7 Impact MLB Players Guaranteed to Be Dealt in the 2014 Trade Window

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

7 Impact MLB Players Guaranteed to Be Dealt in the 2014 Trade Window

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    The official non-waiver trade deadline may be July 31, but trade season really kicks into gear once the calendar turns over to July and often stretches well into August, with guys like Jake Peavy and Alex Rios being dealt through waivers last year.

    There has already been no shortage of speculation as to who could be on the move this summer, but that second wild-card spot in each league could complicate things once again this year, as more teams will stand pat or be buyers in hopes of making a second-half run.

    There are already a handful of teams that are clear sellers, and those are the teams whose trade chips look like more of a sure thing to be dealt.

    So here is a look at the seven impact players guaranteed to be dealt during the 2014 MLB trade window, whether it is prior to the July 31 deadline or through waivers shortly thereafter.

SP Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    Last season, the Chicago Cubs took a flier on Scott Feldman with a one-year, $6 million deal in free agency. After an impressive first half, they wound up flipping him to the Baltimore Orioles for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop.

    Look for them to do the same with right-hander Jason Hammel, who was signed to an identical one-year, $6 million deal at the end of the offseason to fill out their starting rotation.

    The 31-year-old looked like a breakout candidate during the first half of the 2012 season, going 8-5 with a 3.47 ERA for the Baltimore Orioles. Injuries and inconsistency set in after that, but he has returned to impressive form here in 2014.

    For teams not looking to mortgage big-time prospects for someone like Jeff Samardzija or David Price, attention could be turned to Hammel as a secondary option.

3B Chase Headley, San Diego Padres

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    Chase Headley looked like a bona fide superstar in the making during the second half of the 2012 season, hitting .308/.386/.592 with 23 home runs and 73 RBI after the All-Star break. He wound up leading the NL with 115 RBI and finished fifth in NL MVP voting for his efforts.

    Entering the 2013 season with two years of team control left, he was a hot commodity on the trade market, but the Padres opted to hold on to their budding star in hopes they could re-sign him down the road.

    Instead of building off of his breakout second half, Headley hit just .250/.347/.400 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI last season, and his stock has continued to fall with a rough start to the 2014 season.

    A free agent at season's end and unlikely to get a qualifying offer, Headley is essentially a lame duck for the Padres at this point. If they can salvage some sort of value from a team hoping he'll benefit from a change of scenery, expect them to jump at the chance.

SP David Price, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    David Price has been pegged as a sure thing to be traded before, as the media all but packed his bags for him this past offseason, only to see him start the season atop the Tampa Bay Rays rotation once again.

    However, the Rays are currently sitting on the worst record in baseball (28-43). With Price still boasting the always valuable extra year of team control, it's hard to imagine him not playing elsewhere by August.

    The 2012 AL Cy Young winner has not been his usually dominant self this season, but it's worth noting that he's recorded four straight quality starts, posting a 2.67 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 30.1 innings over that span.

    He won't come cheap, even with the Rays motivated to move him, and any team looking to make a play for him could also look for some assurance that he'll stick around beyond the 2015 season. His postseason track record is not great, but there is no question he is capable of making a huge difference in a contender's stretch run.

SP Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    After spending the bulk of his first four seasons pitching out of the Chicago Cubs bullpen, Jeff Samardzija finally joined the rotation full time in 2012. He responded by going 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA (3.55 FIP) and 180 strikeouts in 174.2 innings pitched.

    The hope was that he would establish himself as a legitimate ace last season, but instead his ERA climbed to 4.34 and his WHIP rose from 1.22 to 1.35. Talks of an extension were kicked around this offseason, but when nothing materialized, it became clear that Samardzija was on his way out in Chicago.

    The San Francisco Giants have reportedly shown strong interest in Samardzija already, according to a tweet from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He also listed the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays as teams in the hunt for the right-hander.

    With an extra year of team control making him more than just a rental player and the number of teams involved potentially turning things into a bidding war, the Cubs stand a good chance of landing an even better prospect haul than what they received for Matt Garza last July.

OF Seth Smith, San Diego Padres

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    Looking for a left-handed hitting outfield bat with some pop this past offseason, the San Diego Padres shipped stud setup man Luke Gregerson to the Oakland Athletics for Seth Smith.

    One of the better part-time players in all of baseball dating back to his time with the Colorado Rockies, Smith hit .264/.340/.455 and averaged 14 home runs and 52 RBI from 2009-13 despite seeing just 384 at-bats per season.

    He's seen regular playing time this season and responded with the best offensive number of his career despite playing his home games in the pitcher's paradise that is Petco Park. His .895 OPS ranks 10th among qualified NL players, and he's been one of the few notable bats in an anemic Padres lineup.

    The 31-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season, and his value will likely never be higher than it is right now, especially when you factor in what is expected to be a thin market for impact bats. Guys like Chris Denorfia, Ian Kennedy and Huston Street could also be shopped by the Padres, but Smith is far more of a sure thing to be moved.

OF Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    Josh Willingham was a popular target of trade rumors during the 2012 season, as he went on to hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 home runs and 110 RBI and win the Silver Slugger in the first year of a three-year, $21 million contract with the Minnesota Twins.

    The Twins opted to hold onto the slugger, and he battled through a rough 2013 campaign, hitting just .208/.342/.368 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI and missing 35 games with a knee injury.

    He missed significant time again this season, as a left wrist fracture cost him 41 games. He's been productive when healthy, though, hitting .275/.427/.551 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 21 games since coming off the disabled list on May 26.

    The 35-year-old likely doesn't factor into the Twins' long-term plans, and the free-agent-to-be should be able to bring a good return as one of the few impact bats available. The Twins have been better than expected this season and won't sell aggressively, but they'd be foolish not to deal Willingham.

RP Brad Ziegler, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2014 Stats


    Why He'll Be Moved

    Veteran closers Jonathan Papelbon and Huston Street could potentially be on the move this July, but as far as a sure-fire trade candidate among bullpen arms, the best of the bunch looks to be Brad Ziegler.

    The 34-year-old served as the Arizona Diamondbacks closer in the second half last season, converting 13 of 15 save chances with a 2.22 ERA in an NL-high 78 appearances.

    He's back in a setup role this year and has really been a model of consistency throughout his seven-year major league career. In 439 appearances, he has a 2.41 ERA and 1.240 WHIP, and he's proven equally effective against left-handed and right-handed hitters in recent years.

    The sidearmer has a $5.5 million club option for next year, making him an even more valuable trade chip for teams looking for bullpen help down the stretch and in 2015. Fellow Diamondbacks reliever Joe Thatcher is also a prime candidate to be moved, but Ziegler looks like the more valuable trade chip at this point.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted and cover games through Monday, June 16. All injury information via MLBDepthCharts team pages.