MLB Trade Scenarios: Every Team's Most Expendable Player
There are just 28 days remaining until pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training. While that may seem like a relatively short window, it is more than enough time for each team to examine its roster and identify a player that may be deemed expendable.
In other words, there is still time to tweak your roster before the start of the regular season.
There are still a couple of solid free agents available; however, some organizations may choose to deviate from signing players in favor of examining what they already have and opting to get creative on the trade front.
This piece is designed to take a look at each team’s roster and uncover which player would represent the most expendable option.
In which area does the organization have the most depth, or the most to gain from moving a particular player?
Let's have a look.
Colorado Rockies: Eric Young
Eric Young had somewhat of a breakout season for the Colorado Rockies in 2012.
The 27-year-old Young played in 98 games for the Rockies and posted a career high batting line of .316/.377/.448/.825.
He managed 13 extra-base hits with 15 RBI in 174 at-bats while stealing 14 bases on 16 attempts.
What makes Young expendable is the fact that the Rockies already have Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer in the outfield with Young slotted in as the fourth outfielder.
He is more attractive to other teams over say a Cuddyer due to his age and affordability. He is arbitration eligible this winter, but under team control through the 2016 season.
San Diego Padres: Jesus Guzman
In San Diego, Jesus Guzman could be the odd man out.
Last season Guzman appeared in 120 games for the Padres while posting a batting line of .247/.319/.418/.737 in 287 at-bats.
He managed to hit 18 doubles, two triples and nine home runs.
The outfield is pretty deep in San Diego, making Guzman expendable if need be, despite his large contribution in 2012.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton
Don’t hold your breath now, but the Diamondbacks could finally decide to move on from Justin Upton.
Yes, you’ve heard it before and you’ll likely hear it again.
However, Upton represents an opportunity for the Diamondbacks to move along with an outfield consisting of Cody Ross, Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra.
While he has already vetoed a trade to the Mariners (according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports), Upton could still find himself playing somewhere like Texas or Atlanta next season.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Dee Gordon
It would seem like a logical move now that the Dodgers have Hanley Ramirez to play shortstop to start shopping Dee Gordon.
Ramirez represents a significant upgrade offensively at short.
Additionally, in what the team loses in stolen base totals from Gordon can be made up in the combination of Ramirez with the addition of Carl Crawford in left.
San Francisco Giants: Javier Lopez
When you are the defending World Series champions it is difficult to label any one player as expendable.
However, for the purpose of this exercise, every team must be represented.
For the San Francisco Giants, there is really only one area in which the team could spare a player: the bullpen, and that may be a stretch.
Javier Lopez proves to be the odd man out, and only barely.
While it is certainly a luxury to have several left-handed relievers, Lopez represents the oldest southpaw in the bullpen.
That being said, he still managed a 3-0 record with a 2.50 ERA and 1.417 WHIP for the Giants in 2012, putting in 36.0 innings in 70 total games.
Chicago Cubs: Matt Garza
If Matt Garza were healthy today, he would have already been traded.
The Cubs front office has been very shrewd in the moves it has made since taking over, doing its absolute best to build a better farm system and develop the team organically.
Trading away Matt Garza will fall in line with that logic. Garza is more valuable to another team that is only a pitcher away from competing than he is for the Cubs who are a couple seasons away.
In 2012 Garza went 5-7 in 18 starts with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.177 WHIP for the Cubs.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jordy Mercer
It is always hard to give up on young talent.
The Pirates have a slew of middle infielders and could manage to do just that by unloading Jordy Mercer.
When stacked up against the competition up the middle, the expenditure of Mercer would still leave both Josh Harrison and Chase d’Arnaud to battle it out as the utility infielder for the Bucs.
Of course, at this point any one (or two) of those players may end up playing A-ball at the start of next season anyway.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart
The Milwaukee Brewers could take a leap of faith and move on from Corey Hart.
To start the season they could let lefty Taylor Green start the season at first and allow him to work through any offensive issues that may arise.
Or, perhaps the team could bring up Hunter Morris, a player that Baseball America lists as the fourth best prospect in the Brewers system.
After all, he did put up a .920 OPS in AA Huntsville last season. It could prove worth the gamble.
St. Louis Cardinals: Ty Wigginton
The St. Louis Cardinals signed free-agent utility man Ty Wigginton to a two-year and $5 million contract.
If only a team could take a mulligan in baseball, the Cardinals would likely do just that on this one.
With Wigginton in the mix, the red birds now have plenty of infielders and have seemingly wasted money signing the man to come to town to occasionally play third… Maybe?
Either way, they really don’t need him.
Cincinnati Reds: Chris Heisey
With the addition of Shin-Soo Choo and the solid play of Xavier Paul in 2012, Chris Heisey may find himself with a decreased workload in 2013.
The 27-year-old outfielder had a solid season in 2012, posting a batting line of .265/.315/.401/.715 in 120 games for the Reds.
His left-handed counterpart, Paul, however, was markedly better, posting a .314/.379/.465/.844 line in 55 games.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
When stating that Giancarlo Stanton is expendable, it is not being suggested that he has no value to his team.
Rather, in trading Stanton the Marlins would likely receive an amazing mass of minor league talent and would allow the Marlins organization to completely rebuild once again.
On the flip side, however, unloading Stanton would likely alienate the last couple of Marlins fans on the planet.
It is a slippery slope. As ownership do you take that gamble to bring in a bunch of potentially solid talent for short money or do you keep the one true face left on this team?
Should ownership decide to listen to offers, it is hard to imagine any contender with a decent farm system not being in on Stanton talks.
New York Mets: Ike Davis
The New York Mets have limited funds to spend. Therefore, if they want to try and shake things up, it would have to likely come in the form of a trade.
Ike Davis is just the man to dangle out there.
With a small handful of teams still needing help at first base, the 25-year-old Davis would be an attractive option, despite only batting .227 in 2012.
His .462 SLG powered by 32 home runs is enough to quell some of those batting average concerns.
Philadelphia Phillies: Laynce Nix
With Darin Ruf and John Mayberry in the mix to troll the Phillies outfield, Laynce Nix would seem like the odd man out, being the elder statesman.
Ruf has shown that he earns a shot at the starting gig in left field while Ben Revere and Domonic Brown will make up the rest of the regular outfield.
Beyond that, Nix is three years older than Mayberry and has only slightly better offensive numbers.
Atlanta Braves: Paul Janish
In 2012 Braves shortstop Paul Janish didn’t really wow a lot of spectators.
While he only played in 55 games, Janish was only able to put up a batting line of .186/.269/.234/.502 in 167 at-bats, resulting in just 31 hits and nine RBI.
On the bright side, Janish only had two errors last year.
Nevertheless, the Braves have high hopes for Andrelton Simmons this season and will still have Tyler Pastornicky in the fold as well.
Washington Nationals: Michael Morse
With Adam LaRoche officially coming back to Washington, the rumors began swirling regarding the availability of Michael Morse.
There is good reason for that.
When given a shot to be a full-time player when LaRoche was injured in 2011, Morse played in 146 games and put together an impressive .303/.360/.550/.910 batting line.
In addition, he had 31 home runs with 95 RBI while finishing 19th overall in the National League MVP race.
His 36 total doubles that year was a career high as well, surpassing his 2010 and 2012 totals combined.
While Morse is weak defensively, his bat in the right ballpark can be quite alluring.
Houston Astros: Bud Norris
With the Houston Astros making the leap to the American League this season, the expectations for the team are extremely low.
Add to the fact that the Astros have 213 total losses over the last two seasons, the future looks dismal.
However, should the team decide to move Bud Norris, it could get something of quality in return.
While Norris is not the ace of the staff, he does possess solid stuff.
Norris has never owned a winning season and has only once seen his ERA under four, he is an intriguing young pitcher.
Seattle Mariners: Justin Smoak
When the Mariners acquired Kendrys Morales, they opened up their flexibility with first baseman Justin Smoak.
While Smoak is a switch-hitting 26-year-old, he has largely failed to live up to professional expectations since arriving in the majors.
With that in mind, Smoak is still young with plenty of potential.
If the Mariners opted to move on from Smoak, Morales could fill in as the regular first baseman and Mike Carp would be able to slide into the role of DH for the time being.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Mark Trumbo
There is almost no way that the Angels will be able to move Vernon Wells and his astronomical salary, yet they have Trumbo slated to DH over the highly overpaid veteran.
While a team wants to put the best players on the field, it hurts to see such an enormous waste of money on the bench.
Should the Angels decide to move Trumbo, they would likely get a lot in return for the younger/Adam Dunn-eque slugger.
Texas Rangers: Derek Holland
Derek Holland took a noticeable step back in 2012.
While he was still a double-digit winner, going 12-7 in 29 games (27 for starts) his ERA jumped up to 4.67 from 3.95 in 2011 while he did manage to lower his WHIP from 1.354 to 1.221.
Most noticeable was the number of home runs he allowed. It jumped from 22 in 2011 to 32 this past season.
Additionally, his WAR took a dip from 2.1 to 1.7.
Does this all mean that Holland is a poor pitcher? Of course not. It does mean that the Rangers could take the next step without him and still be fine.
Oakland Athletics: Bartolo Colon
There is no denying how important Bartolo Colon was for the A's in 2012.
He posted a 10-9 record with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.208 WHIP in 24 games before testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
At 39 years old and with ties to PEDs the A's could certainly roll the dice on another, younger pitcher and get similar results without worrying about any further suspensions.
Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau
The Minnesota Twins have finished last in the American League Central for the past two consecutive seasons.
That said, they are only two seasons removed from making it to the ALDS in two consecutive seasons. They could plausibly be just a move or two away from being seriously competitive once again.
The move they should consider involves moving on from Justin Morneau and perhaps moving Joe Mauer to first base.
The former AL MVP has witnessed a decline in his production over the last two seasons; however, a change of scenery could be the catalyst he needs to bounce back.
The Twins could easily survive with Mauer at first and Ryan Doumit taking over the catching duties with a revolving designated hitter.
Cleveland Indians: Yan Gomes
For the Cleveland Indians, 2013 is going to be a very interesting season.
The team has made some significant moves that could prove to be quite positive under the direction of new skipper, Terry Francona.
With that in mind, a player like Yan Gomes, a utility man with just 43 games of big league experience, could benefit from some time in the farm while this new Indians lineup learns to mesh.
Kansas City Royals: Miguel Tejada
While he is not going to be on the Major League roster, well, likely at all, Miguel Tejada has been signed by the Kansas City Royals organization.
After all of their other great moves this winter, this one is just puzzling. The team has absolutely no need for him.
Remember, the last time he played in the big leagues in 2011 he posted a whopping .596 OPS in 91 games.
Chicago White Sox: Gavin Floyd
With a 12-11 record in 2012, Gavin Floyd had the second-most wins on the White Sox behind Chris Sale.
However, his 4.29 ERA placed him fourth among Sox starters.
Upon the healthy return of John Danks, it is likely that the White Sox will start to field offers for Floyd. After all, they do have a pretty healthy looking six-man rotation as it stands right now.
Until Danks shows up healthy, Floyd will remain in the mix.
Detroit Tigers: Rick Porcello
Another team with no surprises, the Detroit Tigers could easily live without Rick Porcello now that Anibal Sanchez is back in the mix.
It is only a matter of time, one would assume, before Porcello gets dealt.
Boston Red Sox: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
The Boston Red Sox have managed to put together an extremely deep catching core consisting of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross and presumably Mike Napoli.
Somebody has to go, right?
Once (read: if) the Napoli deal gets completed, the team will likely look to move Salty and utilize Lavarnway as the everyday catcher with Ross working every fifth day.
Toronto Blue Jays: J.A. Happ
The revamped Toronto Blue Jays appear to have few flaws with a solid idea of where they want to be in 2013.
With that in mind, it is hard to select one player that the team could move on without. However, given his 4.69 ERA and 1.289 WHIP in 2012, J.A. Happ could be the nominee.
The team has managed to bolster the rotation to the point of excess, adding R.A.Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, so losing a holdover Blue Jay starter shouldn't be too harmful overall.
Tampa Bay Rays: Reid Brignac
The Tampa Bay Rays could easily live without Reid Brignac's .095 batting average.
The team already has Elliot Johnson up the middle as a utility infielder. While he is not a tremendous player, Johnson is an upgrade over Brignac.
The true merit of the Rays has always been the pitching staff, but having players capable of run production is important.
Baltimore Orioles: Nate McLouth
The Baltimore Orioles will not live and die by Nate McLouth.
While he was impressive in the 2012 ALDS, posting a .318/.348/.500/.848 batting line in five games, McLouth has been an average player at best since 2008.
The Orioles could easily plug Chris Davis or Xavier Avery in and expect the same production out of them.
New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
The New York Yankees owe Alex Rodriguez a minimum of $114 million over the next five seasons.
At least this season will be severely shortened due to offseason surgery.
His numbers have been declining since 2008 and don't appear to be climbing any time soon. The Yankees should make a difficult decision and try to move on from their broken down slugger.
At this point the team would be better served with Kevin Youkilis and Russ Canzler splitting time at the hot corner.