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MLB Trade Rumors: Hunter Pence and 5 Less-Discussed Stars Who Could Move

Nathan PalatskyCorrespondent IIJune 22, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Hunter Pence and 5 Less-Discussed Stars Who Could Move

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    The Mets won't be the only sellers at the trade deadline, if they will even be sellers. There are other teams who would do well to unload some stars for prospects this July.

    What makes a star movable? A hefty contract can certainly make a player less desirable to his own team, but it makes him difficult to move (though that didn't stop the Blue Jays from unloading the worst contract in baseball in Vernon Wells).

    If the team is struggling and doesn't have a deep minor league system, they could be motivated to replenish the camp by trading one current star, for three guys who could become stars.

Jonathan Papelbon, 4.03 ERA, 13 SV

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    Jonathan Papelbon is in the last year of his contract with Boston. Yes, he has five consecutive years of 35 or more saves, but last year he posted a 3.90 ERA.

    He may have tied for ninth in saves, but that ERA was higher than anyone else in the top 15 in saves. Meanwhile, Daniel Bard has a 2.55 ERA, and a 0.849 WHIP as the setup guy.

    Boston would do well to move Papelbon, preferably for a starter, and hand Bard the job he has earned.

Hiroki Kuroda, 3.07 ERA, 1.272 WHIP

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    Hiroki Kuroda is one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball. In his fourth season, he has a career 3.52 ERA and 1.193 WHIP.

    He is also in the last year of his contract, and the Dodgers are 34-41, 6.5 back in the division. There will be buyers on the market for a quality starting pitcher, and the Blue Crew could bring in some very useful pieces in return.

Aramis Ramirez, .282, 33 RBI

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    Aramis Ramirez has patrolled the Wrigley Field hot corner since he game over from the Pirates in 2003.

    He's in the last year of a five-year deal, with the Cubs holding a team option for 2012. The Cubs are 13 games below .500 and 10 out in the division.

    With the slew of injuries to third sackers this season, and the consistent run production Ramirez has put up in past years, he would certainly fetch a nice package from a contender needing to fill a gap.

Tim Hudson, 3.73 ERA, 1.085 WHIP

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    Some would berate Hudson being on this list. He's not in the last year of a deal (signed through 2012), he's not with a deadline seller (Braves are 42-33) and he's a fan favorite. 

    First of all, the contract might make him a bit more attractive to someone, because its not a half-season rental. Second, the Braves have the enviable task of juggling too much starting pitcher talent.

    They are first in team WHIP, first in batting average against, and second in team ERA. That's with Mike Minor only making six starts, and Julio Teheran making two. They can stand to deal Hudson for a bat (perhaps Aramis?).

    The Braves are near the bottom of the league in batting average and on base percentage.

Hunter Pence, .321, 9 HR

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    Pence is one of the cheaper rental options out there for those looking for a legitimate bat.

    He is a career .291 hitter with 162-game averages of 25 home runs and 14 steals. One of the more under appreciated hitters in baseball, he would be an asset to any offensively challenged contender (Giants, Braves, perhaps Diamondbacks).

    The Astros would likely be asking for prospects back, considering they are still rebuilding. When Oswalt was dealt, it was only a matter of time before Pence followed.

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