MLB Trade Rumors: 7 Players Still to Be Traded
The first shoe dropped when the San Francisco Giants convinced themselves to give up Zach Wheeler for Carlos Beltran. But it was by no means the last shoe. Meanwhile, Beltran and Colby Rasmus combined to go 0-9 with four strikeouts in their new homes yesterday.
But there is still talent on the block, available to the highest bidder. Several players still have multiple teams fighting for their services. At this point, most teams know what it will take to get their man, and there are debates going on behind closed doors if the price is worth it.
So who are the best names still out there and where will they land?
Heath Bell, San Diego Padres
Heath Bell is one of the three or four best closers in baseball, and teams know what it will take to get him from the Padres. He currently has 30 saves and a 2.34 ERA on the season.
The Rangers are still the leading name to acquire him, and he would likely take over closer duties in Texas, with some question as to Neftali Feliz' heart and velocity.
It is expected to cost a top pitching prospect to get the deal done. The Rangers have plenty of young pitching, but they've been holding out so far. However, as the deadline approaches, I'd expect them to pull the trigger.
Philadelphia and Los Angeles (AL) are the other top teams involved in discussions for Bell right now.
Likelihood of a deal: 90%
Hunter Pence, Houston Astros
The Astros keep saying if they dont get their price, they will hold onto Pence. But they've been pretty active in discussing him over the last few days, especially since the Beltran deal was final.
There is consensus among baseball minds that Pence is good, but not great. His talent is amplified in a team devoid of it around him. He would certainly be an upgrade to someone's outfield, but he's not a guy teams are willing give up the future for.
I still think he gets traded, but more because the Astros blinked, than someone else did. Ultimately, Houston has to take what they can get for Pence, and Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Bourn.
Likelihood of a deal: 65%
BJ Upton and Michael Bourn are both excellent defensive centerfielders. They both steal a lot of bases. Upton can't hit above .250 and Bourn can't hit for power.
The Atlanta Braves are one team looking for a centerfield upgrade. Either one of these guys could be a good fit. They might be especially tempted by Upton's potential, to match with Heyward and the dearth of young pitching talent. But Bourn might be a better fit for this year.
Ultimately, the Braves don't want to give up Mike Minor or Julio Teheran. That made hold up deals for either guy. The Astros have more motivation to make trades as they are farther from contending than the Rays.
Likelihood of a deal: Upton 45%, Bourn 60%
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies
If the Yankees can sell the farm and get Ubaldo Jimenez, they should. It doesn't seem they will, and if the Reds fall any farther back in the race, they will fall out of this negotiation.
The Rockies can't be blamed for shopping their ace to see what he can fetch. But it seems strange that they would put him and his family through the stress of a trade deadline rumor unless they were at least partially serious about dealing him.
The Rockies are better off keeping Jimenez than selling him for any less than multiple top prospects. Some teams seem cautious about offering that because it is suspicious that the Rockies would offer up a very affordable, young ace. Those kind of arms don't get dealt, in general.
Likelihood of a deal: 35%
Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers and Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros could both be alternatives for the Yankees if they can't get Ubaldo Jimenez for the right price.
Kiroda doesn't have a pretty record, but his ERA and WHIP make it obvious he has been a victim of bad run support in Los Angeles. Rodriguez is younger, but also has been more inconsistent. He was dominant after the All Star Break last year, and has always shown flashes of brilliance, but not consistent.
The Yankees need a starting pitcher. They have been chasing Kuroda the hardest in the last week, while figuring out if Jimenez is actually attainable. Meanwhile, the Astros have no reason to hold Wandy, so they'd be wise to get what they can, if it's close to what they want.
Likelihood of a deal: Kuroda 70%, Rodriguez 50%
Second Tier Relievers
Leo Nunez has been closing in Florida for three years, and has done a fairly good job. He has a higher ERA and WHIP than you want from a closer, but he gets the saves. Mike Adams has been one of the best setup men in baseball behind Heath Bell in San Diego.
It seems everyone is waiting for Bell to go before dealing with the next group of relievers, but when that deal finally happens, these two could be the next bullpen arms to go to contenders. Neither would likely be a closer with the new team.
San Diego still says they wouldn't mind keeping Adams as the closer for 2012, but if they get a good enough offer, he could go, leaving Luke Gregerson to take over the ninth inning duties.
Likelihood of a deal: Nunez 70%, Adams 40%
Cubs Veteran Bats
Aramis Ramirez has a full no-trade clause, Alfonso Soriano has a ridiculous contract, and Carlos Pena is a career .239 hitter. But the Cubs would love to unload any of all of them if buyers come around.
Aramis Ramirez seems to be a natural fit for the Angels and their third base hole. Pena could be a consolation prize for LA if Ramirez won't wave his no-trade clause. They need some offense to go with that great rotation.
The Yankees could also get Pena, who might come cheap on the players if they can take on most or all of his salary. Soriano's contract might leave him shackled to Chicago for the duration of his career.
Likelihood of a deal: Pena 65%, Ramirez 45%, Soriano 5%