MLB Trade Rumors: Justin Upton and 5 Under-25 Superstars Who Could Change Teams
There are just two weeks until the trade deadline hits and the whispers about superstars who could change teams are getting louder and louder.
This season, there has been some extra spice thrown into the pot, as there are guys in the rumor mill who were previously thought to have been "untouchable."
Justin Upton and Starlin Castro are two of the best under-25 players in all of baseball with four All-Star appearances between them. However, in 2012 they have not continued to develop as their stat lines projected, and have found themselves on the block.
The other three players on this list may not be world renowned names yet, but they ooze potential and will become household names within the next few years as they get more opportunities.
Oakland Athletics Closer Ryan Cook
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The Athletics have won nine of their last 11 games and currently sit a half game out of the final Wild Card spot in the American League.
Who is their closer? Ryan Cook.
Those are two things Billy Beane probably did not think he would be saying on July 18th and if his history has taught us anything, he uses players who have outperformed their past value and traded them for greater value in the future. The deal that sent Trevor Cahill to Arizona for Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook among others is a great example of that.
Cook's 1.37 ERA, 0.86 WHIP in 39.1 IP with just 13 hits allowed against 41 strikeouts are all incredibly impressive numbers. However, he still walks 4.81 batters per nine innings and his xFIP is 4.14 so expect those flashy numbers to come back to earth sooner rather than later.
If anyone knows Cook's true value it is Billy Beane. There is plenty of time for Oakland to move up or down in the standings before the deadline and if they fall, look for the A's GM to take advantage of his closer's great season.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim OF Peter Bourjos
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After those rumors came out, there were articles published about how the "Angels would be nuts" to make that deal.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that LA is hesitant to deal their dynamic, speedy center-fielder, but if Dan Haren and Ervin Santana struggle upon their returns from the DL, the pressure to make a deal will only get bigger.
Jon Heyman reported the Angels were interested in Brewers ace Zack Greinke, and with division rival Texas also reportedly interested, Bourjos could find himself in Milwaukee by the end of the summer.
Texas Rangers SS Jurickson Profar
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If I could pick one prospect that every casual baseball fan will know about this time next year, there would be no choice other than Jurickson Profar.
In BR's midseason update, Profar ranked as the best prospect in baseball. As a 19-year-old in Double-A, Profar's .298/.976/.494 slash line with 11 HRs and a 44:54 BB-K ratio is flat out unbelievable when you consider the average age of someone in Double-A is 24 years old.
The Rangers are listed as a possible trade candidate for D-Backs OF Justin Upton and the star shortstop's name came up in those negotiations.
Profar's ability to improve as he moves up levels rivals that of famed youngsters Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. With Elvis Andrus already established as an All-Star shortstop in Texas, the rumors surrounding Profar will most certainly ramp up as July 31st approaches.
Chicago Cubs SS Starlin Castro
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Mariners "touched base" with the Cubs regarding a possible Castro for Felix Hernandez deal. While a trade does not appear imminent, there are some possibilities out there that might be able to get a deal done.
Castro is one of the top hitters in baseball regardless of his age. He led the NL last season in hits and hit above .300 in his first two seasons as a big leaguer in his age 20 and 21 seasons.
He is an incredible talent, but with new management taking over in Chicago, if the right offer was sent their way, I could see Theo Epstein and company pulling the trigger.
Arizona Diamondbacks OF Justin Upton
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It is not very often a 24-year-old who finished the most recent season fourth in the MVP voting becomes available.
However, in the case of Justin Upton, that is exactly what has happened.
The situation has gotten so big, that D-Backs GM Kevin Towers promised to tell Upton if and/or when a deal was close.
"I'm not saying I'll do it again, but I told Justin that if we're at the 1-yard line, I'll tell you the teams that are interested."
There is no question Arizona's star outfielder is having an off year. After clubbing 31 HRs with 88 RBI, 105 runs scored and a .289 batting average, Upton has just seven homers and is reportedly dealing with shoulder issues that are draining his power but nothing has been confirmed.
At the end of the day, it sounds like Arizona is willing to deal their former first overall pick, and with all of the interest in the trade market we could see a blockbuster shake up the playoff race very soon.