MLB Trade Rumors: 10 High-Salary Guys Teams Will Look To Move This Winter
The August waiver wire always shows us one interesting thing: usually there will be ballplayers with big-time salaries dangled out for teams to snag, and for good reason they are rarely picked up.
These ballplayers get paid like big stars, but they are either past their prime, are not quite cutting it or were never worth that contract in the first place As a result their teams are looking to shop them. If necessary, they'll even absorb some of the contract themselves.
Every year there are a few such players that teams try to trade during the offseason. Here are 10 players that teams will look to move this year. Rankings are based on the likelihood of each player being in a different uniform next spring.
10. A.J. Burnett
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The odds of Burnett actually leaving are quite slim, but if there's a team where money isn't an issue and can afford to take a loss, it's the Yankees.
You can't afford to have a five-plus ERA guy on your team, especially if you're looking towards a championship each year.
This might come down to what happens with Sabathia. Presumably he'll re-sign with New York, and if he does Burnett could always be replaced by C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle or another free agent.
9. Ted Lilly
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In 2010, the Chicago Cubs traded Lilly to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he had a solid end to that season, making the trade look okay. This year, he is 8-13 with a 4.43 ERA, and while his strikeout/walk numbers remain good, his best days are behind him.
He has two years left on his deal, and the Dodgers are certainly going to dangle him out there in hopes of acquiring some pieces. I can't see anyone picking up a 36-year-old pitcher to start the 2012 season who's pretty much done though.
8. Adam Dunn
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Adam Dunn has a .163 batting average and is making $12 million this year. What more is there to say? He's played so terribly that even if they won't admit it, the White Sox are going to be shopping him around this offseason.
They can always use the argument that he belongs in the National League or that this year was a fluke to get something out of him. Unless an owner is particularly gutsy/stupid however, I don't see him being moved, as much as Chicago may want to.
7. John Lackey
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John Lackey's only contribution this season is helping the sabermetric argument that wins mean little; he's 12-9 despite an ERA around six and arguably being the worst regular starting pitcher in the league.
How would Boston package a guy like that? He could potentially be an innings-eater on an average team, but Boston's not going to get much of a return on their investment, and who knows if Wakefield will go another year?
They could trade him, but they may just hope Lackey makes a Beckett-esque rebound next year.
6. Jason Bay
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Jason Bay hasn't done anything worthy of the big contract he signed for the New York Mets. When he's not injured, his fielding has remained satisfactory, but he can't seem to do it with the bat anymore.
It's awfully hard to shop a $16-million-a-year contract as it is, so if the Mets want to get rid of him, they will have to eat a lot of the deal. Unless he hits like he did for Pittsburgh again, which I don't see happening, the Mets may have to cut their losses.
5. Carlos Zambrano
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The hardest part about picking the Chicago Cubs was limiting them, and as such I ended up cutting Aramis Ramirez, as his stats are decent enough that I don't see the Cubs shipping him. Zambrano is an entirely different story.
Zambrano's attitude has alienated him from the Cubs and makes them want to get rid of him badly. That same attitude, however, will keep teams from immediately jumping at him.
I think it's entirely possible he gets traded in the offseason. This year was his first real bad season, and a change of scenery is probably what he needs. He's only 30, one of the younger players on the list, so he has time to bounce back.
4. Carlos Lee
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Carlos Lee has always been a great power hitter. At least, he was through 2009. Last year he had a poor season that saw his batting average plummet. While that average is back up this year to an extent, it's clear that his power is fading, as he is on pace for the lowest home run total of his career.
The 10-and-5 clause will be invoked on his contract, which will make him difficult to shop notwithstanding the Astros' $18.5 million/yr contract. That being said, they are in full rebuilding mode, so Lee will be gone by the time the team gets good again, and Lee may want to finish his career with a contender.
Then again, his stats could be worse this year. Adam Dunn's stats make his look great.
3. Bronson Arroyo
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Bronson Arroyo's a tough one to peg. He had been a solid pitcher year after year, but in 2011 he has an ERA over five, might snap a five-season streak of having a complete game and could miss the 200-inning mark that used to be a guarantee.
Despite his struggles and a two-year, $23.5 million contract left, I do think there would be suitors for him. He won't wow any hitters, but he can be an innings eater and veteran presence for a team that needs one.
Ironically, that team could be the Reds if their young pitchers continue their struggles. This would make any trade silly as long as they know Arroyo is relegated to being a clubhouse veteran and no longer an ace.
2. Hanley Ramirez
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What happened to Hanley Ramirez this year? He's only two years removed from a second-place MVP finish, yet his stats are comparable to Carlos Lee's in hitting (.243 average, pedestrian power numbers), and his fielding has gotten even worse.
There are two reasons that the Marlins shipping off Ramirez seems likely. First, it's the Marlins. They ship away talent. Second, Ramirez still has a lot of upside at 27, and a contender would probably be fine with picking him up.
As for whether or not they'd be fine with him at shortstop, that's a discussion for another day.
1. Alfonso Soriano
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Alfonso Soriano has always been at the top of these lists, and will remain there indefinitely. The Cubs are willing to eat most of the contract just to get rid of him, and he's clearly not getting any better.
If they are able to convince a team that his power should still hold up another year or two and have them ignore a sub-.300 OBP, then maybe he can land somewhere as a DH for the final couple years of his career.
Either way, he can't do any more for the Cubs and the Cubs can't do any more for him.