After wearing his welcome out in the Bronx and floundering in Atlanta, Melky Cabrera enjoyed a magical turnaround 2011 in Kansas City.
The center fielder had career highs in batting average, RBI, and home runs. His reward for a fine season? A first class ticket to San Francisco.
In a move that may or may not pan out, the rotation starved Royals sent Cabrera to the Giants for talented, but erratic, starter Jonathan Sanchez who ended 2011 on the DL.
Whether or not Sanchez is the most the Royals could have gotten for Cabrera, they feel that they sold the 27-year-old center fielder at his peak value.
Cabrera is an above average MLB player who had an All-Star worthy season in 2011, yet his team saw him as expendable—and he's not alone. Here's a list of five more guys that could find themselves on the trading block like Melky Cabrera.
Never say never, even if Reds GM Walk Jocketty declares Votto is staying home.
There is little indication that Votto will resign in Cincinnati when his current contract ends, which would leave the middling Reds with a giant void.
More than anyone on this list, Votto's value is through the roof right now after his .309/29 HR/106 RBI season.
The Reds aren't a mess, but their rotation is and they might have a tough time competing with the Cardinals and Brewers in 2012.
Top prospect Yonder Alonso, who's hit well in his brief MLB appearances, would be a natural fit to replace Votto at first base if the Reds decide to sell high on Votto.
After a couple of fine seasons in St. Louis, Matt Holliday finally appeared to wear down as the 2011 season rolled on.
Holliday hit only .254 in September, and after a good start to the 2011 post season, he was just 3-for-19 against the Rangers in the World Series. His home runs and RBIs were also both down in 2011. Not at an alarming rate, but enough to consider dealing him.
Allen Craig has been solid as the Cards 4th outfielder and could fill in for a loss of Holliday.
An American League contender with an outfield void, like Detroit, Tampa, or the New York Yankees, would be a natural fit for Holliday who is still talented and young enough to command some top level prospects.
What might ultimately be a deciding factor if Holliday stays or goes is if teams are willing to absorb his contract through 2016 and if Albert Pujols leaves town. If King Albert does depart, the Cards might enter a transitional phase while they attempt to rebuild their roster.
Perhaps the most unlikely player to get dealt on this list, Asdrubal Cabrera drew a ton of attention for his All-Star 2011 filled with key hits and web gems.
Unfortunately for Indians fans, most of the highlights for Cabrera (and the entire Indians' team) occurred before the All-Star break as the Indians and Cabrera faded heavily down the stretch in the AL Central race.
Cabrera won't get dealt, but there's reason to believe he should. While the Indians are slowly rebuilding their pitching depth, their roster is filled with holes.
A power-hitting, smooth fielding player at a premium position would get the Indians a king's ransom in return. It appears, however, that the Tribe has put all their cards on the table and are trying to make a run at the division in 2012—and they can't do that without Cabrera.
After falling two wins short in 2011, the Detroit Tigers will enter 2012 as one of the favorites to represent the AL in the World Series thanks to superstars Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera and their solid supporting case.
Because of this, and their off-season need to rebuild the bullpen, they won't deal Jose Valverde—but there's reason to consider it.
Valverde was perhaps the games best closer in 2011 as he saved all 49 of his attempts. The Tigers picked up his 2012 option making him a free agent after next season and as he creeps up there in age, he might not be worth the price of an extension.
Additionally, while Valverde was tremendous in save opportunities, he was awful otherwise and his 1.19 WHIP is far too high for a top-tier closer.
While the Tigers could hand the closer job off to Joaquin Benoit and possibly see little drop-off, the rest of the bullpen is in shambles and they'd need to acquire at least three talented, MLB ready relievers to make any trade of Papa Grande feasible.
After a mediocre start to 2011, the Rangers backstop had a monster September that saw him hit .429 with 8 HRs and 19 RBIs as he helped the Rangers run away with the AL West.
And he didn't cool off after September. Napoli had an excellent postseason hitting .328 with 15 RBIs as the Rangers ran to within one strike of a World Series title.
Finally, historically regarded as a terrible defensive catcher, Napoli was much improved behind the plate in 2011.
Yorvit Torrealba is a bargain as the starting catcher while the Rangers try to determine if 2010 first round pick Kellen Deglan has a future with the team.
Napoli is arbitration eligible this season, but will be a free agent in 2013 and would likely cost the Rangers a ton to keep if he has another 30 HR season in 2012.
With guys like Josh Hamilton, Neftali Feliz and Nelson Cruz due huge paydays right around the corner, the Rangers might be wise to get something now for Napoli.
There's no doubt that a Silver Slugger worthy catcher, with mediocre defense would fetch the Rangers a haul, including a top flight starter to help replace their inevitable loss of CJ Wilson.
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