MLB Trade Rumors: Every Team's Player Who Should Be Afraid at the Deadline
The trade deadline in MLB provides a time of great joy and fear to baseball players.
On the one hand, a player can be shipped from a loser to contender and shine under the bright lights of the postseason. On the other hand, they can go from a good situation as a closer or DH to a bench or setup role.
While we think of the positives of the trade, we rarely think of players that get the short end of the stick.
Here is a list of each team's player who should be afraid at the deadline.
Arizona Diamondbacks: JJ Putz
Although Putz is on the DL, he could be in danger of getting traded when he gets back.
While a trade to a contender might be great on the surface, some relievers prefer to remain closers, but there is a distinct possibility a team acquires him to set up for a closer.
If the Yankees, Braves or Royals come a'knocking, he will probably be working the eight innings for the rest of the season.
Atlanta Braves: Alex Gonzalez
Gonzalez is playing decently, but the Bravos may look to upgrade at shortstop by going after JJ Hardy.
While this is merely speculation, it seems logical if the Hardy extension talks with the Orioles break down.
If they do upgrade at shortstop, Gonzalez is most certainly out of a job.
Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg
Like Putz, Gregg could be dealt at the deadline to set up for a contender.
He’s been admirable as a closer, but Gregg will not close out games for a contender.
Boston Red Sox: John Lackey
Lackey hasn’t cut it since joining the Sox last year.
Unless he improves his performance, his job is in danger.
He could be the focus of a bad-contract swap like to the Mets for Jason Bay.
He could also lose his spot in the Red Sox’s rotation to another pitcher acquired via trade.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
Right now, Soriano is getting regular playing time in the outfield for the Cubs. However, a trade to a contender will probably force him to a platoon, DH or bench role.
If he goes to the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, or Tigers, he is sure to lose playing time in the outfield.
Chicago White Sox: Edwin Jackson
Surprisingly, it’s been the White Sox pitching keeping them in contention. Not their hitting.
They’ve got some pitching to spare, so dealing Edwin Jackson for an impact bat makes a lot of sense.
The White Sox, Angels or Royals could all make a deal for the fire-balling Jackson, relegating him to the back of a rotation.
Cincinnati Reds: Ramon Hernandez
If you follow mlbtraderumors.com, you’re usually treated to a weekly Ramon Hernandez trade rumor or speculation.
I don’t know why the Reds would trade a catcher hitting .315 with 10 home runs, but there must be some merit to all the talk.
Hernandez’s fellow catcher Ryan Hanigan had played well, but Hernandez has played much better.
Still, Hernandez should be afraid of a trade to a team like the Royals, a team that needs catching help.
Cleveland Indians: Grady Sizemore
The Indians look like buyers right now, but if they tank over the next two weeks, they could still become sellers.
If they do become sellers, the Indians could get a king’s ransom for Grady Sizemore.
Sizemore could contribute to a contender, but he obviously isn’t the player he was in 2008.
This could become exposed as he heads for free agency at the end of next season.
Colorado Rockies: Ty Wiggington
For the first time in his career, Wigginton is getting regular at bats at the same position.
This has allowed him to contribute, but a trade for a third baseman could force Wiggy back into a bench or super-utility role he has been playing his entire career.
It seems unlikely, but possible, so he should be concerned
Detroit Tigers: Brad Penny
Penny has been decent this year, but is dangerously flirting with losing his spot in the rotation to another pitcher acquired via trade.
While Phil Coke has about the same numbers, he is substantially younger and has thrown enough innings to get through the rest of the season without worrying about an innings cap.
Unless Penny wants to go to another team, he will most likely be relegated to the bullpen in The Motor City.
Florida Marlins: Omar Infante
The trade to acquire Omar Infante has not worked for the Marlins as planned.
He has been awful this year, and a perpetually selling club like the Marlins will look to deal Infante for prospects.
Infante will most likely go to a contender but will probably be bench help for a team’s stretch run.
Houston Astros: Wandy Rodriguez
The home/away Wandy splits are back.
W-Rod’s home ERA is 2.74, while his away ERA is a mediocre 4.15.
If he gets shipped to a contender, he will not get to pitch in the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park, which will cause his ERA to skyrocket, something he can’t afford at the end of his walk year.
Rodriguez should be the player most afraid of getting dealt on this list.
Kansas City Royals: Joakim Soria
Another closer, another potential setup man.
The theme for this slideshow has become Have Closer, Will Setup.
Joakim Soria could be dealt for an impact bat or pitcher at the deadline, or for some high level prospects.
Either way, it looks like Soria’s days as a closer are numbered.
Anaheim/California/Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim): Kendrys Morales
While Morales is in no danger being traded, the Angels clearly need a long-term contingency plan at first because he seems to be perpetually hurt.
Mark Trumbo has been a great replacement so far, and he is earning a long-term spot in the lineup even after Morales returns from injury next year.
However, if the Angels trade for another first baseman or DH to contend, Morales’ role could be in major league jeopardy if the acquisition catches on.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Rafael Furcal
Furcal’s many trips to the DL allowed Dee Gordon to prove Furcal is expendable.
Furcal is due to make $12 million next year, so the Dodgers could look to unload Furcal to a team that needs a shortstop like the Braves for prospects and payroll flexibility.
While he could be traded to a contender, it could also signify the beginning of the end for Furcal’s career unless he produces like he did in his prime.
Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford
The Brewers already traded for Francisco Rodriguez, so Axford is already in considerable danger of losing his closing job.
However, it is still ambiguous whether Axford will close or set up from here on out.
If Axford keeps his job for now—but falters at all—he will end up setting up for K-Rod.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano
Like it or not, Liriano needs to stay in Minnesota until he becomes a free agent.
He’s simply too inconsistent to be considered an ace, and he will be exposed in a bigger market like New York, Los Angeles or Boston if he gets traded.
It could cost him $10-20 million if he is dealt.
New York Mets: Jose Reyes
Reyes is in the perfect situation playing for the Mets.
He doesn’t have to worry about the playoffs and can focus on simply producing as best he can on an individual level so that he can get the most money during free agency after the season.
He’s also plays in CitiField, a ballpark tailored to Reyes’ speedy game.
If he is traded and doesn’t produce, he risks losing $50-60 million because he won’t be viewed as the asset he’s viewed as now.
New York Yankees: Nick Swisher
If the Yankees trade for another bat, it will most likely cost Swisher the most playing time.
Swisher is notoriously bad against good pitching, as evidenced by his postseason career line of .162/.302/.314.
If the Yankees learn their lesson and trade for an upgrade in the outfield like Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano or one of the Upton brothers, Swisher will either be included in the trade, or be relegated to the bench.
Oakland Athletics: Kevin Kouzmanoff
The Athletics have gotten poor production out of Kouzmanoff all season, and it’s clear he is not the longterm solution at the hot corner for the A’s.
If the A’s make a trade, it will most likely be to find a third baseman of the future, who will replace Ku sooner rather than later.
Philadelphia Phillies: Domonic Brown
According to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are interested in Melky Cabrera to boost their outfield.
The worst starting outfielder for the Phillies is top prospect Dominic Brown, so a trade for Cabrera will mean either a move to the bench or a trade to Kansas City.
While the latter seems unlikely, Brown is still in danger of losing playing time to a better player.
On a side note, does Ken Rosenthal think he’s Matt Smith, aka Doctor Who, with his bow ties?
Pittsburgh Pirates: Ryan Doumit
Doumit is one of the better catchers in baseball, but injuries have derailed his 2011 campaign.
The Pirates are in the NL Central title hunt for the first time since Barry Bonds was on the team, and they currently have a major need at catcher, because Doumit is still on the DL.
If the Pirates trade for a catcher before Doumit comes back, it will mean a sharp decrease in playing time and a move to the bench, something Doumit obviously wouldn’t like.
Saint Louis Cardinals: Colby Rasmus
There’s a lot of rumblings of the Cardinals being aggressive, and the most named player on the page concerning a trade is Colby Rasmus.
Rasmus may want out of St. Louis, but he doesn’t want to go to a non-contender.
Sure the Rays may have a shot mathematically, and may be better than the Yankees in a short series, but they can’t beat them out over the course of the next 70 games.
San Diego Padres: Heath Bell
Bell is heading into free agency after the season, and his stock would go down if he is a setup man rather than a closer.
It seems that could happen if Bell is traded to the Yankees or Red Sox, which are two of the more likely teams to trade for him.
However, he still could go to the Rays or Rangers and close, which would boost his appeal.
No matter what, he has to be dominant in the bigger market, or he will not be viewed as a big time closer going forward, which will cost him millions of dollars.
San Francisco Giants: Pat Burrell
Did you know no Giant has reached double-digit home runs yet?
Did you also know that the leader in RBI is Aubrey Huff with 46?
Does anyone know the last time a team didn’t have a 20 home run or a 100 RBI hitter?
Pat Burrell was supposed to be a big power bat, but has instead spent a lot of time on the DL and on the bench.
Don’t be surprised if the Giants trade for another outfielder and Burrell DFAed.
Seattle Mariners: Brandon League
Another closer that could be dealt to a contender to setup.
The Mariners are falling quickly and could decide to trade League for an impact bat of the future.
They are already taking calls on him, according to Jon Paul Morosi.
While he has performed admirably in Seattle, League is probably not a closer on a contender, so look for him to setup.
Tampa Bay Rays: Sam Fuld
Fuld has made some spectacular plays this year, but his current platoon situation is not giving the Rays enough punch out in left field.
If the Rays go out and acquire a left fielder, Fuld will end up on the move to another team or to the bench.
It’s a shame because he seems like a good guy and could be a good player if he gets time to pan out.
Texas Rangers: Neftali Feliz
Feliz is having a bit of a sophomore slump in 2011, and Buster Olney reports the Rangers are the big favorites to land Heath Bell at the deadline.
If they do pull it off, it won’t be to have Bell setup—it will be to close.
This could cause Feliz to become a setup man for the rest of the season, with the possibility of becoming a starter next year if they can re-sign Bell.
Anyone for Joba Chamberlain 2.0?
Toronto Blue Jays: Any of Their Relievers NOT Dealt at the Deadline
I think the Blue Jays are a pretty good team and would probably win their division if they weren’t in the AL East. However, they probably don’t have what it takes to beat out the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays on a year-to-year basis, so why would anyone want to play there?
If a Jays’ reliever gets traded, and it seems like that probably could happen, it will be to a contender, and that’s where every player wants to be.
Washington Nationals: Drew Storen
The Nationals are having their best season since they moved to Washington.
However, they have little chance of catching either the Phillies or Braves, so you know what’s coming.
Storen has been brilliant this year and would boost another team’s bullpen as a setup man.
It would also allow the Nats to acquire a prospect that could be ready for mid-2012 when Bryce Harper is due to come up.
Storen is benefitting from closing in a big ballpark, and setting up in a smaller park will probably hurt his performance.