MLB Trade Rumors: 3 Big Name Players Who Will Be Traded

Tim DohertyAnalyst IJune 17, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: 3 Big Name Players Who Will Be Traded

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    The MLB trade deadline is annually filled with star-studded and often controversial deals. Though many expect this year to have less excitement than usual, there’s still a great chance that big name players will be moved. 

    The trade deadline lets us know which teams believe they have a legitimate shot at contending for a World Series title and which teams have given up and decided to build toward the future. 

    There are a number of teams who will be willing to move talented players for the right price. The question is: Which big name players are most likely to be traded?

1. AJ Burnett

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    Burnett has moved around a bit over the course of his MLB career. He has played for the Marlins, Blue Jays and Yankees and is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    By far the most tumultuous period of Burnett’s career came during his time with the Yankees. He struggled mightily in his adjustment from playing for small market teams in Florida and Toronto, to playing for the biggest and most publicized team in all of Major League Baseball when he joined the Yankees.

    Burnett had huge expectations in New York after signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the team prior to the 2009 season.

    He failed to reach those expectations as he posted an ERA over four in each of his three seasons with the team, and in his final two years his ERA was north of five.

    After three seasons in New York, Burnett was traded to the Pirates this offseason, and has performed extremely well thus far. Burnett currently boasts a 3.52 ERA and his seven wins tie him for 10th in the National League.

    A team lacking depth in their rotation could certainly use Burnett. He has always had great stuff, and is finally starting to put everything together after three subpar seasons in New York.

    Right now the Pirates are off to a very good start, and that is partially due to the resurgence of Burnett. However, as they always do, the Pirates will slip below .500 prior to the trade deadline, and it will be in their best interest to move Burnett to a team desperate for starting pitching.

2. Justin Morneau

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    Just a few years ago, the Minnesota Twins were set for the future with two young stars in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Both Mauer and Morneau had captured a league MVP award and were among the deadliest one-two punches in all of baseball.

    Flash forward to today and things couldn’t be any different.

    Mauer has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play over the past two seasons, and complications due to a string of concussions have greatly derailed the production and durability of Morneau.

    With the way the Twins have been struggling over the past two seasons, it would be wise for the team to try and move one of the two players. Their contracts take up too much of the team’s limited payroll, and the Twins could receive a decent prospect in return.

    There’s no way the Twins would even consider trading Mauer, who is the face of their franchise and maybe the entire city. He is a hometown kid who recently signed an eight-year, $184 million extension with the team.

    Morneau would also be hard to move as he is due to make $28 million over the next two seasons.

    However, Morneau’s contract expires in two seasons, making him far easier to trade than Mauer.

    He has shown a little pop this season, hitting 10 home runs thus far. A team in need of a bat like the Giants could take a risk on Morneau if they believe that he has the potential of returning to his pre-concussion form.

3. Cole Hamels

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    The Philadelphia Phillies are off to a horrendous start this season. They currently are in last place in the NL East, and considering the talent on their roster—especially their pitching staff—saying that they are underachieving is a vast understatement.

    Cole Hamels is a free agent following the 2012 MLB season, and the 28-year-old will undoubtedly make big money this offseason.

    The Phillies have to decide whether they want to pay Hamels or get rid of him at the trade deadline. There is no way the team can let him walk and get nothing in return.

    The Phillies may try and overhaul their roster this offseason as a result of their disastrous season thus far. They could begin this process by trading Hamels at the deadline, and in doing so bring in a bevy of young talent.

    Considering the amount of money players like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard are getting paid, the Phillies may not be willing to doll out the big bucks to keep Hamels. Another team will positively give up the farm in order to acquire Hamels, which would benefit the Phillies greatly.