Let's make a deal! Potential superstars in baseball are defined in multiple ways.
There's the rising prospect, the reborn veteran, the under-the-radar sleeper, and of course, the proverbial No.1-overall draft picks like Justin Upton.
But the organizational side of a team is in a constant motion of re-tooling their investments in the same way a mechanic tinkers with a project car until he gets everything just right.
Heading into 2011, there are a bevy of players we can all talk about who could be considered potential superstars: I stuck with 10.
Let's take a look at who's who, and if there is a player you think could fit this bill, mention him below.
Jesus Montero is a 20-year-old catcher within the New York Yankees organization who has a chance to make a name for himself by fighting for a starting role or as an inexpensive pickup by April.
The hard-hitting catcher has a chance within the organization with the speculation that current catcher Jorge Posada will move to the DH, but the Yankees usually keep short leashes on players who can’t live up to their expectations.
There isn’t a team in the majors that won’t consider packaging a prospect in a pending deal that could land them a better player. Considering that Montero has to also compete against Francisco Cervelli and Chad Moeller, that makes his job that much harder, but it makes the Yankees bargaining position that much easier.
The No. 1-overall pick in 2005 has been one of the most intriguing names in the free-agent market this year.
And while some believe Upton will start the season as a Diamondback, others believe there could be a trade consummated before April…but more on that later.
Upton has drawn a ton of interest, but the D-Backs are speculated as asking way too much for the outfielder, which could hamper their ability to deal him before the start of the 2011 season.
This can go two ways for a team.
It can allow them to build a better bargaining platform the longer he stays, but it could also allow the player to reach for the stars contract-wise.
Either way, this will be interesting to follow through the winter. So who exactly could the D-Backs trade Upton for?
Does that 'stache' look fake, or what?
How about Travis Snider (or at least that’s what is being speculated)? When the Jays acquired Rajai Davis from the A’s, it was widely believed that Travis Snider will be the first Blue Jay to take flight.
But Snider hasn’t always been the model for a consistent player in the majors, despite being well known for his power-hitting prowess, an aspect that could draw significant attention. The Blue Jays have been curious with their handling of Snider in the past by moving him around to nearly every hitting spot on the roster and even benching him, so his ability to hit could be his saving grace.
His at-best average defensive skills could be his downfall.
Thanks to an injury to Mike Cameron last season, Ryan Kalish was able to impress the Red Sox in the 53 games he did play in, both defensively and offensively.
Kalish finished the year with a .252/.305/.405 line with four home runs, 24 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
Those are serviceable numbers, but considering Kalish’s numbers were near identical to an injured Cameron’s, you have to believe the Red Sox will go with Cameron over Kalish and possibly try to deal him.
The Red Sox could also turn around and give Kalish a chance to earn a starting role, which is more feasible since his pending performance could work in their favor if they do eventually try to deal him.
A win-win situation for Boston if you ask me.
For some inexplicable reason, I find myself mentioning this guy a lot no matter what type of MLB article I seem to do. The White Sox have been kicking the tires on an entire lot of potential players this offseason, as well as feverishly trying to hang onto first baseman Paul Konerko.
The deal is this: Viciedo is a better than average hitter (.308/.321/.519 in 104 at bats) but has only drawn two walks in that time while striking out 25 times.
In addition to plate-discipline concerns, other issues are his poor defensive capabilities at first and the roughly $4 million that comes tagging along should he get dealt.
But with Konerko looming and a bevy of quality first-baseman free agents, you have to think Viciedo will eventually be packaged, probably to a team looking to develop his weaknesses and cash in on his strengths.
The Red Sox are keeping a diligent eye on the free-agent market and they have not only a hefty coin to bring to the table, but the most important aspect other than money:
One of the players who could be put out there as a potential trade-package name is starting pitcher Casey Kelly, who is highly regarded as a top-notch prospect with the ability to be a stellar starting pitcher with a little polishing.
Kelly finished his stint in the Arizona Fall League with a misleading 6.75 ERA. I say misleading simply because he was torched in one particular game while cruising along in the other three.
It’s difficult to get a read this early about a rising prospect in any organization, but speculating about said player is not.
The highly-touted prospect out of Georgia was more of a disappointment than anything in 2010, hitting just under .255 with nine homeruns and 49 RBI, and he was the subject of a litany of injuries.
When he was playing, Beckham just didn’t look like the No. 20-rated prospect that Baseball America ranked him at, and his impressive .322/.375/.519 minor-league batting line with only 33 strikeouts turned into a dismal .252/.317/.378 pro-circuit line, accompanied by 92 whiffs.
But a talented prospect always has a ceiling for improvement, which is what potential suitors will inevitably consider.
The thing to note here is that Beckham could come at a cheap price since he was making the near minimum and he doesn’t have much bargaining power.
A potential bargain-basement breakout player.
One of the more interesting names in the pool this year is third baseman Mat Gamel, whose role in the Brewers organization has yet to be determined, if there is any at all.
Gamel is a free-swinging power-hitter capable of being a traditional run producer, and he is also an experienced outfielder who has also done some work at first base.
Ah, and there’s the hitch.
The Brewers were pleased with Gamel’s ability to move to the outfield, with manager Ken Macha even saying: "My assessment says that's where he's going to wind up, in the outfield," in late September.
But with Prince Fielder sticking around, Gamel’s up-and-down play at the hot corner and residency in an already overcrowded outfield could afford Gamel a decision to test the market, or afford the Brewers a bargaining chip.
One of the biggest position markets this year is relief pitching, but it can be a difficult pond to wade through, to say the least.
One of those players swimming around is Francisco Cordero, who is believed to have been made available by the Cincinnati organization, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com
The problem here is that Cordero is 38 and comes with a hefty baggage claim of just around $24 million through 2012. The only real way for a suitor to swipe Cordero away from the Reds would be if the organization assumed some of that cost.
Cordero finished the year with a 3.84 ERA, a 59/36 K/BB ratio, and 40 saves out of 48 chances.
Losing this guy would be detrimental to the Cubs in my opinion.
Brad Snyder was a Chicago Cubs stand-out prospect in 2010, and there is now speculation that he will try his hand at free agency instead of heading back to assignment.
This is probably a good decision on his part, since there is a real need for quality outfielders in the league. The other major reason why this is smart is because the Cubs are already overcrowded just a bit and a little short on cash.
Snyder is the type of player who can be an impact addition to any team right off the bat. He has good defensive skills and he is a solid hitter who batted .308/.381/.568 with 25 homers and 106 RBI in Triple-A Iowa.
He should be a hot commodity in the coming months for potential suitors, but a heavy loss for the Cubs should he be dealt.
I hope you all enjoyed this little piece and I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holiday!