MLB Trade Speculation: Studs That Every Team Should Try to 'Sell High' on
With opening weekend already behind us, we've all had a chance to watch our teams take the field and see what a month and change of spring training has yielded for results.
Some teams are clearly headed in the right direction, while others no doubt have plenty of cause for concern after glaring voids may have been exposed all too soon.
Early struggles aren't uncommon situations for many teams, and while it may be an indication of a long and painful season, some good may come from it as they look to sell high on their stars in an effort to rebuild, with others doing much of the same as they refine their rosters for a postseason push.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Gerardo Parra
A player that was at one point catching the eye of teams in need of outfield help is Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra.
Parra has batted .282 over three seasons in Arizona, including a career-high .292 last year, but he now finds himself out of a starting role given the team's offseason acquisition of Jason Kubel.
They may not be in a position to ask a king's ransom for him, but with an overflow in the outfield, they could certainly use him to shore up other positions.
Atlanta Braves: Mike Minor
With a great young rotation poised to take aim at a division championship this season, there appear to be more bodies than there are spots, and Mike Minor clearly doesn't want to be on the outside looking in.
It doesn't appear that any trade talks have taken place yet, but Minor has been vocal on his status with the team, stating that he'd like to be traded if he isn't put in the rotation, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
Starting pitching is always a hot commodity for teams in this league, so you'd think he could find his way into a situation that would also benefit the Braves.
Baltimore Orioles: Endy Chavez
The Baltimore Orioles will utilize outfielder Endy Chavez this season after agreeing to a one-year deal that could pay him up to $2 million, including performance incentives.
While he opted to sign with the Orioles during the offseason, the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers were all linked to Chavez, and by virtue of that, could be considered as potential suitors if he performs well in 2012.
He's seen limited action so far this year, but as mentioned, a good start could make him a hot commodity as things move along.
Boston Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Dice-K has made only 44 starts in the past three seasons, and he's expected to miss time early this season as he awaits a return from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last July.
The Red Sox will have a big decision to make when they determine whether or not to continue using Matsuzaka after the season, as he's expected to return in early June, with the rest of the season likely acting as a bit of an audition for his future.
They may not be able to sell "high" on him, but after a lackluster past few seasons, moving him out of the organization would probably be best for both parties.
Chicago Cubs: Marlon Byrd
Given Marlon Byrd's openness to being traded this winter, you'd have to believe he's not planning on staying in Chicago once his contract ends after the 2012 season.
It's getting to the point where the Cubs are even showing some willingness to eat a portion of his contract in order to ship him out.
Whoever does end up getting Byrd's services in 2013 and beyond will be getting a career .281 hitter who has averaged 12 home runs and 63 RBI over the past five seasons, playing with the Rangers and Cubs.
Chicago White Sox: Gavin Floyd
In somewhat of a surprising move this winter, the Chicago White Sox signed pitcher John Danks to an extension, ensuring his place in the rotation for years to come.
With that move, Gavin Floyd becomes expendable for Chicago, as he'll enter free agency next offseason and likely won't sign for a number the White Sox will agree to.
The team clearly has many needs to address, so moving him in an effort to complement their existing pieces would probably be the best long-term scenario.
Cincinnati Reds: Scott Rolen
Playing in only 65 games this past season, Scott Rolen struggled offensively, batting his lowest average since 2005 and seeing his power averages drop along with it.
With the possibility of the Cincinnati Reds going in a different direction at third base, the soon-to-be 37-year-old Rolen could find himself in a new home this summer as the Reds look to bring in young, cheap talent in an effort to offset the hefty commitment they just made to franchise player Joey Votto.
It's hard to say just how high they could sell on Rolen, as he's an aging asset, but if he can produce this spring, they should be able to do something.
Cleveland Indians: Travis Hafner
On the topic of aging assets, the Cleveland Indians have an interesting situation on their hands regarding Travis Hafner.
During Hafner's best days, he was one of the most dangerous hitters in the AL Central and was consistently in AL MVP consideration.
He's run into issues staying on the field since then, but if healthy, he can still definitely be a home run threat in the Indians lineup. Either way, you would think a trade may be more likely to occur, as it's looking more and more like this will be Hafner's last season in Cleveland.
Colorado Rockies: Esmil Rogers
During his two seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Esmil Rogers has failed to produce as expected, posting a 6.13 ERA in 2010 and 7.05 ERA in 2011, walking more than four batters per nine innings.
Since he's out of options, the Rockies may look to move him, and apparently already have suitors inquiring.
Detroit Tigers: Brandon Inge
With Scott Sizemore out as the Oakland Athletics third baseman for the 2012 season, the team will certainly be spending much of spring training weighing their options.
If they're unable to find an internal replacement who's fit to take the place for the duration of the season, they may look at a player like Brandon Inge, who may be attainable given his displeasure with the infield situation for the Tigers.
Houston Astros: Jason Bourgeois
With players like Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Lee representing the more logical names in the trade market for the Houston Astros, another has surfaced as a potential departure in 2012.
Jason Bourgeois has batted .269 in two seasons with the Astros and stole 31 bases last season.
The Washington Nationals are looking for center field options and have inquired on the availability of Bourgeois at least three times since last December's winter meetings.
Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Sanchez
In acquiring Jonathan Sanchez from the Giants to take a place in their rotation, the Kansas City Royals gave up Melky Cabrera, who represented one of their more consistent offensive pieces in 2011.
They have a number of talented prospects poised to see significant time in 2012, and while they'll no doubt see their share of growing pains, the future is certainly bright.
If they don't see a possibility of keeping Sanchez around long-term, then it might be best to ship him off to a team in need of a solid starter for a postseason push in order to secure one or two pitching prospects to help with the rotation and/or bullpen.
Los Angeles Angels: Bobby Abreu
The Los Angeles Angels will no doubt be one of the most looked at teams this season after their active offseason included signings of both C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols to huge contracts.
One player who hopes to be in on the action is Bobby Abreu. In the final year of a three-year, $27 million deal, he even took his case so far as to tell ESPN Deportes he wants to be traded if he's not given an everyday role.
That stance may have subsided a bit, and after a deal with the Cleveland Indians fell through recently, his status is even more in question.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Andre Ethier
Andre Ethier no doubt has a lot to prove in 2012, and if he remains healthy, he should produce enough to warrant a large enough deal from another franchise if the Dodgers aren't able to work out a contract extension.
With the ownership situation in Los Angeles finally being settled, it would seem that Ethier would feel more comfortable with staying in a Dodgers uniform, but he's indicated it's just too early to say.
The team has made great strides in securing their future, between locking in Matt Kemp for the foreseeable future and keeping Clayton Kershaw around for the next two seasons, but with Kershaw soon needing a much longer deal, Ethier may be on the outside looking in.
Miami Marlins: Hanley Ramirez
The Miami Marlins are embarking on one of the more exciting seasons in their franchise's history, with a number of new players, a new manager and, of course, a new stadium that all debuted last night.
One Marlin who was the topic of much conversation was Hanley Ramirez, as his displeasure of the move to third base left many wondering whether or not he'd be traded.
He's apparently warming up to the notion, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is just one of many who believed he could eventually wear down and demand a trade.
Milwaukee Brewers: Shaun Marcum
The Milwaukee Brewers will have their hands full this offseason, with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum heading into free agency after this season.
It's hard to believe the Brewers won't make a very strong push to keep Greinke in a Brewers uniform, but the team has already stated, according to Adam McCalvy, that they're very willing to let Marcum test the open market in free agency.
If that's their plan, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see them ship him out at the deadline, assuming only that they aren't in contention for the division, in which case they could very well be forced to hold onto him.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano's tenure with the Minnesota Twins has certainly been one filled with ups and downs. He has shown the ability to be a very effective strikeout pitcher, but his inconsistent production has raised some concerns.
He showed signs of shakiness on the mound this past weekend, but with this being a contract year, you'd think he'll give it everything he has as he looks to prove his value to the Twins (and the rest of the league).
New York Mets: D.J. Carrasco
Playing for his fifth team in seven years last year, D.J. Carrasco appeared in 42 games for the New York Mets, posting a 1-3 record and 6.02 ERA.
With Bobby Parnell and Miguel Batista potentially taking up the final spots in the Mets bullpen, the team's hand may be forced, with the team potentially dealing Carrasco.
The market for relievers isn't as high as it will be later in the season, so the team will likely mull over their options and wait until the time is right to pursue any move.
New York Yankees: Nick Swisher
After a superb 2010 season in which he batted .288 and drove in 89 RBI while going deep 29 times, Swisher regressed a bit in 2011, seeing his average and OPS drop a bit.
He's been a consistent offensive producer since he's been in the league, however, and with Swisher expecting to enter free agency, the Yankees may just opt to trade him rather than let him walk as they pursue other options.
Oakland Athletics: Brandon McCarthy
With a breakout season in 2011, Brandon McCarthy posted his first sub-4.00 ERA and won a career-high nine games in 25 starts.
He's quickly emerging as a hot name that will be entering next offseason's free-agent market, and if the Athletics don't find themselves contending in the suddenly-tough AL West, they could very well just opt to sell high on the solid starter.
Philadelphia Phillies: Joe Blanton
The Philadelphia Phillies have one of the best rotations in the game toeing the rubber on a nightly basis, with pitchers like Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee holding down the front of the rotation.
Joe Blanton started in only eight games in 2011 for the Phillies, and the Boston Globe has reported that the team is willing to eat some of Blanton's contract in order to work a trade, indicating that even though he may not be the biggest target out there, he certainly is movable.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Kevin Correia
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a great starting pitcher in their system in the highly-touted Gerrit Cole and a somewhat established presence in A.J. Burnett already in the starting rotation.
Kevin Correia is currently listed as the third starting pitcher on the Pirates depth chart, but the team is apparently willing to entertain deals surrounding the free-agent-to-be.
San Diego Padres: Carlos Quentin
The San Diego Padres made a great move this offseason in acquiring slugger Carlos Quentin from the Chicago White Sox.
Quentin is in his final year before free agency, and keeping in mind that he'll be looking to cash in on his first opportunity at a lucrative deal, you would think the Padres may be quick to flip him to the highest bidder rather than let him walk.
There's no doubt that the team would love to keep Quentin around long term, but as the Chicago Tribune has reported, the team's ownership situation could certainly diminish his chances of returning in 2013.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum
The San Francisco Giants will clearly do everything within their power to keep Tim Lincecum around for the long-term after they already locked in Matt Cain.
They'll need to play their chips right, however, as Lincecum will no doubt be looking for a gigantic deal. The Giants and Lincecum were able to work out a short-term solution, but it's worth noting that the two are reportedly more than $75 million apart regarding the terms of a long-term deal.
I'm not saying the Giants will (or should) move Lincecum, but if you're selling on someone, it doesn't get much higher than Tim Lincecum.
Seattle Mariners: Brandon League
With 2012 being Brandon League's final season before entering the free-agent market, the Seattle Mariners could work to trade him to a team in need of late-inning help in order to inject the farm system with additional depth.
Teams like the Reds, Angels and Red Sox have been noted as potential suitors for League, and as the season shakes itself out and needs are better defined, a move may well take place.
St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler Greene
With somewhat of a void still remaining in the Boston Red Sox infield, the team may end up looking outside the organization to complete its puzzle.
One direction the Red Sox may look is toward Tyler Greene in St. Louis, according to Boston.com.
It's seemingly unclear as to whether or not he's a long-term option in a Cardinals uniform, so the Red Sox may be able to find a way to lure Greene, who is out of options in St. Louis.
Tampa Bay Rays: James Shields
As was reported earlier this offseason by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Tampa Bay Rays were willing to listen to offers on trades for their star pitchers, namely James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
There doesn't appear to be enough interest in parting with the amount of talent that the Rays would demand for Shields, but as the season progresses and needs for contenders are better defined, a move may become more likely, but only at a hefty, hefty price.
Texas Rangers: Koji Uehara
While they haven't been as active as their AL West counterparts this offseason, the Texas Rangers have made some moves that turned heads, including the signings of Yu Darvish and Joe Nathan to help the pitching staff in 2012.
Despite some rumblings this winter, Koji Uehara wasn't traded, although there appear to be renewed talks, with Uehara possibly wanting to return to his former role with the Baltimore Orioles, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Toronto Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion is one of many Toronto Blue Jays contributing to the team's ascent towards the top of the tough AL East.
He's only played over 100 games four times during his career that has spanned both the Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, but he'll certainly be in line for a raise from the two-year, $6 million deal he's playing with right now.
As the Blue Jays will likely look to focus on improving their pitching staff, a player like Encarnacion could be an attractive bargaining chip along the way.
Washington Nationals: John Lannan
After making a number of moves to improve their team this offseason, the Washington Nationals have the makings of a team that may be able to contend for an NL Wild Card position, if not the NL East crown.
Among their moves was the acquisition of Gio Gonzalez from the Oakland Athletics and Edwin Jackson via free agency.
These moves no doubt bolstered their rotation, but at the same time created a bit of a logjam. Now it seems the team may find itself parting ways with John Lannan after the lefty requested a trade following his demotion to Triple-A.