The recent acquisitions of Kendrys Morales by the Seattle Mariners and Chase Headley by the New York Yankees are the biggest moves that have been made on the offensive front in advance of this season’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. There are many more teams that need to address the batting order, though.
Unfortunately for those clubs, the market is light as it relates to impact bats. And when it comes to players rumored to be available, only a handful will end up being traded.
7. Elvis Andrus (76 wRC+)
Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is a mercurial ballplayer. He has dynamic speed and can be a catalyst, but he also has a propensity to strike out and doesn’t reach base often enough. He would, however, be an improvement over what the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers have on their rosters.
To be sure, it will take a rather large package of prospects and the willingness to assume the rest of Andrus’ contract to acquire him. While a trade may be unlikely, the Rangers wouldn’t be averse to the idea, as his conditional availability was the topic of much discussion last offseason, according to multiple tweets from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
6. Dayan Viciedo (85 wRC+)
Dayan Viciedo is one of the most dynamic right-handed sluggers in MLB. That said, he is maddeningly inconsistent and has a hard time handling high fastballs.
There is value in what Viciedo does, though. He has three home runs and 14 RBI in only 42 at-bats in high-leverage situations and is hitting .316 (25-for-79) when he takes the ball the other way, per splits over at FanGraphs. Don’t be surprised if the Chicago White Sox trade their right fielder.
5. Alex Rios (101 wRC+)
Thanks to the injury-induced struggles of the Rangers, right fielder Alex Rios may end up getting moved in the next few days.
True, Rios isn’t hitting as many home runs this year as he has in the past, but thanks to eight triples and 21 doubles, he is still quite productive from an offensive perspective. And if he goes to a club that can offer him more protection in the lineup, there is no telling how effective he could be.
One more thing to keep in mind is that Rios has a $13.5 million team option ($1 million buyout) for the 2015 season.
4. Alexei Ramirez (99 wRC+)
Trading Alexei Ramirez may not be part of White Sox general manager Rick Hahn’s plan this season, but if he were presented with an offer that included a top outfield prospect and a well-regarded pitcher, he might reconsider.
After all, the club has more than one option in the minor leagues to take Ramirez's place on the 25-man roster. And even if someone wasn’t immediately promoted, it’s not like the club couldn’t make do with Leury Garcia, considering that making the playoffs is unlikely.
3. Josh Willingham (120 wRC+)
Josh Willingham has 40 hits in 183 at-bats for the Minnesota Twins, which is good for a .219 batting average. Thanks to 38 walks, 10 home runs, five doubles and a triple, however, he has a .361 on-base percentage and is slugging .421. So while the average may not be where anyone would like it to be, he is creating runs, which is what matters.
At last check, the Yankees were interested in acquiring Willingham, per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. A free agent at the end of the season, the right-handed hitter would “likely end up in right field” for the Bronx Bombers, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
2. Ben Zobrist (122 wRC+)
As Heyman noted in a separate article, it is “hard to see the [Tampa Bay] Rays moving” Ben Zobrist, but if they did, “he would fit any of 20 teams.”
To be sure, there aren’t that many teams looking to add Zobrist, but he would certainly help a club like the San Francisco Giants. True, his output at the plate is down from years past, but he still brings a .767 OPS to the table. That said, don’t expect general manager Andrew Friedman to move the talented second baseman.
1. Marlon Byrd (121 wRC+)
Thanks to a myriad of circumstances, Marlon Byrd will probably get shipped off in the coming days. What team Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. trades him to is another story altogether.
See, Byrd has a limited no-trade clause that will end up playing a factor in where he goes, and upon last report, he would acquiesce to a trade to one of those teams only if his 2016 vesting option is guaranteed, according to Jason A. Churchill of CBS Seattle. In essence, he is limiting the options of an already sluggish GM.
As of game time Monday, the right-handed hitter had a .266/.316/.478 slash line with 20 home runs, 60 RBI and 22 doubles. Needless to say, he is the type of offensive infusion several teams need on their 25-man roster.