Predicting the 10 Biggest Stars Who Will Be on 2014 MLB Trade Block

Karl Buscheck@@KarlBuscheckContributor IIIJune 11, 2014

Predicting the 10 Biggest Stars Who Will Be on 2014 MLB Trade Block

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    From David Price to Chase Utley, there are some big-name talents on the MLB trade block. 

    The trade deadline is less than two months away, which means contenders need to begin looking for those final pieces. Meanwhile, teams that are falling out of the race have to start thinking about selling high on their most valuable assets. 

    What follows is a rundown of the 10 biggest stars who will be available in the 2014 MLB trade market. The ranking criteria puts the most emphasis on how these players have performed in the opening months of the current season. However, there is also consideration given to how these standouts have played in recent seasons, as well.

    Now, let's take a look at the top 10.

Honorable Mentions

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    Before we get started with the top 10, let's take a look at a few of the big names who just missed the cut:

    • Adam Dunn, 1B/OF/DH, Chicago White Sox
    • Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
    • Justin Masterson, SP, Cleveland Indians

10. Jim Johnson, RP, Oakland Athletics

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    The Trade Chip

    With a 6.12 ERA, Jim Johnson's start to the season has been an absolute nightmare. 

    The right-handed reliever has been impossibly bad at the Coliseum where he owns a 14.04 ERA, and opponents have tagged him to the tune of .465 average. 

    However, the Miami Marlins were willing to bet on Johnson's track record. After all, the former All-Star locked down a combined 101 saves in 2012 and 2013.

    The Marlins made Oakland a "trade offer" for the 30-year-old last week, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. If the Athletics are willing to pick up a substantial portion of the $6.5 million remaining on the 2012 All-Star's salary, there could be another team willing to make a deal for Johnson. 

    Chance of Getting Traded: 70 percent

9. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Trade Chip

    Jimmy Rollins' tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies could be nearing its end. 

    According to Buster Olney of (subscription required), the veteran shortstop would be at least willing to "listen to trade possibilities" once he passes Mike Schmidt as the club's all-time hit-leader. The 35-year-old has the right to veto any potential move. 

    In addition to what remains of his $11 million salary for 2014, Rollins also has an $11 million vesting option for 2015. However, the switch-hitter has provided decent production in 2014, with eight home runs, eight steals and a .753 OPS.

    Chance of Getting Traded: 30 percent

8. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Trade Chip

    Jonathan Papelbon is another high-price veteran on the last-place Philadelphia Phillies who could be on the move before the deadline. 

    According to Tim Kelly of, during his show on 97.5 The Fanatic, ESPN's Jayson Stark said at least one team could be willing to make a trade for the closer if the "Phillies picked up a decent percentage of Papelbon's salary."

    That would entail the Phillies eating a large chunk of money, as the 33-year-old makes $13 million this season and next. Plus, he has a vesting option for the same amount in 2016. 

    Chance of Getting Traded: 15 percent

7. Huston Street, RP, San Diego Padres

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    The Trade Chip

    Huston Street has been dealing for the San Diego Padres in 2014.

    The right-handed closer is 18-for-18 in save opportunities and has posted a 1.08 ERA. In 25 games, Street has more than twice as many strikeouts (26) as hits allowed (12). 

    The San Diego Padres have no urgent need to deal the reliever, as he makes a reasonable $7 million in 2014 and has a team option for the same amount next year. Then again, the Padres should at least be listening to offers, considering that the club is already 14 games off the pace in the National League West.

    On Twitter, ESPN's Jayson Stark floated the Detroit Tigers as a possible landing spot: "Just thinking aloud and totally speculating. But could Huston Street be a a fit in Detroit?"

    The way Joe Nathan has been pitching, the answer is definitely yes.

    Chance of Getting Traded: 30 percent

6. Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox

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    The Trade Chip

    For now, the Chicago White Sox are right in the midst of the race in a congested American League Central.

    However, should the team tumble down the standings before the end of July, the White Sox should field offers for Alexei Ramirez. On the season, the 32-year-old shortstop is hitting .310 with 12 steals, which means this summer is the perfect time to sell high on the veteran, as ESPN Insider Joe Rosales (subscription required) suggested back in May. 

    The White Sox have a ton of talented young middle infielders in the organization, and dealing Ramirez could bring back an impressive haul.

    Chance of getting traded: 20 percent

5. Jason Hammel, SP, Chicago Cubs

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    The Trade Chip

    Jason Hammel doesn't have the most recognizable name or the strongest track record, but in 2014 the right-hander has been dominant. 

    Through his first 12 starts, Hammel is 6-3 with a 2.53 ERA and a 152 ERA+ for the Chicago Cubs. Those numbers make the starter one of the best signings of the offseason, considering that he's pitching on a one-year, $6 million deal. 

    As Peter Gammons of put it, the Cubs are on pace to "cash in big" if the team ships out the righty.

    Chance of Getting Traded: 85 percent

4. James Shields, SP, Kansas City Royals

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    The Trade Chip

    James Shields has a sense of humor when it comes to trade rumors.

    When Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star asked the starter about that topic, Shields remarked: "I thought those [rumors] started next month?"

    By that point, there should be far more clarity as to just where the Kansas City Royals stand in the playoff picture. For now, even with the underwhelming start to the season, the club remains just three games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers. 

    If the Royals fall out of the race before the deadline, though, Shields could be on the move, especially since he's set to become a free agent at the end of the season.

    Chance of Getting Traded: 15 percent

3. David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Trade Chip

    It's starting to look like the Tampa Bay Rays should have traded David Price in the offseason.

    Manager Joe Maddon's club currently owns the worst record in baseball and is 15 games out in the AL East. Price hasn't exactly helped his trade value in the opening months of the season. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner has a 4-6 record and a 3.97 ERA. However, the 28-year-old has posted a 9.9 K/9 ratio, which is the best of his career. 

    Chance of Getting Traded: 90 percent

2. Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Trade Chip

    In the opening months of the 2014 season, Chase Utley has clubbed 24 doubles and posted an .871 OPS. That strong start has made the second baseman an extremely valuable player on the trade market, as Peter Gammons explained on CSNPhilly's Philly Sports Talk, via NBC on Yahoo Sports.

    "A general manager said to me that he thought the National League would be decided by whether the [Los Angeles] Dodgers or the [San Francisco] Giants got Chase Utley."

    As is the case with his teammate Jimmy Rollins, whether Utley goes anywhere is his choice since he has a full no-trade clause.

    Chance of Getting Traded: 35 percent

1. Jeff Samardzija, SP, Chicago Cubs

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    The Trade Chip

    No player has raised his trade stock more in the opening months of the season than Jeff Samardzija has.

    The 29-year-old has produced a 2.54 ERA and a 151 ERA+ for the Chicago Cubs. In 13 start, he has allowed more than three runs on one occasion. So far, though, Samardzija has totaled just two wins on the year. 

    While the cost to acquire the starter will be steep in terms of prospects, the right-hander makes just $5.35 million in 2014 and is arbitration-eligible for next season. 

    Chance of Getting Traded: 75 percent

    Note: All stats courtesy of and All salary information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts on