Baseball's Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas have been highlighted by Jose Reyes' move from the New York Mets to the Miami Marlins as well as the ongoing Albert Pujols saga.
Of lesser note are the discussions surrounding younger trade chips and prospects. December is typically a time of free-agent signings, but that doesn't stop teams searching for the next big thing if the opportunity presents itself.
From Yonder Alonso to the Baby Bombers' duo of Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos, here are 10 prospects that have either been talked about over the last week or who could get moved before Spring Training rolls around.
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Yonder Alonso’s name has come up a lot over the last few weeks whenever people are discussing the possibility of any move involving the Cincinnati Reds and a prospect.
The Chicago White Sox have been rumored to be interested in the first baseman, who is blocked on the depth chart by one Joey Votto.
Knee and ankle injuries caused him to miss games down the stretch, but his brief glimpse in the Majors showed what he is capable of. He hit .330 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 88 at-bats after being called up from Louisville.
Whether he factors as a left fielder or first baseman down the line remains to be seen, but there is no denying the potential in his bat.
Andy Dirks got his first taste of the Majors in 2011 after working his way through the Detroit Tigers system over the previous three-and-a-half years. A left-handed outfielder, Dirks projects as a solid contact hitter with decent speed and a little pop.
In 78 games with the Tigers, Dirks hit .251 with seven homers and five stolen bases. He has hit double-digit homers in each of his last three seasons, and his time in the Minors showed he can handle the role of a prototypical leadoff hitter.
He hit .296 with 15 homers and 22 steals between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo in 2010, and he followed that up by hitting .325 with seven homers and 12 stolen bases in the International League prior to his call up.
The New York Mets have been identified as one potential suitor as they look to find a replacement for Angel Pagan in center field.
The Wichita State product is already 25 years old so the clock is ticking, but there’s a good chance Dirks has more to offer at the big league level.
Jesus Montero’s name has been mentioned alongside Manny Banuelos as prospects the Chicago White Sox would want in return for John Danks. That’s clearly not going to happen, but Montero and Man-Ban certainly have value if the Yanks were looking to make a move.
A New York Daily News report also stated the Yanks’ interest in Matt Garza and Jair Jurrjens, but that is unlikely going to make Brian Cashman part with his top prospects, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively by MiLB.com.
Between the best catching prospect in baseball and one of the top-five left-handed pitchers, the haul would have to be pretty special to imagine the Yankees losing either.
Joel Sherman said in October that it might be wise for the Yankees to keep Montero instead of trading him for starting pitching.
New York Daily News writer John Harper said pitchers “such as James Shields, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Mat Latos or Matt Cain could potentially be obtained in a deal featuring Montero,” but nothing has materialized on that front yet.
Last September, Cashman admitted he was willing to move Montero if it would get Cliff Lee. That is the only kind of deal the Yanks will likely give serious consideration toward.
Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times wonders if the Darren Ford signing clears the way for the Mariners to trade some of the outfielders on their 40-man roster, like Trayvon Robinson.
I am a big fan of Robinson, more so after the legitimate breakout season he had in Albuquerque this year. I know he’s been in the Minors for seven years now, but he came to the Dodgers out of high school and he’s still only 24.
Some people wondered if the 17 homers he hit in ’09 were a real representation of his maturing power and skill set when he managed just nine the following year, but 2011 showed his power is real.
He smacked a career-high 26 homers in 100 games, all while compiling a .293 batting average and a personal best 71 RBIs.
He struggled in his first look at Major League pitching, but that’s to be expected, so I don’t read too much into his .210 average and small sample size.
Yahoo Sports writer Ryan Christopher DeVault tossed out the idea of whether Robinson would be available in a trade for, example, Oakland A's pitcher Andrew Bailey, but it could all hang on whether Seattle sees Robinson having a legitimate shot at making an impact in 2012.
In a recent article on ESPN, Buster Olney named the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves as teams who might be willing to take a chance on Mike Moustakas.
Kansas City GM Dayton Moore said he is “willing to part with some of the organization’s prized minor-league prospects in the coming offseason” to obtain one or more reliable arms for a still-evolving rotation.
Moustakas would be a natural fit at third base in Atlanta to replace Chipper Jones, as others have already speculated, but the former second overall pick has enough pedigree to fit in with any team with a hole at the hot corner.
The Royals came into the Winter Meetings looking for a right-handed option at third base who can give Moustakas a day off when needed. While a trade doesn’t seem imminent, the Royals are stacked with prospects should they look to upgrade elsewhere.
He hit .263 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 89 Major League games in 2011 after slugging 10 homers in 55 Triple-A contests for the Omaha Storm Chasers.
There was a lot of talk about Gary Brown nearing the trade deadline last year, especially when the Giants were first rumored to be interested in Carlos Beltran.
I didn’t necessarily think he would be moved over the Winter Meetings, but I thought his name would at least be kicked around in Dallas.
Brown is a speedy center fielder who is almost ready for the big lights of the Majors. Give him 18 months between Double-A and Triple-A and he’ll be tearing it up. The issue comes down to whether the Giants are willing to wait that long.
San Francisco needs hitters who will contribute this year, and while Bruce Bochy said he doesn’t expect the team to be big players this offseason, the option is always there. I don’t think Brown is untouchable, but he is their top prospect and after losing Zack Wheeler last season, they may be hesitant to part with another stud.
Brown hit .336 with 14 homers, 13 triples and 34 doubles at San Jose this year, stealing 53 bases and scoring 115 runs.
Matt Conner referred to a Tweet by Sport’s Illustrated’s Jon Heyman recently that said Wil Myers was being "coveted" by potential trade partners in their hunt for a starting pitcher. Conner mentions a possible move involving the Atlanta Braves, saying the Braves also wanted Myers.
ESPN Radio's Jim Bowden Tweeted that while the Royals were still interested in Jair Jurrjens, Myers was not up for grabs.
It’s easy to see why everybody should be high on this kid. He’s a pure hitter with a great eye and both power and speed. I wouldn’t go as far as calling him the best prospect in baseball, but he is loaded with talent, playing in a system that is equally filled with high-ceiling guys.
Conner also questioned whether the Royals would be interested in a Myers-for-Gio Gonzalez trade.
Whether Kansas City would move Myers for Gonzalez or Jair Jurrjens is unknown, but the lure of a legit ace is something they will surely consider. Add Tampa Bay (James Shields) to the mix, and Myers is at the front of every rumor.
"I'd like to keep Wil Myers' name out of the paper as much as possible," Moore said. “Wil Myers is a young, talented player. He had a tremendous Arizona Fall League. We live with him every day. We love him and he's a big part of our future. But he's a Double-A player. He's going to produce at his own natural rate. We're not going to put unrealistic expectations on him. What other cliche do you want?"
CBS Sports reported the Atlanta Braves were asking for Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies in any deal involving Martin Prado.
Arenado, simply put, is the real deal. His defense is his biggest weakness, but even that is improving at an impressive rate. He has a strong upper body and he will only develop more power as he fills his frame.
Remember, he’s still just 21.
A blistering AFL campaign has raised Arenado’s stock, but if anything it has also only made it more unlikely that the Rockies would be prepared to let him go. A poor showing wouldn’t have really hurt his value, but his white-hot performance has probably put him out of the reach of some clubs.
The Braves will likely still see if a deal can be reached, but there’s no way Colorado will send Arenado and Seth Smith for Prado.
Arenado will be training with Troy Tulowitzki over the winter in the lead up to spring training in March. If the youngster breaks camp with the team right away, he’ll probably be with the Rockies for the long haul.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Herald suggested the Red Sox could offer Ranaudo as part of a package to lure Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs.
While Abraham says Ranaudo’s sub-par year might detract from the deal, you could also look at it as a case of the Cubs buying low.
His 9-6 record and 3.97 ERA across two levels wasn’t exactly terrible, especially for a kid in his first pro season, and it can be argued that he made solid strides from his junior year at LSU.
A sandwich pick in the first round of the 2010 Draft, the lanky right-hander has plenty of time to grow into a fine hurler. He’s got an imposing frame at 6’7” and 231 pounds and that’s before you forget that he only just turned 21.
If the Cubs want someone who can contribute right away, Ranaudo probably isn’t their guy. But then again, why move Garza if you’re looking for a right-hander who will get you 200 innings?
In July, Troy Renck from the Denver Post also reported the Rockies had an interest in Ranaudo, as well as Will Middlebrooks.
A report in the Toronto Sun at the end of November said that the Philadelphia Phillies were considering trying to re-sign Travis D’Arnaud, a guy they sent to the Blue Jays in the Roy Halladay deal.
The 22-year-old catcher hit .311 with 21 homers and 78 RBI for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Double-A Eastern League in 2011 on his way to being named to the mid- and postseason All-Star teams and ultimately the league’s MVP.
He set career highs in virtually every single offensive category and now the Phillies want to get him back in the system and supposedly up to Triple-A.
I haven’t heard about too many other teams looking at the power-hitting backstop since Thanksgiving, but if the Blue Jays are serious about picking up some extra starting pitching to make a run at that third wild-card spot, D’Arnaud may become a trade chip they are prepared to live without.