2011 MLB Trade Speculation: 100 Players Who Could Move at the Deadline
We've finally passed the first-quarter point of the season and it's this time of year that general managers begin looking at potential trades.
Some teams are buyers, some teams are sellers and some teams are a little bit of both, but regardless of how realistic their playoff aspirations are, every team will still be involved at the trading deadline.
Here's an early look at the 100* players you can expect to come up in trade discussions over the next two months.
*Players are listed alphabetically in order of what team they're on, so the Arizona Diamondbacks are first and the Washington Nationals are last.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Stephen Drew, SS
The Diamondbacks made stud OF Justin Upton available over the winter, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they’ll do the same for Drew. The 28-year-old shortstop has been playing well (.276/.350/.425), but he seems to have peaked as a player and is about to get expensive. He’s due for a $3 million raise next season to $7.75 million and then Arizona has a $10 million option on him for 2013.
If the Diamondbacks are serious about rebuilding, and with two of the top seven picks in the upcoming MLB draft, they really should be, then Drew is one of the few players they can get a substantial return for. He won’t be around when Arizona is competitive again, so it makes sense to trade him now while his value is at its highest.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Aaron Heilman, RP
Heilman, 32, was one of the busiest arms in baseball this decade, making at least 70 appearances every year from 2006-2010. He hasn’t pitched particularly well this year, with just a 6.94 ERA in nine games, but there are probably plenty of teams that would be happy to take on his expiring $2 million contract to see if he has some juice left. On the plus side, his strikeouts are way up (10.8 SO/9).
Arizona Diamondbacks: Kelly Johnson, 2B
Johnson, 29, is Arizona’s highest-paid player ($5.85 million) and will be a free agent following this season. The left-handed Johnson is having an awful year with just a .184 batting average and an even more embarrassing 52 strikeouts in 152 at-bats.
He did hit 26 home runs last season and there are plenty of teams that would love to rent a power-hitting second baseman for a couple of months.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Miguel Montero, C
Several teams have been after Montero for a while now, and it’s easy to see why. The 27-year-old is finally healthy and is slugging a robust .447 with a .809 OPS. That’s good news for Montero, but bad news for the Diamondbacks, which will have to pay the catcher upwards of $5 million in arbitration for 2012 before he becomes a free agent in 2013. It might be time to make him someone else’s financial problem.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Melvin Mora, IF
Mora, 39, is one of a handful of serviceable utility players that play for Arizona. He might be the most attractive of the group because he’s a veteran, cheap ($2.35 million expiring deal) and can still hit a little bit (.262 batting average).
Xavier Nady, Geoff Blum, Henry Blanco, Willie Bloomquist and Russell Branyan are all in a similar position and will be open for bidding now through July 31.
Arizona Diamondbacks: J.J. Putz, RP
The Diamondbacks waited for the free-agent pool to thin out before grabbing their closer in Putz with a two-year, $10 million deal. The 34-year-old righty has rewarded Arizona for its patience by saving nine games and compiling a 2.40 ERA in 14 appearances, but it doesn’t make much sense to pay someone that much to close games for a losing team. Putz is much more valuable to Arizona as a trade chip.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Saunders, SP
Saunders, 30, has been a big disappointment for Arizona this year after coming over in the Dan Haren trade. He’s 0-5 with a 5.48 ERA and has almost as many walks (24) as strikeouts (25).
The Diamondbacks aren’t quite ready to give up on the lefty yet, but they’re leaning heavily in that direction. Saunders will make $6 million to $7 million in arbitration next season and then be a free agent in 2013.
Atlanta Braves: Derek Lowe, SP
The Braves remain adamant that they don’t want to trade their veteran right-hander, even if he is 38 and halfway through a four-year, $60 million deal. But even with a 3.43 ERA in 57.2 innings, he’s the worst starter in the rotation, and easily the most expensive.
A market definitely exists for Lowe if the Braves decide to make him available.
Baltimore Orioles: Mike Gonzalez, RP
Gonzalez, 33, is the primary lefty in the Baltimore bullpen, but he’s been pitching like the mop-up guy. In 15 games, he has an 8.53 ERA and is giving up 13.5 H/9.0 IP, all for the hefty price of $6 million in the final year of his deal.
Lefty relievers with proven track records are hot commodities on the trade market, so expect the Orioles to find a team willing to acquire Gonzalez.
Baltimore Orioles: Vladimir Guerrero, DH
The Orioles signed Guerrero to a one-year, $8 million deal to add some thump to the lineup, and he’s certainly done that with four homers and a .755 OPS. But Baltimore is still a couple of years away from contending and the Orioles have no use for a 36-year-old designated hitter. Some team will be happy to take Guerrero off their hands.
Boston Red Sox: Mike Cameron, OF
Cameron, 38, was supposed to be the right-handed complement to Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, but it’s hard to take Ellsbury out of the lineup when his OPS is .815. That leaves no role for the veteran outfielder, who is hitting just .175 this season.
The Red Sox should trade Cameron and the $7.75 million remaining on his deal to a team that still thinks he can hit 20 home runs and play Gold Glove defense.
Boston Red Sox: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
The Red Sox aren’t in a position to trade away talented catchers, but lucky for them, Saltalamacchia’s talent got lost somewhere between Atlanta and Texas. The 27-year-old catcher is hitting a brutal .217 (which is still higher than Carl Crawford’s batting average) and has struggled defensively. That won’t fly in a city like Boston so look for the Red Sox to acquire another catcher and dump Saltalamacchia on someone else.
Boston Red Sox: Marco Scutaro, SS
For the first time in over a decade, the Red Sox actually have a surplus at shortstop. Jed Lowrie (.856 OPS) is a better hitter than Marco Scutaro, and rookie Jose Iglesias is a better fielder, so what to do with the veteran utility man?
It’s hard to trade someone who’s hitting just .235 and has only three extra-base hits on the season, but the Red Sox will happily dump Scutaro and the $7 million remaining on his contract just to free up a roster spot.
Chicago Cubs: Kosuke Fukudome, OF
The Cubs are about a week away from coming to the conclusion that they can’t win the World Series this year, and that means they’ll be selling. At the top of that list is Fukudome, a solid, 34-year-old outfielder who is actually having a good season at the moment (.323/.432/.364). The lack of a home run or stolen base is worrisome, but this is still a pretty good third outfielder for a championship team.
The Cubs need to free up a spot for prospect Tyler Colvin anyway, and what better way to do that than to dump Fukudome and the $14.5 million left on his deal?
Chicago Cubs: John Grabow, RP
Grabow, 32, is another impending free agent who is due $4.8 million this season. He’s a lefty, so there’ll be some demand for him, even if his 4.30 ERA and 4.9 BB/9 are hard to swallow. Some team will bite.
Chicago Cubs: Reed Johnson, 1B/OF
Johnson, 34, is in a similar position to Fukudome and Grabow, except that his $900,000 contract makes him much easier to move. He’s nothing more than a complementary player at this point in his career, but if he keeps hitting like this (.385/.444/.615) then some team will find a way to get him at-bats.
Chicago White Sox: Mark Buehrle, SP
The White Sox are on the verge of full-on sell mode, and Buerhrle is going to be the club’s most coveted player. The 32-year-old left-hander is 3-3 with a 4.07 ERA thus far, but he’s made at least 30 starts every year of his career and has a 3.85 lifetime ERA. He’s in the final year of his four-year, $56 million deal and would be the premier pitcher on the trade market if made available.
Chicago White Sox: Jesse Crain, RP
The White Sox brought in Crain on a three-year, $13 million deal to take the pressure off a bullpen that had just lost longtime closer Bobby Jenks. The 29-year-old righty has pitched well with a 2.66 ERA in 17 games, and he will garner a lot of interest at the trade deadline by the same teams that wanted him as a free agent.
Chicago White Sox: John Danks, SP
Danks, 26, is unlike the other White Sox starters who could be traded this season in that he won’t be a free agent next season. He’ll be arbitration eligible and after making $6 million this year, he’ll be in line for a $7 million to $8 million paycheck in 2012. That’s a respectable price for the left-hander, who has a 4.32 ERA in 58.1 innings.
The White Sox don’t have to trade Danks, but he’ll net the biggest return package if they do.
Chicago White Sox: Edwin Jackson, SP
Jackson, 27, is definitely available and it’s only a matter of time before a deal is made. The righty has pitched OK, with a 4.53 ERA in nine starts, but he’s a free agent after this season and has a habit of changing teams. He’ll only cost his new team about $3 million for a two-month rental, and that’s a good price for a solid No. 4 or 5 starter.
Chicago White Sox: Carlos Quentin, OF
Quentin, 28, was terrific when he first joined the White Sox, but the former MVP candidate has fallen off the map a bit. He does have eight home runs this year, but his .250/.339/.507 line is poor for an offensive centerpiece.
That said, he’s still a bargain at just $5 million this season and $6 million to $7 million next season. The White Sox would have to blow up their entire team for Quentin to go, and it’s starting to look like GM Ken Williams is leaning in that direction.
Cincinnati Reds: Jonny Gomes, OF
Gomes, 30, has been awful in left field for Cincinnati, with just a .189 batting average, though he does have seven home runs to lead the team. It’s only a matter of time before he loses his job to Chris Heisey, and the Reds may want to get something for Gomes while they still can. Power hitters are always in high demand and Gomes would be an especially attractive trade chip with less than $1 million remaining on his contract.
Cincinnati Reds: Ramon Hernandez, C
Hernandez, 35, is splitting time with teammate Ryan Hanigan at the backstop, though he’d be good enough to be a starter for almost any team in baseball. The righty has six home runs already and a 1.026 OPS in 85 at-bats. He’s a free agent after this season, so this is a perfect time for the Reds to deal him and go with Hanigan as the full-time catcher.
Cincinnati Reds: Mike Leake, P
Leake, 23, lost his rotation spot to Johnny Cueto and earned a demotion to Triple-A after compiling a 5.70 ERA in 36.1 innings. It doesn’t appear there’ll be a spot for him in the rotation anytime soon with all five Reds signed through at least 2013, so a change of scenery may be in order. Leake, meanwhile, won’t hit his arbitration years until 2013 and is still a highly-regarded prospect.
Cincinnati Reds: Edgar Renteria, SS
Renteria, 34, has been relegated to the bench by Paul Janish and seems to be on the last legs of his career. He’s still a competent hitter with a .353 on-base percentage and can help a team that is weak up the middle. Renteria’s also only making $2.1 million this season on a one-year deal, so he’d require a minimal financial commitment.
Cleveland Indians: Orlando Cabrera, 2B
Cabrera, 36, has had a long-and-successful career, but the Indians are in a full-fledged youth movement and Cabrera simply doesn’t fit in. He’s hitting well enough (.286 batting average) to keep playing and is only making $1 million this season, so he’ll definitely get some interest as a middle infielder for a contender.
Cleveland Indians: Fausto Carmona, SP
Carmona, 27, has been terrific for the Indians this season and a main reason why the club has one of the best records in baseball. In nine starts, he has a 3.94 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. But he’s about to get very expensive and that’s bad news for a team with as many as 10 guys eligible for arbitration.
Cleveland has a $7 million option on him for 2012, $9 million option for 2013 and $11 million option for 2013. The righty has been very inconsistent over the course of his career and now may be the perfect time to capitalize on his success.
Cleveland Indians: Travis Hafner, DH
Why would the Indians trade their best offensive player who has finally rediscovered his stroke after three forgotten seasons? Because Hafner’s value will never be higher. He’s 34 and hitting an obscene .345/.409/.549, a rate the career .283 hitter almost certainly can’t keep up. He’s expensive and is owed $13 million next season with a $13 million team option for 2013, and the Indians will never be able to get out from that contract if they don’t trade Hafner now.
Cleveland Indians: Austin Kearns, OF
Kearns, 31, is the prototypical fourth outfielder. He can play multiple positions, he has some speed and power and he’s a great teammate. The problem is those are the kinds of players that belong on contenders, not pretenders. His contract will expire at the end of the season and he’ll be prime trade bait as long as he can get his batting average (.160) above the Mendoza Line.
Cleveland Indians: Grady Sizemore, OF
Sizemore, 28, has been the definition of an enigma for the Indians. When healthy, he’s one of the best players in baseball. But those moments have been few and far between as the left-handed hitting outfielder has played in just 157 games over the last three years.
Cleveland would be foolish to trade its star player before he gets back on the field and proves that he’s healthy, but once he does, it’ll be hard for the Indians to reject the trade offers for Sizemore. He’s making just $7.5 million this season, a paltry sum for a potential superstar, with a $8.5 million team option for 2012.
The Indians need to rebuild and the future is around guys like Carlos Santana and Josh Tomlin, not Sizemore.
Colorado Rockies: Jose Lopez, 2B
The Rockies have a terrific chance of contending this season, but it’s no thanks to Lopez. The 27-year-old righty is hitting just .179 and has as many strikeouts (10) as runs. He’s only starting because his predecessor (next on this list) was even worse, but he has to be considered a trade chip since he’ll be a free agent in 2012.
Colorado Rockies: Ian Stewart, 3B
Stewart, 26, was once a highly-regarded prospect in the Rockies system. He had a big season in 2009 with 25 home runs, but he’s struggled to put everything together and is now headed in the wrong direction. The lefty was batting just .064 before earning a demotion to the minor leagues, and there’s no timetable on when he’ll be back.
He’ll make about $2.5 million next season through arbitration and that’s way too much for what he’s contributing, but some club will be willing to give him a fresh start.
Detroit Tigers: Carlos Guillen, SS
Guillen, 35, has yet to appear in a game this season because of surgery on his left knee, but is expected back soon. The Tigers have gotten by with Jhonny Peralta in his absence, and there’s no telling what Guillen will be able to contribute once he gets back. He’s one of the few players the Tigers can actually trade without mortgaging the future, but Detroit will probably have to throw in some cash to help offset the $13 million he’s owed this season.
Detroit Tigers: Magglio Ordonez, OF
The Tigers outbid several teams to bring Ordonez back, although the $10 million may have been best spent elsewhere. The 37-year-old righty is hitting just .172 with one home run in 99 at-bats, and is currently sitting on the bench for Ryan Raburn.
He’s still an elite hitter, but the Tigers don’t have the luxury of waiting for him to come out of his funk. He might be purely a salary dump at this point.