In the season of free agency, most attention is naturally paid to those whose contracts are up. Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and all the others, will be the ones who garner the attention throughout this offseason.
However, there are many players out there who are available on the trade market, and it's more than you think. Derek Lowe, Jonathan Sanchez and Melky Cabrera have already been traded, and there are sure to be a lot more.
Who is the best trade candidate for any team, in particular if money is not much of an object? Here are the best trade targets for each team. I tried to keep this grounded in realism best I could, so no teams are ending up with CC Sabathia or Ryan Braun on this list.
James Shields appears to have turned a corner this past season, winning 16 games and throwing over 200 strikeouts. More importantly, he keeps his ERA down fairly well sans 2010 and is an innings eater, which is something the Orioles need.
It's not a big name by any stretch despite the career year, but the Orioles get their names from the free-agency market; the moves that they build their dream team on would be more likely to come through a trade if done right.
The Red Sox need depth in their rotation. They have Jon Lester and Josh Beckett as a nice one-two punch, but the rest of the chart is full of question marks.
That's where Gio Gonzalez comes in. He's had two very good seasons with Oakland, complete with a high strikeout rate and low ERA. If he can get 15 and 16 wins for a sub-.500 team, imagine what he could do for the Red Sox.
That's, of course, assuming another team doesn't grab him first...
The Yankees need talent in their rotation. They have CC Sabathia as their ace, and Ivan Nova as a rising star, but they need to add in some consistency with the other three spots.
That's where Gio Gonzalez comes in. He's had two very good seasons with Oakland, complete with a high strikeout rate and low ERA. If he can get 15 and 16 wins for a sub-.500 team, imagine what he could do for the Yankees.
It's rather fitting that he is a viable option for both the Red Sox and Yankees. Now it's time to wait for the trade war to commence.
The odds of the Tigers catcher, now first baseman, going anywhere is quite slim since he's under contract through 2014. If, for whatever reason, the Tigers did want to ship him, he fits the Rays perfectly.
The Rays need someone who can play some games at catcher and who can be a high-average hitter. Kelly Shoppach and John Jaso are not the answer at catcher, and while Martinez can't play there every day, he's a better option lineup-wise.
The Toronto Blue Jays have their stars in the lineup and their strikeout kings on the mound. However, they need a control pitcher who can go 200 innings and play every start in a season, as their lack of depth hurt them big time.
Trevor Cahill had an off year in 2011, but is only 23 years old and could flourish in Toronto. Adding him alongside Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and possibly Yu Darvish, would give them perhaps the most formidable rotation in a division where that's a necessity.
There are a lot of small holes that need filling with the White Sox, most importantly an ace pitcher if Mark Buehrle leaves. Beyond that, they need a great leadoff hitter, since if they get that then perhaps that could spark the rest of the lineup, which underachieved last year.
Nick Markakis is a solid leadoff hitter, and with him you know what you're going to get, as he can notch over 600 at-bats with ease. It's a trade that does not sound like a dream, yet I think he could influence the lineup a lot more than given credit for.
If there's one thing the Indians need, it's a power hitter at first base who can be a leader in the lineup alongside Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo.
His contract for the next two years isn't insurmountable for the Indians, and though they would have to give up a lot, this would put them in a position to win over the next two years.
If there's one place the Tigers need help, it's the infield. Luckily for them, Martin Prado is actually on the trading block, so here's one that's actually likely to happen.
He had an off year in 2011, but Prado hit .300 in two years before that, and his defense would likely improve if he was actually able to stay at one position, which the Tigers would be able to do. If he could return to 2010 levels, this would be a dream pickup.
The Royals need a leader in their starting rotation. More importantly, they need a pitcher who can keep his ERA down even when he's not playing well, and right now, the Royals have no starters who can say that.
Jurrjens is on the trading block for whatever reason, and he's young enough that he can help the Royals as they try to work their way back into contention, even if they would only have him two years.
If Carlos Zambrano can go back to how he once was, particularly mentally, he can fit here too.
The Twins are tough to figure out since they have talent, but injuries crippled them beyond repair last year. They need a long-term ace and a durable leader in the lineup, both of which could be gotten in free agency.
Due to their budget, they may not need to touch the trade market. It's cheap skipping over them, but in all seriousness they will likely have $30 million to spend on salaries, which means they'll be able to buy a couple high-quality players. If they pick the right ones, then 2012 should be infinitely better.
This is, of course, with the caveat that Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, etc. are all healthy. If they aren't, then a dream trade won't help much anyway.
The odds of Russell Martin leaving the Yankees are slim, even with the depth the Yankees have at catcher, as said depth needs more MLB experience.
That being said, catcher is the Angels' glaring weakness, with the committee at the position failing badly. They need an everyday player—even if he only hits .200, at least Martin would provide power and some defense there.
An honorable mention would be whatever trade gets Vernon Wells and his contract out; that was a trade on no one's dream list last year.
Like a few other teams in the AL, the Oakland Athletics need some good bats in the lineup. They hope that Daric Barton will bounce back, and their weak spot is likely third base anyway.
The solution? David Wright. The star third baseman is usually good for hitting .300 with 100 RBI, and if he can provide that pop to the A's lineup, they could surprise everyone next year, mainly if they keep Cahill and Gonzalez in spite of many of these slides.
There are two things we know about the Seattle Mariners: their pitching is great and their hitting is horrible. They also have a solid enough payroll where they could actually make a nice move.
Bringing in Joey Votto, a consistently great hitter and MVP who can actually hit over .300, would be a perfect move, and not only would immediately improve their record, but might convince a couple other good hitters that playing for the Mariners won't kill your bat.
Where can you find a consistently good starting pitcher who can throw 175 strikeouts on the trading block? After all, it's likely that the Rangers may have to replace C.J. Wilson, and they need starting depth anyway.
Wandy Rodriguez would be an ideal solution. He had a .500 record with no run support, and he could easily win 16 games with the lineup that the Rangers have. It would be both a dream and a steal if it happened.
This is going under the presumption that Chipper Jones retires. If he plays another year, then this is of course silly.
The Braves do not seem to have depth behind Jones at third base, and if he retires there will be a giant hole there. Luckily, they're in a good spot now, and if they can plug it in with a star like Wright, then they could remain in contention without issue.
Perhaps this is cheap, but I actually think the Marlins should forgo the trade market for two reasons.
First, they have many quality young guys ready to produce now, both in the lineup and rotation. Second, they will be huge spenders in free agency, so any holes they have on their team can be filled in there. Any trades would just be modifying depth.
There are two things the Mets don't have. They don't have a strong power bat in the lineup, and they don't have an ace-type pitcher who can strike out 200.
They are a good small-ball team right now, and there's enough power hitters in free agency to pick one up there. The strikeout king would be better gotten in free agency, and the pitcher who best fits their needs is Gio Gonzalez, who's young enough to contribute for a long time.
The Phillies need to not only infuse some youth in their lineup, but they have to combine that youth with experience. Luckily for them, one guy fits that bill, and could be better than Raul Ibanez in left.
Carlos Quentin is a guy who won't hit for average too well, but he'll hit plenty of home runs to put a few runs on the board, and a few is really all that the Phillies need with their rotation.
The Nationals need someone in their outfield who has a great mix of power and speed, something none of the three outfielders really have. More importantly, it should be someone with a decent batting average.
B.J. Upton may not fit that last point, but his strengths fit very well with what the Nationals have to offer, and he could make the lineup far better than what it is. Besides, he always seems to be part of trade rumors, and the Nationals would have no problem signing a guy like him to a long-term deal.
This is a cheap move on the slide perhaps, but it makes perfect sense. Theo Epstein needs to address the problems the Cubs have, first and foremost, before any solutions can happen. This means pawning off Zambrano.
This is easier said then done due to how his 2011 season went, both on the mound and in the locker room. As long as they get another pitcher through free agency or a trade (there are several I could have put on here), then it works.
The Cincinnati Reds need an addition to the pitching staff who is experienced, both in years and in knowledge of the NL Central. Being able to throw a lot of strikeouts and keep their ERA down helps too.
Wandy Rodriguez fits all of those and would be a great pickup, as he can not only provide leadership to the young core group of pitchers, but he would be leader on the mound as well.
As badly as the Houston Astros need pitching help, they have their strikeout guys already. What they need is a good control pitcher who is young enough to help the team fully rebuild.
There are not many who fit that bill, but Jair Jurrjens absolutely does. He keeps his walks and ERA low, and he will be 26 years old next year, so he could help the Astros for a while if they want to sign him long-term down the road.
If the Brewers can find a good replacement at first base in free agency, then they have little to worry about with the exception of the shortstop position. There are few of those on the trading block.
One who could fit well is Ian Desmond, who has the speed to steal some bases and play good defense. He's not much for power, but the Brewers have plenty of that already. It's not a flashy name, but it would mean a lot more than it looks.
Most players in free agency are out of the Pirates' price range, so they have to rely on trade to make things work. While this would be a longshot, the Pirates have a big need at third base, and David Wright fills this perfectly.
The Pirates rotation settles down a bit, and with David Wright holding the lineup together with his great all-around play, the team would be that much better.
The St. Louis Cardinals didn't just win the World Series. They won it without their best pitcher all year (Wainwright), without their star third baseman for a chunk of the season (David Freese) and without an answer as closer for a while.
As long as they re-sign Pujols and perhaps pick up a marquee closer in free agency (though Fernando Salas was entirely fine), as well as a bit of pitching depth, the Cardinals will definitely be poised for another title run in 2012; why mess with it?
If there was one weakness in a Diamondbacks team that came out of nowhere this season, it was the lack of a quality first baseman. None of the many used are the answer in Arizona.
Perhaps I'm overusing Joey Votto in this slideshow, but he really can help many teams, even if he is likely out of Pittsburgh's price range.
The Colorado Rockies always need pitching due to the thin air, and it's tough to find pitchers who look good, since they may look bad in Colorado.
In John Danks' case, he's pitched consistently well in U.S. Cellular Field, a hitter-friendly park, and his decent stats make it look like he would end up being just fine in Coors Field.
The Dodgers have their superstar players already, but they need some depth in the lineup, in particular someone who has some power, and ideally at third base.
The player who fits all these positions? David Wright, naturally. He can provide some star power in the team, but could hopefully be someone who can keep the team together as well.
The San Diego Padres would never shell out that kind of money, but they lost something big when they traded Adrian Gonzalez, and the team suffered as a result since he was their source of power.
Plugging Votto back in would not just boost those numbers, but give the team more dimension were it to actually happen.
The Giants need a power-hitting outfielder to bolster their team again (Melky Cabrera isn't the answer for that), especially if Cody Ross leaves in free agency. Luckily, there are a couple players who could be had, and one who fits very well.
Nick Swisher has been a consistently good power hitter for the Athletics and Yankees, and he would be able to provide that same spark to a team that needs it if they want to go back to the World Series.