Every MLB Team's Hitter About to Lose His Job
With the upcoming MLB non-waiver trade deadline comes much speculation about a bevy of players likely to be changing destinations.
As such, they essentially lose their jobs, but not quite like getting canned.
Some hitters will lose their current standing because of payroll constraints, others to make room for upcoming prospects, and still others because they are underperforming.
Whatever the case, here is a list of hitters from each MLB team who will be cashing a paycheck for a new team sometime in the future.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Gerardo Parra
Outfielder Gerardo Parra is only 25 years old and under team control through the 2015 season. Still, he’s a Gold Glove Award winning outfielder who is on the outside looking in.
With Justin Upton, Chris Young and Jason Kubel ahead of Parra on the depth chart, manager Kirk Gibson has done an admirable job of getting Parra at-bats this season. With Upton slumping and an injury to Young earlier in the season, Parra has managed 187 at-bats already.
Teams will no doubt be inquiring about Parra as the trade deadline draws near. The Boston Red Sox already called but were rebuffed. That could change as the Diamondbacks address their needs and their future in the coming weeks.
Atlanta Braves: None
The Atlanta Braves are currently five games above .500, just four games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
Right now, starting rotation depth is more of an issue than offense, especially with Brandon Beachy now done for the season with Tommy John surgery scheduled for Thursday.
The offense is scoring runs—ranked third in the National League. While there is speculation as to whether or not Michael Bourn will sign a long-term contract, there are no likely no position players currently in danger of moving elsewhere.
Baltimore Orioles: Mark Reynolds
Baltimore Orioles infielder Mark Reynolds has been given opportunities to show that he can do more than strike out a lot and stink at third base. Unfortunately for him, he’s not doing a very good job of convincing anyone.
Reynolds did hit 37 HR last season, but that was with a .221 average and a league-leading 196 strikeouts. This season hasn’t been much better, with five HR, 58 strikeouts and an .850 fielding percentage at third base.
Reynolds is owed approximately $4 million on his 2012 salary. GM Dan Duquette would do well to offer Reynolds up along with some cash to end the Reynolds experiment in Baltimore.
Boston Red Sox: Kevin Youkilis
File this one under the no-brainer category.
It’s widely known by now that the Boston Red Sox are actively shopping third baseman Kevin Youkilis to other teams. The Boston Globe recently listed six teams who are in play for the services of Youkilis right now.
GM Ben Cherington will likely have to throw some cash into the deal to sweeten the return package, but expect a Youkilis deal well before the trade deadline.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano has hit more home runs than anyone in the National League since May 15, and his current trade value may never be higher.
And that’s in spite of the roughly $48 million or so still owed to Soriano.
Consider it a given that the Chicago Cubs will likely pay almost all of Soriano’s remaining contract in order to facilitate a deal. Cubs fans will probably cheer his departure.
Chicago White Sox: Orlando Hudson
When the San Diego Padres released second baseman Orlando Hudson, the Chicago White Sox were quick to scoop him up. However, they now may be ready to be the second team where Hudson is no longer wanted.
Since joining the White Sox, Hudson has hit just .167 in 25 games, recently seeing reduced playing time with Eduardo Escobar seeing time at the hot corner as well.
If there is an upgrade to be made for the White Sox, it’s definitely at third base, and Hudson will be the likely casualty.
Cincinnati Reds: Miguel Cairo
Just how much longer are the Cincinnati Reds going to hang on to a guy with a .143/.176/.245 slash line?
That’s what utility infielder Miguel Cairo has put up thus far this season for the Reds. With a 2.5 game lead in the National League Central, the Reds need to be looking for upgrades to add substantive depth to their bench. Cairo should be the first casualty once that happens.
Cleveland Indians: Shelley Duncan
The Cleveland Indians are in a tight race at the top of the AL Central division, just a half-game up on the Chicago White Sox.
After 68 games, the Tribe have used Johnny Damon and Shelley Duncan for the vast majority of games in left field. With Damon’s leadership in the clubhouse and surging bat of late (.268 in the month of June after a .171 start), it’s not likely he’s going anywhere.
Shelley Duncan on the other hand just might.
Duncan started the season as the everyday left fielder, but it became quickly apparent he just wasn’t up to the task. For the season, Duncan is hitting just .195 with four HR and 12 RBI.
When GM Chris Antonetti makes the decision to upgrade the roster for a possible postseason berth, Duncan could and should be working or looking for another employer.
Colorado Rockies: Jason Giambi
Colorado Rockies pinch-hitter/utility man Jason Giambi has done nothing to warrant looking for another employer. However, at 41 years of age and the Rockies’ season likely lost, that could be the result.
Giambi will likely be in demand for teams looking to add a veteran hitter to their bench. At a salary of just $1 million, Giambi would fill that role nicely for any team, and would also add a host of postseason experience as well.
Detroit Tigers: Don Kelly
When outfielder Andy Dirks returns from his Achilles injury, the Tigers will have to make a corresponding move to add Dirks back to the 25-man roster.
The odd man out could be Don Kelly. Ryan Raburn is only hitting .163, but has value due to his defensive versatility.
Kelly is hitting just .188 thus far with one HR and seven RBI, and with Quintin Berry hitting .315 and providing a spark, Kelly would absolutely appear to be the man without a job.
Houston Astros: Jed Lowrie
The Houston Astros are widely expected to conduct a fire sale of sorts before too long, with veterans Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Brandon Lyon and Carlos Lee likely to be the ones on their way out.
While many would expect Lee to top this list, that may not necessarily be the case. Lee has been reluctant in the past in waiving his no-trade clause, and with his $18.5 million salary for this season will be difficult to move, especially with declining production (four HR, 25 RBI).
Shortstop Jed Lowrie, however, could bring back considerable value, especially with several teams in need of middle infield help. Lowrie is hitting .269 with 13 HR and 31 RBI. Lowrie is under team control through the 2014 season, also a draw for buying teams and a plus for GM Jeff Luhnow when looking for value in return.
Kansas City Royals: Jeff Francoeur
The Kansas City Royals have been reluctant to rush the development of top prospect Wil Myers. But Myers continues to hit as well as Triple-A Omaha as he did at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, with a .328 average, 11 HR and 32 RBI in just 33 games at Omaha.
The Royals may not need to be patient any longer, Myers could well be ready. If that’s the case, Royals GM Dayton Moore will likely look to trade Jeff Francoeur.
Francoeur signed a two-year, $13.5 contract extension this offseason, which muddies the waters as far as his trade value is concerned. About the only way that Moore can get value in return is to throw some money in the mix, but even at that, Moore probably views Francoeur’s value as more than other GMs.
Much will depend on how the trade market shapes up and who will be available, but Francoeur will likely be discussed nonetheless.
Los Angeles Angels: None
The Los Angeles Angels are finally getting their act together after a miserable start to the season.
At 38-32, the Angels are still five games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West, but with starting pitcher Jered Weaver back and healthy once again, they appear primed to continue their roll.
The offense is starting to click as well, with youngsters Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo leading the way, and Albert Pujols settling in after his slow start.
Rumors had teams interested in outfielder Peter Bourjos, but GM Jerry DiPoto has given no indication he’s willing to part with Bourjos. It’s likely that an outfield of Trumbo, Trout and Bourjos represents the future for the Angels, with Torii Hunter in the final season of his five-year, $90 million contract.
Vernon Wells is just about as untouchable as it gets with his contract as well, still being owed roughly $53 million.
What you currently see for the Angels could be what you get—at least for a while.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Uribe
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe was activated last week from the disabled list after missing almost a month with a left wrist injury. However, how much longer will he be in Dodger blue?
Uribe is hitting a not-so robust .240 with just one HR and 12 RBI on the season after hitting just .204 with four HR and 28 RBI in an injury-filled campaign last year.
The Dodgers are currently on the hook for about $13 million left on Uribe’s three year deal, so unloading him will be difficult. But I just can’t imagine they will keep turning to him as their answer at third base.
Miami Marlins: Gaby Sanchez
The Miami Marlins sent first baseman Gaby Sanchez down to Triple-A on May 19 after a horrible .197 start at the plate. The Marlins figured the time down in Triple-A would be good for Sanchez to figure out flaws in his swing. He was brought back on June 10. The flaws came back with him.
Sanchez is now hitting .185 after an 0-for-3 effort on Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox. With a paltry .504 OPS, the Marlins are clearly going to need to do something to bring some much needed offense in after a woeful June.
The return of Emilio Bonifacio will help, but he’s likely not back until sometime around the All-Star break. The Marlins clearly need help now before it’s too late.
Milwaukee Brewers: None
At 32-37, the injury-depleted Milwaukee Brewers find themselves just 6.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central division. That alone says more about the level of mediocrity in the division more than anything about the Brewers.
With all of the devastating injuries suffered by the Brewers, bodies, at least major league-ready bodies, are hard to come by. It’s unlikely anyone is in danger of losing their job anytime soon.
Minnesota Twins: Denard Span
There has been much talk about the players in Minnesota and who is likely to be gone by the trade deadline. Much of the talk has surrounded players like Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham.
But I’m not so sure either one of them are going anywhere.
Center fielder Denard Span, however, is likely to be gone.
The Miami Marlins have jumped into the fold as a potential landing spot for Span, especially with the injury to Emilio Bonifacio. At one point the Washington Nationals were interested as well, but that has recently waned.
In any event, Span’s time in the Twin Cities appears ready to come to an end.
New York Mets: Jason Bay
Can we all agree that New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay is nowhere near the player he was in the mid-to-late 2000s?
Didn’t think so.
Bay is still owed approximately $28 million, and a $17 million option for the 2014 season kicks in if he reaches 500 plate appearances in both 2012 and 2013. The option will also vest if he reaches 600 plate appearances in 2013. All of that seems unlikely given his injury history.
Bay is currently on the seven-day disabled list with his second concussion in two years, so it would be understandable for teams to be very wary of dealing for him, even if GM Sandy Alderson were to kick in a bucketload of cash.
Still, for this team to move on in a positive direction, that direction needs to be without Bay.
New York Yankees: None
If there is one worry the New York Yankees don’t have right now, it’s with their offense.
While the loss of Brett Gardner hurts, once he’s ready to come back, Raul Ibanez will slide back into a DH role along with Andruw Jones, and Eric Chavez will continue fulfilling his role as a defensive replacement and spark off the bench.
No hitters are going anywhere, at least not for the rest of this season.
Oakland Athletics: Kurt Suzuki
Catching prospect Derek Norris was called up by the Oakland Athletics on Thursday and was in the lineup against the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 1-for-3 in his first taste of big league action.
Norris will likely see quite a bit of time behind the plate, with incumbent catcher Kurt Suzuki hitting just .215 with zero home runs and a .268 slugging percentage.
If Norris can impress behind the plate with his call-up, it could likely spell the end for Suzuki in Oakland.
Philadelphia Phillies: Jim Thome
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your last-place Philadelphia Phillies.
I’ll bet you didn’t think you’d be hearing that anytime soon, did you?
At 33-38, that’s where the Phillies find themselves, a full nine games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East. If the situation is unchanged in a few weeks, the Phillies could be selling for the first time in quite a while.
Pinch-hitter/first baseman Jim Thome will likely be in demand if that’s the case. Thome’s bat would be of huge benefit to contending teams looking for depth on the bench. With a salary of $1.25 million, the cost certainly isn’t prohibitive, either.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Clint Barmes
The Pittsburgh Pirates are doing a great job even just hanging around in the NL Central, just two games behind the Cincinnati Reds. And they’re doing it despite a dismal team batting average of .230.
Shortstop Clint Barmes was signed to a two-year, $10.5 million contract by the Pirates off the heels of a decent season with the Houston Astros. But thus far this season, Barmes has been anything but decent, posting a .201 average, three HR and 15 RBI.
Bats are what the Pirates need right now, and Barmes’ bat could be one that is sacrificed.
San Diego Padres: Carlos Quentin
San Diego Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin recently told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he believes a future with the Padres is possible.
“I’m definitely open to talking about a future with the Padres,” Quentin said. “I’d be open to discussing that. I like the environment here. I like what Bud (Black), his staff, the training staff are doing. I appreciate where they want to go.”
Unfortunately for Quentin, his future is out of his hands. The ownership situation in San Diego is still undecided, and there are plenty of teams ready to scoop Quentin up, especially after his hot start (.367, six HR, 13 RBI in 19 games).
If ownership is decided soon, that would have a major impact on Quentin’s status. If not, expect Quentin gone.
San Francisco Giants: Aubrey Huff
Reports out of San Francisco are encouraging concerning the health of first baseman/right fielder Aubrey Huff.
He is apparently up and moving about, with manager Bruce Bochy hopeful that Huff can return sometime soon.
"He's doing better. We'll see him Friday, but he's walking around well," Bochy said. "I can't say when we're going to activate him, but he's making the type of progress we thought."
Huff sprained his knee after jumping over the dugout railing to congratulate pitcher Matt Cain on his perfect game. This of course after he was on the disabled list earlier in the season for an anxiety disorder.
Huff is hitting just .155 thus far in 58 at-bats, with the Giants still owing him about $5.5 million for the rest of the season.
If there was a need for the Giants to get rid of dead weight, Huff is the guy.
Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins
I wrote this about Seattle Mariners third baseman/outfielder Chone Figgins earlier this week:
It's now official that the signing of Figgins prior to the 2010 season was one of the worst contracts ever given out in Mariners' history. I don't think you'll find many people to debate that.
Manager Eric Wedge has been steadfast in saying that releasing Figgins is "not even an option"—the question is, why not?
At this point, the season isn't quite a lost cause for the Mariners, but it will likely get to that point in the coming weeks. Keeping Figgins on the roster serves no useful purpose.
Better off playing the youngsters and getting them some valuable experience rather than continuing to hope that Figgins will eventually turn things around. It should be apparent by now that's not going to happen.
I stand by that assessment.
St. Louis Cardinals: None
The St. Louis Cardinals have certainly had their share of injuries thus far in 2012, yet they’re still holding their own with a 35-35 record and just four games out in the NL Central division.
And reinforcements are set to arrive.
The Cardinals activated both John Jay and Matt Carpenter from the disabled list on Friday. Skip Schumaker returned from the DL earlier this week. Lance Berkman is making excellent progress in his rehab and is expected back in late July, which is in essence almost like a transaction at the trade deadline.
Tampa Bay Rays: Hideki Matsui
With a .158 average and a .507 OBP in 17 games since joining the Tampa Bay Rays, designated hitter Hideki Matsui hasn’t exactly been a spark for the offense.
His job could well be in jeopardy as well, especially when Matt Joyce and Luke Scott are both ready to return from injuries.
Texas Rangers: None
It’s pretty hard to look up and down the lineup for the Texas Rangers and think that anyone’s job is in jeopardy right now.
With a record of 43-27, the Rangers are the best team in the majors, and offense certainly has not been an issue.
Expect the Rangers to make some tweaks to the pitching staff, but the offense will remain intact.
Toronto Blue Jays: Ben Francisco
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Ben Francisco is currently on a minor league rehab assignment, attempting to work his way back after suffering a hamstring injury in mid-May.
However, there’s no guarantee he’ll have a spot open to him with the Blue Jays.
Francisco wasn’t doing anything to light the world on fire prior to his injury, hitting just .206 with no homers or runs batted in. At this point, Adam Lind would likely be recalled over Francisco.
Washington Nationals: None
The Washington Nationals have had to deal with a series of key injuries as well, most notably Drew Storen, Jayson Werth, Chad Tracy, Michael Morse and Mark DeRosa.
Morse is already back, DeRosa could be back within days, Tracy is progressing well in rehab and Werth is expected back by late July.
That’s a pretty healthy infusion of offensive weapons.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.