Assessing the Value of MLB's Top Trade Deadline Targets

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Assessing the Value of MLB's Top Trade Deadline Targets
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
The underrated Ben Zobrist is one of the top players to watch as the July 31 trade deadline inches closer.

Value is all in the eyes of the beholder. As Major League Baseball's July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaches, general managers must decipher how much certain players are worth.

Exchanging a human being for another human being is cruel when you think about it, so try not to think about it. Instead, let's determine which available players will provide the most fruitful contribution on the baseball diamond.

Around this time of year, a select batch of veterans on downtrodden teams appear all over the rumor mill. Even now and then someone else will get dealt without warning, but fans following all the buzz know the names to monitor in the week before the deadline.

I'll round out the analysis of these top targets with an easily digestible number grade encapsulating each player's trade value on a scale from one to 10. Along with past and present production, age and contracts are also taken into account.

Most players on the trade market are veterans due for a raise either this offseason or next winter. After all, why else would their respective teams want to dump them? That hurts their value since they'll either command a higher salary or leave for greener pastures.

Also take into account that I'm not going to toss out 10s willy-nilly like T-shirts at a minor league game. The perfect score is reserved for young, affordable superstars like Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper.

Basically, someone who deserves a 10 won't find themselves on this list, because a general manager would have to be insane to trade him.

The value metrics and assorted order are based on how I gauge their worth, even though the old guard will devote more attention to wins, saves, RBI and name recognition. Yes, Jonathan Papelbon will garner more attention than Joaquin Benoit, but I'm taking the latter if presented the choice.

You might also ask who makes a nine-person list. Blame the New York Yankees for selfishly acquiring Chase Headley on Tuesday. For what it's worth, the former San Diego Padres' third baseman originally ranked No. 6 with a 7.0 rating before getting scooped off the market.

That's enough setup already. Let's get to it before the deadline passes.

 

Note: All advanced statistics courtesy of FanGraphs. Contract information obtained via Cot's Baseball Contracts.

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