MLB Trade Speculation: The 15 Most Untradeable Players in Baseball

Matt BauerCorrespondent IINovember 15, 2011

MLB Trade Speculation: The 15 Most Untradeable Players in Baseball

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    There are many MLB players who are not able to be traded from their team. 

    These players can't be traded because they're either that valuable to their franchise or they're being significantly overpaid for their production on the field.

    Some of these players aren't complaining, though, because they receive a hefty check from their team every payday.

    The other players that aren't being overpaid have been praised for a long time, and they're the future of their franchise—for now.

15. Johan Santana

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    No one complained when the New York Mets gave Johan Santana a six-year contract worth $137.5 million prior to the 2008 season, but he hasn't been as healthy as the Mets may have planned for him to be throughout that time.

    New York can't trade Johan, because he's one of the best pitchers in the MLB when he's healthy. 

    It'd be hard for the Mets to receive compensation that would be worth the value Johan can provide the team when he takes the mound.

    Despite Santana missing all of the 2011 MLB season due to injury, he's still recorded above-average numbers during his tenure with the Mets, including a 2009 All-Star appearance and 2008 Cy Young nomination.

14. Starlin Castro

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    Starlin Castro, the highly touted 21-year-old shortstop, is speculated to be the future of the Chicago Cubs franchise despite his defensive struggles.

    Castro made noise immediately when he appeared in the MLB, hitting a grand slam in his first career plate appearance.

    The pop that comes off Castro's bat is hard to find, considering he hits the ball square in the middle of the bat's barrel nearly every time he connects with the ball.

    Starlin still has plenty of time to improve his defense, and his bat allows him even more time because of how productive he is in the Cubs' lineup.

13. Todd Helton

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    No disrespect to Todd Helton, but no team is going to want to trade for a 38-year-old first baseman who was making over $20 million in 2011.

    Helton has provided the Colorado Rockies with very efficient production throughout his entire career, in which he's spent every year with the Rockies, and it would be disrespectful on the Rockies' part to trade Helton away at this point.

    I understand the MLB is a business above everything, but sometimes loyalty takes precedent over any other option.

12. Torii Hunter

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    Torii Hunter has had a stellar career, but he's not getting any younger.

    Not many teams are going to be willing to pay the 36-year-old Hunter the $18.5 million he's due in 2012 like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will.

    Hunter is a phenomenal ball player, but there's younger talent swarming the MLB that will be a much better investment than Torii.

11. Jason Bay

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    Jason Bay is another one of the New York Mets' busted signings.

    Bay signed with New York after an All-Star season with the Boston Red Sox, but his talents have since diminished.

    Bay has yet to have a batting average of .270 since joining the Mets, and that's not worth the $66 million over four years that New York is paying him.

10. Stephen Straburg

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    Stephen Strasburg was drafted No. 1 overall by the Washington Nationals, but shortly after making his MLB debut, he hit the DL and underwent Tommy John surgery.

    Despite Strasburg's early stint on the DL, there was way too much hype about this kid to give him away this early in his career. 

    There's too much potential to give away, and he's going to prove that over the next few years.

9. Alex Rios

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    Alex Rios is one of the laziest players in the MLB, and Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams in the middle of a seven-year, $70 million contract given to him by the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Rios hasn't really provided the White Sox with any production since joining the club in the middle of the 2009 season, and his lack of effort will prevent any team to be willing to acquire him from Chicago before his contract expires.

8. Justin Upton

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    Justin Upton has been with the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2007, and he's shown that he is the future of the franchise.

    Upton has unlimited power in his bat, and he has the same amount of range in the outfield.

    Let's hope he doesn't turn out like his brother, B.J. Upton, who has shown he's a great athlete, but not that great of a baseball player.

7. Joe Mauer

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    The Minnesota Twins locked up Joe Mauer, a Minnesota-native, to an eight-year, $184 million contract prior to the 2011 MLB season.

    Since then, Mauer has seen the DL for a significant amount of time, and he's appeared at other positions other then his natural position of catcher, such as first base and right field.

    The connection between the state of Minnesota and Joe Mauer, as well as Mauer's potential, will prevent any trade from happening that includes Mauer being dealt from the Twins.

6. Carlos Zambrano

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    Carlos Zambrano has created a reputation for himself that will prevent any team from acquiring him via trade with the Chicago Cubs.

    Zambrano has erupted many times toward his teammates, coaches and the media. 

    Plus, he's set to make over $18 million in 2012, and his production on the mound doesn't equate to that salary.

    Don't forget Zambrano prematurely announced his retirement during an emotional eruption following a Cubs loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

5. Alfonso Soriano

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    The Chicago Cubs gave Alfonso Soriano a seven-year, $136 million contract prior to the 2007 season.

    Soriano has since landed on the DL numerous times, and he hasn't been nearly as productive as he was the year before the Cubs acquired him, when he played for the Washington Nationals.

    Soriano can't play the field, and his production at the plate isn't what it used to be.

    Because Soriano is a terrible fielder, it would only make sense that all National League teams would stay away from him, leaving the American League teams as potential suitors. 

    But Soriano is due $18 million in each of his next three years with the Cubs, so it wouldn't make sense for any team to pay him that money for the production he provides.

4. Ryan Braun

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    Ryan Braun is a beast, and the Milwaukee Brewers know that, judging by the recent contract they gave him that locked him up through the 2020 MLB season.

    Braun is still young, and he's one of the best hitters in the league. 

    His presence can't be replaced, and that's proven by the Brewers giving him a long-term contract as opposed to power-hitting All-Star Prince Fielder.

    I'm excited to watch Braun play for the next 10-or-so years.

3. Troy Tulowitzki

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    There aren't many shortstops in the MLB that can play baseball like Troy Tulowitzki.

    The Colorado Rockies gave Tulo a contract extension through the 2020 season, and it's going to pay off.

    Tulowitzki has arguably the best range among any shortstop in the MLB, and he can be considered the best-hitting shortstop in the league.

    The Rockies have a bright future if Tulo can avoid the DL.

2. Adam Dunn

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    Adam Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million contract with the Chicago White Sox prior to the 2011 season, and he had one of the worst seasons, statistically, in the history of the MLB.

    No one expected Dunn to bust for the White Sox like he did in 2011, and no team will be willing to take on his contract after his performance in 2011. 

    It's that simple.

1. Barry Zito

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    Barry Zito played seven seasons with the Oakland A's that included a Cy Young award and three All-Star appearances. 

    The San Francisco Giants signed Zito in 2007 and gave him a seven-year contract worth $126 million.

    To put it nicely, Zito has not performed nearly as well in San Francisco as he did in Oakland.

    Zito has never had a winning season since joining the Giants, and he's due $19 million in 2012 and $20 million in '13.

    No one is going to think about acquiring Zito from San Fran.