MLB Trade Speculation: 15 Players Teams Would Most Regret Moving
The risk of any trade is that the player leaving your team will wind up having the more productive future than the player that you received.
Major League Baseball is full of these stories.
Remember when the San Francisco Giants traded Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski? I'm sure the Giants regretted moving those three.
If you are an Oakland A's fan, the first two names that probably come to mind as players that got away are Andre Ethier (Milton Bradley came to Oakland in return) and Carlos Gonzalez (along with Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday).
Although Bradley did help the A's reach the American League Championship Series in 2006, you could argue that the A's would have benefited more from having Ethier in their outfield the following four seasons instead.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are among a handful of teams that gave up on Jose Bautista before he became the most dangerous hitter on the planet.
The Boston Red Sox probably did not realize the type of players Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez would become when they dealt them to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Although, you could argue that trade did work out for Boston as well.
Of course, it's not just prospects that get dealt for a big name. Sometimes the regret is for the team that trades away their star because they feel they won't be able to afford re-signing them after the season.
Here are a few players that could wind up on the move this season that their former team will wind up regretting letting them go.
Los Angeles Angels: Jered Weaver
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The Angels top trade chip is likely Jared Weaver.
Weaver would draw the attention of some of the league's big spenders, the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals just to name a few.
Weaver is a very special talent, he has displayed repeatedly in Anaheim that he has the makings of an ace. He would, presumably, be open to a contract extension to stay with the Angels organization.
Working against an extension with the Angels, though, are remaining ill-feelings between the Angels ownership and Weaver's representation, Scott Boras, dating back to the Mark Teixeira negotiations a few years back.
In the long term, a Weaver trade may be the best thing for the Angels organization. In the short term though, it will be an unpopular trade in Anaheim and one that will hurt the team's chances in the division in 2011 or 2012 (depending on when, or if, a trade is made).
San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt
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This will probably read as blasphemy to San Francisco Giants fans, but Brandon Belt may have become expendable when Buster Posey went down for the season with a broken ankle and torn ligaments.
The sad reality is that Posey may not play catcher again, and may need to move first base. Such a move would seemingly push Belt to the outfield, but the Giants have other solid outfield prospects near ready for the big leagues as well.
Belt could wind up included in a package to land either a catcher or a bigger name bat for another deep playoff run.
Belt is the type of prospect that will likely turn into an all-star for years to come though. Unless the player the Giants receive in return is instrumental in bringing them a repeat of the World Series, San Francisco fans would have a hard time forgetting that Belt was once in orange and black.
Cincinnati Reds: Aroldis Chapman
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Aroldis Chapman has an electric arm, but he has struggled at the Major League level so far this season (6.60 ERA in 15 innings).
It's hard to imagine the Reds giving up on him and trading him, but given his high ceiling and his current struggles they could be tempted to take the best offer for him and let another team handle his development.
They'd surely be able to build a package around Chapman that would bring them an impact player to help in their pursuit of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central this year.
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
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Both the Colorado Rockies and their fans know how good Ubaldo Jimenez can be. Unfortunately though, he has not been good in 2011.
Actually, to be more accurate, he has not been good at home in 2011.
Pitching in Colorado, Jimenez is just 1-5 with a 6.86 ERA and a .337 BAA.
On the road, Jimenez is 2-2 with a 2.14 ERA and a .135 BAA.
It is easy to see why the Rockies might be tempted to convince another team to take a chance on Jimenez and take the haul they would bring in for trading his services.
The Rockies would regret the decision though if Jimenez continues to pitch to the level his away stats indicate he is capable of.
Their fans would not tolerate seeing him traded away and winning a Cy Young in another uniform.
Tampa Bay Rays: B.J. Upton
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B.J. Upton's name seems to always surface in trade rumors involving the Tampa Bay Rays.
Despite periodically being strapped with the lazy label, he has the ability to be an impact player with his glove and speed for any team that he plays on.
He appears to be in the midst of his fourth consecutive season with more than 40 stolen bases. He hit 18 homers last year for the Rays and already has 11 this season. He connected for 24 homers back in 2007.
The Rays are still in the race, making an Upton trade unlikely. If they fall out of contention though, they could look to deal Upton and add a few more prospects to their bunch of 11 first rounders they added in this years draft.
It would be another blow to the Tampa fan base though who saw so many free agents leave this past offseason.
New York Yankees: Jesus Montero
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If the New York Yankees engage in any blockbuster trades this summer, Jesus Montero is the player that every team would be asking for in return.
The Yankees would need to receive a big target player that will be with them for years to come though if they are going to trade a player of Montero's caliber.
Montero has the ability to come up to the majors and make an immediate impact for the Yankees. He could become their staple behind the plate just as Jorge Posada was in the late 1990's through the Yankees dynasty years.
With their trio of stars from the World Series teams all winding down their careers, the Yankees need a new core of homegrown young players to become the face of the franchise.
They'll trade him if it secures a return to the World Series, but it will be a costly mistake in the long run, or until they buy him back as a free agent in a few years.
Oakland Athletics: Gio Gonzalez
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Whenever the A's are brought up in a trade talk, that talk shifts to their talented young starters.
Almost always, the talk winds up landing on Gio Gonzalez as the pitcher other teams would ask about.
Billy Beane came out and declared Gio and the rest of the young starters "untouchable" this season, but given Beane's history of dealing stars the rumors likely won't end any time soon.
If the A's continue to fail in their attempts to sign a big bat, they may eventually need to package one of their prized young starters to acquire a hitter by trade.
Gonzalez has electric stuff though and only seems to be getting better. He has suffered from some inconsistency even this year, but he has the stuff to become a perennial Cy Young contender in either league.
The A's have a lot of pitching depth but they would regret trading Gio when they see him annually in all star games and receiving awards and accolades.
Oakland Athletics: Jermaine Mitchell
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If the Oakland Athletics become buyers and are forced to surrender top prospects, Jermaine Mitchell should be one of the names every team asks for.
The outfielder, currently playing in Double-A, is having a breakout season offensively.
Mitchell currently has a batting line of .342/.443/.580 with 10 HR, 64 R, 47 RBI, 14 2B and 13 3B. He has played error-free defense in center field for the Rock Hounds.
Any trade of Mitchell should instantly remind A's fans of Andre Ethier and Carlos Gonzalez.
Boston Red Sox: Lars Anderson
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Theo Epstein recently commented that he expected to be actively involved in trade talks leading up to the deadline.
One name that he should expect to be asked for, several times, is Lars Anderson.
The 23 year old first baseman is currently hitting .248/.361/.367 with four homers for Boston's Triple-A affiliate.
Although he is currently blocked at first base by Adrian Gonzalez, he still ranks as one of Baseball America's top-100 prospects.
He would make a valuable trade chip, but one that could back to haunt the Red Sox as he reaches his prime and Gonzalez begins his decline (granted a few years from now).
He could also man first base for Boston, allowing Gonzalez to slide into the DH role if David Ortiz is not retained beyond this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Andre Ethier
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Really, aside from his own belief that his days as a Dodger are numbered, there is not much to indicate that Los Angeles is considering trading their star outfielder.
The Dodgers are in the biggest financial mess in the Majors though, so there is a chance that in an attempt to shed payroll, Andre Ethier could be shipped elsewhere in exchange for younger, cheaper talent.
Frank McCourt is probably already the most disliked owner in baseball; trading star players because of his own personal financial mishaps will not sit well with Dodgers fans.
Ultimately, it would likely wind up being a move that the team would regret, as all teams will take advantage of the Dodgers dire need for payroll relief and low-ball the team in a trade for Ethier.
Such a move would set the franchise back.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda
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The Dodgers trading Hiroki Kuroda is more likely than an Andre Ethier trade, but still won't be popular in Los Angeles.
Kuroda was 5-9 with a 3.10 ERA heading into Friday night's start against the LA Angels.
His win-loss totals are not impressive, but his ERA is among the better ERA's in the National League.
He would fetch a decent return from a contender in need of starting pitching, but he should still be a serviceable starter for the Dodgers in 2012 if they are able to fix their financial troubles, or if Major League Baseball takes over the team from Frank McCourt.
The return would determine whether or not the Dodgers regretted trading Kuroda or not, but the potential for regret is definitely there.
Houston Astros: Hunter Pence
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The Houston Astros are out of the race. Hunter Pence is a hot trade commodity. His contract value keeps rising.
Easy to see why his name comes up in trade rumors.
The Astros are not likely to trade Pence while their ownership is still in a transitional phase, and it is unlikely that new owner, Jim Crane, would trade one of his team's biggest stars in one of his first moves after taking over the team.
The return for a player like Pence could be enough to convince him to send him packing though, and the Astros will have lost one of their core players moving forward.
It may be a tempting move, but it would further push back the Astros chances of contention.
New York Yankees: Nick Swisher
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Nick Swisher isn't exactly having a repeat of his All-Star season last year.
Earlier in the season there was mention that the Yankees may be inclined to let him test free agency rather than exercise his option for 2012. There was also brief mention of platooning him in right field with Chris Dickerson.
Swisher has rebounded a little since then and appears to still be the Yankees top option in right field.
Swisher has the talent to be a 30 homer guy for the Yankees (29 homers each of the past two seasons). He also is a charismatic guy that has been a fan favorite everywhere he has played (Oakland and Chicago in addition to the Bronx).
The Yankees can certainly survive without his production, but they are still probably better off with Swisher than they are without him. Well, at least until they buy the top right field option on the market in the offseason.
Milwaukee Brewers: Prince Fielder
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Okay, let me be clear here that I am not saying the Brewers will trade Prince Fielder.
Milwaukee is leading the NL Central, they will not trade Fielder during the season.
The reason I included him on this list is because I believe he will move on after the season and that the Brewers will take a major step backwards when he does.
In a time when the league as a whole is lacking power, Prince Fielder provides a lot of that power that has remained.
The Brewers ownership should open their wallets and make Fielder an offer he can't refuse to keep his services in Milwaukee.
With the Yankees and Red Sox likely out of the running for Fielder since they have Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez respectively, the Brewers need to be competitive in their bidding and make sure they do everything in their power to keep their slugging star.
New York Mets: Jose Reyes
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It's no secret that the Mets are considering trading their All-Star shortstop, Jose Reyes.
Reyes recently fueled those trade rumors when he declared that he was not willing to negotiate a contract extension during the season.
Reyes' first-half performance clearly sets him up for a huge payday through free agency.
However, the Mets would regret anything less than a strong effort to keep Reyes in New York. He is a dynamic player that the team will not easily replace any time soon.
Reyes is currently leading baseball in hitting at .352 and has stolen 30 bases to date. His 15 triples are also tops in baseball.
If the Mets trade or fail to re-sign Reyes, then good luck finding another player of his caliber any time soon.