MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Predicting Landing Spots for Top Available Outfielders

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Hunter Pence #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies gets set to swing against the Milwaukee Brewers during a MLB baseball game on July 25, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Major League Baseball's trade market is relatively weak this season, but that doesn't mean valuable pieces cannot be added to pennant-chasing squads.

There is value to be had, especially in the outfield. These players will cost more than normal because of the market's questionable depth, but you have to do whatever is necessary to keep the postseason in your team's sights.

Let's predict where this year's top available outfielders will land on deadline day.


Hunter Pence

Predicted Destination: Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia isn't a destination per say because Pence already plays there. He has been shopped aggressively by the Phillies according to Yahoo! Sports reporter Jeff Passan, but that doesn't mean he has to move.

In fact, he won't move. At least not until this year's winter meetings.

CBS reporter Jon Heyman spoke about the Dodgers' interest on Monday. ESPN's Jayson Stark talks about the Giants' interest, but also doesn't think they have what it takes to get a deal done.

That leaves the Phillies in an easy position. They will keep one of their best offensive players because of his value to them and their inability to acquire a haul of top prospects from another squad.

I expect Pence to leave Philadelphia this winter, but there are too many moving pieces for a deal to get done before August 1.


Shane Victorino

Predicted Destination: Pittsburgh Pirates 

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported about the Pirates' interest early Monday morning.

Things can change quickly over next 31 hours, but #Pirates did not seem alive on Victorino as of late last night. #Phillies

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2012

I'm going to opt with the first part of that tweet. Pittsburgh needs to add a bat, and Victorino provides a simple solution. He's probably only a one-year rental, but his experience and on-base percentage would be welcome additions to the Pirate batting order.

CBS' Jon Heyman reported Monday as well, speaking to Philadelphia's steep asking price.

Pittsburgh, unless the deal includes a prized prospect, should pull the trigger on this one. They still rank 20th or below in several offensive categories, and Victorino would immediately plug a hole at the top of their order.

Neil Huntingdon knows he needs to make a move for the sake of his team and its desperate fanbase. It will take him up until the last minute, but he will get this one done.


Shin-Soo Choo

Predicted Destination: Cleveland Indians

Choo is definitely available, but I can't see anyone meeting Cleveland's demands. FOX Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Sunday about the Indians' asking price.

Hearing Price for #Indians' Choo is a major leaguer - a good one - with less than three years service time. Choo free agent after 2013.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2012

That's certainly a high price, despite Choo's 30-30 capabilities. Because of the high price, ESPN's Buster Olney mentions Cleveland's doubtful approach to this situation. 

That doesn't mean there aren't suitors. Rosenthal reported in a different piece that Philadelphia could have interest. We've also heard stirs from Pittsburgh and Texas concerning Choo's availability.

Of course there are suitors. Choo is an underrated talent with four solid tools, but Cleveland isn't going to get what it's looking for. He will take the Indians to arbitration this offseason, and they will keep him for one more season.

Expect his name to pop up again next summer, but Choo will stay put for now.