MLB Trade Scenarios: Predicting Each Team's Player Who'll Be Available in July
We are roughly five weeks from the non-waiver trade deadline in baseball, and while some teams continue to search for their true identities—whether they are buyers or sellers—every general manager around the league has an inkling of which way he believes things are headed.
And with that comes the realization that as time to turn things around continues to shrink, they may be best served in the future by moving some of their pending free agents or other pieces with value before the deadline hits.
So what players are going to be on the block when we wake up on July 1st?
Let's take a look.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Saunders, LHP
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2012 Stats: 13 GS, 4-5, 3.44 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 81 IP, 5.89 K/9
You don't have to wait until the trade deadline to acquire Joe Saunders; according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Saunders is available right now—if the price is right.
A 31-year-old left-handed starter who has had middling success in both leagues, Saunders is expendable for the D-Backs as they have prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs waiting in the wings, ready to contribute at the major league level.
Saunders, who becomes a free agent following the season, isn't likely to cost anything resembling a top prospect and could be a relatively inexpensive option for contenders looking to shore up the back-end of their rotation.
Atlanta Braves: Jair Jurrjens
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2012 Stats (MLB): 4 GS, 0-2, 9.37 ERA, 2.45 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 4.41 K/9
2012 Stats (Triple-A): 10 GS, 3-4, 5.18 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 4.7 K/9
Like Saunders in Arizona, you don't have to wait until July to trade for Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens—he's been available since the end of the 2011 season.
A 26-year-old righty, Jurrjens has shown flashes of brilliance, like the first half of his 2011 season where he posted a 12-3 record, 1.87 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 16 starts.
But his 2011 was cut short by injury, which is a constant concern for him, and for as good as he was in 2011, he's been equally as bad thus far in 2012.
That being said, he is young, talented, and could benefit from a change of scenery. Regardless of how he pitches for the Braves now that he's back in the big leagues with Brandon Beachy seemingly done for the season, neither the asking price or the return is likely to be much.
Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg
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2012 Stats: 17 G, 2-2, 4.82 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 8.20 K/9
Before the season even started, the Orioles were shopping former closer Kevin Gregg around baseball, but found no takers, mainly because of his contract—one that pays him $5.8 million this season.
The 34-year-old righty averaged 29 saves a season from 2007 through 2011, and while he's been largely ineffective this year in what has turned out to be the best bullpen in all of baseball, Gregg could potentially help a contending team that needs a live arm in their pen.
The Orioles likely wouldn't ask for much in return, and by the time the trade deadline rolls around, the money remaining on his contract would be negligible.
Boston Red Sox: Kevin Youkilis
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2012 Stats: .216/.299/.345, 4 HR, 13 RBI
Kevin Youkilis is one player that we looked at the other day, and there's definitely a chance that he'll be dealt before the calendar even flips to July.
While the team has stepped up it's pursuit of a new home for the 33-year-old corner infielder, there are no guarantees that they'll find a taker, unless they are willing to come down off of their asking price—they supposedly asked Arizona for outfielder Gerardo Parra in exchange for Youkilis, and as you can expect, those talks ended pretty quickly.
Even with Boston willing to throw in a significant amount of cash to facilitate receiving a better player in return, the fact remains that Youkilis has not shown the ability to be a productive everyday player thus far in 2012.
Perhaps a change of scenery would revitalize his career.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
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2012 Stats: .266/.315/.485, 13 HR, 43 RBI
Yet another player who we looked at earlier this week, Alfonso Soriano has seemingly been available via trade in each of the past two seasons.
If what CBS Sports' Danny Knobler tweeted last month is accurate, that the Cubs are willing to eat as much as $45 million of the $48 million remaining on the 36-year-old's contract that runs through 2014, then moving him to an American League team in need of a right-handed bat shouldn't prove to be much of an issue.
Chicago White Sox: Kosuke Fukudome
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2012 Stats (MLB): .171/.294/.195, 0 HR, 4 RBI
Currently on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms, 35-year-old outfielder Kosuke Fukudome has been a disappointment on both the north and south sides of Chicago.
A light-hitting outfielder with little in the way of power, Fukudome could, I suppose, serve as a left-handed bat off of someone's bench. While the White Sox aren't likely to ask for much of anything in return for him, it might be a stretch to find a team with genuine interest.
Cincinnati Reds: Bronson Arroyo
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2012 Stats: 14 GS, 3-5, 4.19 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 86 IP, 6.28 K/9
Is trading Bronson Arroyo a nearly impossible feat?
You bet it is.
Putting aside the fact that he has 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade that the Reds present him, his $11.5 million salary for 2013 immediately becomes $26.5 million upon the execution of a trade.
Arroyo currently sits with $15 million of his contract deferred until 2021—or until he's traded.
That doesn't mean that he wouldn't be available—just that it's incredibly unlikely that anyone would try and acquire the 35-year-old right-hander.
Cleveland Indians: Matt LaPorta
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2012 Stats (MLB): .182/.182/.182, 0 HR, 0 RBI
2012 Stats (Triple-A): .306/.399/.596, 15 HR, 35 RBI
The centerpiece of the trade that sent CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, 27-year-old first baseman/outfielder Matt LaPorta has been, well, a disappointment in Cleveland.
LaPorta falls into that mythical "Quadruple-A Player" realm, a player who is simply too good for Triple-A but, for whatever reason, his ability has yet to translate at the major league level.
He's under team control through the 2016 season, so it's reasonable to think that another team might want to take a chance and see if their coaching staff can get him straightened out at the major league level.
Colorado Rockies: Jeremy Guthrie
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2012 Stats (MLB): 12 G (11 GS), 3-6, 6.68 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 4.65 K/9
Much to the delight of Rockies' fans, 33-year-old right-handed starter Jeremy Guthrie could find himself out of Colorado before the end of June, much less July.
With multiple teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays said to have interest, it's really only a matter of the Rockies and their partner in this dance to agree on which mid-level prospect the Rockies will receive in exchange.
Detroit Tigers: Delmon Young
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2012 Stats: .265/.298/.391, 5 HR, 24 RBI
This one hinges on whether Victor Martinez is able to return from his offseason ACL injury—something the Tigers will know in late July.
But Delmon Young, has been mediocre at the plate and a distraction off the field. That being said, he's only 26-years-old and a talented player. It was only two years ago that Young finished 10th in the AL MVP voting, when he hit .298 with 21 HR and 112 RBI for the Minnesota Twins.
With the Tigers needing a capable second baseman, would pairing Young and a prospect bring back the player that they need?
Houston Astros: Wandy Rodriguez
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2012 Stats: 15 GS, 6-5, 3.29 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 5.74 K/9
Yet another player who is available as we speak, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, 33-year-old left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez is a mediocre pitcher who comes with a hefty price tag. Don't let his numbers in 2012 fool you—over the course of his career, he is a .500 pitcher with an ERA of 4.00.
Due the remainder of his $10 million salary in 2012, Rodriguez is set to earn an additional $26 million over the next two seasons, as the $13 million team option the Astros hold for 2014 becomes a player option if he's traded.
But that price tag hasn't stopped a number of teams from scouting him, including the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays.
Kansas City Royals: Jeff Francoeur
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2012 Stats: .270/.309/.398, 5 HR, 19 RBI
Jeff Francoeur isn't having a terrible season, though his run production is certainly less than the Royals expected that it would be—but with their top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers having nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, the 28-year-old right-handed bat becomes expendable.
Still blessed with one of the better throwing arms in the game, Francoeur was signed to a reasonable two-year, $13.5 million contract this past winter.
While the Royals won't get a top prospect in return for him, getting Myers up to the big leagues and in the lineup on a daily basis has to be their main priority going forward, and moving "Frenchy" is the quickest way for them to facilitate that.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Vernon Wells
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2012 Stats: .244/.282/.422, 6 HR, 12 RBI
It sounds cold to say, but it's the truth—Vernon Wells injuring his thumb, forcing him to the disabled list, was the absolute best thing that could have happened to the Angels as it allowed both Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo to play on a daily basis.
Obviously, neither one is going to be coming out of the Angels' lineup.
Which leaves the 33-year-old Wells and the more than $40 million left on his contract through 2014 as an expensive bench player, one who the Angels would unquestionably jump at the chance to trade for a bag of balls—used or new.
Los Angeles Dodgers: James Loney
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2012 Stats: .257/.324/.351, 2 HR, 21 RBI
While it may sound odd for a contender to be willing to trade their starting first baseman, 28-year-old James Loney likely doesn't fit into the Dodgers' long term plans.
Juan Rivera is capable of playing the position and offering far more in the power department than Loney could, and with the Dodgers seeking multiple pieces, including a second left-handed reliever out of the bullpen, Loney could be dangled to bring in one of those pieces.
Miami Marlins: Chris Coghlan
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2012 Stats: .140/.212/.183, 1 HR, 10 RBI
Things haven't exactly gone as planned since winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2009 for Chris Coghlan. Injuries and ineffectiveness have limited the 27-year-old to 195 games played in the big leagues since his rookie season, and he once again finds himself in Triple-A for the Miami Marlins.
Under team control through the 2016 season, Coghlan has become an expendable piece with the continued development of Scott Cousins, who was recently recalled from Triple-A at Coghlan's expense.
Milwaukee Brewers: Zack Greinke
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2012 Stats: 14 GS, 7-2, 3.10 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 87 IP, 9.83 K/9
It was exactly one month ago today that I said the Milwaukee Brewers should look to trade Zack Greinke, and my stance has not changed—it simply makes too much sense.
Let's face facts, shall we?
The Brewers aren't going to win a World Series this season, and while they can say how much they'd like to keep Greinke, the truth is that with each day that passes and brings Greinke closer to becoming a free agent, the less likely it is that Milwaukee will be able to keep him.
He's going to get big offers as a free agent, and the Brewers simply won't be able to compete with those offers. For a team that has holes and a weak farm system, dealing Greinke for multiple pieces would be the best thing for the Brew Crew going forward.
Minnesota Twins: Denard Span
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2012 Stats: .285/.351/.395, 3 HR, 18 RBI
The Twins have issues, most notably in their starting rotation and they lack the financial resources and prospects in the system to fix that problem.
What they do have is a plethora of outfielders, most notably Denard Span and Josh Willingham.
While people are going gaga over Willingham's season (which I might add is virtually identical to the year that Michael Cuddyer, the man he replaced, is having in Colorado), it's the 28-year-old center fielder who could bring back some sorely needed quality pitching.
Under team control through 2015 and a superior defensive player, moving Span could bring back multiple pieces, who while they won't be the big-time prospects the Twins desperately need, project as quality, middle-of or back-of-the-rotation arms.
New York Mets: Jason Bay
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2012 Stats: .187/.253/.373, 4 HR, 6 RBI
No surprise here—the Mets would trade Jason Bay.
It's a shame that he's struggled as badly as he had, because he genuinely seems like a nice guy and while he's certainly not earned the money that he's being paid—nearly $50 million between 2012 and 2014—it's certainly not for a lack of trying.
Between injuries and ineffectiveness, Bay has quickly worn out his welcome in Flushing. A change of scenery would benefit all parties involved.
New York Yankees: Freddy Garcia
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2012 Stats: 12 G (4 GS), 1-2, 7.16 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 27.1 IP, 6.51 K/9
Buried in the Yankees' bullpen, sooner-or-later 36-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia is going to start feeling the squeeze. With both David Aardsma and Joba Chamberlain expected to join the Yankees' bullpen at some point down the road, Garcia is going to find himself as the odd man out.
An experienced starter, Garcia could be an inexpensive, attractive option for other contenders hoping to bolster the back of their rotation.
Oakland A's: Kurt Suzuki
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2012 Stats: .215/.256/.268, 0 HR, 16 RBI
With Derek Norris playing well at Triple-A, 28-year-old starting catcher Kurt Suzuki has become expendable for the rebuilding Oakland A's.
Suzuki, who is set to make more than $7 million through the 2014 season, could be difficult to move based on his production at the plate. But if the A's don't ask for much in return, they could make room for Norris to take over behind the plate...until he becomes too expensive for Billy Beane's liking.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels
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2012 Stats: 14 GS, 10-3, 3.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 97 IP, 9.19 K/9
Do you remember the beginning of Pink Floyd's "Money"?
That's the sound that Cole Hamels' left arm makes every time he throws a pitch. He's getting more expensive with each passing day, and the simple fact is that the Phillies probably can't afford to re-sign him and field a competitive team
All you have to do is read between the lines in comments Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro made to ESPN's Jayson Stark:
Our value [assessment] on Cole hasn't changed. We've always thought he's a valuable player. He's one of the better left-handers in the game. … And we still want to sign him. He's a priority, no question. But the biggest thing is all the other decisions we have to make, with the other potential free agents we have coming up -- at third base [Placido Polanco), in center field (Shane Victorino], and at right field [Hunter Pence] and catcher [Ruiz] in two years. And we haven't solved our left-field situation, either. We've got all those things to deal with. So we have to be deliberate. We have to make sure we take our time. It's not just one decision. … We have to think about all those decisions, and how all the pieces fit together.
Hamels being "officially" put on the block would set of an unprecedented bidding war amongst contenders hoping to have first crack at working out an extension with the 28-year-old southpaw.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Evan Meek
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2012 Stats (MLB): 10 G, 0-0, 7.59 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 6.75 K/9
2012 Stats (Triple-A): 17 G, 2-2, 2.22 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 24.1 IP, 6.3 K/9
With the Pirates hoping to be buyers and not sellers, the players you'd expect to see listed here, like Erik Bedard and A.J. Burnett are staying put.
Instead, we turn to the bullpen.
It was only two years ago that Evan Meek posted a 2.14 ERA and looked like one of the better up-and-coming relief pitchers in baseball.
But he's struggled on-and-off since then and currently finds himself throwing in Triple-A. Meek isn't going to bring back anything substantial, but even a veteran bat off of the bench could be helpful to the Bucs.
San Diego Padres: Carlos Quentin
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2012 Stats (MLB): .367/.486/.767, 6 HR, 13 RBI
Yes, the Padres would love to be able to sign Carlos Quentin to a long-term contract and make him the centerpiece of a lineup that is devoid of power. But the Padres also don't have an owner, and to add millions of dollars in expense to a team that is years away from contending could be enough to push away prospective buyers.
Quentin, 29, has been tearing the cover off of the ball since returning to action from the disabled list, and he would arguably be the best bat available. San Diego could pick up a quality prospect or two in exchange for him, and they can always try and re-sign him in free agency should their ownership issues be cleared up.
San Francisco Giants: Aubrey Huff
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2012 Stats (MLB): .155/.296/.259, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Currently on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained knee, 35-year-old super-utility player Aubrey Huff doesn't really have a spot with the San Francisco Giants when he returns to action seeing as all the corner spots in both the infield and outfield are spoken for.
Huff, who is due whatever remains on his $10 million salary in 2012 plus $2 million to buyout the $10 million option that the Giants hold on him for 2013, could garner some interest as a low-end left-handed bat off of the bench for another contender.
Seattle Mariners: Jason Vargas
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2012 Stats (MLB): 16 GS, 7-7, 4.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 102.1 IP, 5.63 K/9
In the midst of another disappointing season, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the Seattle Mariners.
With Danny Hultzen Taijuan Walker and James Paxton all throwing well in Double-A, the Mariners could find themselves with an incredibly talented starting rotation heading into 2013, led by Felix Hernandez
What they still lack, however, is offense—and moving 29-year-old southpaw Jason Vargas could bring back the impact bat that they lack.
Vargas, who is under team control through next season, would generate substantial interest from contenders around baseball looking to add a second left-handed starter to their rotation.
St. Louis Cardinals: Nobody
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You might think this is a cop out, but I challenge you to look at the Cardinals roster and find a player that they could conceivably put on the market that wouldn't negatively impact their team.
With the rash of injuries to important pieces of both their lineup and rotation, they really can't afford to move anyone.
Were he not out with an injured elbow—something that is expected to keep him out of action until August—the choice would have been reliever Kyle McClellan.
Tampa Bay Rays: Hideki Matsui
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2012 Stats (MLB): .164/.207/.291, 2 HR, 6 RBI
It's highly unlikely that they'd find a team who had interest, but 38-year-old designated hitter Hideki Matsui would be one player that the Tampa Bay Rays could move.
Matsui has struggled mightily since joining the Rays, and at this point, it appears that his days as a useful player in the league are quickly coming to an end.
Texas Rangers: Scott Feldman
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2012 Stats (MLB): 13 G (8 GS), 1-6, 6.00 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 42 IP, 6.86 K/9
The Rangers are looking to add a right-handed bat to their team, and are willing to deal 29-year-old right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman in order to obtain one, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
It was three years ago when Feldman broke out, winning 17 games for the Rangers and earning an extension worth more than $13 million prior to the 2010 season. Due the remainder of his $6.5 million salary in 2012 and a likely $650,000 buyout of the $9.25 million team option for 2013, Texas might have to include some cash to make a deal happen.
Toronto Blue Jays: Adam Lind
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2012 Stats (MLB): .186/.273/.314, 3 HR, 11 RBI
2012 Stats (Triple-A): .405/.465/.649, 6 HR, 25 RBI
Removed from Toronto's 40-man roster and tearing the cover off of the ball in Triple-A, 28-year-old first baseman Adam Lind is an expensive minor leaguer who desperately needs a change of scenery.
The problem in moving Lind is his contract—he's due the remainder of his $5 million salary in 2012, $5 million for 2013 and at the minimum, an additional $3.5 million to buy out the three option years at the end of his deal.
Toronto, which is looking to add a starting pitcher to their injury-depleted staff, might be able to get that pitcher if they are willing to pair Lind with one of their top prospects from what is an incredibly deep minor league system.
Washington Nationals: John Lannan
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2012 Stats (Triple-A): 13 GS, 5-6, 4.91 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 77 IP, 4.7 K/9
Banished to Triple-A before the season started, 27-year-old southpaw John Lannan has wanted out of Washington for months.
The problem is two-fold: the Nationals aren't in any rush to trade him, and his uninspired performance in Triple-A has severely limited what the Nats could expect to receive in return for him.
That being said, Lannan has had success on the major league level and any left-handed starter under 30 years old is sure to garner some interest around the league.