Power Ranking All 30 MLB Teams Based on Trade-Asset Ammunition

Karl BuscheckContributor IIIJune 20, 2014

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Teams Based on Trade-Asset Ammunition

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    It's good to be a seller on the MLB trade market. 

    With nearly two-thirds of the league still in the playoff hunt as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, there promises to be plenty of demand for bats and arms. 

    What follows is a ranking of all 30 MLB teams based on trade-asset ammunition. The clubs have been broken down into three groups: buyers, sellers and "to be determined" (TBD).

    The buyers are ranked on the quality of minor league talent they have available. The sellers are graded on big league trade chips that can be dealt, and the TBD teams are scored on a combination of both factors. 

    Now, let's take a look at which teams have the most and least to work with as the trade deadline gets closer. 

A Word on the Criteria

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Minor league rankings are courtesy of the Bleacher Report MLB Farm System Preseason Rankings. For all teams that are described as buyers, their rank among all 30 MLB clubs is provided. Their top three prospects are also listed—not to in any way suggest that those teams should or will deal those players, but rather to provide a sampling of the prospects they could trade. 

30. Oakland Athletics

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 27

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Addison Russell, SS
    2. Bobby Wahl, SP
    3. Billy McKinney, OF

    The Oakland Athletics aren't in a great position to upgrade their roster. 

    The team has one of the weaker farm systems in baseball and historically has been unwilling to take on big-money contracts. However, a major trade likely isn't necessary, considering the team owns the top record in baseball (45-28). Plus, general manager Billy Beane always seems to come up with creative means to strengthen his club.

29. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 30

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Tyrone Taylor, OF
    2. Jimmy Nelson, SP
    3. Mitch Haniger, OF

    Like the Oakland Athletics, the Milwaukee Brewers (44-30) are a first-place squad that is in a less than ideal spot when it comes to trade ammunition. 

    The club's farm system is ranked last in MLB. However, that's not to say the Brewers are totally without trade chips in the minor leagues. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson has been piling up strikeouts in Triple-A and would bring back an impressive return if the Brewers ever decided to make him available.

28. Houston Astros

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Chad Qualls, RP
    • Jason Castro, C

    In recent seasons, the Houston Astros have been highly active sellers at the trade deadline. 

    However, that likely won't be the case in 2014. The Astros are clearly on the upswing with a number of talented young players arriving in the big leagues in 2014. The club also doesn't have nearly as many veterans to sell off as it has in the past couple of seasons. 

    The most compelling trade piece the Astros have to offer is Chad Qualls, who has eight saves and a 2.28 ERA.

     

27. Miami Marlins

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    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 20

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Colin Moran, 3B
    2. Justin Nicolino, SP
    3. Adam Conley, SP

    The Miami Marlins are yet another contending club that doesn't have many trade assets to offer. 

    Andrew Heaney was Miami's top-ranked prospect before he debuted for the big league club on Thursday. Plus, there's almost zero chance that the Marlins will make a move that involves adding to the payroll. In 2014, the team's total player bill checks in at $45.825 million, per Cot's Baseball Contracts

26. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 23

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Aaron Sanchez, SP
    2. Alberto Tirado, SP
    3. Daniel Norris, SP

    With the 23rd-ranked farm system in MLB, the Toronto Blue Jays don't have a lot to work with as the trade deadline approaches.  

    However, Aaron Sanchez, who is now the team's top-rated prospect with Marcus Stroman in the big leagues, would provide a strong starting point for a potential big-time move. Plus, Daniel Norris, who owns a 1.22 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 rate in High-A is another valuable prospect the Blue Jays could contemplate moving. 

25. Detroit Tigers

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    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 28

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Jonathon Crawford, SP
    2. James McCann, C
    3. Jake Thompson, SP

    With a minor league system ranked No. 28 in baseball, the Detroit Tigers are lacking for trade ammunition.  

    That could be a serious problem as the second-place club (37-32, a half-game back of the Royals) has plenty of spots that need to be upgraded. The most glaring weaknesses for the Tigers are the bullpen and shortstop. Detroit's relievers own the second-worst ERA in baseball. 

24. San Francisco Giants

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    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 25

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Kyle Crick, SP
    2. Edwin Escobar, SP
    3. Chris Stratton, SP

    Overall, the San Francisco Giants farm system is not looking good. 

    However, the Giants do have some premier pitching prospects who could be used as the centerpiece of a major deadline deal. The most notable is Kyle Crick, who is currently playing for the club's Double-A affiliate. If the Giants hope to acquire a front-line starter before the end of July, it seems inevitable that Crick would need to be involved in a potential swap.

23. Colorado Rockies

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Status: TBD

    Top Trade Chips

    • Jorge De La Rosa, SP
    • LaTroy Hawkins, RP

    The Colorado Rockies' season is rapidly trending in the wrong direction, as they sit nine games back of the Giants in the NL West at 34-38.

    Unless the team can stop its current three-game slide, it'll have no choice but to become sellers at the deadline. Unfortunately, the Rockies don't have a lot of trade candidates on the roster. The 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins could draw some interest on the market, as the right-hander has locked down 14 saves an owns a 2.88 ERA.

22. Los Angeles Angels

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    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 29

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Taylor Lindsey, 2B
    2. Kaleb Cowart, 3B
    3. R.J. Alvarez, RP

    As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes, the Los Angeles Angels "would like to add a starter" before the July 31 deadline. 

    That won't be an easy task, considering the lack of talent on the farm. Second baseman Taylor Lindsey, who ranks as the team's top prospect, is hitting at a clip of just .233 in Triple-A. No. 2 prospect Kaleb Cowart has also struggled, posting a .217 average in Double-A. 

21. Atlanta Braves

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 21

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Lucas Sims, SP
    2. Christian Bethancourt, C
    3. J.R. Graham, SP

    With the Atlanta Braves sitting just two games over .500 (37-35), a trade could definitely be in order. 

    If the Braves were to make a move, one of the most valuable players they could deal would be catcher Christian Bethancourt. The 22-year-old backstop is renowned for his defensive skills, but his bat remains a work in progress. 

20. Seattle Mariners

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    Status: TBD

    Farm System Ranking: No. 19

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Taijuan Walker, SP
    2. D.J. Peterson, 3B
    3. Edwin Diaz, SP

    The Seattle Mariners are one game over .500 (37-36) and right in the middle of the hunt for an AL wild-card spot. 

    However, in order to keep up in the race, the Mariners will likely need to pull off a trade before the end of July either to upgrade the lineup or the starting rotation. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweets that the Mariners have enough talent on the farm to complete an "impact trade."

19. Washington Nationals

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    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 17

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Lucas Giolito, SP
    2. A.J. Cole, SP
    3. Brian Goodwin, OF

    The Washington Nationals hold a slight edge in the congested NL East. 

    Even though the club is just three games over .500 (37-34), the Nationals don't have any obvious areas on the roster that need to be strengthened. However, if Washington wants to make an aggressive move, the team does have options. Either Lucas Giolito or A.J. Cole could be utilized as part of a deal for a big-time player.

18. Cincinnati Reds

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    Status: TBD

    Farm System Ranking: No. 15

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Robert Stephenson, SP
    2. Phil Ervin, OF
    3. Jesse Winker, OF

    Like so many other teams in baseball, the Cincinnati Reds (35-36) are in the race for now. 

    If the Reds choose to upgrade the roster, the most valuable trade chip that the team has is right-hander Robert Stephenson. However, if the team falls out of the race between now and the deadline, the club could also change course and become a seller. In such a scenario, a veteran like second baseman Brandon Phillips could be a player the team tries to offload. 

     

17. Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 16

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Francisco Lindor, SS
    2. Clint Frazier, OF
    3. Cody Anderson, SP

    After struggling in the opening weeks of the season, the Cleveland Indians have climbed back into the playoff race at 37-36.

    There's no reason for Cleveland to consider moving top prospect Francisco Lindor, who looks to be a future cornerstone. Still, in terms of pure trade value, there are only a handful of players in all of the minor leagues who are worth more than the shortstop.

16. New York Yankees

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: 22

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Gary Sanchez, C
    2. Slade Heathcott, OF
    3. J.R. Murphy, C

    It's no secret that the New York Yankees are light on talent at the minor league level.

    What the team does have, however, is money. Cash, of course, is an important asset at the trade deadline. It's possible that the Yankees will be able to take a risk on a high-priced player that other teams will find too risky.

    GM Brian Cashman explained his philosophy on the trade season, via Nick Forrester of the New York Daily News.  

    "You're in a timeline now where anything can happen with any team, trade-wise."

15. Minnesota Twins

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    Paul Battaglia/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Kurt Suzuki, C
    • Josh Willingham, OF
    • Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH

    The 33-38 Minnesota Twins aren't completely out of the race in the AL Central, but it's not looking good. 

    Unless the Twins can make a run between now and the end of July, the club will definitely need to consider selling off some if its veterans. Arguably the most valuable player that Minnesota has is catcher Kurt Suzuki. The 30-year-old is hitting .305 on the season and makes just $2.5 million in 2014. 

14. Baltimore Orioles

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 11

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Dylan Bundy, SP
    2. Hunter Harvey, SP
    3. Eduardo Rodriguez, SP

    With the 37-34 Baltimore Orioles fighting to claim a playoff spot, the club is a prime candidate to make a big move in advance of the trade deadline. 

    The most logical area for the team to upgrade would be the starting rotation, a unit which owns a 4.22 ERA. Of course, to do so, the Orioles would almost certainly have to part with one of the organization's high-upside minor league starters. 

13. Kansas City Royals

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    G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 8

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Kyle Zimmer, SP
    2. Miguel Almonte, SP
    3. Raul Adalberto Mondesi, SS

    After a slow start to 2014, the Kansas City Royals have turned around their season and have taken the lead in the AL Central. 

    The way they've been playing, the Royals will definitely be buyers when the trade deadline arrives. With a pitching-heavy system, the Royals have the ability to make a big move if GM Dayton Moore decides to go all-in on the 2014 season.

12. New York Mets

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    1. Daniel Murphy, 2B
    2. Bartolo Colon, SP
    3. Daisuke Matsuzaka, RP

    With the New York Mets in last place in the NL East, GM Sandy Alderson will at least need to contemplate moving some of the club's higher-priced veterans. 

    Easily the most valuable player the club could part with would be second baseman Daniel Murphy. Of course, considering that he's one of New York's top offensive producers, it's difficult to see the team shipping out the left-handed hitter.

    However, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the "Mets listened on Murphy last offseason, and are expected to do so again." 

11. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Brandon McCarthy, SP
    • Wade Miley, SP
    • Brad Ziegler, RP
    • Cody Ross, OF
    • Didi Gregorius, SS

    The Arizona Diamondbacks don't have any premier names to offer on the trade market. 

    However, the club certainly has a wide array of pitchers and hitters who could provide upgrades to any number of contenders. With the Diamondbacks sitting in last place in the NL West, the front office should be open to listening to offers for all sorts of players. 

10. San Diego Padres

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Huston Street, RP
    • Chase Headley, 3B
    • Ian Kennedy, SP
    • Chris Denorfia, OF
    • Carlos Quentin, OF

    There's no doubt that the San Diego Padres' most valuable player on the trade market is Huston Street. 

    The closer is a perfect 20-for-20 on save opportunities in 2014. The team does have a $7 million club option for 2014, which means the Padres have no urgency to deal the right-hander. However, considering that the squad is buried in the NL West, just about every veteran should be available as the club looks to reload for 2015 and beyond.

9. Texas Rangers

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Status: TBD

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Adrian Beltre, 3B
    • Neal Cotts, RP

    Right now, the Texas Rangers are just two games under .500 despite the flood of injuries that has hit the club in 2014. 

    However, if the team does ultimately drop out of contention, the Rangers will have some interesting decisions to make regarding a few of their veterans. One player in particular to watch out for is third baseman Adrian Beltre. 

    Back in May, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that he's "sure teams will ask about" the slugger if the Rangers end up out of the race before the end of July. However, the Rangers still owe Beltre a ton of money. He makes $17 million in 2014, $18 million in 2015 and has a $16 million vesting option for 2016. 

8. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Status: TBD

    Farm System Ranking: No. 2

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Jameson Taillon, SP
    2. Tyler Glasnow, SP
    3. Austin Meadows, OF

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have a plethora of talent down on the farm. 

    For now, though, it remains up in the air as to whether the team (35-37) is a serious contender for the playoffs. If GM Neal Huntington decides it's worth taking the risk to upgrade the roster, the Pirates have no lack of trade ammunition. 

7. Chicago White Sox

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Status: TBD

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Alexei Ramirez, SS
    • Adam Dunn, 1B/OF/DH

    Mathematically, the 35-38 Chicago White Sox are in the race. 

    Still, it's difficult to imagine that the club will manage to keep pace with the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians throughout the summer. If the White Sox do try to strengthen the roster via trade, there isn't much to offer from the farm. The club's minor league system ranks No. 26 in baseball. 

    However, should Chicago become a seller, there's definitely some talent to be moved. The White Sox don't have a lot of players to deal, but both Alexei Ramirez and Adam Dunn could net the team excellent returns. 

6. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 6

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Oscar Taveras, OF
    2. Stephen Piscotty, OF
    3. Marco Gonzales, SP

    The 2014 season hasn't exactly gone to plan for the 39-34 St. Louis Cardinals, who sit in second place in the NL Central, 4.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers.

    If the team decides to bolster the roster before the deadline, there's all sorts of talent available on the farm. Thanks to the organization's impressive draft record, the Cardinals have the pieces to pull off a major swap. For that reason, St. Louis checks in near the top of the rankings. 

5. Boston Red Sox

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Status: TBD

    Farm System Ranking: No. 5

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Henry Owens, SP
    2. Blake Swihart, C
    3. Allen Webster, SP

    Right now, it's difficult to know just where the underwhelming Boston Red Sox fit into the playoff picture.

    If the club is in the midst of the postseason race when the trade deadline rolls around, the Red Sox certainly have the minor league talent to pull off a big move. Of course, if the team falls out of contention Boston could become a major seller. A veteran starter like John Lackey could bring back a big return if the Red Sox opt to move him. 

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

    Farm System Ranking: No. 12

     

    Top Three Prospects (B/R Preseason Rankings)

    1. Corey Seager, SS
    2. Julio Urias, SP
    3. Joc Pederson, OF

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have the perfect setup to pull off a blockbuster deal. 

    The big league club is underachieving (40-34, 4.0 games behind the Giants in the NL West), the organization has seemingly limitless funds, and the farm system is top-heavy. As if those factors aren't enough, the Dodgers also have former two-time All-Star Matt Kemp as a potential trade piece.

3. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Chase Utley, 2B
    • Jimmy Rollins, SS
    • Marlon Byrd, OF
    • Jonathan Papelbon, RP
    • A.J. Burnett, SP

    With no team seizing control of the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies are hanging around in the race (33-38, fourth place in the division). Still, the way the club has played so far in 2014, it's extremely difficult to imagine that the Phillies are serious playoff contenders. 

    Assuming Philadelphia tumbles out of the race before the July 31 deadline, there should be plenty of high-priced veterans available for trade.

    By far the most compelling trade candidate that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has is second baseman Chase Utley. With 24 doubles already, the 35-year-old is arguably the top position player on the entire market. Of course, it will be Utley's choice if he goes anywhere, as he has the right to veto any trade. 

2. Chicago Cubs

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Jeff Samardzija, SP
    • Jason Hammel, SP
    • Jake Arrieta, SP
    • Edwin Jackson, SP
    • Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF
    • Nate Schierholtz, OF

    While Jeff Samardzija gets all the headlines, he's far from the only starting pitcher the Chicago Cubs are willing to part with, as Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweets. Both Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta could be excellent lower-profile options for contending clubs. 

    The Cubs certainly have a high quantity of players available, but they can't match the quality of the team that locks down the top spot in the rankings. 

1. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • David Price, SP
    • Ben Zobrist, 2B
    • Yunel Escobar, SS
    • David DeJesus, OF
    • Grant Balfour, RP

    The Tampa Bay Rays are in the tank.

    With the club owning the worst record in baseball (29-45), just about every veteran should be up for grabs. There's no bigger trade chip in the sport than David Price, who has racked up at least 10 strikeouts in each of his past three starts. 

     

    Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and MLB.com. All salary information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts on Baseball Prospectus.com. All records are accurate as of Friday, June 20.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.