MLB Trade Speculation: 7 Sleepers Who Could Be Moved by Trade Deadline
The 2011 MLB Trade Deadline is only 17 days away, and after the Milwaukee Brewers made the first big splash by acquiring Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets, you can bet many more surprising moves are to follow.
We all know teams like the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets are hoping to rid themselves of half of their respective rosters, but there are plenty of other big names floating around the trade-wires who could be had for the right price.
With the Philadelphia Phillies holding the largest divisional lead at a mere 3.5 games, it is impossible to draw a distinct line between the buyers and sellers at this point.
There are literally at least 17 teams who could be potential buyers depending on how the next couple of weeks pan out, so we are bound to witness at least a couple more unexpected blockbusters before July 31st rolls along.
Here a 7 Sleeper's Who Could Be Moved by the Trade Deadline.
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The Toronto Blue Jays sent a clear message to Aaron Hill when they decided against exercising his team options for 2012-14 before the start of this season.
While Hill is still under team control with 2012-13 options, many fail to realize the former All-Star will most likely be available in the coming weeks.
Hill's name hasn't come up much since before the season began, but being two seasons removed from a .286 BA/36 HR/108 RBI season would leave plenty of teams interested in the struggling second baseman.
If anything, Hill provides solid defense until he can get his bat working again, and he still hit 26 homers last year in what can by all means be considered a down season.
With two affordable $8 million options for 2012-13, Hill may be worth the risk at the low cost he could presumably be had for from the Blue Jays.
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Grady Sizemore was once one of the brightest young stars in MLB until injuries set his career back a step or two.
Although the Indians' fast start to the 2011 season has quieted many trade rumors surrounding the team, Cleveland has been sluggish as of late and we all know GM Mark Shapiro will not hesitate to pull the trigger.
Sizemore is set to become a free agent after the 2012 season and he is looking to rebound from his past two injury-riddled campaigns. With a team-friendly $8.5 million option for next season, Sizemore would without a doubt be worth the risk to any teams interested.
If his knee can hold hold up—which it has appeared to so far this season—a change of scenery may be all Sizemore needs to regain form as one of the most well-rounded players in baseball.
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The Houston Astros appear to be going nowhere—and fast. In clear rebuilding mode at this point, we know that the Astros would love to shed to contracts of Carlos Lee, Brett Myers and, maybe, Wandy Rodriguez.
Hunter Pence is another sexy name who could be dealt, although the club most likely would like Pence to be the face of their future.
Pence will become a free agent in 2013 and he most likely will not want to stick around waiting for the Astros to rebuild.
Furthermore, Pence is having the best season of his MLB career—batting .323 and on pace for career-highs in every category aside from home runs—and the Astros could surely reel in a nice load for their right fielder.
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B.J. Upton has long been rumored to be sought out of Tampa Bay, and 2011 may finally be the season where another team is able to pry him away.
There have been reports suggesting Upton may be a non-tender candidate after the season, but that wouldn't make sense considering he would attract heavy interest on the trade market for the many teams looking to shore up their outfield.
One team being linked to Upton as of late are the Washington Nationals, who have shown plenty of promise in 2011 and would love to have an outfield built of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Upton lead them into the future.
Upton—who makes just over $4.8 million this season—has one more arbitration year before becoming a free agent in 2013.
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The Chicago White Sox are currently 44-48 and five games back in the weak AL Central division. If they don't make up some ground out of the gate to begin the second half, Carlos Quentin will potentially be had by the highest bidder.
Quentin's name has flown around the trade-mill for the past two seasons and with the recent money they've tied up in other players, Quentin could be first on the chopping block.
Adam Dunn and Alex Rios are in the midst of the worst seasons' in their respective careers, and trading either one away at this point would be the same as giving them away.
The White Sox also tied up cash by re-signing Paul Konerko this past off-season and have some young pitchers who will be looking for hefty raises next year and in the future.
After a couple of sub-par seasons, Quentin rebounded to make the AL All-Star squad in 2011. Getting rid of him now would not only bring in a huge load, but it would also save the team at least $13 million over the next two seasons.
There has been speculation that the Atlanta Braves would be interested in making a run at Quentin should he be made available.
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If there is one thing every Florida Marlins player, fan or observer knows about Jeffrey Loria is that you can never put anything past the sly Marlins' owner.
He is willing to dump anyone, at any time, so long as his team can get a boatload of prospects in return while saving a briefcase full of cash.
Ramirez may be mired by a season long slump, but people are wrong to think teams still wouldn't overpay to get Ramirez in their lineup.
Buster Olney recently spoke about Ramirez' situation in Florida, clearly stating the pro's and con's no matter which way it turns out.
You can bet that the Yankees, Red Sox and maybe even the Deroit Tigers would show immense interest in the Marlins' shortstop should he be made available.
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Ubaldo Jimenez' name has been floating around as a "sleeper" trade candidate for the last couple of weeks, but would the Rockies actually pull the trigger on a move that would ship away their staff ace?
The Rockies currently sit at 43-48 and third place in the NL West—8.5 games back of the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants. They are actually even further back in the NL Wild Card chase.
Jimenez is under contract—with two team options—through the 2014 season, but if traded he can void the second option. That would mean any team who trades for him would be on the hook for a mere $10 million over the next two seasons.
It was recently reported by Ken Rosenthal that the Cincinnati Reds have Jimenez on their radar, but for Cincy to even consider making the move they would have to get hot right out of the gate in the second half.
You can bet that if the Rockies do make their young hurler available, the Reds won't be the only team with interest.
With the Rockies recently handing out large contracts to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, while also in the middle of a disappointing 2011 season, there is actually a real possibility that that Jimenez could be moved.