MLB Winter Meetings: One Player Most Likely to Be Traded from Each Team

Brian Reuter@@breuter10Contributor IIDecember 6, 2012

MLB Winter Meetings: One Player Most Likely to Be Traded from Each Team

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    The Winter Meetings are generally a time when trade rumors run rampant, and often that speculation proves true for at least a few major swaps.

    This year's edition of the meetings has seen no shortage of rumors, but it has only led to a few trades, none of which have been blockbusters.

    The trade market might develop more rapidly after the top free agents choose their destinations, and those days appear to be fast-approaching for players like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke.

    One thing teams can be assured of this offseason is that there are plenty of opportunities to address a weakness via trade. Many organizations are working with a surplus in one area while trying to fill a void in another, creating the perfect scenario for team executives to get creative as they try to build the winning formula.

    So with that being said and the 2012 Winter Meetings nearing their end, let's take a quick look at the player most likely to be traded from each team this offseason.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Top Trade Candidate: Jason Kubel

    Position: Outfielder

    Contract: $7.5MM through 2013, $7.5MM club option for 2014

    Arizona can afford to trade an outfielder this offseason as it has capable replacements like Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock waiting in the minors. 

    Justin Upton's name has popped up in trade rumors regularly over the past two years, but his value is down after a summer in which he struggled to provide power at the plate.

    Jason Kubel is more likely to be dealt this winter after bouncing back in 2012, crushing 30 doubles and 30 home runs in his 141 game campaign. 

    Kubel's solid production and affordable contract would make him appealing to teams that miss out on high-priced sluggers like Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher.  

Atlanta Braves

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    Top Trade Candidate: Paul Maholm

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: $6.5MM through 2013

    The Braves are working with a surplus of quality starting pitching this offseason. The integration of young pitchers like Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran allows the team to entertain trade offers for one of their veterans. 

    Paul Maholm's experience and affordable contract make him appealing to teams in search of a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm that won't cost them top prospects in return.

    Atlanta's front office may be more inclined to trade the veteran on a one-year deal rather than move a young team-controlled arm like one of those mentioned above.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Top Trade Candidate: Zach Britton

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: Pre-arbitration

    Baltimore's rotation includes a few young arms that were battle-tested in the tough American League East during the 2012 playoff push.

    Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez performed admirably while Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta struggled.

    Britton and Arrieta are still young enough to demand a significant return, which could allow the O's to pursue another impact bat in the trade market. Britton is younger and left-handed, which might bring Baltimore a better return.

Boston Red Sox

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    Top Trade Candidate: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

    Position: Catcher

    Contract: 2nd-year arbitration eligible, earned $2.5MM in 2012

    Boston's signing of David Ross to a two-year contract early in the offseason put the team's other catchers on notice. They recently agreed to terms with Mike Napoli as well, and he will split time between first base and catcher.

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia could be moved as the front office continues the rebuilding project. He provides good power for a catcher but is best suited for a platoon role as displayed by 2012 splits: 24 home runs against right-handed pitchers and one home run against left-handed pitchers.

Chicago Cubs

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    Top Trade Candidate: Carlos Marmol

    Position: Relief Pitcher

    Contract: $9.8MM through 2013

    Carlos Marmol was almost traded once this offseason, but the potential deal with the Angels fell apart in the 11th hour.

    A trade still seems likely as the Cubs recently signed Kyuji Fujikawa, who could take over the closer duties in Chicago.

    The Cubs are entering another year in the rebuilding process, so it would be surprising to see the team commit such a large portion of their payroll to both Marmol and Fujikawa.

Chicago White sox

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    Top Trade Candidate: Gavin Floyd

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: $9.5MM through 2013

    The White Sox will look to add a catcher this offseason, and the trade market might be the best route for filling that spot if they do not plan to re-sign A.J. Pierzynski.

    One potential trade chip is Gavin Floyd, who could be a fallback option for teams that miss out on their free agent targets.  

Cincinnati Reds

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    Top Trade Candidate: Drew Stubbs

    Position: Outfielder

    Contract: 1st-year arbitration eligible

    Cincinnati has been in search of a true leadoff hitter for years, and this winter's free agent market offers plenty of options.

    Speedster Michael Bourn is just one of the possible fits for the Reds and would take over in center field if signed.

    Drew Stubbs strikes out too much to hit at the top of the order and could be moved if the team does indeed acquire a player like Bourn or Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler.

Cleveland Indians

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    Top Trade Candidate: Asdrubal Cabrera

    Position: Shortstop

    Contract: $16.5MM through 2014

    New manager Terry Francona was brought in to help reform a franchise that has taken a roller coaster ride in the standings over the last 10 years.

    Francona is going to need top tier talent in the rotation moving forward, and they could look to trade a proven position player for that kind of impact.

    Asdrubal Cabrera is a better shortstop than any of the options on the free agent market and would net the team a solid starting pitcher in return. The Indians have Mike Aviles as a stopgap and top prospect Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings as the potential shortstop of the future.

Colorado Rockies

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    Top Trade Candidate: Ramon Hernandez

    Position: Catcher

    Contract: $3.2MM through 2013

    The Rockies are another team that made major changes this offseason, starting with shuffling the roles of front office personnel and culminating with the hiring of Walt Weiss as the new manager.

    Ramon Hernandez received a two-year contract last offseason but the team's struggles in 2012 and plans for rebuilding in 2013 mean they could entertain trade offers for their expensive backup catcher.

Detroit Tigers

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    Top Trade Candidate: Brennan Boesch

    Position: Outfielder

    Contract: 1st-year arbitration eligible

    Detroit made a large addition early this offseason when it signed Torii Hunter to take over in right field. Austin Jackson is the team's center fielder, and left field is likely to be handled by a some form of platoon.

    The question is, who will be given the opportunity to earn some of that playing time? Quintin Berry, Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia each played well during their opportunities.

    Brennan Boesch played more than any of those three but struggled to get on-base. He is also arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and that pay raise could mean he is the one on his way out via trade.

Houston Astros

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    Top Trade Candidate: Jed Lowrie

    Position: Shortstop

    Contract: 2nd-year arbitration eligible, earned $1.15MM in 2012

    Houston faces a tough road back to competition as it couples a rebuilding process with the move to a tougher division.

    Trading Jed Lowrie is a move the team will have to consider as he would be a valuable commodity on the market this winter given his versatility and inexpensive contract.

Kansas City Royals

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    Top Trade Candidate: Wil Myers

    Position: Outfielder

    Contract: Pre-arbitration

    The Royals have already been active on the transaction wire this offseason, bolstering their rotation by acquiring Ervin Santana from the Angels and re-signing Jeremy Guthrie.

    They continue to look for an ace of their staff and are said to be entertaining offers for pitchers Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, but neither of those starters would net a large return.

    Top prospect Wil Myers could bring the team a huge return given his great power potential.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Top Trade Candidate: Vernon Wells

    Position: Outfielder

    Contract: $42MM through 2014

    The Angels' opening day outfield in 2012 was Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter.

    Wells struggled and Hunter has since left for Detroit. The strong performances by youngsters Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo have earned them starting spots in the 2013 outfield alongside Bourjos.

    After two poor seasons in Los Angeles, Wells might be on his way out.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Top Trade Candidate: Aaron Harang

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: $7MM through 2013, $7MM - $8MM (depending on performance) mutual option for 2014 with a $2MM buyout

    One of the pieces acquired from the Red Sox in last summer's blockbuster trade was starter Josh Beckett, who is under contract for two more years.

    Beckett joined Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang as options for the 2013 rotation.

    The front office is also kicking the tires on free agent starters Zack Greinke and Kyle Lohse, meaning at least one of the aforementioned arms is likely to be traded this winter.

    Harang is on an affordable contract and has stayed healthy while pitching consistently during the last two seasons in the National League West meaning he could be an appealing option for teams in need of rotation depth.

Miami Marlins

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    Top Trade Candidate: Ricky Nolasco

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: $11.5MM through 2013

    Miami's front office gave up on the team's reclamation project after just one season in its new ballpark and unloaded its largest contracts in a trade with the Blue Jays.

    At this point, the Fish are unlikely to contend in 2013 and could decide to move the team's largest remaining contract.

    Ricky Nolasco has been a mainstay in the Marlins rotation since his breakout year in 2008 but has not replicated that success since. He would not net a substantial return in terms of talent but management could continue their trend of the offseason and look for additional salary relief in any potential trade.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Top Trade Candidate: Mat Gamel

    Position: First Baseman, Third Baseman

    Contract: Pre-arbitration

    The departure of Prince Fielder from Milwaukee's infield created an opportunity for Mat Gamel to take over the starting job at first base, but he struggled early in 2012 before an injury cost him much of the season.

    Corey Hart has since taken over at first base, and Gamel's future role with the team is unclear.

    Teams are always looking for power and a change of scenery could be just what Gamel needs as he tries to translate his minor league success to consistent production in the majors.

Minnesota Twins

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    Top Trade Candidate: Justin Morneau

    Position: First Baseman

    Contract: $14MM through 2013

    The recent trade that sent Denard Span to the Nationals for pitching prospect Alex Meyer showed that the Twins are willing to trade important pieces of the lineup as they attempt to replenish the organization's pitching depth.

    Justin Morneau could be the next to go after rebuilding some value in 2012. He could replaced at first base by Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit or Chris Parmelee and could net the team another piece for the future.

New York Mets

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    Top Trade Candidate: R.A. Dickey

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: $5MM through 2013

    The Mets finally put trade rumors about David Wright to rest after years of recurring speculation. That of course just redirects the speculation to whether not they will move the reigning National League Cy Young, R.A. Dickey.

    The team is discussing a contract extension with the knuckle-baller but they are finding it understandably difficult to agree on common ground due to Dickey's unorthodox style of pitching and the fact that he's 38 years old.

    If the team and player cannot agree on a contract extension soon, expect the right-hander to be dealt with the Mets looking for pitching, catching and outfield help in return.  

New York Yankees

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    Top Trade Candidate: Francisco Cervelli

    Position: Catcher

    Contract: Pre-arbitration

    The Yankees were unable to re-sign Russell Martin for their starting catcher duties and are now on the lookout for a new backstop.

    They figure to look outside of the organization for help as their current options have limited experience at the Major League level.

    If they do not find a catcher on the open market, expect Francisco Cervelli to enter spring training with the starting job. If they do find a catcher via free agency or trade, Cervelli could then be traded, allowing Chris Stewart to once again work as the team's backup catcher.

Oakland Athletics

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    Top Trade Candidate: Seth Smith

    Position: Outfielder

    Contract: 2nd-year arbitration eligible, earned $2.415MM in 2012

    The Oakland A's added another outfielder to the mix this offseason, acquiring Chris Young from the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop Cliff Pennington. Young joins Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith in the team's crowded outfield and at least one of these players will likely be moved.

    Cespedes and Reddick are likely staying put in Oakland given their solid production in the middle of the lineup.

    Young or Crisp will handle the center field duties in 2013 and the team can always rotate players in the designated hitter spot.

    Smith offers the team less versatility in the field but brings a solid left-handed bat to the plate. His affordable contract will make him an attractive option for teams in search of a corner outfielder.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Top Trade Candidate: Antonio Bastardo

    Position: Relief Pitcher

    Contract: 1st-year arbitration eligible

    The Phillies will be in the market for outfielders and a third baseman this winter. If they decide to transform their lineup via trades, they could deal a reliever as the team has great depth to work with in the bullpen.

    Left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo is a valuable option as a young pitcher with great talent and late-inning experience.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Top Trade Candidate: Joel Hanrahan

    Position: Relief Pitcher

    Contract: 3rd-year arbitration eligible, earned $4.1MM in 2013

    Pittsburgh is coming off another season in which it started off hot and finished cold. The Bucs are on the lookout for an impact starting pitcher to join A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez atop the rotation.

    The best way to obtain another starting pitcher might be to deal relief pitcher, Joel Hanrahan.

    He has been one of the better closers in baseball over the last two seasons and could be a great trade target for a team in need of one more late inning option.

San Diego Padres

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    Top Trade Candidate: Luke Gregerson

    Position: Relief Pitcher

    Contract: 2nd-year arbitration eligible, earned $1.55MM in 2012

    San Diego is another team in search of more starting pitching this offseason and has relievers to offer in return.

    The Padres have had great relief pitching over the years and could afford to trade setup man Luke Gregerson if the right offer presents itself.

    He owns a career 2.92 ERA and has made at least 61 appearances in each of his four years as a Major Leaguer, making him arguably the best non-closer relief pitcher available this winter.  

San Francisco Giants

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    Top Trade Candidate: Javier Lopez

    Position: Relief Pitcher

    Contract: $4.25MM through 2013

    Like the Padres, the Giants have had success developing relief pitching over the past few years. Even with Brian Wilson now a free agent, the team enjoys a deep bullpen with great options from both the left and right sides.

    Javier Lopez is only under contract for one more year and has been extremely successful as a situational lefty since joining the Giants in 2010. He could be involved in a trade for an outfielder.

Seattle Mariners

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    Top Trade Candidate: Mike Carp

    Position: First Baseman, Outfielder

    Contract: Pre-arbitration

    Seattle's strong pitching and defense have them closer to contention than it has been in a while, but it is still lacking offense.

    The team is reaching out to many free agents including Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn and could turn to the trade market if necessary.

    The Mariners have a surplus of young corner outfielders that could be involved in a trade package for a more elite hitter. Mike Carp provides power potential, the ability to play first base and an inexpensive contract as he is not yet arbitration eligible.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Top Trade Candidate: Skip Schumaker

    Position: Second Baseman, Outfielder

    Contract: $1.5MM through 2013

    The Cardinals have filtered through plenty of second basemen over the years, generally filling the spot with a series of successful role players throughout the season.

    They now have Kolten Wong approaching the majors, and he could have the talent to hold down the spot for years to come.

    Daniel Descalso could move to a bench role and that might make utility player Skip Schumaker available in a trade.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Top Trade Candidate: James Shields

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Contract: $9MM through 2013, $12MM team option for 2014 with $1MM buyout

    The Rays are in search of more offense this offseason and, given their payroll constrictions, they will likely need to add bats through the trade market.

    The good news is that they not only have pitching to trade, they have elite pitching to trade as David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson would all demand quite the return on the trade market.

    Price's value is as high as ever but the Rays may want to keep their Cy Young for another run at the playoffs.

    Hellickson is the youngest of the bunch and will be the most cost-effective option for at least a few more years.

    Shields is still affordable but he is approaching free agency and could be traded to a team in need of an ace.

Texas Rangers

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    Top Trade Candidate: Elvis Andrus

    Position: Shortstop

    Contract: $11.275MM through 2014

    The major stories coming out of Texas these days revolve around free agent Josh Hamilton, but the team is also exploring trades involving infielders.

    Elvis Andrus would become the best shortstop available if he is indeed placed on the trading block. He offers great defense and a good approach at the plate.

    The Rangers have top prospect Jurickson Profar ready to take over if they decide to make a trade involving Andrus.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Top Trade Candidate: J.P. Arencibia

    Position: Catcher

    Contract: Pre-arbitration 

    Catcher John Buck returned to the Blue Jays organization earlier in the offseason as part of the blockbuster trade that involved twelve players in total.

    His arrival provided the organization with a surplus of quality catchers. One of Buck, J.P. Arencibia and Travis d'Arnaud figure to be moved in the coming weeks.

    Arencibia has the power to consistently hit 20 home runs and would net Toronto a solid return. The younger d'Arnaud has been nominated as their catcher of the future and could split time with Buck.

Washington Nationals

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    Top Trade Candidate: Michael Morse

    Position: First Baseman, Outfielder

    Contract: $6.75MM through 2013

    The Nationals recently acquired center fielder Denard Span, and he figures to play alongside Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in their outfield for years to come.

    That acquisition moves Michael Morse to first base but the team still has interest in re-signing Adam LaRoche.

    If they are able to work out a deal with LaRoche, Morse could become a valuable trade chip as an affordable right-handed power bat with defensive versatility.