MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Biggest Names on the Trading Block
With the annual MLB owners' meetings scheduled for next week in Nashville, Tenn.,the hot stove league will no doubt be ramping up.
It's always a crazy week, with just last year serving as a fine example.
Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle were just some of the players that signed on with new teams during last year's owners' meetings. And a few trades were included during the week as well.
While free agency will likely be the focal point once again, the trade market will see its share of activity as well in the coming weeks.
Bleacher Report will take a look at 10 players whose names have recently surfaced in various rumors.
Jhonny Peralta: Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers exercised the 2013 option on shortstop Jhonny Peralta's contract for $6 million, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from swirling about Peralta and possible destinations for next season.
Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com reported last week that the Arizona Diamondbacks could have interest in Peralta, but more likely as a third-base option.
If the Tigers were to deal Peralta, they'd likely consider Stephen Drew as an option, Piecoro went on to say.
In addition, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that the Tigers would deal Peralta if they could find a more athletic alternative.
Yunel Escobar: Miami Marlins
The ink isn't even dry on the trade paperwork that sent shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Miami Marlins last week, and already he's trade bait once again.
In fact, the Marlins were shopping Escobar before MLB had given their approval on the mega-deal.
How excited are the Marlins to have Yunel Escobar? They were calling around shopping him last week, before the mega-deal was even official.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 20, 2012
The assumption is that Escobar's contract for $5 million next season plus two additional team options for $5 million is considered too pricey for the Marlins.
In another post, Passan also listed Escobar as an available shortstop trade option in a very weak free agent market, along with Jed Lowrie of the Houston Astros and Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians.
Jason Kubel: Arizona Diamondbacks
While Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton's name continues to surface in various trade rumors, at least one baseball expert believes that the Diamondbacks might be more inclined to deal another of their outfielders.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote last week that the D-Backs may instead look to deal left fielder Jason Kubel.
It's hard to argue with Rosenthal's rationale. If the Diamondbacks trade Upton rather than Kubel, they'd be stuck with an all left-handed batting outfield with Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton.
In addition, Kubel's salary for the next two seasons is much more palatable to many teams. Kubel is owed $7.5 million next year with a club option for the same money in 2014.
Rosenthal also points out that Kubel would bring back less in return, meaning the Diamondbacks might have to package Kubel in order to get the return they're seeking.
Denard Span: Minnesota Twins
Center field is rich with free-agent options this winter, with Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn all attracting considerable attention.
However, one expert offers up an alternative, at least for a team like the Atlanta Braves.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com did a quick comparison between the Braves center fielder last season—Bourn—and Minnesota Twins center fielder Denard Span.
The numbers aren't all that disparate.
Span is a year younger and comes at a vastly reduced price compared to what Bourn is likely to get on the open market. In addition, the Braves certainly have a plentiful supply of arms for the pitching-poor Twins.
Jeremy Hellickson: Tampa Bay Rays
Considering he just won a Rookie of the Year Award one year ago, it's hard to believe that the Tampa Bay Rays would want to part with starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.
But the rumor mill says otherwise.
According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Rays are listening to offers involving both Hellickson and fellow starter James Shields.
Silverman goes on to say that the Rays will be particularly interested if a team such as the Kansas City Royals were to come calling and offered up position players like Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer or Alex Gordon.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post also said that the Rays would be open to moving Hellickson if they got back quality position players in a return package, such as Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton.
Asdrubal Cabrera: Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has already been a hot name this offseason—certainly understandable given the relative dearth of depth at that position in the free-agent market.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) said last week that the Oakland A's could have interest, but they won't be too keen on giving up any of their pitching, something the Indians will likely demand in return.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com also said the Indians would be willing to part with Cabrera, but only if they receive front-line pitching in return.
Michael Morse: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals and free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche are still talking about a new long-term contract.
Until that situation is resolved one way or another, the fate of left fielder Michael Morse is likely up in the air.
Morse brings power and just a $6.75 million contract for next season to the table for teams needing help either in left field or at first base.
Morse missed the first two months of the season last year before returning to hit .291 with 18 home runs, another solid season on top of his 2011 campaign during which he hit .303 with 31 home runs.
It might make sense for the Nats to try to deal Morse now. He's a free agent at the end of next season and will likely command close to $10 million annually.
Dexter Fowler: Colorado Rockies
On Sunday, Troy Renck of the Denver Post offered up this little tidbit about Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler:
If Braves get Upton should help clarify/intensify market for Fowler. Phils, Nats might emerge but Rox asking price will be very high— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) November 25, 2012
Fowler had a career-year last season for the Rockies, hitting an even .300 with 13 home runs, 53 RBI and and and .863 OPS. He's been among the league leaders in triples for the past four seasons as well.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote last week that the Rockies will use Fowler's career year to get as much as they can for him. However, one baseball executive told Passan that Colorado's asking price was "absurd."
Renck also commented in another post that the Rockies will listen on offers for Fowler, but they aren't on the horn with other teams aggressively shopping him, either.
David Wright: New York Mets
Speculation continues to swirl about the New York Mets and third baseman David Wright regarding a long-term extension.
An industry source told Mike Puma of the New York Post last week that the chances of the Mets signing Wright at this point were "50-50."
On Monday, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal tweeted that the Mets are still optimistic about signing Wright and that they have not aggressively pursued trades as of yet.
FWIW, I'm told Mets have yet to seriously explore trade options for Wright. They may need to eventually, but still hopeful for extension.— Brian Costa (@BrianCostaWSJ) November 26, 2012
This is obviously a fluid situation, and one that the Mets need to clear up sooner rather than later in order to set their plans for the rest of the offseason.
Giancarlo Stanton: Miami Marlins
While the Miami Marlins may be insisting that they have no plans to trade right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, the rumor mill is wildly active nonetheless.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported on Sunday that a number of teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs, have already checked in with the Marlins regarding Stanton's availability.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he has been in contact with the Marlins following their blockbuster deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We’ve made some inquiries about a lot of players that went in that trade, both to Toronto and to Miami,” Amaro said. “But nothing imminent so far.”
I don't think I'd go quite that far.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.