Ranking All 30 MLB Teams' Top Potentially Available Trade Asset

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2013

Ranking All 30 MLB Teams' Top Potentially Available Trade Asset

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    We're a little over three weeks from the MLB trade deadline, and already the rumor mill is in full swing as teams look to pull the trigger on any potential roster moves before the July 31 non-waiver deadline passes.

    As that deadline approaches, here is an overview of each team's top trade chip who could potentially be on the move.

    For buyers, their top trade chip is the top prospect they'd be willing to move. That is not necessarily their top overall prospect, as some guys are untouchable.

    For sellers, their top trade chip is the most valuable veteran piece they have at the big league level that they'd be willing to part with as they look to add prospects that would help toward rebuilding.

30. New York Mets: CF Marlon Byrd

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    There is plenty of reason for optimism surrounding the future of the Mets, and while they're not going anywhere this season, they may not be aggressive sellers either.

    One player who could be on the move is outfielder Marlon Byrd, who signed a minor league contract in the offseason and is making just $700,000 this season.

    The 35-year-old has hit a solid .265/.310/.486 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 249 at-bats this season, as he has resurrected his career after being released by the Red Sox last June. 

    After deciding to hold on to Scott Hairston at the deadline last year when they weren't impressed enough by any offers to move him, don't be surprised if the Mets do the same once again with Byrd.

29. Cincinnati Reds: SP Daniel Corcino

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    The Reds don't need much at the deadline, as they'll benefit greatly from the return of a handful of their own players from injury in Johnny Cueto, Ryan Ludwick, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton.

    As a result, don't expect top prospects Billy Hamilton, Robert Stephenson and Nick Travieso to be involved in any sort of deal they may look to pull off, as a blockbuster is not likely to be in the works.

    Their biggest need appears to be a right-handed bat with some pop and some additional bullpen help, and they may look to deal a package built around right-hander Daniel Corcino to fill those needs.

    The burly 22-year-old was terrific at Double-A last season, and while he's struggled this year with a 6.72 ERA and 1.783 WHIP in Triple-A, the talent is still there with a solid fastball/changeup combination and a developing slider.

28. Toronto Blue Jays: SP Daniel Norris

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    The Blue Jays shipped out a good deal of their minor league talent in the offseason, and while it looked like they might be sellers just a few weeks ago, they've started to put things together and could instead look to shore up the roster at the deadline.

    Top prospect Aaron Sanchez is now the jewel of the system and is likely untouchable, but 20-year-old Daniel Norris could be used as a trade chip if the team looks to pull off a sizable deal.

    A second-round pick in 2011, the left-hander is just 0-4 with a 5.59 ERA and 10.0 K/9 in Single-A this season, but he has the upside to develop into a solid No. 2 or 3 starter.

    If things go south in the next couple weeks, the team could look to deal free-agent-to-be starter Josh Johnson, but as of now it looks like the Jays will have a chance at contending after all despite their poor start.

27. SP Nathan Karns, Washington Nationals

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    The Nationals may need to look into shoring up their starting rotation if they hope to make a run at living up to the expectations they entered the season with.

    Veterans Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren have struggled, while counting on youngsters Taylor Jordan and Nathan Karns to hold down a rotation spot may be expecting too much.

    That said, both of those guys could be attractive trade chips to teams looking to add a young pitcher who is close to big league-ready, and Karns may have slightly more upside than Jordan.

    The 25-year-old has made three forgettable starts for Washington this season but is 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 10.6 K/9 in 13 starts at the Double-A level.

26. New York Yankees: CF Slade Heathcott

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    The Yankees have tried to avoid taking on huge contracts or trading away their high-end minor league talent of late, and coming off a down month of June, they likely won't be in a position to go all-in at the deadline.

    If things really go south, they could look to move Hiroki Kuroda or Phil Hughes, but instead expect them to do some tinkering as they look to shore up the roster and earn a postseason spot.

    Outfielder Slade Heathcott, a first-round pick in 2009, has moved slowly through the Yankees' farm system and has reached Double-A for the first time this season.

    The 22-year-old is hitting .253/.322/.372 with 22 extra-base hits, and a package centered on him may be enough to bring in an upgrade at catcher or third base.

25. Baltimore Orioles: SP Eduardo Rodriguez

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    The Orioles' top two prospects, right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, are not going anywhere, but the team does have some solid trade chips it could use to help bolster the roster for the second-half push.

    Second baseman Jonathan Schoop entered the season regarded by most outlets as the team's No. 3 prospect, but he has battled injuries this season and has not put up great numbers when he's been on the field.

    Instead, the team's most attractive trade chip appears to be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the season as the team's No. 5 prospect, according to Baseball America.

    Signed as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela back in 2010, he went 6-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 starts at High-A this season before being promoted to the Double-A level. He still has some developing to do, but he profiles as a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm moving forward.

24. Miami Marlins: CF Justin Ruggiano

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    The Giancarlo Stanton rumors will no doubt continue to swirl, but according to reports from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jayson Stark of ESPN, a trade of the slugging outfielder just isn't going to happen, at least not at the deadline.

    With Ricky Nolasco already traded, the team does not have much in the way of impact trade chips moving forward, as veterans Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre could be moved but won't net much of a return.

    One player who could be of interest if made available is outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who came out of nowhere to post a .909 OPS with 13 home runs and 14 steals last season as a 30-year-old. He's hitting just .224 with a .698 OPS this season, but he has managed 12 home runs and 11 steals.

    The Rangers and Yankees have shown interest in him, according to Rosenthal, and he likely doesn't factor into Miami's long-term plans given his age.

23. Cleveland Indians: SS Dorssys Paulino

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    The Indians' farm system is incredibly thin, and there is no chance they'll move top prospect Francisco Lindor, but they are in a position to contend and could look to pull off a deal to add another starting pitcher or some bullpen help.

    With Lindor in place, fellow shortstop prospect Dorssys Paulino could be considered expendable, and there is always a market for high-upside players at a premium position like shortstop.

    The Indians gave the 18-year-old a $1.1 million signing bonus when they signed him back in July of 2011, and while he is by no means tearing things up, he is one of the youngest players at the Single-A level this year.

    A package built around him that included a few other low-level prospects could be enough for the Indians to land a middle-of-the-rotation arm or late-inning relief arm.

22. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Chris Owings

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    The Diamondbacks will undoubtedly be buyers at the deadline, as they're currently on top of a wide-open NL West and could separate themselves from the pack by adding another reliable starter or front-line reliever.

    Top pitching prospect Archie Bradley is likely untouchable, as are young arms Randall Delgado and Tyler Skaggs, making shortstop Chris Owings perhaps their most valuable trade chip.

    Owings will be just 22 in August, but he's currently hitting .348/.369/.481 with eight home runs, 58 RBI and 15 steals in Triple-A.

    With Didi Gregorius stepping in as the shortstop of the present and future, the 2009 supplemental-round pick could be considered expendable, and there would no doubt be plenty of teams interested if Arizona made him available.

21. Atlanta Braves: SP Lucas Sims

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    The Braves' farm system is not as strong as it has been in years past, as much of their top young talent has graduated to the major league ranks, but they still have some pieces that could net a solid return at the deadline.

    Left-hander Sean Gilmartin has struggled this season, and J.R. Graham is currently injured, so the team's top prospect right now may be last year's first-round pick Lucas Sims.

    The 19-year-old right-hander is 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.027 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 in 18 games (eight starts) at Single-A Rome this season.

    Since moving to the rotation, he's gone 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA in eight starts, and while he likely won't see the majors until late 2015 at the earliest, he has terrific upside.

20. Seattle Mariners: DH/OF Raul Ibanez

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    The Mariners may have more trade chips to move than any team in baseball, as hitters Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, as well as pitchers Joe Saunders, Oliver Perez and Tom Wilhelmsen, could all be dealt.

    Based solely on first-half production, Ibanez has to be viewed as the top trade chip right now, as the 41-year-old has posted an .869 OPS on the year with 22 home runs and 51 RBI.

    Given the fact that he has less than $2 million remaining on his contract, combined with his impressive performance in the postseason last year, he should be a great veteran flip for the Mariners.

    Morse and Morales have more production upside, and left-handers like Saunders and Perez may be in greater demand, but based on his first half, Ibanez should be a big pickup for whoever deals for him.

19. Colorado Rockies: SS Trevor Story

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    The Rockies would have a lot of potential trade chips if they were to be sellers at the deadline, but in a wide-open NL West and with a solid first half under their belt, they may opt to buy instead.

    If they do go that route, a package built around shortstop Trevor Story might be enough to land them an impact arm to bolster their rotation behind the trio of Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood.

    The 20-year-old Story hit .277/.367/.505 with 18 home runs and 15 steals last season at Single-A, and though he's struggled in his first taste of High-A, he's still well ahead of the development curve.

    With Troy Tulowitzki entrenched at shortstop, a move to second base may be in Story's future, but a trade is not out of the question if the team opts to buy between now and July 31.

18. San Diego Padres: SP Edinson Volquez

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    The Padres were in a position to buy following a hot streak a few weeks back, but they have gone just 2-14 in their last 16 games and have fallen 7.5 games back in the NL West as a result.

    They have a handful of viable trade chips, but the most likely to be moved may be Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez.

    He's just 6-7 with a 5.33 ERA on the season, but he's gone 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in his last six starts, and his value may never be higher than it is right now.

    With Volquez a free agent at the end of the season, the Padres aren't likely to bring him back with so many young starters in the system, and dealing him now could add another solid piece to the rebuilding puzzle.

17. Boston Red Sox: SP Felix Doubront

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    The idea of the contending Red Sox trading the 25-year-old Felix Doubront, who has gone 5-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) on the season, may seem odd.

    However, dealing him in a trade for a front-line starter like Matt Garza or Yovani Gallardo or a top reliever like Jonathan Papelbon or Glen Perkins may be a way for them to hold on to their top pitching prospects.

    Matt Barnes, Allen Webster and Henry Owens all look to have bright futures in the Red Sox rotation, and a package built around Doubront could allow the team to hold on to all of them while still acquiring an impact talent.

16. Los Angeles Angels: SP Jason Vargas

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    The Angels have played much better of late, but they still have a ways to go to catch up to the Rangers and A's in the AL West, and depending on how the next couple weeks go, they could opt to cut their losses and sell off a few movable pieces at the deadline.

    One player who makes sense as a trade candidate is starter Jason Vargas, who is having a solid season and is a free agent at season's end.

    Acquired from the Mariners in a trade for Kendrys Morales in the offseason, the left-hander has gone 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts this season and has continued to be an innings eater.

    He's currently on the disabled list after having a blood clot removed from his armpit, but he should return in time to make a start or two before the deadline, and when he does, he may be auditioning to be moved.

15. San Francisco Giants: RP Javier Lopez

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    The Giants have been nothing short of terrible of late, going 5-17 in their last 22 games, and if they continue to struggle, there is no reason to think they won't do at least some minor selling at the deadline.

    Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez are all slated to hit free agency at the end of the season, and with Pence a candidate to be re-signed in the offseason and Lincecum struggling, the best trade chip may be Lopez.

    The 35-year-old southpaw has posted a 1.71 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 37 appearances this season, and there will no shortage of teams looking to add a left-hander of his caliber to shore up their bullpen.

    A quick turnaround here could put the Giants right back into contention, but given the way they have played of late, that's no given for this club.

14. St. Louis Cardinals: 2B Kolten Wong

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    The Cardinals' farm system is loaded with pitching talent, but they have never been ones to deal pitching, and that depth has come into play more than once already this season.

    Instead, expect the team to use second base prospect Kolten Wong as the main prospect in any package it tries to put together.

    The Cards don't have any glaring needs, though shortstop and center field could stand to be upgraded and another veteran starter would be useful, but Wong can be considered expendable at this point.

    Matt Carpenter has stepped into the everyday second base role and run with it, and with Wong close to big league-ready with a .303/.358/.465 line in Triple-A, now may be the time to deal him as the team looks to make a run at a title.

13. Tampa Bay Rays: SP Alex Colome

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    The Rays' starting pitching has struggled at times this season, but with David Price back and Alex Cobb on the mend, they'll once again have an abundance of arms to choose from to fill out their rotation.

    Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome are both currently in the minors, and Chris Archer may be the odd man out once Cobb returns, so if the team makes a play to acquire someone at the deadline, it could be through trading one of those arms.

    Colome has gone 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts so far at the big league level this season, but the 24-year-old has never gotten a real chance at sticking in the Rays rotation.

    Odorizzi and Archer may net a bigger return, but a package built around Colome and a few other prospects could land an impact player for the stretch run.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers: RF Andre Ethier

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    With the emergence of rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers have four viable starters for three outfield positions, and while they're in a position to contend with their recent run of success, they could look to move one of them.

    Matt Kemp is not going anywhere, and Carl Crawford is due $82.5 million over the next four seasons, so Andre Ethier seems like the most likely candidate to be shopped.

    Ethier doesn't come cheap either, as he's set to earn $69 million over the next four years with a $17.5 million option and $2.5 million buyout for 2018.

    However, the Dodgers would no doubt be willing to eat a good deal of that in order to move him, and the 31-year-old Ethier would bring a solid left-handed bat to a contender looking to bolster its lineup now and in the years ahead.

11. Oakland Athletics: SP Sonny Gray

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    The Athletics have managed to avoid a letdown after last year's surprise success, and they are in position to contend for a playoff spot once again this season.

    The team could stand to add a second baseman and perhaps another outfielder, as well as a veteran starter to help shore up its young staff, and while the A's generally aren't ones to make big splashes at the deadline, they're in a position to win now.

    Right-hander Sonny Gray looks to be their most appealing trade chip, as the 23-year-old has gone 8-5 with a 2.81 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 102.1 innings of work this season.

    It would take a handsome return for the team to be willing to part with him, but the fact that he is close to big league-ready pitching in Triple-A this season could add value for some teams.

10. Chicago White Sox: RP Jesse Crain

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    Expected to sell aggressively at the deadline, the White Sox have a number of trade chips that could net a decent return, including outfielder Alex Rios, starter Jake Peavy and relievers Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Matt Lindstrom.

    However, given the fact that Rios is still due $12.5 million next year and Peavy has battled injury and inconsistency this season, it is All-Star setup man Crain who ranks as the team's top trade chip.

    The 32-year-old veteran is currently on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, but he is expected back after the break and has posted a 0.74 ERA and 11.3 K/9 in 38 appearances this season.

    He won't net a top prospect, but as he's due just over $2 million the rest of the way with an expiring contract, he's the ideal rental arm for a contender's bullpen.

9. Kansas City Royals: SP Ervin Santana

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    The Royals are by no means eliminated from the playoff picture, and they may actually wind up buying, but unless they make a move in the next couple weeks, expect Ervin Santana to at least be shopped.

    The right-hander, who was acquired from the Angels in what amounted to a cost-cutting move, has gone 5-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.051 WHIP in 17 starts this season and has helped turn around the Royals staff alongside James Shields.

    However, he is a free agent at season's end, and the team may opt to flip him before he hits the open market, as it may wind up losing him for nothing otherwise.

    He may not be as attractive an option as Matt Garza or Cliff Lee, but he'll likely come at a slightly cheaper price, and the Royals should still be able to get a solid return if they move him.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates: CF Gregory Polanco

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    As the Pirates look to avoid a third straight second-half collapse, they may be more aggressive at the deadline this time around, as they could look to add a veteran starter or a right fielder before the deadline.

    The team looks to be the real deal this time around, with a more well-balanced offense and one of the best pitching staffs in the league, but they may still be a few pieces away from being legitimate title contenders.

    Pitching prospect Jameson Taillon is likely untouchable, and they'd likely be skeptical of trading shortstop Alen Hanson as well, but outfield prospect Gregory Polanco could be a solid player to build a blockbuster package around.

    Ranked as the No. 13 prospect on the Baseball America Midseason Top 50 list, the 21-year-old is hitting .307/.367/.459 with 28 extra-base hits and 28 steals while recently reaching Double-A, and he'd likely be of interest to more than a few teams.

7. Houston Astros: SP Bud Norris

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    As the rebuild and resulting youth movement continues in Houston, the Astros don't have much in the way of trade chips left on the roster, though there will likely be at least a few players on the move.

    Designated hitter Carlos Pena and closer Jose Veras could both be of interest to a contender looking to fill out the roster, but the trade chip that could net a serious return is right-hander Bud Norris.

    The 28-year-old earned the Opening Day start this season and has gone 6-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 18 starts this season as one of the few bright spots for the Astros on the pitching side of things.

    He'd by no means be an ace on a contender, but he could help fill out a rotation, and the fact that he is under team control through 2015 certainly adds to his value.

6. Detroit Tigers: LF Nick Castellanos

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    The Tigers reached the World Series last season, and though they have by no means run away with the AL Central, they still have to be viewed as the favorites to come away with the division title.

    Adding another starter to replace Rick Porcello or upgrading the left field position could be enough to push them over the top in the American League, but their farm system is fairly thin as far as pieces with which to pull off a deal.

    Any blockbuster would have to be built around 21-year-old Nick Castellanos, who entered the season as the Tigers' top prospect and the No. 21 overall prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.

    He's hit .292/.367/.467 with 28 doubles and 11 home runs at Triple-A this season, and he could in fact be the answer to upgrading left field in the second half. However, if the team looks to make a splash, expect him to be included.

5. Minnesota Twins: RP Glen Perkins

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    After posting a 4.81 ERA in 80 games (44 starts) over his first five seasons in the league, left-hander Glen Perkins took a big step forward in 2011 when he posted a 2.48 ERA with 9.5 K/9 in 65 appearances.

    Last season, he took over the closer role for Minnesota for the second half of the season and converted 16 of 20 save chances with a 2.56 ERA in 70 appearances.

    He's been even better this season, going 20-of-22 on saves with a 1.93 ERA and 12.4 K/9, and he was recently named to the American League All-Star roster.

    Due $3.75 million in each of the next two seasons, and with a $4.5 million option for 2016, he's a bargain given the way he's thrown the ball this year. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, there could potentially be a major bidding war if the Twins made him available.

4. Philadelphia Phillies: SP Cliff Lee

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    The Phillies have a number of attractive trade chips this year, and as they're headed for a rebuild, it will be interesting to see just how aggressive they are.

    Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley, Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz could all be shopped, and while he is probably the least likely to be traded, Lee also ranks as the top potential trade chip.

    Since he's due $50 million over the next two seasons, plus at least another $12.5 million in buyout money in 2016, not everyone will be in on the veteran left-hander as a result. However, with Lee at 10-2 with a 2.73 ERA, there will no doubt be a number of teams willing to take on that salary to add him.

    The asking price will be steep, as it would likely take a package headlined by a top-50 prospect and at least a couple more solid prospects, but it's not out of the question to think Lee could be moved.

3. Texas Rangers: SS Jurickson Profar

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    The Rangers clearly need some starting pitching, and while the chances that they deal top prospect Jurickson Profar remain slim, if they're going to do it, this would seem to be the time.

    They've managed to stay in contention despite relying on a number of unproven arms, but injuries continue to be an issue, and the Rangers are in the market to add an impact arm.

    Every year at the deadline, it seems there is one marquee name that unexpectedly becomes available. While it doesn't always end in a trade, it has happened—remember Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians a few years back?

    If an unexpected big-name pitcher becomes available, perhaps the Phillies getting serious about moving Cliff Lee, the Rangers could pull the trigger on moving Profar for a chance to win it all this year. Likely no, but a possibility.

2. Milwaukee Brewers: SP Yovani Gallardo

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    Things have not gone well for the Brewers this season, as they are among the worst teams in all of baseball, and they could be big-time sellers at the deadline as a result.

    Starters Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse as well as third baseman Aramis Ramirez could all bring a sizable return if they are moved, but there is no question Gallardo would be the biggest prize.

    The team's Opening Day starter entered the season with a 60-38 record and 3.68 ERA over the past four seasons, and as a 27-year-old, he is just entering the prime of his career.

    He's gone just 7-8 with a 4.85 ERA in 19 starts this season, but with a relatively affordable $11.25 million salary next season and a $13 million option with a $600,000 buyout in 2015, his value goes beyond helping a contender down the stretch this season.

1. Chicago Cubs: SP Matt Garza

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    The Cubs have already been busy this July, trading Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol and Scott Hairston, and there are likely more moves to be made between now and July 31.

    Without question, the team's most attractive trade chip has to be right-hander Matt Garza, who was nearly moved at the deadline last year before a triceps injury sidelined him and eventually ended his season.

    The right-hander opened the season on the disabled list, but he's gone 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts since returning. He's been particularly good of late, going 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA in his last five starts.

    He has the stuff to be a front-line arm for a contender and has the experience of pitching in a playoff race for the Rays in the past. He's all but a certainty to be moved as a free-agent-to-be, unless the Cubs throw a curveball and come to terms on an extension with him in the next few weeks.