficiaries. Here are some starters who could be dangled in front of general manager Pat Gillick.

Pitcher, team   Statistics   Upside   Downside

Miguel Batista, M's   3-6, 5.98   Better than #s   Inconsistent

Joe Blanton

, A's   3-6, 3.92   Just wins   Billy Beane

Jeff Francis

, Rockies   1-5, 6.15   Still young   A long shot

Rich Harden

, A's   3-0, 2.60   Look at stats   Injury prone

Greg Maddux

, Padres   3-4, 3.76   Hall of Famer   Six-inning arm

Roy Oswalt

, Astros   4-5, 5.45   He's Oswalt   No-trade clause

Nate Robertson

, Tigers   2-5, 5.88   Uhh . . .   Paper tiger

C.C. Sabathia

, Indians   3-6, 4.74   '07 Cy Young   Due big deal

Jarrod Washburn

, M's   2-5, 6.54   Eats innings   Hitters eat him

Randy Wolf

, Padres   3-4, 4.59   Wolf pack   Hates Bank

The incredible Larry Wayne Jones Jr.

No matter your take on the Braves - or Larry, er, Chipper Jones - it's exciting to watch a player carry a .400-plus average into the summer. Even if he were to go 0 for 9 over the next two games, Jones would still carry an average above .400 into June, making him the 15th player since 1980 to hit the mark. High & Inside can't claim authorship of the following chart - having ripped off si.com - but here are the last 14 assaults on .400. Ted Williams, by the way, was the last player to reach the full-season milestone when he hit .406 in 1941.

Player, Team   Avg.   Date   Finish

George Brett, Royals   .400   Sept. 19, 1980   .390

John Olerud

, Blue Jays   .400   Aug. 2, 1993   .363

Nomar Garciaparra

, Red Sox   .403   July 20, 2000   .372

Larry Walker

, Rockies   .402   July 18, 1997   .366

Tony Gwynn

, Padres   .402   July 14, 1997   .372

Rod Carew

, Angels   .402   July 14, 1983   .339

Andres Galarraga

, Rockies   .400   July 5, 1993   .370

Tony Fernandez

, Blue Jays   .400   June 29, 1999   .328

Lenny Dykstra

, Phillies   .401   June 11, 1990   .325

Paul O'Neill

, Yankees   .405   June 16, 1994   .357

Todd Helton

, Rockies   .400   June 10, 2000   .372

Roberto Alomar

, Orioles   .404   June 10, 1996   .328

Wade Boggs

, Red Sox   .401   June 7, 1986   .357

Carney Lansford

, Athletics   .402   June 6, 1988   .279

Notable

The Braves put outfielder Mark Kotsay on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back and are expecting righthander John Smoltz to be activated from the 15-day disabled list next week. He's expected to come back as the closer. . . . The Cardinals optioned outfielder Chris Duncan to triple-A Memphis and called up outfielder Joe Mather.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.