MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Players in Walk Years Who'll Be Dealt at the Deadline
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The Major League Baseball season has just begun, but it’s never too early to discuss infamous mid-season trades.
As these 10 athletes compete for their respective team, their impending free agency should be in the back of their mind.
While they dream of the money and incentives that will come their way this off-season in the form of a new contract, that all might be halted if they’re a part of a deadline deal.
Instead of watching their franchise player walk away for nothing, here are the 10 players in their walk years who are most likely to be dealt at the deadline.
10. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago Cubs
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Despite an excellent .282/.340/.499 career slash line, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez is another year older and another question mark waiting to be answered.
Suffering a dislocated shoulder in 2009 that caused him to miss almost the first half of the season and a miserable start to his 2010 campaign in which he posted a .162/.227/.269 slash line in April and May, Ramirez’s bounce-back is imminent.
The question remains: will that bounce-back be in a Cubs uniform?
Entering the final year of a five-year extension he signed back in 2007, Ramirez has a $16 million club option still on the table for 2012, but it’s hard to imagine the Cubs paying that price for an aging third baseman.
It’s a make or break year for Aramis and if things go the Cubs’ way, he’ll finish out 2011 somewhere other than the North side of Chicago.
9. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
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The Philadelphia Phillies have had some recent issues with depth as we see with Wilson Valdez starting in place of the injured Chase Utley.
Entering the final year of his contract, Jimmy Rollins has been the heart and soul of the Phillies' lineup for some years now, but his reign in Philly should come to an end mid-way through this season.
Ridding them self of an aging veteran, the Phillies could deal J. Roll to a team in contention while getting some decent prospects in return.
This brings us back to the issue of depth however. Who could play shortstop when Rollins is gone? Michael Martinez?
You got some serious thinking to do Philly.
8. Carlos Beltran, LF, New York Mets
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In the final year of a seven-year, $119 million contract signed in 2005, Carlos Beltran could be considered as good as gone from New York when the trade deadline rolls around.
With names such as Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez and Nick Evans primed to begin play at the Major League level, Beltran has the greatest potential to be shipped to a contender in need of outfield depth and a power bat off the bench.
Playing on two achy knees, Beltran will be serviceable for a few more years as a corner outfielder or DH, but don’t expect him to be apart of the future plans for the Mets.
It was awesome while it lasted Carlos, and it’s sad to see you go!
7. Jonathan Broxton, CL, Los Angeles Dodgers
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Signed to a two-year, $11 million contract prior to the 2010 season, Jonathan Broxton is now entering the final and what could be the last year of his time is Los Angeles.
Despite getting off to a perfect three for three start in save opportunities this season, the Dodgers have notice Broxton’s loss of velocity and inconsistent command which led to his demotion last season.
“Last year was last year,” Dodger manager Don Mattingly recently told the Arizona Republic. “I’m counting on Jonathan to be the closer. I’m counting on him to pitch well. I’m counting on him to be who he’s been for, the most part, his whole career.”
While Mattingly has unwavering confidence in his closer, as he should, this could become very different as MLB’s trade deadline draws near.
6. Jonathan Papelbon, CL, Boston Red Sox
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Still slated as the Boston Red Sox closer, a couple shaky outings and poor control on his pitches could call for his demotion as the season prolongs.
Due to make $12 million in 2011, Papelbon will need to make a strong case for himself as a member of the Red Sox or more than likely he’ll be shipped out of Boston come the deadline.
His previous success plus the marketability of his name should make him a great trade candidate for any team in need of some back-end bullpen help.
5. Heath Bell, CL, San Diego Padres
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Due to be a free agent after the season, Padres closer Heath Bell has put up two solid seasons in which he saved a combined 89 games.
Currently happy with his situation in San Diego, Bell has been adamant about the terms of his next deal with the club.
“My biggest thing is that I’d like three years,” Bell told Padres.com. “That’s my biggest thing. If it means taking less money, then that’s something I’ll do to make sure I’m here for the next three years or more.”
Bell is a premium closer that any team should covet, so if the Padres can’t grant him his one and only wish, expect them to gauge interest from other teams when the deadline rolls around.
4. Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
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“For them to come to me about [a trade] would suggest our team is out of [contention] and they wanted to go in a different direction,” Cardinals’ ace Chris Carpenter told Joe Strauss of STLToday.com.
“I certainly don’t see that being the case. I think we’ve got a great shot not just to win the division, but to get to the World Series,” Carpenter continued.
I mean, Carpenter pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.
If the Cardinals are in it come the All-Star break, expect them to hang on to their staff ace until he hits free agency after this season.
If the Cards are out of the NL Central, it may spell the end of the Carpenter-Wainwright combo in St. Louis.
3. Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
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The future of Jose Reyes in a New York Mets uniform all depends on how well the team is playing come the All-Star break.
If the team is behind in the standings with no hope, Reyes is a goner.
If the Mets surprise a lot people and are in contention in the NL East, Reyes will most likely continue to be the spark plug for the Mets until the end of his career.
Playing a valued position like shortstop, Reyes will be a hot commodity on the open market and he could very well see Carl Crawford, seven-year, $142 million-type money.
Despite the Mets recent financial fiasco, the team will have enough resources and determination to retain Reyes for the rest of his career, but he is definitely a deadline deal waiting to happen.
2. Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
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Agreeing to a one-year, $15.5 million contract in early January, the Brewers will need to engage in some serious in-house conversations regarding the future of first baseman Prince Fielder.
Due to be a free agent again after the 2011 season, Fielder could bring back a bulk of talent if traded by this year’s deadline.
Look for the Brewers to be sellers come the trade deadline if they decide they can't retain Fielder this off-season.
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
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“The Machine” has got to be our No. 1 on this list.
Arguable the best active player in baseball, Albert Pujols is due a hefty contract come this off-season, but he could become trade bait before he even gets that far.
The Cardinals have held closed-door negotiations with Pujols during the spring, but he wasn’t very fond of “something in the neighborhood of the 10-year, $275 million deal that Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees,” speculates ESPN.com.
Now that all contract negotiations are off until the off-season, it might be in the Cardinals best interest to deal the right-handed slugger.
Just imagine the amount of talent he will bring in return. I cant even begin to make a stab at a possible deal; it would be too outrageous for my mind to even handle.