MLB Trade Talk: Matt Kemp Leads 7 Players Whose Trade Value Will Never Be Higher
With eyes toward the MLB offseason, it's time to start looking forward to the possible flurry of moves that could take place.
There is much speculation surrounding all sorts of players in baseball. While major deals usually go down at the July 31 trade deadline, that doesn't mean we can't look forward to possible deals that could come about in the winter.
Many of the players on this slideshow will probably spend most of 2012 on their current teams. The purpose of this slideshow, though, is to profile players whose trade value may never be this high again.
This could be because of the chances of them being one-year wonders, or simply having a season so remarkable that it is unlikely they could come close to duplicating it again.
Melky Cabrera, CF Kansas City Royals
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Melky Cabrera always seemed suited best as a fourth outfielder.
Never flashy, Cabrera has always possessed average tools across the board.
In 2011, though, Cabrera found a nice new home in Kansas City.
Eighteen home runs, 20 stolen bases and 87 RBI were all career highs for the 27-year-old.
But was it just a mirage?
Cabrera's OBP was still a paltry .339, and his OPS+ was significantly higher—121—than his previous career high of 93. Numbers like those suggest he won't have another year like 2011 ever again.
Despite the fact that Cabrera isn't a free agent until 2013, the Royals could look to capitalize on his heightened value this offseason. They also have Lorenzo Cain in the pipeline, who is ready to make an impact in the majors.
Jhonny Peralta, SS Detroit Tigers
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In his first full year in Detroit, Jhonny Peralta showed that the Cleveland Indians shouldn't have given up on him so quickly.
Peralta's .299 batting average was a career high, and his 21 home runs and 86 RBI were in line with his glory days in Cleveland.
Now at age 29, perhaps Peralta could keep building up a solid career in Detroit. He won't be a free agent until 2013, but there's a good chance that Peralta may be declining early, as evidenced by his 2009 and 2010 years, where his batting average and power numbers declined quickly.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B Chicago Cubs
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Aramis Ramirez is one of the few reliable power bats in Chicago's lineup.
But with a new general manager taking the reins this offseason, he could look to deal the 33-year-old while his stock is still high.
After batting .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI in 2011, Ramirez may never produce that well ever agian.
With the third base talent pool as shallow as ever, a contender could pay a hefty price for a year of Ramirez's services.
The youth movement in Chicago will start this year, and the first man to go could be Ramirez.
Jeff Francouer, RF Kansas City Royals
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Once a highly touted prospect, Francouer has faded each year since breaking into the bigs.
That is, until 2011, where he suddenly became one of the biggest bats in Kansas City's lineup.
Francouer eclipsed the 20-home run mark for the first time and also swiped 22 bags when his previous career high was eight.
But could Francouer produce like this again? Perhaps, but Kansas City is in another rebuilding year, and they might be better off dealing Francouer to a contender and letting Wil Myers man right field.
Lance Berkman RF/1B St. Louis Cardinals
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After many thought his career was dead, Lance Berkman found his swing again in St. Louis.
2010 was easily the worst year of the 35-year-old's career, but 2011 was one of his best.
While slashing .301/.412/.547, Berkman also belted 31 homers and drove in 94 runs.
Batting in the same lineup of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday could be attributed to the resurgence, or Berkman could just have regained his confidence.
A free agent in 2013, it's unlikely Berkman gets dealt, but when or if he is dealt by the Cardinals, it's unlikely they get as good of a bounty as they would right now.
Alex Gordon, LF Kansas City Royals
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Alex Gordon was the second overall pick in the vaunted 2005 draft, but has been the biggest disappointment of the bunch.
After showing flashes of potential in his first two years, 2009 and 2010 brought injuries and slowed his development.
Even when Gordon was on the field those two years, he showed no potential of becoming the All-Star he was supposed to turn into.
That is, until 2011 rolled around and Gordon finally broke out.
His slashline stood at .303/.376/.502 as he also held career highs in home runs with 23, RBI with 87 and stolen bases with 17.
Gordon won't be a free agent until 2014, but he may never produce what he did in 2011.
Matt Kemp, CF Los Angeles Dodgers
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Matt Kemp should get the NL MVP award this year, which is a big reason why his trade value will never be higher.
Most would think that the Dodgers would be crazy to deal a player of Kemp's caliber, but it very well could be a possibility this offseason.
Kemp already earned over $6.9 million in 2011 and is arbitration eligible this year. He's due for a massive salary bump that could be too much for the money starved Dodgers.
Trading a MVP at the height of his career is usually unheard of, but they could reap a huge bounty of prospects that could save them money and put them in a great position for the future.