Updating Every MLB Team's Top Trade Chip Entering June
The MLB trade deadline is slowly creeping closer and closer and it will eventually come time when teams will need to make the decision in regards to whether they are a buyer or a seller.
This choice will greatly impact who a team's best trade chip is. Sellers will be looking to deal guys that have a lot of major-league experience and that are close to free agency.
On the other hand, buyers will be trading away some of their top prospects in an effort to bring back the pieces they need to make a playoff run.
Many of the players on here many not be dealt this year, but you could see almost all of these names pop up in MLB trade rumors as the season progresses.
At some point, the Arizona Diamondbacks will have to make a decision about Stephen Drew. They hold an option for him for the 2013 season, but they could also choose to trade him this year.
Drew has not played a game in the majors yet this year, but he is recovering well from the ankle injury that ended his season last year.
The National League East could have a very tight race all season long and the Atlanta Braves could end up at the top of the division. They should be buyers at the trade deadline.
There is seemingly no chance that the Braves trade top prospect Julio Teheran. Randall Delgado could be trade bait if the Braves are looking to bring in a big bat. Delgado has struggled a bit in the majors this year, but he is young and talented.
Few people could have predicted the level of success that the Baltimore Orioles have had to start the 2012 season. For the first time in a long time, the Orioles may be buyers at the trade deadline.
One prospect that other teams will have their eye on if they are trying to negotiate a deal with the Orioles is Jonathan Schoop. He is a potential star and he is holding his own at Double-A despite being just 20 years old.
Boston Red Sox
There has been some talk that Kevin Youkilis could be traded this year, but those rumors might not actually come true this year.
The Boston Red Sox should continue to climb back into playoff contention and they could be looking to add players this summer. Ryan Lavarnway will be a big trade chip for the Red Sox because teams would like to have a power-hitting catcher that is major-league ready.
The Chicago Cubs will be sellers this year; it is just a matter of who Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will look to deal.
According to Jim Bowden, the Cubs are going to try to sign Garza to an extension rather than deal him. However, teams will certainly start asking about Garza and will try to convince the Cubs to trade him.
Chicago White Sox
Kenny Williams is one of the shrewdest general managers in all of baseball and he will need to make a deal this summer to try to keep the Chicago White Sox in position for a playoff spot.
Nestor Molina could be traded away if it means that the White Sox can pick up a third baseman that can hold down the position for a while.
The Cincinnati Reds already have made one big deal this year. They traded for Mat Latos and it cost them top prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger as well as Edinson Volquez.
Even if the Reds make another deal during the year, it won't deplete their farm system too much. Daniel Corcino is a promising young starter at Double-A that a lot of teams could ask for.
If the Cleveland Indians are looking to improve at the trade deadline this year, then they might have a bit of a problem. The Indians' farm system is a bit weak following the Ubaldo Jimenez deal last year.
One of the best trade candidates that the Indians have is Tony Wolters since Francisco Lindor cannot be traded this year because this year's trade deadline is not a year after he signed his contract.
Outfield is a position in which the Colorado Rockies have a lot of depth. They are set at the major-league level for a few years and have a number of good prospects in the minors.
Tim Wheeler could interest a number of teams. The Rockies could look to deal him in order to get a starting pitcher.
Andrew Oliver took the fast track to the major leagues and made it to the big leagues during his first season of professional baseball.
The Detroit Tigers have a strong pitching staff and they also have Jacob Turner waiting in the wings. If the Tigers make a deal this summer, Oliver may be one of their best trade chips.
There will be a fire sale in Houston this year and there are only a number players that opposing teams will be interested in.
Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez will draw some attention, but the Astros' most valuable trade chip will most likely be Brett Myers.
Kansas City Royals
Eventually the Kansas City Royals will become a team that is in playoff contention, but that will not be this year. They have a few veteran players that they can deal that can help them bring back players that will contribute in the future.
Jonathan Broxton signed a one-year deal with the Royals this year and he will be able to bring them back at least one top-10 prospect if the Royals deal him.
Los Angeles Angels
While the Los Angeles Angels may not have seen their season start the way they expected it to, they would like to see it end they way that they expected.
They may need to make a deal or two to make themselves a World Series team. This could mean that Peter Bourjos becomes trade bait.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers may be the best team in the National League, but they could look to improve their infield.
Zach Lee has not put up great numbers this year, but he still has a lot of potential. He is the best trade chip that the Dodgers have.
Christian Yelich has the potential to be at least a 20/20 player in the major leagues and he has performed very well thus far in the minors.
If the Miami Marlins are looking to bring in any high-caliber player this summer, then it may cost them Yelich, who is their top trade chip.
If the Milwaukee Brewers continue to struggle this year, then they may have one of the best trade chips available.
Zack Greinke will be a free agent following the 2012 season, and there will be a number of teams that come calling about him this winter. The Brewers could pick up at least one very promising player in return for Greinke.
The Minnesota Twins are looking up in the standings at every other team in the American League Central, and that seems fairly unlikely to change.
There are two players that will be valuable trade chips to the Twins this year. It is possible that Josh Willingham will become available, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and if that is the case, then he will be a more valuable trade asset then Justin Morneau.
New York Mets
With the reports that the New York Mets are going to talk to David Wright about a contract extension at some point during the season, it is safe to say that he is not a trade chip for the Mets.
That means that one of the Mets' minor-league pitchers could be their best trade chip. Jenrry Mejia could be the best one that the Mets would be willing to make available.
New York Yankees
With one of the Killer B's (Andrew Brackman) no longer a member of the New York Yankees, the team could get rid of another one at some point this year.
The Yankees could choose to trade either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances. At this point, Banuelos seems to be slightly more valuable.
The Oakland Athletics are having a bit of a rough year and so is their starting catcher Kurt Suzuki. He has proven to be a good hitter in the past, but he looks a bit lost at the plate this season.
Even with Suzuki's struggles, he should have a decent amount of value on the trade market.
The Philadelphia Phillies' season could really go either direction this year. They are already without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and they are going to be without ace Roy Halladay for at least six weeks.
If the Phillies start to fall out of playoff contention as a result of all of their injuries, then don't be surprised if impending free agent Shane Victorino becomes available.
One of the things that separates the good teams from the great teams is the performance of their bullpen. This is good news to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Joel Hanrahan could be a trade candidate this summer, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com. A lot of teams could pursue Hanrahan to improve their bullpen.
San Diego Padres
Carlos Quentin has gotten off to a very hot start for the San Diego Padres and that will likely only make his trade value increase.
According to Matthew Pouliot of NBC Sports, the Padres are going to deal Quentin. This makes sense since he is going to be a free agent after the year and the Padres don't benefit from keeping him.
San Francisco Giants
It might not be possible for the San Francisco Giants to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, but they certainly have a chance to win one of the wild-card spots.
The Giants need to improve their offense and it may come at the cost of Gary Brown, who was widely considered to be the team's top prospect coming into the year.
Felix Hernandez is not going to be on the trade block this season. However, the Seattle Mariners still have some valuable trade chips.
The Mariners could get a lot for Jason Vargas since he is under contract through 2014. Vargas could become a key piece of someone's pitching staff for the next year and a half.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to defend their World Series title this year and they may need to make a trade to achieve that goal.
There are a number of solid pitching prospects in the Cardinals' minor-league system that teams will be interested in. Shelby Miller isn't going anywhere, but Carlos Martinez or Tyrell Jenkins could be the team's best trade chips.
Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton was mentioned as a player that could be traded this past offseason by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. He likely will not get dealt though.
With a number of pitchers in the majors, the Tampa Bay Rays have the ability to trade one of their top pitching prospects, Alex Torres, for major-league talent this year.
The Texas Rangers will not need to make any major additions this season, but they may look to bring in a player or two to improve their chances to win the World Series.
There are few farm systems in baseball that are better than the Rangers. They will not trade any of their top guys, but they could deal someone like Roman Mendez.
Toronto Blue Jays
Travis Snider has had a number of chances to prove himself in the major leagues, but he has not been able to achieve consistent success.
The Toronto Blue Jays do not seem to be ready to deal Snider, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but there will be a lot of interest in him around the trade deadline.
The future is now for the Washington Nationals and the 2012 season may be the first year that they make the playoffs since they moved to D.C.
Danny Espinosa could become a trade target this year if he continues to struggle and Stephen Lombardozzi continues to play well. Espinosa would have a decent amount of value based on his production last season.