MLB Trade Rumors and Speculation: Names to Watch as Trade Market Takes Shape

Mark MillerCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors and Speculation: Names to Watch as Trade Market Takes Shape

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    The MLB rumor mill always seems to be running on all cylinders, and with the San Francisco Giants now officially crowned as World Champions, the baseball world turns its eyes to the trade market.

    We saw some very big names change organizations this summer and we will likely continue to see that trend occur in the next few months as 2012 winds down.

    All parties involved inevitably get something in return when a deal is done, and though sometimes a team's hand can be forced, that doesn't mean it can't benefit.

    Here are some names to watch for this offseason as the 2012 season continues to push into our rear-view mirror and 2013 enters the picture.

Shin-Soo Choo

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    The Cleveland Indians may have looked good early on in 2012, though they would ultimately fall back to the pack towards the end, and with plenty of decisions to make on their future, Shin-Soo Choo could end up being a casualty.

    Choo was in the picture as a potential deadline pickup for the Pirates earlier this season (according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), and if the Indians determine that they won't be able to re-sign Choo, they may look to cut their losses and take on valued prospects.

Alex Rodriguez

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    After one of the most disappointing showings the New York Yankees have ever had in the postseason, the speculation of what the offseason will bring in the Bronx is in full force, with the situation regarding Alex Rodriguez getting much of the attention.

    Rumors of a potential trade to Miami first reported by Keith Olbermann have been making their rounds, and while there doesn't appear to be anything to them, that doesn't mean that a move couldn't happen.

    Rodriguez has a full no-trade clause, and it sounds like he'd exercise it if a trade came his way, but that doesn't always end up being the case when all is said and done. Though he likely won't move, we'll definitely hear about anything that comes up.

Denard Span

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    Starting pitching was inevitably been the ultimately downfall of the Minnesota Twins in 2012, as the staff was pieced together with less-than-stellar prospects who would hardly crack a major league roster anywhere else.

    Denard Span was a bright spot for the team, though his name came up in trade rumors this season, much like it did in 2011 when the Nationals discussed a potential deal (reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports).

    The Nationals have enough pitching prospects to pique the interest of the Twins, and with a plethora of infield prospects in the farm system, Span may indeed be expendable.

Chase Headley

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    Earlier this season, the Yankees were said to be one of a number of teams in the picture on Chase Headley as his name emerged in trade talks, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    They may not have been interested enough to make a deal at the time, but if A-Rod ends up finding his way out of the Bronx in some way, his name could come back into play.

    Headley is under team control until 2015 and his solid offense (.286 BA, .376 OBP) would certainly still help the Padres moving forward, so they'd likely need to get a significant package in return if a deal were to be made.

Justin Morneau

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    After struggling through concussion problems and other injuries over the past couple of seasons, Justin Morneau appeared to finally be hitting his stride this season.

    He went deep 19 times in 134 games in 2012. With his numbers up in virtually every category from last season, Morneau would be a great add for any team looking to bring in a home run threat for the 2013 season.

    From the Twins' perspective, ridding themselves of Morneau would afford them the opportunity to strengthen their starting rotation, an area that they will desperately need help in next year if they hope to end up anywhere other than the AL Central basement.

Matt Garza

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    Throughout much of last year's offseason it seemed like there were relatively constant murmurs about Matt Garza being shipped out of Chicago prior to the start of this season.

    Speculation went back and forth more than once since then, with the Reds showing up as just one team interested this summer.

    They weren't the only one, as it was reported that the Blue Jays wanted to add Garza for a second-half run (reported by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star), and while that obviously didn't come to fruition, Toronto will need to improve its rotation if it hopes to contend in 2013.

Elvis Andrus

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    After a disappointing finish to the 2012 season, the Texas Rangers head back to the drawing board in an effort to make sure they get back to postseason contention once again.

    Josh Hamilton's contract situation will no doubt get the bulk of the attention this offseason when it comes to the Rangers, and while starting pitching will also get plenty of press, the infield situation could also evolve into something to look at.

    Elvis Andrus played well this season, posting a career-high .286 batting average and notching 180 hits.

    He won't enter free agency for a couple years, but with highly heralded prospect Jurickson Profar seemingly ready for action, the traffic jam at shortstop could force the Rangers' hand.

Jacoby Ellsbury

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    After getting unbelievably active during the month of August and ridding themselves of the contracts of Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto, there's not a whole lot left in the way of tradeable players for the Boston Red Sox.

    Jacoby Ellsbury, however, might still be an option for the Red Sox as they look to continue retooling their roster.

    He's heading into his final year of arbitration and will enter free agency next season. While he's put up a number of strong stat lines since his 2007 debut, he's also seen his share of injury issues, something that could keep the Sox from wanting to extend his contract.

Corey Hart

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    It's hard to argue with the productivity that Corey Hart has put forth for the Milwaukee Brewers, as he's averaged 29 home runs and 83 RBI over the past three seasons.

    His powerful bat alongside Ryan Braun make for a good duo, however Jon Heyman's speculation of Josh Hamilton possibly being a fit for the Brewers moving forward could potentially mean that Hart could be the odd man out.

    He'll be a free agent after next season, and though any connection to Hamilton shows that Brewers management is willing to spend money, they just may not want to hand out that much.

Josh Johnson

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    As one of the most active teams last offseason, the Miami Marlins headed into 2012 with a very different look and high expectations to go along with it.

    They had a disappointing season on many accounts, however, and a number of stars including Heath Bell, Hanley Ramirez and manager Ozzie Guillen are now gone.

    It's hard to say whether or not there will be more moves made in the near future, but if there are, Josh Johnson has to be in the mix.