MLB Trade Rumors: Jose Reyes and One Player Each Team Should Acquire or Keep
It's never too early to talk trades in Major League Baseball.
Before the season even started, there was speculation about this summer's biggest deals. The Yankees would seek out a starting pitcher. The Mets would trade Jose Reyes. And teams like the Padres and Diamondbacks were likely to hold fire sales.
The Trade Deadline Hot Stove will be preheating for at least another few weeks, but some trends are starting to emerge: buyers and sellers with holes to fill and expendable players to turn into prospects for the future.
In this slideshow are all 30 MLB teams, each matched with a player who either has come up in trade rumors already or is likely to soon—for potential buyers, it's someone to target, while for those who will likely be waiting for next year, I suggested guys who they should think twice before dealing.
Here's hoping for another exciting season of trade buzz!
Arizona Diamondbacks: Chris Young (Keep)
As the Diamondbacks slip out of contention, other teams are sure to be calling about Young, who had a .793 OPS and played a superb center field en route to compiling 4.4 WAR in 2010.
But would such a trade be wise? With Young off to a slow start (.227 average, .270 OBP), his trade value would be at a low point. It's hard to imagine Arizona getting an offer good enough to give up three-and-a-half more years of team control.
Atlanta Braves: Corey Patterson (from Toronto Blue Jays)
With Nate McLouth struggling again and Jason Heyward mired on a sophomore slump, the Braves could definitely use a high-upside option for the big green.
Bust though he was as a prospect, Patterson has a great glove (8.0 career UZR/150) and a decent bat (.742 OPS so far).
He's not the kind of player who can single-handedly turn a team around, but he'd be a big improvement over McLouth.
Baltimore Orioles: Mark Reynolds (Keep)
It's been a rough start to the season for Reynolds. In his first 43 games in the American League, the third baseman has limped his way to a .193 average and a .670 OPS.
The good news: Reynolds is still showing solid plate discipline (12.9% walk rate) and power (.891 Power Factor), and his 32.4 percent strikeout rate is the lowest of his career.
Once his .242 BABIP rises, he'll look more like the Reynolds of old. To trade him now would be to sell him short.
Boston Red Sox: Ryan Hanigan (from Cincinnati Reds)
No one's predicting doom and gloom for the Red Sox now that they're back in the mix in the AL East, but that doesn't mean Boston's problems have been solved—Red Sox catchers are hitting .221 with a .608 OPS.
Interestingly, the Cincinnati Reds have two quality backstops. Ryan Hanigan, who hit .300 with an .834 OPS last year, is the second-best catcher on his own team.
Both Hanigan and the Red Sox could benefit from a move to Boston.
Chicago Cubs: Geovany Soto (Keep)
The 2008 Rookie of the Year has appeared extremely volatile year-to-year thanks to inconsistent playing time and major fluctuations in his BABIP. And yet, Soto's solid power and great plate discipline have been constants in the Cubs' lineup whenever he's gotten to play.
A look at Soto's .226/.322/.387 triple-slash shows that the Cubs would be selling low on Soto if they shipped him off this year. Once his .253 BABIP normalizes, he'll return to his position as one of the best catchers in baseball.
Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham (Keep)
Beckham looked great as a rookie in 2009, posting an .808 OPS with 2.2 WAR in 103 games. Since then, though, he's hit just .244 with a .677 OPS.
There are major problems with Beckham's approach, but he still has the raw talent to be a star. The White Sox could be kicking themselves later if they trade him now.
Cincinnati Reds: Marco Scutaro (from Boston Red Sox)
Shortstop's been a big problem for the Reds this year; Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria have combined for a .559 OPS while playing short.
Marco Scutaro seems like the odd man out in Boston with the emergence of Jed Lowrie. A straight-up deal probably wouldn't happen, but Scutaro-for-Hanigan could be the basis of a deal that would benefit both teams.
Cleveland Indians: Jose Reyes (from New York Mets)
The Indians' lineup has been great for the most part, but Orlando Cabrera has been somewhat disappointing. Combining poor hitting (.649 OPS) with abysmal defense (-5.9 UZR), O-Dawg has actually been below replacement level (-0.3 WAR).
The Mets are likely to deal Reyes this year before he departs as a free agent anyway. A trade for Reyes would make a ton of sense for Cleveland. The Indians could then move Asdrubal Cabrera back to second base, where his glove would be a better fit.
Colorado Rockies: Orlando Hudson (from San Diego Padres)
If the Rockies want to make a run at the postseason, they need to stop wasting time on guys like Ty Wigginton, Jose Lopez and Ian Stewart. Simply put, Colorado needs another infielder.
No one's going to mistake Orlando Hudson for an MVP, but he's at least a solid option who won't burn the team.
Detroit Tigers: Ryan Ludwick (from San Diego Padres)
The Tigers' outfield is a problem. Brennan Boesch is Detroit's only semi-regular outfielder with an OPS over .690, and the Tigers outfielders have combined for a .643 OPS. Yikes.
Ludwick is no great shake—he hasn't OPSed over .775 since 2008—but he'd instantly become Detroit's best outfield option.
Florida Marlins: Kelly Johnson (from Arizona Diamondbacks)
If the Marlins stick around near the top of the NL East, they'll be looking to upgrade at midsummer. Second base will be a top priority for them—Emilio Bonifacio and Omar Infante have combined for a .576 OPS at the keystone.
Johnson is entering a walk year, so the Diamondbacks should have no problem dealing him, and thanks to some bad luck (.245 BABIP), his trade value is at an all-time low. The Fish could fix their problem by acquiring a guy who posted 6.0 WAR last year for pennies on the dollar.
Houston Astros: Carlos Lee (Keep)
It wasn't long ago that Carlos Lee's bat was respected, if not feared. Now, though, he's following up on a .708-OPS performance last year with a .658 mark in 2011.
The Astros would surely love to have someone take "El Caballo" off their hands, but they won't get anyone good in return at this point. Houston would be better off waiting to see if he can turn it around at all.
Kansas City Royals: Kila Ka'aihue (Keep)
A young hitter with good power and a fantastic batting eye, Ka'aihue looks like a good candidate to become a useful player, even if he lacks star potential.
With Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer blocking his path in Kansas city, a trade would be great for Ka'aihue's career prospects. But given his unimpressive resume to date, the Royals would be better off holding onto him.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Kosuke Fukudome (from Chicago Cubs)
Like many teams, the Angels could use an outfielder. However, as we saw with the Vernon Wells trade, the Halos possess one advantage that most other teams don't have: immense payroll flexibility.
Fuudome is currently in the midst of his best offensive season since he came stateside in 2008, and the Halos could presumably take on his $14.5 million salary.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Jonathan Broxton (Keep)
Broxton's 5.68 ERA is a big red flag, but what's most troubling is the massive downturn in his peripheral numbers.
Something is clearly wrong with a guy who sees his strikeout rate fall from 13.50 K/9 in 2009 to 7.11 K/9 this year and has his walk rate shoot from 3.43 BB/9 to 6.39 BB/9 over the same time period.
The Dodgers should wait a couple months to try and fix Broxton before they try to ship him off to another team.
Milwaukee Brewers: Bruce Chen (from Kansas City Royals)
The Brewers appeared to have one of the best rotations in baseball heading into the season, but looks can be deceiving—with Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo struggling, Milwaukee will look to acquire pitching as the season goes on.
Despite their hot start, the Royals aren't going anywhere. Chen probably won't keep up his 3.59 ERA, but he'd provide important rotation depth for the Brewers down the stretch.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano (Keep)
Liriano probably wouldn't have many suitors anyway, given his awful peripherals and 6.12 ERA, but were the Twins to make him available, someone would probably come a-calling.
But while his numbers definitely don't look good, there's still the possibility that Liriano will rediscover his old groove later this year or maybe next season. It's unlikely that the Twins would be able to get a return good enough to give up his upside.
New York Mets: David Wright (Keep)
Like Young and Liriano, Wright is in the midst of the worst year of his career and still has several seasons of team control remaining.
There will likely be a fire sale of sorts in Queens this year, but unless he heats up or another team overpays, Wright shouldn't be a part of it.
New York Yankees: Edwin Jackson (from Chicago White Sox)
The Yankees knew before the season that pitching was their Achilles heel. Looking at the list of question marks in their rotation behind CC Sabathia, it's not hard to see why. It seems inevitable that the Bombers will pursue a starter at the Trade Deadline.
Edwin Jackson (3.41 FIP) seems like a good fit to upgrade New York's rotation. Given the White Sox' rotation depth (they're using a six-man rotation now) and Jackson's coming arbitration raise (he should pull down eight digits in 2012), they'd probably be willing to deal him.
Oakland Athletics: Jeff Francis (from Kansas City Royals)
With Tyson Ross and Dallas Braden hurt, the A's will be looking for rotation help. Knowing Billy Beane, he'll be looking for low-cost diamonds in the rough to patch up the pitching staff.
Francis, who makes just $2 million this year and has an xFIP that's 62 points lower than his ERA (4.23 to 3.61), seems like a logical fit.
Philadelphia Phillies: Willie Bloomquist (from Arizona Diamondbacks)
The Phillies could use a dependable guy to plug in the outfield and keep Chase Utley's place warm at second base, but GM Ruben Amaro is reportedly at his payroll limit.
One cheap option would be Bloomquist, who is hitting .299 with a .727 OPS in 2011. He's no All-Star, but he'd fill a need and wouldn't break the bank.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jason Marquis (from Washington Nationals)
Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Pirates—yes, those Pittsburgh Pirates—are just two games under .500. They're in fourth place and within five games of the NL Central-leading Cardinals.
For this team to have a prayer of contention, they'll need to upgrade their rotation. Jason Marquis, who has a 3.23 FIP in nine outings this year, could be the de facto ace the Pirates need.
San Diego Padres: Cameron Maybin (Keep)
After tantalizing Tigers and Marlins fans with his toolsy-ness for years, Maybin is finally coming into his own in San Diego, posting a .746 OPS and 1.2 WAR in 45 games.
The Padres might be tempted to trade him while his value is high, but a young rebuilding team like this should hold on to the 24-year-old center fielder. His star has faded, but he still has the potential to be a stud.
Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins (Keep)
In retrospect, the four-year $36 million deal the Mariners gave Figgins in 2009 was a mistake—he's hit just .249 with a .625 OPS since coming to Seattle.
But Figgins has reached a new low this year—his slashline has plummeted to .212/.251/.291, and even with his great defense, he's been a replacement-level player.
The Mariners could probably get something for Figgins via trade this summer, but they would be better off holding out to see if he can rediscover his groove.
San Francisco Giants: Derrek Lee (from Baltimore Orioles)
The honeymoon is over for the Giants—in 2010, San Francisco's first basemen (mostly Aubrey Huff) have combined to hit four homers with 14 RBI and a .636 OPS. There's clearly room to upgrade here.
The Giants may want to buy low on Derrek Lee, who is off to a rough start (.657 OPS) with Baltimore. There's no doubt that the 35-year-old slugger is on the decline, but he's not this bad.
St. Louis Cardinals: Kevin Millwood (from Boston Red Sox)
Is there any doubt about Dave Duncan's greatness? The Cardinals pitching coach specializes in reclamation projects. He's the cure for whatever's ailing aging arms.
Millwood, who just signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox, was awful in 2010, posting a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts for the Orioles. He's just the kind of guy Duncan could save.
Tampa Bay Rays: Mike Napoli (from Texas Rangers)
The Rays have already outperformed expectations by hanging in at the top of the AL East, but they've done so with a couple big holes in their depth chart—not the least of which is behind the plate. Tampa backstops have just a .542 OPS this year.
With that in mind, the Rays might want to make a play for Napoli, whose .809 OPS is going to waste in his part-time role with Texas.
Texas Rangers: Heath Bell (from San Diego Padres)
The Rangers are going to get a lot of leads with their powerful lineup, but they're going to have trouble keeping them if Neftali Feliz can't get his act together.
After 14 appearances, Feliz has a 1.26 ERA, but a horrifying 5.75 xFIP, as his K/BB ratio has fallen from 3.94 last year to 0.67. His luck's going to run out soon.
The Padres have been rumored to be shopping Bell for years now. If they're really serious about that, the Rangers ought to be in the mix.
Toronto Blue Jays: Wilson Betemit (from Kansas City Royals)
The Blue Jays are doing surprisingly well this year despite a massive hole at the hot corner—Toronto's third basemen are collectively hitting .189 with a .542 OPS.
Betemit would plug the Blue Jays' biggest hole in a big way. He's hitting .311 with an .821 OPS—and that's actually down from last year.
Washington Nationals: Mike Morse (Keep)
A powerful journeyman who's never gotten a real chance at a regular job, he entered the season bearing a strong resemblance to Jose Bautista a year earlier.
He's in a slump now (.636 OPS), but the potential is still there. A contender looking for a role player might want to pick him up, but the Nats should think twice about letting him go.