Every year, the MLB trade deadline seems a little bit like Christmas. There are buyers, sellers and big market franchises that are willing to spend more money on acquiring their new toys.
The 2012 MLB trade deadline gets closer: there are some players that seem to already be on the way out.
These talented players may be dealt because of issues they have. Others made their franchises want to go into a different direction because of an attitude problem or because the player is likely to price himself out of their budget by the offseason.
Either way we look at it, certain franchises will be cementing themselves into the playoff run, and others will be attempting to sell to their fans the potential of the prospects they just acquired.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at players who could be traded and propel their new team into a true postseason contender.
Ryan Dempster might just be the hottest name in Major League Baseball right now.
The 6’2’’, 215 pound, 35-year-old Canadian is reportedly garnering interest from as many as 10 different teams.
Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com put it,
“With a little more than two weeks until baseball's trade deadline, 10 teams have shown legitimate interest in acquiring Dempster's services for the remainder of the season, according to industry sources. Those clubs include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves.”
The rebuilding Cubs have to be happy to see the veteran’s performance peak at the best time.
Dempster is 5-3 on the season with a 1.86 ERA. His 1.86 ERA leads the National League.
The team that acquires Dempster will take a calculated risk.
Dempster is a top of the rotation starter that can propel any franchise into the playoff picture. A team like the Yankees, White Sox or Nationals that already have an established ace will only make Dempster more effective as a number two starter.
With Dempster having a career season, the Cubs will be looking for a king’s ransom. That ransom should propel a fringe playoff team into serious contention and a serious playoff contender into World Series contention.
MLB executives drool anytime a young top of the rotation starter can be had at the trading deadline.
Much like Dempster, Greinke is a calculated risk for whatever contender intends to go after the right-hander. The 28-year-old Greinke has already struggled with the pressure of a larger television market.
Greinke also looks destined to test free agency at the end of the baseball season. Jon Heyman of Baseball Insider pointed out,
“The Milwaukee Brewers are believed willing to offer close to $100 million over five years to free-agent-to-be Zack Greinke, according to a person familiar with their thinking. But people close to the team hold little hope that Greinke will sign in mid-season with the Brewers to pass up free agency.”
So the market value has already been established for the 9-3 starter.
But even with the “rental” label placed on his head, upward of eight teams are looking to acquire Greinke for the playoff push.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported the Washington Nationals have shown interest in multiple starting pitchers, including the current Milwaukee Brewer.
Rosenthal points out in another piece the Atlanta Braves, the Anaheim Angels, the Texas Rangers, the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox all have also shown interest in Greinke.
Again, pitching wins in baseball, and is the name of the game in the playoffs. Therefore, teams are willing to take the risk of giving up future stars and superstars to acquire a top of the rotation guy that could take their team to the next level.
Cole Hamels is in a similar situation to the one Zack Greinke currently resides. He is 28 years old and having a gem of a season with free agency looming at the end of the year.
His current team the Philadelphia Phillies has already offered the lefty a $120 million contract.
So the market value for Hamels has already been established, and any team looking to acquire the left hander is likely looking at a rental situation.
But that does not seem to be scaring any potential buyers for Cole Hamels.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has reported scouts of the Texas Rangers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Detroit Tigers, the Miami Marlins, the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels all already scouted Hamels and are prepared to make the Phillies a formal offer for the starter.
At 11-4 with a 3.07 ERA Hamels, is worth the rental risk for a serious playoff and World Series contender. He instantly gives your rotation a top tier left-hander that can change the fortune of a series within any given start.
Chase Headley is the first position player to make this list. The San Diego third basemen is hitting .266 with 10 home runs, 21 doubles, 46 RBI and a .365 on base percentage.
Unlike the pitchers mentioned before him, Headley is in a friendlier long-term situation for the franchise that decides to acquire him.
Headley is only making $3.475 million in 2012, and is arbitration eligible for the second time at the end of the season. Headley won't hit free agency until after the 2014 season, meaning any team that acquires him will have him for at minimum of two seasons.
Navin Vaswani of CBS Sports is reporting the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Seattle Mariners, the Anaheim Angels, the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves are all interested in Headley’s services.
Headley would offer his future team with solid defense at third basemen, and an offensive stick that can be inserted into the middle of the batting order and help produce.
Headly’s direct impact on a playoff caliber franchise will not be as directly noticed as a stud starting pitcher. But the current San Diego Padre can still help a contender make that push to go to the next level of success.
Justin Upton is one of the more interesting tradeable commodities at the deadline. On paper, the Arizona Diamondbacks look crazy for even considering shopping the 6’3’’, 205 pound 24-year-old outfielder.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com have reported Arizona is preparing for all trade possibilities, but Upton would require a massive package in return.
Teams interested in Upton are the Cleveland Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Upton has superstar potential with his speed, defensive skills and run-producing ability.
Outside of his age and skills, smaller market teams are showing interest in Upton because he would be under his new team's control until 2015 at an affordable rate.
With Upton’s age and contract, any team that would acquire him would be looking to not only impact the playoff picture for this season, but for the next two or three seasons to come.
From a talent perspective, a player like Justin Upton becomes available very rarely. So a package that would be required to get him out of Arizona will set your farm system back for years.
So any team that is looking to acquire the young corner outfielder should make sure he is the missing piece to take their team to the next level of play.