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MLB Trade Rumors: Game-Changers Who Might Be on the Move

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IINovember 8, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Game-Changers Who Might Be on the Move

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    The rumor mill is swirling a week into the 2012 MLB offseason.

    Several teams will engage in trades, and plenty of players will find new homes for 2012. But not all those players will be game-changers—impact players who can elevate a team to the next level.

    So, of the players believed to be available via trade, which ones are the potential game-changers?

Jair Jurrjens

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    Jair Jurrjens is a 25-year-old All-Star for the Atlanta Braves, but he's eligible for arbitration and injury prone, making him expendable according to this report by Mark Bowman.

    At the All-Star break, Jurrjens had a 12-3 record and 1.87 ERA. He was a viable Cy Young candidate by all standards.

    Then, his right knee hampered him, bloating his ERA to 2.96 and ending his season in August after a 15-day DL stint wasn't an effective remedy. Jurrjens underwent surgery on the same knee in Oct., 2010, so the Braves have every reason to be concerned.

    Their concern, though, shouldn't make potential suitors wary of acquiring the Curacao native.

    When healthy, Jurrjens has shown ace potential. He won't cost more than around $5 million even after arbitration—his salary is currently $3.25 million.

    In other words, he's a game-changer and is worth the risk.

Martin Prado

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    The Atlanta Braves are also reportedly considering shopping Martin Prado.

    In 2009 and 2010, Prado hit .307 with 26 homers and 78 doubles. His efficacy declined in 2011, though, when he hit .260 with 13 long balls and 26 two-baggers.

    Still, while his offensive numbers dropped, Prado provided the Braves with a reliable glove in left field. He only made three errors, gunned down six runners and posted a 5.1 UZR in his first season as a primary outfielder.

    Prado turned 28 years old earlier in the offseason, so there's plenty of hope for an offensive resurgence in 2012. 

    If he can perform at his 2009-2010 level, Prado can be the x-factor behind a run to the playoffs.

Francisco Liriano

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    Patrick Reusse thinks the Minnesota Twins could potentially trade Francisco Liriano. While he cited the New York Yankees as the only potential destination, other teams could be interested in the southpaw who threw a no-hitter in May.

    Reusse claimed talks of Liriano for the Yankees' Ivan Nova and Eduardo Nunez, which began over the summer, could resurface. However, despite Reusse's speculation, the Yankees are unlikely to part with Nova.

    Liriano had a sub-par 2011 after going 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 2010, but the lefty still could be valuable—after all, he's only 28 years old.

John Danks

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    According to MLB.com's Scott Merkin, the Chicago White Sox could consider trading John Danks.

    The southpaw is coming off his worst season since 2007, but he had been effective from 2008-2010, accumulating a 40-31 record and 3.61 ERA. In 2011, Danks went 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA.

    He's 26 years old, left-handed and has a solid resume. Danks can solidify a rotation as a No. 3 starter.

Gio Gonzalez

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    In two full seasons as a starter for the Oakland Athletics, Gio Gonzalez is 31-21 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 368 strikeouts. 

    He's a 26-year-old, left-handed All-Star, and according to Ken Rosenthal, he's available via trade. Gonzalez's arm can aid any team with pitching woes.

Angel Pagan

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    Angel Pagan had an injury-plagued, sub-par 2011, and now it appears that the New York Mets might deal their center fielder.

    Pagan hit .262 and had just 35 extra-base hits after recording 49 in 2010. Additionally, Pagan's defensive effectiveness dipped significantly from 10 assists, five errors and a 15.4 UZR in 2010 to five assists, 10 errors and a minus-14.3 UZR in 2011.

    However, there is still reason to think Pagan can be an impact player in 2012 and beyond. His injury problems certainly contributed to his decline in production, and his 32 stolen bases prove he still has speed.

Wandy Rodriguez

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    In August, the Colorado Rockies expressed interest in Wandy Rodriguez but couldn't finalize a deal with the Houston Astros.

    Troy E. Renck thinks the Rockies might pursue Rodriguez via trade this offseason. Even if the Rockies can't land the Astros' starter, someone else stands a chance.

    Rodriguez has never made an All-Star team, but he's an All-Star caliber pitcher who hasn't received his due credit while playing in Houston. Over the past four seasons, Rodriguez is 45-42 with a 3.40 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 8.2 K/9.

    He'll be 33 years old and won't be an ace, but he's been fairly consistent over the past four years.

David Wright

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    The New York Mets may not initiate talks, but they will listen to offers for David Wright, according to Joel Sherman.

    Wright, who will be 29 years old in December, had the worst season of his career, but he struggled with injuries. You can definitely expect his .254 average and 14 home runs to head north to his career averages of .300 and 23.

    Many teams would love a third baseman who hits .300 with 20-plus home runs.

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