MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Players Likely To Be Traded Before MLB Trade Deadline
Though spring training is underway for the 30 MLB teams, general managers will still be pondering potential trades that can either give their team an extra boost or shed some payroll heading into the offseason.
July's MLB trade deadline is months away, but a handful of players already qualify to be on the move before the deadline hits.
The 2012 free agent class will feature some marquee names, many of whom are unlikely to sign with their current teams.
Therefore, these players may be rentals for a late postseason push.
Here are 10 players likely to be traded at some point during the 2011 MLB season.
10. Nate McLouth, CF, Atlanta Braves
2010 Stats: .190 BA, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 85 G, 7 SB
Not too long ago, Nate McLouth was establishing himself as an up-and-coming star in the major leagues.
He led the NL with 46 doubles for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008.
However, McLouth has been a huge disappointment for the Atlanta Braves and even spent time in the minors last year.
He is 29 years old and has a $10.65 million club option for 2012.
Unless he really shows the Braves flashes of his old self, Atlanta may look to trade McLouth. The Braves would likely have to eat a chunk of his salary for a deal to get done.
9. Joe Nathan, CL, Minnesota Twins
2010 Stats: Did not pitch
Joe Nathan was one of the top closers in the game throughout the mid-2000s.
He suffered a significant tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in spring training last year and opted to have Tommy John Surgery, which forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.
He returns this year with a vengeance.
However, Matt Capps was dominant for the Twins in the ninth inning last year, so it will be interesting to see how the situation pans out.
Nathan has a $12.5 million club option for 2012, so the Twins may decide to stick with Capps.
A team in search for stretch run bullpen help might call the Twins about Nathan.
8. Paul Maholm, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
2010 Stats: 9-15, 5.10 ERA, 185.1 IP, 102 K
Paul Maholm has a $9.75 million club option for 2012, and if he pitches to a similar ERA, there's no way the Pirates bring him back.
Pittsburgh has some good young arms in their system, and they would rather give the youngsters a chance than overpay for Maholm.
Don't let the numbers fool you when looking at Maholm.
The Pirates have not been a great team over the last few years, so Maholm has not gotten the run support he needs.
He has the stuff to win 12-15 games per year.
Maholm could be a good find late in the season for a team looking for starting pitching.
7. Bobby Abreu, OF/DH, Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim
2010 Stats: .255 BA, 20 HR, 78 RBI, 24 SB, 154 G
Bobby Abreu has played in at least 150 games every year since 1998.
You would think the Angels would appreciate this sort of durability.
However, Abreu seems to have fallen out of favor in Los Angeles.
With the acquisition of Vernon Wells, Abreu will be relegated to a DH role.
The soon-to-be 37-year-old has a $9 million club option that vests with 550 plates appearances this year or 1,100 plate appearances between 2010-2011.
He had 667 plate appearances last year, so the likelihood that the option vests is rather high.
The Angels could look to trade Abreu, and there would probably be several teams willing to take a chance on him.
6. Ryan Doumit, C/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2010 Stats: .251 BA, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 124 G, 22 2B
Injuries have clouded what initially looked like a promising career for Ryan Doumit.
Now, the Pirates have a $7.25 million club option in place for Doumit in 2012.
Even if he can return to form, he likely won't be a Pirate much longer. Though he showed he can play the outfield after the Pirates acquired Chris Snyder last season, Pittsburgh's offseason acquisitions of Matt Diaz and Lyle Overbay will likely detract from Doumit's playing time.
Overbay will take over at first base, shifting Garrett Jones into a platoon with Diaz in right field.
Doumit's bat and versatility could make him a hot commodity around the trade deadline.
5. Grady Sizemore, CF, Cleveland Indians
2010 Stats: .211 BA, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 33 G, 4 SB
2011 will be a make or break year for Grady Sizemore.
Injuries have hampered him the past two seasons, especially last year when he only appeared in 33 games.
He's still only 28, so the Indians may honor his $8.5 million club option. If he shows he's healthy for the long haul, $8.5 million for Sizemore would be a steal.
However, if he's healthy and doesn't produce, Cleveland may look to ship him out. There likely would be a team willing to roll the dice on Sizemore for a late season playoff push.
4. Mark Buehrle, SP, Chicago White Sox
2010 Stats: 13-13, 4.28 ERA, 210.1 IP, 99 K
Mark Buehrle is an innings-machine, having pitched at least 200 innings in each of his 10 seasons as a starter.
He will be one of the premier free agent starters available following the 2011 season.
The White Sox look like they can make a serious run in the AL Central this season. However, if things don't work out, they could look to move Buehrle.
Buehrle would be a hot target among teams looking to acquire a starting pitcher. He's durable, and he's also a magician with the glove on the mound.
3. Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
2010 Stats: .282 BA, 11 HR, 54 RBI, 10 3B, 30 SB, 133 G
The New York Mets exercised Jose Reyes' option for this season. They hope he will remain focused on baseball and put up huge numbers. If so, the Mets will likely sign their young shortstop to a multi-year deal.
However, Reyes must prove to the new Mets brass that he is worthy of a multi-year commitment.
When healthy and producing, Reyes is the most dynamic leadoff hitter in the game.
Not only does Reyes have great speed, but he also has a little pop, which allows him to hit his fair share of triples and home runs.
If the Mets fall out of contention early, they may look to move Reyes. The list of teams that would line up for his services would be endless.
2. Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
2010 Stats: .261 BA, 32 HR, 83 RBI, 161 G
Prince Fielder is coming off the worst year of his career, and he still hit 32 home runs and drew a league-leading 114 walks.
The Brewers improved their pitching staff with the additions of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, so they are expecting to make a run for the NL Central crown.
Fielder will be a vital part of this run.
If the Brewers find themselves struggling, Fielder becomes a sought-after trade chip.
Fielder will be looking for a multi-year deal worth upwards of $100 million. It's still uncertain if the Brewers can afford him.
A big year by Fielder might make the Brewers' decision an easy one.
1. Carlos Beltran, CF, New York Mets
2010 Stats: .255 BA, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 64 G
Carlos Beltran joins teammate Jose Reyes as a potential trade chip.
Beltran is entering the final year of his seven-year, $119 million deal he signed prior to the 2005 season.
Over his Mets tenure, he has shown flashes of being an All-Star caliber player. However, injuries and stretches of inconsistency have trumped his successes as a Met.
Beltran missed the entire fist half of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Upon his return, the Mets were eight games over .500 heading into the All-Star break.
As soon as Beltran returned, the Mets began a downward spiral. These two occurrences aren't necessarily linked, but it's interesting to consider.
Beltran likely won't be a Met after this season, so a contender may find use for the center fielder. He will prove to teams early in the season whether he can still cover ground in the outfield.