MLB Trade Speculation: Most Likely Player To Be Traded from Each Team
Let me start out by saying that not everybody on this list will be traded, but every team has at least one player that they wish they could get rid of—whether it is because of their huge contract, they are blocking a minor league star or their value is at an all-time high.
I expect many trades this offseason, so let's begin with the speculation.
Philadelphia Phillies: Dominic Brown
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Dominic Brown is the Phillies' best prospect so it will take a big return in order for them to trade him.
The real reason I picked Brown was because the Phillies are not going to be looking to trade away players—they will trade for them—and if the Phillies want to land a big-name player Dominic Brown will be the centerpiece of the trade.
Atlanta Braves: Jair Jurrjens
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While I think both could be traded, Jurrjens is more likely because he would net a bigger return and the Braves have one of the best groups of pitching prospects in the majors. The Braves could replace Jurrjens atop their staff with the likes of Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado.
New York Mets: David Wright
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Washington Nationals: Tyler Clippard
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The Nationals are trying to win now so they likely won't be looking trade away any of their players, but if they are going to trade anybody it will be their 26-year-old setup man Tyler Clippard.
Clippard was in many trade rumors at the trade deadline and after an excellent season (1.83 ERA, 104 K, 88.1 IP) his value is sky-high. The Nationals already have Drew Storen as their closer so expect Clippard to be traded as part of a deal to land somebody like B.J. Upton.
Miami Marlins: Logan Morrison
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Logan Morrison has had issues with the Marlins front office and with Ozzie Guillen coming to town, I don't expect Morrison to stay in Miami.
St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Holliday
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Matt Holliday has had a good career as a Cardinal so far but it may be his time to move on.
Holliday is owed $88 million over the next five years, so if the Cardinals want to retain Albert Pujols, which I believe they will, they may have to trade Holliday. The Cardinals would get a pretty good return but suitors may be limited because of his contract and the fact that he is already 31 years old.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart
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Corey Hart has had a good career and this trade is not indicative of him. The only way the Brewers will be able to re-sign Prince Fielder is to unload big contracts and Hart is owned $19 million over the next two years.
Trading Hart would also help replenish the Brewers' weak farm system that was decimated due to recent trades, namely Zack Greinke.
Cincinnati Reds: Yonder Alonso/Joey Votto
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Yonder Alonso and Joey Votto both play first base so one of them will be traded. Joey Votto is the former NL MVP so he would net a bigger return but Yonder Alonso is younger and for the time being is much cheaper.
I fully expect the Reds to trade either Votto or Alonso sometime by the 2012 trade deadline but I can't tell you which one. The Reds will have to weigh the options for both but if I were them, I would keep their franchise player and trade Alonso.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Tony Sanchez
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The Pirates probably won't make a big trade this year but if they find themselves at or near the top of the NL Central come trade deadline, I would not put it past Pirates GM Neil Huntington to make a move to help put the Pirates in the playoffs.
Tony Sanchez would be the starting point for any such trade, so although I doubt he will be traded, if the Pirates do make a trade it will involve Sanchez.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
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Cubs fans would love to get rid of both Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano in order to free up money for Theo Epstein to make a big move or two, but while I don't think Zambrano can be traded, Soriano definitely has value.
Soriano won't hit for average or be very good in the field, but as a DH in the AL Soriano could hit 25 HR and 90 RBI.
The Cubs would have to pay part of the $54 million Soriano is earned over the next three years but if they can either land a good prospect or just shed a lot of his salary in return it will be worth it.
Houston Astros: Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Carlos Lee and Everybody Else
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The 106-loss Astros already traded their best trading chip in Hunter Pence but they do have a couple decent players who could be traded.
The main point of these trades is to shed payroll, not gain prospects, because Rodriguez, Myers and Lee won't garner much in return with their contracts.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Chris Young
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Why would the reigning NL West champs trade their 28-year-old center fielder who has averaged 24 HRs and 81 RBI in the last two years? Add in the fact that he will only make $26.9 million over the next three seasons and you'd think the Diamondbacks would never even consider it—but they should.
Not only would trading Chris Young net the Diamondbacks at least two excellent prospects, but it would also make room for Diamondbacks outfield prospect A.J. Pollock.
Perhaps the most worrying thing about Young is his low batting average. He has never hit over .257 (career .240 BA) and has struck out at least 133 times in the last five years.
San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain
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I was going to put Jonathan Sanchez until his recent trade, but Matt Cain could definitely be traded. The Giants have one of the best rotations in baseball, led by Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner and Vogelsong.
In return for Matt Cain, the Giants would get two things: a great offensive prospect and payroll relief.
For example, if the Giants decided to trade Cain to the Yankees they would get Jesus Montero in return on top of a pitcher like Dellin Betances or Phil Hughes. Jesus Montero would be a menace in the middle of the lineup. If the Giants took Betances he would replace Zach Wheeler (now with the Mets) as the Giants' No. 1 pitching prospect, but if they took Hughes he would instantly become their No. 4 starter with a high upside.
The last Yankees' top pitching prospect to go bust in New York and get traded to the NL West was Ian Kennedy and he worked out very well.
The $15 million opened up by Cain's absence could be used to sign a top free agent, such as Jose Reyes. Their new lineup would feature players like Jesus Montero, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran (if he is re-signed).
Los Angeles Dodgers: James Loney
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This could have easily been Andre Ethier instead of James Loney, but with yet another disappointing season for Loney, I expect the Dodgers to shop him for prospects.
Andre Ethier would remain in Los Angeles and form a trio with Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp for years to come—if McCourt sells the Dodgers and the new owner re-signs Kemp.
Colorado Rockies: Huston Street
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Huston Street is a very good 28-year-old closer.
Most people will look at his 3.86 ERA and be unimpressed but he is another product of the thin air in Colorado. Just look at his splits:
Home: 29.0 IP 5.59 ERA .305 BAA
Away: 29.1 IP 2.15 ERA .243 BAA
Street would be a great addition to any team looking to sure up their bullpen and the Rockies will get a very good return.
San Diego Padres: Jason Bartlett
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The Padres are another team I do not think will make a trade this year.
I picked Jason Bartlett because the Padres' No. 1 goal is to shed payroll. The only problem is they do not have much payroll to shed. The only players on their team with a salary over $1 million are Jason Bartlett ($4 million), Orlando Cabrera ($4 million), Chase Headley ($2.325 million) and Tim Stauffer (1.075 million).
Barlett doesn't have much value but I think the Padres would give him away pretty much for free if it meant getting rid of his contract.
New York Yankees: Jesus Montero
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The Yankees will be in the market for a frontline starter this season and Jesus Montero is their best trade chip.
Jesus Montero projects to be a .320/40/120 hitter but his defense is subpar. He is best suited to play DH in the AL or first base in the NL, so while his defense lowers his number of suitors, it does not lower his value.
Look for the Yankees to attempt to trade him for somebody like Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez. My guess is that they keep him and go after Jair Jurrjens in the trade market and wait for Matt Cain to hit free agency next offseason.
Boston Red Sox: Josh Reddick
Where does Josh Reddick fit?
He had a good 2011 season but with Carl Crawford playing left field, Jacoby Ellsbury playing center field and Ryan Kalish waiting in the wings in right field, I think Reddick will be traded.
With the Boston's pitching issues, I could see Josh Reddick being traded to somewhere like Houston for a Wandy Rodriguez-type pitcher.
Tampa Bay Rays: B.J. Upton
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This could have just easily been James Shields but I think the Rays will hang onto Shields for one more year. Both Upton and Shields will be traded eventually but I expect Upton to be traded first because of his last few disappointing seasons.
B.J. Upton is eligible for arbitration this year and will see a bump up from his $4.825 million 2011 salary. Expect a team like the Nationals to swoop in and grab the young and talented center fielder.
Toronto Blue Jays: Kyle Drabek
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The Blue Jays will make a big move or two this offseason. They will be in the market for Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish. On top of that, don't be surprised if they make a big-time trade.
If the Blue Jays were interested in a star player, for example Joey Votto, Kyle Drabek would be the starting point for the trade. Not only does he have ace potential but most teams are looking for young pitchers.
Kyle Drabek will probably be traded eventually. The only question is for whom?
Baltimore Orioles: Jeremy Guthrie
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The Orioles do not have many trade assets at their disposal but one name that was floating around at the 2011 trade deadline was Jeremy Guthrie.
Guthrie has pitched at least 175 innings in each of his past five seasons and has a respectable 4.19 career ERA, most of which has come in the difficult AL East.
I expect some team looking for pitching help to call Baltimore for Guthrie at next year's trade deadline.
Detroit Tigers: Nobody
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The Tigers are a very good team that don't really have any pressing needs.
If they can get help from younger players, like Jacob Turner, they should easily win the AL Central once again in 2012.
Cleveland Indians: Fausto Carmona
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The Indians have Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Tomlin heading their rotation already.
They have no need for a 27-year-old inconsistent pitcher whose ERA wavers between three and six.
There will be some team that remembers his 2007 and 2010 seasons and will overpay for him. If that team steps up, then the Indians should hand him over without any complaining.
Carmona will not be sorely missed.
Chicago White Sox: John Danks
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John Danks will be a free agent after the 2012 season and despite posting a 4.33 ERA in 2011, the 26-year-old lefty has excellent value.
He hasn't pitched fewer than 170 innings in the last four seasons and has posted 3.32, 3.77 and 3.72 ERAs in the three seasons prior to 2011.
If a team is willing to offer a top prospect for Danks, the White Sox should let him go because of pitching prospects such as Chris Sale and Addison Reed waiting in the wings.
Kansas City Royals: Joakim Soria
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The Royals have been hesitant to trade Joakim Soria in recent years but with $22.75 million left on the last three years of his contract, he has great value.
His limited no-trade clause blocks the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers, Rockies and Braves but he can still be traded to those teams if he allows it.
Soria had an offseason with a 4.03 ERA but he is only 27 years old and has a 2.40 ERA. Expect a team to step up at the trade deadline and offer, similar to the deal the Padres got for Mike Adams, the Royals a trade they can't refuse.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano
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What can I say about Francisco Liriano?
He had an unbelievable 2006 season and a good 2010 season, but he was very disappointing in 2011.
There is no doubt that he has the stuff and the tools to be a solid No. 2 or 3 pitcher, but his inconsistency knocks him down a rung or two.
I can see a team like the Mets or Cubs taking a shot at reviving Liriano in the NL for a fairly cheap price. He won't cost a top prospect but he will cost the team that trades for him two or three mid-level prospects, with at least one of them being a pitcher with a high ceiling.
Texas Rangers: Michael Young
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Why would Jon Daniels trade Michael Young? Players who hit .338 and drive in 106 runs don't just fall out of the sky.
The answer is simple: Michael Young is already 35 years old, can only play DH and has incredible value right now. Trading Young could net the Rangers a top prospect and allow them to dump the last two years and $32 million on his contract.
If the Rangers traded Young then they could use that $16 million per year to help sign Prince Fielder, who could play first base while platooning with Mike Napoli at DH. Trading Young will help the Rangers in the present and future; this is a possibility Jon Daniels should definitely look at.
Los Angeles Angels: Mark Trumbo
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With Kendry Morales coming back from injury, Mark Trumbo must leave first base and play somewhere else, whether that be at DH or in another city.
Trumbo had a deceptively average rookie season. Yes, he hit 29 HR and 87 RBI but his .291 OBP was 12th-worst in the majors.
A young first baseman with power is a valuable commodity and would net an All-Star-caliber player in return.
The Angels may not trade Trumbo but they should at least listen to offers.
Oakland Athletics: Gio Gonzalez
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Gio Gonzalez is under team control until 2016 but a 26-year-old lefty under team control for five more years who can pitch 200 innings, have an ERA around three and strike out 200 batters in a season will fetch a huge return.
He may not be as valuable as Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez on the trade market, but he is in the second tier of starting pitcher. Gio Gonzalez is a legitimate ace and an excellent No. 2 pitcher.
The Athletics may not trade him but they will listen to offers, and if the right offer comes to them, they will pull the trigger.
Seattle Mariners: Jason Vargas
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With Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda already in the majors and Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Dan Hultzen waiting in the wings, the Mariners will trade Jason Vargas.
You can expect a deal similar to the one for Doug Fister last season. Vargas will be traded at the deadline this season to a team in dire need of pitching, such as the Red Sox or Yankees.