Each MLB Team's Player Most at Risk of Being Traded at the Deadline

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2013

Each MLB Team's Player Most at Risk of Being Traded at the Deadline

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    When we think of risk in baseball, injuries are the first—and usually only—thing that pops into our heads.

    But landing on the disabled list isn't the only risk involved in baseball, especially as the trade deadline casts a large shadow over the game. There's always the risk that a player will find himself in a different uniform and in unfamiliar surroundings on August 1, the day after the trade deadline has passed.

    With just over 48 hours to go between now and the deadline, what better time to take a look at each team's player who is most at risk of being dealt?

    Not every team has a player who falls into that category, as this is limited only to players who were on a team's 25-man roster as of Sunday, July 28. I'm not saying that any or all of these players will be traded, only that the chance exists, no matter how slim that chance may be.

    Minor leaguers need not apply, though some are mentioned in passing.

    That said, let's take a look at which players might want to hold off on making dinner reservations in their current home cities until later this week.



    *All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are current through games of July 28.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Of Jason Kubel

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    Arizona's outfield is a crowded one, with five outfielders on the roster and only three spots in which to play them.

    The Diamondbacks would gladly trade Jason Kubel if they could get a pitcher in return, as reported earlier this month by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. But is anyone interested in a 31-year-old slugger who has only five home runs on the season?

    While Kubel has struggled this season, there isn't much offense on the market right now, and the bats that are available all have hefty price tags attached to their names and substantial money left on their contracts.

    Kubel, who has a $7.5 million team option on his contract for next season, does not, and he could be a tempting addition for a contender with a plethora of arms that is looking for a left-handed bat with some pop.


Atlanta Braves: 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich

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    If the Braves are going to acquire the pitching help that they seek, the team is going to have to move young talent. The team's two most sought-after youngsters, Julio Teheran and Alex Wood, are untouchable, as is Evan Gattis.

    The same can't be said for Joey Terdoslavich.

    Ranked by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo as the team's 14th-best prospect heading into the season. the 24-year-old was having a terrific year with Triple-A Gwinnett, hitting .318 with 18 home runs, 58 RBI and a .926 OPS over 85 games. 

    While he's done little since being promoted to the major leagues in limited playing time, hitting .222 with a pair of doubles in 27 at-bats, Terdoslavich has power and the ability to hit for a decent average and could find himself part of a package to land that pitcher.

Baltimore Orioles: OF L.J. Hoes

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    We've already seen the Orioles unload one of their better prospects, infielder Nick Delmonico, to add Francisco Rodriguez to the team's bullpen.

    If they are going to add another piece to the puzzle, whether it be a pitcher such as Jake Peavy, per ESPN's Buster Olney, or a bat like San Diego's Carlos Quentin, whom Olney says Baltimore has interest in, it's going to cost them more in the way of prospects.

    With Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and the injured Dylan Bundy off-limits, someone like 23-year-old outfielder L.J. Hoes has to be considered a candidate to be dealt.

    Baltimore has a crowded outfield as it is, and while Hoes could eventually replace Nate McLouth in left field on a full-time basis, he's the kind of young prospect, one without a full-time spot in the team's starting lineup, that Baltimore could use to facilitate a deal.

Boston Red Sox: RHP Brandon Workman

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    Young pitching is always a valuable trade chip, and few teams have as many high-quality young arms as Boston.

    It's that depth that will allow the team to land the veteran starter it seeks without sacrificing top prospects Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., and 24-year-old Brandon Workman is a prime candidate to be moved in such a deal.

    Workman has been impressive in his two starts this season, holding Oakland and Tampa Bay to a combined four earned runs in 12.1 innings of work, walking three while striking out nine.


Chicago Cubs: LHP James Russell

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    With no fewer than five teams having significant interest in trading for Cubs southpaw James Russell, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine, it would be surprising if the 27-year-old was still wearing a Cubs uniform next weekend.

    Not only is Russell a quality left-handed reliever, but he's under team control through the 2015 season, which only raises his value—and Chicago's asking price—for contenders looking to bolster their bullpens.


Chicago White Sox: RHP Jake Peavy

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    No team has made more players available than the White Sox, who have let it be known for weeks that anyone besides Chris Sale and Paul Konerko are available in a trade.

    None of their players has drawn as much interest as Jake Peavy, who is the best starting pitcher available and has been linked to nearly every contender that is looking to bolster its rotation.

    Whether Peavy gets traded by himself or as part of a package—ESPN's Jim Bowden reported that St. Louis is looking to acquire both Peavy and SS Alexei Ramirez—he's more valuable to the White Sox for the package of talent that he'd bring back than he is as a veteran starter on a rebuilding team. 

Cincinnati Reds: Nobody

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    Cincinnati could use another right-handed bat and some relief for the bullpen, but the team is banking on the return of injured players like Ryan Ludwick, Johnny Cueto, Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall to fill the void.

    GM Walt Jocketty said as much in a conversation with MLB.com's Mark Shelton

    When we get them back, it strengthens our club even more. I don’t want to trade prospects to improve the club. Unless something develops in the next week, I’m not sure you’ll see us do anything.

    It's hard to argue with that logic. Short of dealing the likes of Billy Hamilton and Tony Cingrani, nobody that Cincinnati could trade for could potentially have a bigger impact on the club than its injured stars.

Cleveland Indians: Nobody

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    The Indians are looking for relief help, something that GM Chris Antonetti all but admitted to Fox Sports Ohio's Pat McManamon recently, specifically a left-handed reliever.

    Acquiring that player isn't going to cost the Indians someone from the major league roster, which, aside from the bullpen, Antonetti is quite pleased with: 

    I feel good about the group of guys that we have. If there is the right deal that we feel will improve us, then we’ll make the deal. But we’re not looking to make a trade just to say we made a trade.

    If Cleveland is successful in its attempts to land a southpaw, Rich Hill can all but kiss his spot in Cleveland's bullpen goodbye.


Colorado Rockies: RHP Matt Belisle

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    The Rockies don't seem to be in a rush to declare themselves sellers, but with the team six games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and eight games out of a wild-card berth, its playoff chances are looking grim.

    The Rockies don't have much in the way of expendable assets, especially with closer Rafael Betancourt on the disabled list, but veteran setup man Matt Belisle could draw interest if he was made available.

    Belisle, 34, has struggled this year, pitching to a 4.56 ERA, but he's under team control through the 2014 season and has some postseason experience, tossing two scoreless innings of relief for Colorado in the 2009 National League Divisional Series against Philadelphia.

Detroit Tigers: Nobody

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    Detroit is more than happy to go with Drew Smyly setting up Joaquin Benoit in the eighth and ninth innings for the rest of the season, removing the one area that the Tigers were expected to try and upgrade as the trade deadline nears.

    With second baseman Omar Infante due back from a sprained ankle in the middle of August, there's no real need for the team to go out and trade for a replacement there either.

    Detroit's 25-man roster is likely to look the same on August 1 as it does today.

Houston Astros: RHP Bud Norris

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    One of the first players to appear on this year's rumor mill, Bud Norris remains one of the best starting pitchers on the market. Under team control through the 2015 season, Houston's asking price has been high, especially for a pitcher who is a back-of-the-rotation starter on a contending team.

    But with only a handful of established starters on the market, none of whom offer the kind of value that Norris does financially—he makes only $3 million this season and is going to be a bargain through arbitration—the odds of Norris finishing the season in Houston are not good.

Kansas City Royals: RHP Luke Hochevar

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    While Ervin Santana may be the more sought-after pitcher in Kansas City, Luke Hochevar may prove to be the less expensive—and difficult—player to acquire.

    A failure as a starter, Hochevar has reinvented himself this season as a top-notch reliever, pitching to an ERA below 2.00, a WHIP below 1.00 and averaging a strikeout per inning. For contenders looking to add another arm to their bullpen, Hochevar is one of the more intriguing options on the market.

Los Angeles Angels: LHP Scott Downs

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    A disappointing season in Los Angeles only gets worse, as the Angels' two biggest trade chips, left-handers Sean Burnett and Jason Vargas, are both on the disabled list, not expected back until after the trade deadline hits.

    That leaves GM Jerry DiPoto with little in the way of marketable pieces aside from veteran southpaw Scott Downs, who isn't likely to command much in return.

    Downs, 37, continues to post impressive numbers for the Angels, pitching to a sub-2.00 ERA. He could be a low-cost target for contenders in need of an established left-handed option in the bullpen.

Los Angeles Dodgers: OF Andre Ethier

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    With Matt Kemp unable to stay healthy for more than a few weeks at a time and the Dodgers playing as well as they have all season, the chances of Andre Ethier getting traded over the next few days are slim to none.

    Still, there's no doubt that the Dodgers would love to get out from under the four years and more than $70 million that remain on his contract. If a team came calling that was willing to take on some of that deal, Los Angeles would jump at the chance to move him, despite the team's current outfield situation.

Miami Marlins: OF Justin Ruggiano

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    Even before the Marlins promoted outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, there were rumors floating around of contenders who were interested in Justin Ruggiano as a fourth outfielder.

    With both prospects now playing on a daily basis, Ruggiano occupies that fourth outfielder role for the rebuilding Marlins—a team that doesn't need to trade him, but that doesn't need to keep him, either.

    Miami's relievers are looking less and less likely to be traded, making Ruggiano, potentially, the team's biggest trade chip.

    Unless, of course, the team changes its stance and decides to put Giancarlo Stanton on the market—a move that would send shock waves through baseball and see Miami get some incredibly attractive offers to hasten its rebuild.

Milwaukee Brewers: LHP Mike Gonzalez

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    Most of the attention in Milwaukee has revolved around Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse, but the pair of veteran starters will not be easy to pry from the Brewers, making a trade involving either one highly unlikely.

    What is far more likely is that Milwaukee continues to move veteran pieces from its bullpen. With left-handed relievers in demand, Mike Gonzalez becomes a prime candidate to be pitching elsewhere by the end of the week.

    Gonzalez, 35, doesn't have great numbers on the season, with a 3.96 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, which is going to limit the return that the Brewers get for him, but with the Milwaukee going nowhere fast this season, keeping the 11-year veteran around doesn't make much sense.


Minnesota Twins: 1B Justin Morneau

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    Trade winds have been swirling around Justin Morneau since before the season began, and with the former MVP now officially on the block, those winds have begun to pick up once again.

    Per Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are the latest team to be linked to Morneau, who, while no longer the slugger that he once was, is still capable of producing runs in the middle of a contender's lineup.


New York Mets: RF Marlon Byrd

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    If you're a betting man (or woman), I'd bet against the Mets making any trades leading up to the trade deadline.

    If the team was to make a move, it'd likely involve veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd, who would be one of the more intriguing options for contenders in what has become a very pitching-heavy market.

    But the Mets have a very high asking price for Byrd—a top-10 to top-15 prospect, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News—which makes the odds of a deal getting done almost nonexistent.

New York Yankees: RHP Joba Chamberlain

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    The Yankees have tried to unload Joba Chamberlain for weeks, first by himself and then as part of a package with Phil Hughes and catching prospect J.R. Murphy, neither one garnering much interest around the league.

    Chamberlain has struggled badly this season and fallen out of favor with the team, being used infrequently and in low-pressure situations. Chances are, the Yankees wouldn't be asking for much in return, especially when you consider that he's almost a lock to leave the team via free agency at the end of the year.

    Despite his struggles this season, Chamberlain still has a live arm and may only need a change of scenery to get himself back on track.

Oakland Athletics: Nobody

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    Oakland is in hot pursuit of Chicago's Jake Peavy, and the former home of Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley is where ESPN's Buster Olney believes that Peavy will ultimately wind up (subscription required to view full article).

    But Olney doesn't believe Oakland is willing—or will have to—include its best prospects (Sonny Gray and Addison Russell) or a young arm from the team's rotation, like Dan Straily, to get a deal done.

    Like Boston, Oakland does have a ton of young pitching in its farm system, and that could be the foundation of a deal to bring the former National League Cy Young Award winner to the Bay Area.

Philadelphia Phillies: 3B Michael Young

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    Philadelphia has finally decided to sell off pieces, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, pieces that include veteran third baseman Michael Young.

    Multiple contenders, including the Red Sox and Yankees (if you still consider the Yanks a contender), could use Young, not only for his bat, but for his versatility.

    A free agent at the end of the season, the seven-time All-Star can play second base, third base and shortstop, has postseason experience and is one of the best influences on a clubhouse in the game, all of which makes him a very attractive addition for any club. 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Nobody

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    Pittsburgh was already in the market for a corner outfielder when it lost All-Star closer Jason Grilli for four to eight weeks with a flexor strain in his right arm, giving GM Neal Huntington a second area of need to focus on.

    But it's hard to see where the Pirates could move a piece of the team's 25-man roster without negatively impacting its playoff chances, making it far more likely that the team will look to deal prospects instead.

    Jameson Taillon is off-limits, but both Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson could be used as trade bait if the right opportunity presents itself.


San Diego Padres: RHP Luke Gregerson

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    Luke Gregerson has been one of the more sought-after relievers in baseball for the past two seasons, and 2013 is no different.

    Under team control through the 2014 season, Gregerson is one of the premier setup men in baseball, pitching to a sub-3.00 ERA since 2010 and with a 2.93 mark for his five-year career. According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, the Padres are seeking controllable pitching in exchange for the 29-year-old reliever. 

San Francisco Giants: RF Hunter Pence

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    With the defending World Series champions looking less likely to defend their title with each passing day, the team has let it be known that right fielder Hunter Pence is available, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    A right-handed bat with power and some speed, Pence is one of the premier bats on the market and could bring San Francisco a substantial return in a trade, though nobody is quite sure what—or how high—the team's asking price is for the 30-year-old. 


Seattle Mariners: 1B/DH Kendrys Morales

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    Truth be told, nobody is quite sure what Seattle is doing, as the team has yet to declare itself a seller, despite sitting five games under .500 and with almost no chance of making the playoffs.

    Should the Mariners decide to start selling off some veteran pieces that they could lose via free agency after the season, Kendrys Morales would be at the top of most team's wish lists.

    Morales, 30, has posted a respectable .278/.337/.465 slash line with 16 home runs and 58 RBI this season for the Mariners. That he's a switch-hitter only adds to his value among contenders that are looking to add an impact bat to the lineup.

St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Joe Kelly

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    No team in baseball has a deeper farm system than St. Louis, which would lead you to believe that any moves the Cardinals make would include players who are not on the major league roster.

    But ESPN's Jim Bowden says that the Cardinals have bought up right-hander Joe Kelly in trade discussions with the Chicago White Sox.

    While the 25-year-old has been solid for the Cardinals, both as a starter and out of the bullpen, he's an expendable piece, especially if moving him brings back the veteran starter and/or shortstop that the team would like to acquire.

Tampa Bay Rays: Nobody

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    With the way that Tampa Bay has been playing lately, winning 19 of its last 23 games, you'd have to wonder why it would change anything. But if the team were to make a move, it would be one that saw the Rays move one or more of its prospects rather than a piece from the active roster.

    The more you look at Tampa Bay's roster, the less sense it makes for the team to do anything at the trade deadline. Where do the Rays need to improve? With no glaring weakness, the team is in good shape heading into the final two months of the regular season.


Texas Rangers: RHP Joe Nathan

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    The most surprising bit of news on the rumor mill this past weekend was that the Rangers are willing to trade All-Star closer Joe Nathan and have had preliminary discussions about a deal with the Detroit Tigers, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

    You don't typically see All-Star-caliber players get traded from contending teams, but with Joakim Soria, Alexi Ogando and, eventually, Neftali Feliz all capable of working the eighth and ninth innings, the Rangers have options.

    I don't believe that Nathan is going anywhere, but that window is open just enough that if the right deal came along, he could be shipped out-of-town.

Toronto Blue Jays: IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio

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    Excluding Jose Reyes, none of the players that Toronto went out and acquired this past winter have lived up to even the most modest of expectations this season. That includes Emilio Bonifacio, who has struggled to keep his batting average above the Mendoza Line for most of the year.

    Despite his struggles at the plate, the 28-year-old remains one of the more versatile players in baseball, with the ability to play multiple positions in both the infield and outfield. Arbitration-eligible for the last time after the season, he's unlikely to get a massive raise over his $2.6 million salary this season.

    That versatility and extra year of control could make him an attractive target for a contender that is looking to shore up its bench, a premise that Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal agrees with.

Washington Nationals: Nobody

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    Washington could stand to add another starting pitcher to the back end of the rotation, and GM Mike Rizzo told Amanda Comak of the Washington Times that he isn't opposed to bolstering the team's bench, but neither move would cost the team a current member of its 25-man roster.

    Former closer Drew Storen, in the midst of a terrible season and now banished to Triple-A, could potentially be used to acquire one of those pieces.