Just one week into the Major League Baseball regular season, we are already looking at All-Star players who could be on the move in 2011. Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez is just one of many of the game's greatest players that can become free agents or opt out of deals at the end of the season.
It may be a stretch to believe that players that currently find themselves in great situations like CC Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt or Robinson Cano would even consider switching teams voluntarily. Each of those players is owed a lot of money for a great team this season and would be foolsih to request a trade.
However, even when you disregard the players mentioned, there are still a plethora of former All-Stars that could be on the move some time this season.
Here are the top ten.
In just the last four seasons, Valverde has split time with Arizona, Houston and Detroit, but over that time he has proven himself to be one of the better closers in all of baseball.
Detroit is optimistic its about young relievers Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Schlereth and may be looking to deal Valverde if they fall out of contention.
Valverde had 47 saves and an ERA of 2.66 with Arizona in 2007, but he was immediately traded to Houston at the end of the season. He has continued to pitch very well since, including last season when he had an ERA of 3.00 with 26 saves in 29
Valverde is owed $7 million this season with has an option in 2012 worth $9 million, which is not unreasonable by any means for a closer of his caliber. However, Detroit has several young, talented pitchers in the bullpen, including Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Schlereth and they may decide to trade Valverde by the end of the season if they fall out of contention.
Broxton has been an All-Star each of the last two seasons, but after a historically bad second half last season and his future in Los Angeles is filled with uncertainty.
After the 2010 All-Star break, Broxton had an ERA over 7.00, as well as 21 walks in 24 innings. He saved just three games in eight opportunities.
Broxton is owed $7 million this season and can be a free agent after the season.
Still just 26-years-old, Broxton has great stuff and may turn it around this season. However, if he proves unreliable in the closer slot, the Dodgers are likely to trade him.
A fan favorite in Chicago, Buehrle has been one of the most reliable starting pitchers over the last decade, but he could be dealt by the end of the season.
Beuhrle has won at least ten games in each of the last ten seasons, while averaging an impressive 221 innings per season over that span. He has excellent control on the mound, having never walked more than 61 batters in a season and has never been placed on the disabled list in his career.
However, as consistently solid as Beuhrle has been, he has been far from dominating over the last two seasons. Since the start of 2009, Beuhrle is a rather mediocre 27-23 with an ERA over 4.00. He also gave up a league-high 246 hits last season in 210 innings.
Beurhle, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, is owed $14 million this season and has a 2012 option worth $15 million.
While it may be far fetched, Buehrle may exercise his no-trade clause if things turn sour in Chicago in order to play for a contender.
Capps spent the beginning of last season with the Washington Nationals and earned his first All-Star appearance, before being traded to Minnesota in late July.
Overall, he posted a 2.47 ERA in 2010, including 42 saves in 48 attempts.
However, with the recent return of All-Star closer Joe Nathan, who is coming off of Tommy John Surgery, Capps’ closing services may no longer be needed in Minnesota.
Capps, who is owed $7.15 million this season, could be a very effective setup man, but he figures to draw a lot of interest around the league.
If Nathan, a four-time All-Star, pitches like his old self, expect Capps to be dealt by the July 31st deadline.
Bell, who will be 34-years-old in September, didn’t have his first successful major league season until after his 29th birthday, but he has made up for lost time in a hurry.
A two-time All-Star, Bell had an excellent 2010 season, going 6-1 with a 1.93 ERA out of the bullpen. He saved 47 games in just 50 chances, while striking out 86 batters in 70 innings.
It is very difficult to predict what kind of season San Diego will have this season, but they are certainly not one of the top three favorites in the National League West division.
If the Padres struggle this season, expect Bell to be dealt to a contender in return for some hitting prospects.
Ramirez has proven to be a deadly hitter year in, year out, and could be on the move this summer.
Over the last ten seasons, Ramirez has had eight 20-home run season and six season in which he has knocked in over 100 runs.
He battled a left arm injury in 2009 and a thumb injury in 2010, but he is fully healthy once again and appears to have several good years left.
Ramirez will be 33 years old in June and is owed $14.6 million this season and has a $16 million option next season.
Although Ramirez has a no-trade clause in his contract, he may exercise it in order to play for a contender.
If the Cubs, who won just 75 games last season, struggle once again in 2011, don't be surprised to see Ramirez on the move.
Reyes has spent his entire career with New York, but he could find himself in a different uniform by the end of the season.
Arguably the best lead off man in the game over the last six seasons, Reyes averaged nearly 200 hits per year from 2005-2008 and has led the league in steals three times in his career.
He played just 36 games in 2009 with tendinitis in his right calf, but came back to have another big season last year, while being named to his third All-Star team..
The New York Mets aren't expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, especially in a tough National League East.
Reyes, who is owed $11 million this season, is still just 27-years-old and could significantly help a contender down the stretch.
Since signing with St. Louis in 2003, Chris Carpenter has been one of the top pitchers in all of baseball.
A Cy Young winner in 2005, Carpenter has gone an incredible 84-33 in his career with the Cardinals, including an ERA under 3.00. He had Tommy John Surgery in 2007, which kept him out for nearly two full seasons, but has bounced back to have back to back great seasons since.
Carpenter is owed $15 million this season and has a 2012 option worth $15 million.
St. Louis has a lot of tough decisions to make, especially with the recent news that Adam Wainright’s elbow will require Tommy John Surgery. If the Cardinals fall out of contention, don’t be surprised if Carpenter waives his no trade clause and switches teams.
Fielder may not even be the best first baseman in his own division, but he certainly has the ability to torment opposing pitchers.
He has averaged over 40 home runs and 111 RBI per season since the start of 2007. He also has the ability to get on base consistently, having walked 224 times over the last two seasons.
Still just 26-years-old, Fielder is owed $15.5 million in 2010, but he is set to be a free agent after the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers, who were just 77-85 last season, appear to have an improved team this season, with the acquisitions of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum. However, if they get off to another bad start in 2011, Fielder will be a hot commodity and could end up in a different uniform.
Pujols is widely regarded as the best active hitter in the game, but he is set to be a free agent after the season and could switch teams before that.
Still very much in his prime, Pujols, who turned 31 years old in January, is a three-time MVP and has been in the top ten in MVP voting every single year. He has hit at least .300 with 30 home runs and 100 RBI in all ten of his big league seasons.
As shocking as it would be if Pujols was traded, it could be a smart business move for St. Louis.
St. Louis is unlikely to pay Pujols the $300 million over ten years that it would likely require in order to keep him. And if they trade Pujols, they could get several talented players in return for a few months less of his service.
Also relevant, besides Chris Carpenter, who can waive his no-trade clause after this season, starting pitcher Adam Wainright, who likely won't pitch until at least the spring training of 2012, can opt out of his contract after next season.
Thus, St. Louis may want to rebuild in order to save a ton of money, beginning with letting go Pujols.