MLB Trade Rumors: Where Every Top Target Wishes He Ends Up
As we approach Major League Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline, July 31, all the focus is on what the teams want.
Who will help carry Team X for the stretch run? What would Club Y want in return? These are the questions on which we focus.
But there's another part of the situation that we often forget: where do the players most want to go?
In this slideshow are the optimal destinations for 10 of this summer's top trade targets in terms of building up their market values for this winter and beyond.
Andre Ethier: Boston Red Sox
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Ethier made headlines earlier this spring with his insecurity about his future, and while seeing him get non-tendered would be crazy, the Dodgers are out of contention and with their ownership in flux they might not be able to afford his likely eight-digit third-year arbitration salary next year.
Ethier's .317/.385/.458 slashline (which would only rise at Fenway Park) would be a huge upgrade over the .222/.302/.338 production the Red Sox have gotten from their right fielders to date.
Boston would definitely be able to afford his salary in 2012, and quite possibly beyond.
Ryan Ludwick: Philadelphia Phillies
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The Phillies look like almost sure bets to make the postseason—Baseball Prospectus has them at over 96 percent odds for the playoffs—but they're having trouble replacing Jayson Werth's production in right field.
Ludwick isn't the elite hitter he seemed to be in 2008, but before you judge his .251 average or .708 OPS, remember that he plays half his games at cavernous Petco Park.
His numbers would get a huge boost if he moved to Citizens Bank Park.
Heath Bell: Texas Rangers
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The Padres are going nowhere this season, meaning that after years of rumors, Bell will likely be traded in the next month.
A playoff appearance with any team would be a big boost for Bell as he enters free agency, but going forward Texas would be a great place for him.
The Rangers have plenty of money to spend now that their ownership is stable, and locking up an established veteran closer would mean they could move Neftali Feliz to the rotation next year.
Jeremy Guthrie: Seattle Mariners
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Believe it or not, the rebuilding Mariners are just 2.5 games out in the AL West. They won't blow up their farm system for a postseason berth, but they could definitely look to upgrade at the deadline.
That could be good news for Guthrie, whose fly-ball ways would play quite well in Seattle.
It takes a lot to hit one out in Safeco Field, and not many fly balls fall for hits with Franklin "Death to Flying Things" Gutierrez on the case.
Jason Marquis: Cleveland Indians
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Marquis has been very solid in his walk year, going 7-3 with a 4.11 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 17 starts. But since he plays for the Nationals, no one has noticed.
If he goes to Cleveland and the Indians make the playoffs, he could rebuild his reputation as a reliable starter and a veteran leader in a young clubhouse.
Marquis has said he wants to stay in Washington, but his value would be a lot higher after the season if he leads the Tribe to the postseason.
Billy Butler: Tampa Bay Rays
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I'm not the first person to suggest this deal, and it actually makes more sense than you might think.
The Rays need help at first base, while the Royals have a ton of high-ceiling corner infielders in their system.
This deal would take some pressure off of Butler with less competition for his job, and would give him more exposure on a (slightly) higher-profile team.
Mike Gonzalez: New York Yankees
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Gonzalez isn't having a very good walk year; in 29 appearances, he has a 5.34 ERA and an even worse 5.98 FIP.
The Yankees could be looking for a left-handed reliever this month, and last year's Kerry Wood deal showed that they're willing to take risks on struggling relievers with histories of success.
A rebirth in New York would be a huge boost to his value this offseason.
Matt Capps: Arizona Diamondbacks
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Capps hasn't been quite himself this year—he has a 4.63 ERA with 13 saves in 33 games—but his closing experience could make him a valuable asset to a contender in need of a reliever.
Still, Arizona could definitely use some bullpen help, and with J.J. Putz on the DL Capps could slide into the closer's role.
Even if he's not the official fireman, he could still boost his own value with a strong performance in the late innings for the NL's biggest surprise contender.
Carlos Pena: San Francisco Giants
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Pena is quietly enjoying a decent comeback in Chicago this year—he's got 17 homers and an OPS over .800—but his talents are going to waste on a team with no hope of making the playoffs.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Aubrey Huff has been terrible, OPSing .671 while playing terrible defense as the Giants' primary first baseman.
Pena's power numbers might dip with a move to AT&T Park, but the increase in exposure and the prestige of improving the reigning World Champions would certainly help his résumé this winter.
Jose Reyes: New York Mets
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Reyes seemed as good as gone from Queens before the season, and that was only exacerbated by Fred Wilpon's derogatory comments about him in April.
Now, though, it seems like things have changed.
For a team without a real chance of making the playoffs to hold onto a soon-to-be free agent is a good sign that they want to lock him up long-term.
If the Mets hold onto him now, Reyes can probably expect a nine-digit offer this winter.
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