MLB Trade Rumors: Ranking the Top Players Available at Every Position

Daniel MorrillCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2010

MLB Trade Rumors: Ranking the Top Players Available at Every Position

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a soft line drive to left field in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros on September 15, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The MLB offseason is already in full swing, and many top free agents have already been taken off the board.

    So who's left? And what players might be available for teams that don't have the pocket change to go out and sign a free agent?

    Begin the slideshow to see the top five players available to sign or trade for at each position.


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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: Mike Napoli of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bats against the Cleveland Indians on September 6, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    1. Mike Napoli (LAA)

    2. Geovany Soto (CHC)

    3. Russell Martin (FA)

    4. A.J. Pierzynski (CWS)

    5. Bengie Molina (FA)

    Napoli has been rumored in numerous trades this offseason.  Coming off a career high 26 homer season, Napoli is still young and can give you power from behind the dish.  

    The Cubs might be willing to deal Geovany Soto to make room for touted prospect Wellington Castillo. Castillo is another trade piece that could be had if the Cubs want to hold onto Soto.

First Base

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    ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    1. Prince Fielder (MIL)

    2. Derek Lee (FA)

    3. Adam Laroche (FA)

    4. James Loney (LAD)

    5. Chris Davis (TEX)

    As it looks right now, Prince Fielder is very available, for the right price of course.  The Prince will cost some team a pretty penny, in the form of young pitching.  

    James Loney is also rumored to be available, and his power numbers might benefit from a different venue.

    A team looking for shear power at first base might also be interested in the Rangers' Chris Davis.

Second Base

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 25: Brian Roberts #1 of the Baltimore Orioles takes a swing against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Orioles defeated the White Sox 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    1. Brian Roberts (BAL)

    2. Gordon Beckham (CWS)

    3. Rickie Weeks (MIL)

    4. Kelly Johnson (ARI)

    5. Chone Figgins (SEA)

    If you want to acquire a second baseman this offseason it pretty much has to be via trade, with Orlando Hudson being the only real starting option left in free agency.  

    With Dan Uggla already traded to Atlanta, Brian Roberts' name pops up again as one who may be on the market.  Its a long shot, but with the Orioles you really never know.  

    After a big rookie season, Gordon Beckham's stock has fallen considerably, but he is still an attractive young player who can also play shortstop.  

    Rickie Weeks finally broke out in 2010 and is only under contract for another year with the Brewers.


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    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Shortstop Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets fields a ground ball during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    1. Jose Reyes (NYM)

    2. Jimmy Rollins (PHI)

    2. Jason Bartlett (TB)

    4. Rafael Furcal (LAD)

    5. Miguel Tejada (SF)

    With Jeter and Peralta off the board in free agency, the next best options are Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria.  Teams will be able to find much bigger names via trade.  

    Every player on this list is entering the final year of their contract.  Reyes is rumored to be a trade piece once again, but more interesting is another N.L. East shortstop; Jimmy Rollins.  We may have never thought we'd see him leave Philly, but with his production falling, he could go for the right price.  

    It appears as though Bartlett will move this offseason, with the Cardinals, Giants, Orioles, Padres and Pirates all interested.

Third Base

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during warm-ups prior to the start of the game against the New York Yankees on September 26, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Get
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    1. Adrian Beltre (FA)

    2. Pedro Alvarez (PIT)

    3. Chase Headley (SD)

    4. Mark Derosa (SF)

    5. Casey Blake (LAD)

    Adrian Beltre had his best year last year since his ridiculous 2004 campaign, but was it a fluke?  That's what teams will have to decide this offseason, but there isn't much else out there in terms of third basemen.  

    Pedro Alvarez could be a star in a few years, and if history tells us anything, he can be coaxed away from the Pirates.  

    Chase Headley would love to hit somewhere other than Petco, and a trade might do both teams involved good.  

    Derosa and Blake are both entering contract years and will probably become deadline trade pieces should the Giants or Dodgers fall out of contention.

Left Field

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebtes a solo homerun with Evan Longoria #3 against the Texas Rangers in the 9th inning during game 3 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texa
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    1. Carl Crawford (FA)

    2. Jack Cust (FA)

    3. Josh Willingham (WSN)

    4. Raul Ibanez (PHI)

    5. Travis Snider (TOR)

    If what Jason Werth got is any indication, Carl Crawford might be in for a huge payday.  

    The next three guys have almost identical stats, but Willingham seems like the most likely to be dealt this offseason.  

    Philly fans would love to deal Ibanez, but a 40-year-old outfielder in the last year of his contract isn't appealing to most teams.  

    Travis Snider's name has also been waived around and is certainly available.

Center Field

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    CLEVELAND - APRIL 17:  Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians crosses home plate after scoring in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox during the game on April 17, 2010 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Get
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    1. Grady Sizemore (CLE)

    2. Carlos Beltran (NYM)

    3. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)

    4. Cody Ross (SF)

    5. Coco Crisp (OAK)

    Going into the final year of his contract on a bad Cleveland team that hasn't been shy about trading big stars in the past, Grady Sizemore is very available.  Coming off a season wrecked by injury, Sizemore will be much cheaper for teams this offseason than he will at this year's deadline.  The Indians might actually prefer to trade Sizemore this offseason, just in case another injury puts him out for the season, making him lose all trade value.  

    Carlos Beltran's name has been linked to the Red Sox, because everyone knows they need another injury risk in the outfield.  

    Ellsbury's name has been rumored in several deals out of Boston as well.

Right Field

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    TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 23:   Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches his foul ball during the game against the Seattle Mariners on September 23, 2010 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 1-0. (Photo by
    Brad White/Getty Images

    1. Jose Bautista (TOR)

    2. Nick Swisher (NYY)

    3. Michael Cuddyer (MIN)

    4. Kosuke Fukudome (CHI)

    5. Milton Bradley (SEA)

    Bautista still has me scratching my head.  Is he for real?  Or was 2010 just his version of Brady Anderson's 1996?  Whatever the case, Bautista's trade value has certainly never been higher, and the Blue Jays have to consider whether or not they can compete with Tampa Bay, New York and Boston this year.  

    Swisher is entering the final year of his contract as well, and the Yankees might actually be interested in clearing up a little money for Cliff Lee.

Starting Pitcher

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    1. Cliff Lee (FA)

    2. Felix Hernandez (SEA)

    3. Zach Grienke (KC)

    4. Wandy Rodriguez (HOU)

    5. Matt Garza (TB)

    Cliff Lee headlines the available starting pitchers, but beyond him all that's left in free agency is Carl Pavano, Andy Pettitte and Brad Penny.  

    Next on the list is an interesting one, Felix Hernandez.  He could be a hot deadline name, but he could certainly be moved earlier if the right prospects are put on the table.  

    Zach Grienke said that he would waive his no trade clause for any trade and has been linked to Toronto.  

    Rodriguez is a good, cheaper option who is entering the last year of his contract.  

    Several teams have reportedly expressed interest in Matt Garza, including the Cubs who would love to deal off Carlos Zambrano.

Setup Man

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    NEW YORK - JULY 17:  Grant Balfour #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees on July 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Rays defeated the Yankees 10-5.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    1. Grant Balfour (FA)

    2. Joel Zumaya (DET)

    3. Kerry Wood (FA)

    4. Rafael Betancourt (COL)

    4. Damaso Marte (NYY)

    Grant Balfour leads the middle relief pitching class, coming off a great year with the Rays.  

    Zumaya still has some value, and the last thing the Tigers want is for him to lose all of it in the last year of his contract with another injury.  

    Kerry Wood finished strong last with the Yankees, and appears to be healthy.  

    Betancourt is entering the last year of his contract with the Rockies this season and could be available.


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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 02:  Heath Bell #21 of the San Diego Padres celebrates after they beat the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 2, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    1. Heath Bell (SD)

    2. Johnathan Broxton (LAD)

    3. Franciso Rodriguez (NYM)

    4. Jose Valverde (DET)

    5. Bobby Jenks (CWS)

    Lots of closers are available this offseason.  Heath Bell is entering the last year of his contract, and just like Adrian Gonzalez, could be moved by the Padres.  

    Broxton's name came up in trade talks for Prince Fielder, and certainly isn't untouchable.  

    Rodriguez and Valverde are both entering the last year of their contracts and could go for the right price.  

    It looks increasingly like the White Sox will move Jenks to make room for Matt Thorton to close.