The winter meetings may have come to an end of Thursday evening without one of many blockbuster deals transpiring, but the groundwork has been laid for what could be a busy couple months before spring training—especially once that Greinke guy signs.
One thing we did learn: in a majority of the rumors supporting a high-profile trade—such as the wild one between the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Indians and Rays—the driving force is the specific prospects being made available.
With two months until spring training, there’s still plenty of time for deals to go down. Here’s a look at five prospects that will likely remain on the trading block.
1. Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals
Royals’ GM Dayton Moore is unabashedly dangling top-prospect Wil Myers as part of his offseason search for a frontline starting pitcher. So far the soon-to-be 22-year-old has been mentioned in potential deals with the Rays for James Shields, Red Sox for Jon Lester (via WEEI.com) and Mets for R.A. Dickey (via ESPN New York)—rumors of the latter two teams have faded over the week.
While I’m a big fan of James Shields, Myers’ upside isn’t worth two years of the Rays’ right-hander. At the same time, with upside comes risk, so it makes sense why the Rays would ask for more than just Myers in return.
2. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Bauer’s name has been popping up in trade rumors over the last two months after he seemingly fell out of good standing with the organization. It’s obvious that Bauer is a regimented and stubborn individual, but he’s still incredibly talented and should be a success big-league pitcher. Plus, after receiving a taste of the majors last year in four midseason starts with the Diamondbacks, his stock is slightly inflated based upon readiness.
It wasn’t until this past week that Bauer was linked to a specific team: the Indians, as part of a deal for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Teams will continue to inquire about the right-hander’s availability and, like always, GM Kevin Towers will listen.
3. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Although the Diamondbacks appear more interested in trading Bauer for a legitimate shortstop, left-hander Tyler Skaggs may be the deal-breaker. The 21-year-old made his big league debut last season in late August and registered a 5.83 ERA over six starts.
According to reports, the Indians first inquired about Skaggs before the Diamondbacks countered with Bauer. While Bauer, the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2011, is more likely to make an impact in the major leagues next season, Skaggs arguably has the higher ceiling given his handedness and track record of success as a younger player.
4. Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers
Which prospect is more likely to be traded this offseason?
It’s no surprise that Olt’s name is back on the trading block. After all, he was rumored to be a key player involved in the Rangers’ negotiations for Zack Greinke at the trade deadline. After posting a .977 OPS with 28 home runs in 95 games at Double-A Frisco, Olt was promoted directly to the major leagues in early August. Plagued by lingering plantar fasciitis, Olt appeared in only 16 games and batted .152/.250/.182.
With Adrian Beltre signed through the 2013 season, Olt is technically just as expendable as he was in late July. The 24-year-old third baseman is nearly big-league-ready and should be a big-time run-producer hitting in the middle of a lineup. Most recently, Olt was rumored to be part of a possible deal with the Rays for James Shields.
5. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Even after dealing the once-promising Tommy Hanson late last week, the Braves still can afford to consider trading a young pitcher. While it’s entirely possible that they try to move Randall Delgado, their most intriguing trade chip is right-hander Julio Teheran. Headed into the 2012 season, Teheran, 21, was regarded as one of the elite pitching prospects in the game after a dominant showing at Triple-A Gwinnett.
And then he registered a 5.08 ERA over 26 starts while repeating the level. Therefore, while his prospect stock isn’t nearly as high as it was a year ago, the upside is still there and a spot at the back-end of a major league rotation may be exactly what he needs. The only conceivable scenario, as suggested by David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, involving Teheran would be for an elite player, such as Jacoby Ellsbury.