Updated Predictions for the Top 25 Trade Chips Available at the 2013 Deadline

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIJune 28, 2013

Updated Predictions for the Top 25 Trade Chips Available at the 2013 Deadline

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    The best time of the Major League Baseball year is nearly here: trade season.

    In the coming weeks, teams will be gauging where they are in the standings and whether they feel they’ll be in the playoff hunt in the second half. Many teams will be looking for additional talent down the stretch with hopes of making a late-season playoff push.

    Teams out of contention already may look to clear themselves of some payroll and ship some larger contracts elsewhere. This way, they can hopefully receive some prospects who might develop into stars in the future.

    Speaking of stars, there could end up being a ton of big names moved this summer.

    There are already rumors spiraling about the top players in the game, and it’ll be interesting to see if any of them come to fruition. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what could happen to some of the bigger trade chips. Here is a prediction of whether each trade candidate will be moved—and to which team—or if he’ll stay.

    *All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts.

Ricky Nolasco, Miami Marlins

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    If there’s one player this year who’s definitely going to be on the move, it’s Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco. He’s currently the highest-paid player on Miami this season by a ton. He’s set to earn $11.5 million over the course of the season, and no other player will end up making more than $3 million.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are the front-runners to land the right-hander, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. The two also report that the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres are in the mix, as are the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers. The goal for Miami, according to the report, is to receive a good prospect and $6 million.

    Prediction: Traded to Dodgers

Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Cliff Lee will arguably be the top left-handed starter on the trade block in July, and that’ll likely be because the Phillies will be out of contention by the All-Star Break. If the Phillies can stay within seven games or so, they may end up keeping some of their top players. As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes, no one is untouchable for Philly.

    The problem for a team looking to acquire Lee is that the price tag is going to be very high, according to Heyman. Jim Bowden of ESPN sees the Rangers and Boston Red Sox as two potential trade partners, as each will probably like to add some starting pitching (Insider subscription required).

    Bowden adds that a top prospect will have to be included.

    Prediction: Traded to Red Sox

Michael Morse, Seattle Mariners

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    The Mariners may have just gotten their hands on Michael Morse over the offseason, but it would be very surprising if Seattle deals him after just a few months. Seattle has plenty of players capable of playing first base and the outfield on the roster, such as Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez.

    Morse, however, is currently injured.

    Jayson Stark of ESPN believes that since there probably won’t be many big bats on the market this summer, there could be more interest in a player like Morse. Morse has shown off a ton of power over the last few seasons but has had trouble staying on the field. If he can stay healthy, he could certainly be on the move.

    Prediction: Traded to Yankees

Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs

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    Last summer, Matt Garza was one of the biggest names being talked about. The Cubs, however, decided to keep one of their top right-handers and make moves toward the deadline instead. This year, it appears that there is a much greater chance that Garza gets dealt. He’s only made eight starts in 2013 but is 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA.

    With the Cubs well out of contention and Garza set to become a free agent after this season, it would make sense for a contending team to inquire about him. Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that Garza has as good a chance as any other pitcher to get moved by the end of July. If he stays healthy, he would be a great addition.

    Prediction: Traded to Orioles

Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Closers should be a hot commodity this summer because there are so many teams that are struggling to win games after holding leads in the ninth. Jonathan Papelbon is one of the top closers in the game, and if the Phillies continue to fall in the NL East, don’t be surprised if general manager Ruben Amaro moves the right-hander.

    An executive has told Jayson Stark of ESPN that the Red Sox and Tigers are talking to the Phillies about acquiring the right-hander. Boston hasn’t been able to find a reliable closer since Papelbon left, and Detroit has had all sorts of problems late in games. But as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, the price tag will be high for him.

    Prediction: Traded to Tigers

Bud Norris, Houston Astros

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    Bud Norris is one of the most talented players on the Astros—which doesn’t really say much, but he could easily be a solid back-end starter in a contender’s starting rotation. Norris told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that he hasn’t had extension discussions with Houston and wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded.

    The market for him won’t be small either, as he’s only making $3 million the entire season and hasn’t been horrible while pitching for a horrible team. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that there should be around 12 teams that inquire about Norris, and three of those teams will be the Orioles, Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Prediction: Traded to Pirates

Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    All eyes will be on Chavez Ravine this summer as the Dodgers look to get back into the playoff race with Matt Kemp back from the disabled list and Yasiel Puig hitting every pitch in his vicinity. But with a lack of open positions in the outfield for the Dodgers, someone is going to have to go, and it might be Andre Ethier.

    While the Dodgers could probably find a way to play the three aforementioned outfielders as well as Carl Crawford, it seems unlikely that that’s the most beneficial plan. Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that Los Angeles still considers itself a buyer and could look for a third baseman under contract for a few years in return for Ethier.

    Prediction: Stays with Dodgers

Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Last summer, Matt Garza was one of the biggest names being talked about. The Cubs, however, decided to keep one of their top right-handers and make moves toward the deadline instead. This year, it appears that there is a much greater chance that Garza gets dealt. He’s only made eight starts in 2013 but is 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA.

    With the Cubs well out of contention and Garza set to become a free agent after this season, it would make sense for a contending team to inquire about him. Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that Garza has as good a chance as any other pitcher to get moved by the end of July. If he stays healthy, he would be a great addition.

    Prediction: Traded to Orioles

Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox

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    Jake Peavy is hoping that his teammates can keep him with Chicago throughout the rest of the season. Peavy is currently injured and likely won’t be back until after the All-Star break. If the White Sox can put together a couple of wins before the trade deadline, Chicago could be less reluctant to deal the veteran starter away.

    Peavy told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago that he wants to stay in Chicago, but knows that he doesn’t have much control at the moment. While Peavy is set to make $14.5 million this season and in 2014, he can be a great pitcher when he’s healthy. If Chicago eats a chunk of his contract, it could surely find a suitor for the right-hander.

    Prediction: Stays with White Sox

Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

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    With it still up for debate as to how the rest of the first half of the season is going to play out, it’ll be interesting to see what approach the Phillies take. There are already a few other Phillies on this list, and the same goes for Chase Utley as it went for them. If Philadelphia is out of the race, look for the team to sell some stars.

    Utley recently returned from the 15-day disabled list, and Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philly reported there were some scouts in attendance to watch his return. Utley doesn’t have nearly the trade value he did a few years ago, as injuries have really taken a toll, but when he’s healthy, he can be a very valuable second baseman.

    Prediction: Stays with Phillies

Scott Feldman, Chicago Cubs

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    Scott Feldman isn’t the most attractive starting pitcher expected to be on the market this summer, but he does have some attractive values. For one, Feldman is only under contract through this season and is only making $6 million. For a contender, paying $3 million would be close to nothing.

    Feldman also isn’t a bad pitcher. As an AL scout told Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, he isn’t the type of pitcher you get excited about unless you watch him make a couple of starts in a row. Levine thinks that if another team offered Chicago a top young player in exchange for the right-hander, a deal could beneficial for both teams.

    Prediction: Stays with Cubs

Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins

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    Glen Perkins will be one of the top names on the market this summer if the Twins are willing to move him. Perkins has been a great starter-turned-closer for Minnesota and would be very valuable to many teams seeking late-game assistance. Buster Olney of ESPN reports there would be a major bidding war.

    Perkins had 16 saves in 70 appearances last season and has already surpassed that mark in 2013. Through 30 outings, Perkins has saved 20 games and has only blown two opportunities. In 29.2 innings of work, the lefty has a 2.12 ERA. Boston and Detroit could have their eyes on him if he’s made available by Minnesota.

    Prediction: Stays with Twins

Jason Vargas, Los Angeles Angels

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    The Angels have been one of the biggest disappointments this season, and it wouldn’t be shocking if Los Angeles dealt some of its talent in July. We’re not talking about dealing Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton, though. One player who could find himself in a new clubhouse is left-handed starter Jason Vargas.

    While the Angels just got Vargas over the winter, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com believes that the club could dangle him if it isn't in contention by mid-July. There aren’t a ton of left-handed options expected to be on the block this summer, and if healthy, the free-agent-to-be could draw some interest.

    Prediction: Stays with Angels

Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Like I previously discussed with Andre Ethier, there probably isn’t enough room for four players in the Dodgers outfield—or enough room where manager Don Mattingly isn’t having a panic attack each time he sets the lineup. All four of the outfielders need to be playing on a regular basis, but won’t be able to in reality.

    While Crawford hasn’t been in any trade rumors through this point in the season, I expect talk to pick up once all four of the outfielders are healthy and sharing time in the everyday lineup. Crawford has a huge contract, but when healthy, he’s usually an All-Star-caliber player. He has a worse shot at getting dealt than Ethier, though.

    Prediction: Stays with Dodgers

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers

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    With Milwaukee severely struggling to contend this season, Yovani Gallardo is one starting pitcher who could find himself in another jersey by August. Through 17 starts this season, the right-hander is 6-7 with a 4.20 ERA. He hasn’t pitched nearly as well as he has in years past, but a change of scenery could do the trick.

    One club with their eyes on Gallardo is the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. While the Diamondbacks have a ton of talent in their rotation, Arizona is looking for someone who is going to be better than some of the prospects in the organization.

    Prediction: Traded to Diamondbacks

Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox

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    The Boston Red Sox have a great problem right now. Stephen Drew has been playing up to the standard Boston set for him, and Jose Iglesias has finally started to hit like a major leaguer. With Will Middlebrooks struggling mightily, Iglesias has been playing third while Drew is at shortstop. That could change, though.

    If Middlebrooks finds his swing in the minors, Boston could call him up, move Iglesias back to shortstop and deal Drew. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that Boston would be able to find a lot of teams with interest in Drew. He signed a one-year deal worth $9.5 million over the winter and could be valuable to a contender.

    Prediction: Traded to Cardinals

Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs

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    The Cubs are likely going to put most of their starting rotation on the trade block this summer, as I’ve already discussed the chances of Matt Garza and Scott Feldman getting dealt. The same goes for Jeff Samardzija, who may have the most value out of the three starters for Chicago.

    Arizona is interested in acquiring the right-hander, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. I wouldn’t expect the Cubs to give up Samardzija, though. Garza and Feldman appear much more likely to be moved, and Samardzija is a guy whom the Cubs can continue to build around.

    Look for Chicago to hang on to him this year.

    Prediction: Stays with Cubs

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

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    Everyone always wants to acquire a star when they can, but Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the few players Miami has wanted to hang on to. Without Stanton on the roster, the Marlins would be even more nonexistent than they already are. Miami would have absolutely no one going to its games for the next few seasons.

    It would certainly take a monster package in order to pry Stanton from the Marlins, and an executive told Jayson Stark of ESPN that owner Jeffrey Loria is probably going to keep the outfielder. The source told Stark that there’s a chance that Loria never relinquishes Stanton over the course of the next three seasons.

    Prediction: Stays with Marlins

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

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    Justin Morneau is going to be an interesting name to keep an eye on this summer. While he’s been a mainstay in the Minnesota lineup for several years, he’s clearly not playing his best baseball anymore. The first baseman used to be capable of hitting 30-plus homers per year but might not finish 2013 with 10.

    Some believe that Morneau’s loss of power could negatively impact his trade stock, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. No one seems to know if the Twins are willing to part with Morneau since they’re very loyal, per Cafardo. If a team offers Minnesota a decent prospect for the former MVP, that could get the job done.

    Prediction: Stays with Twins

Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Francisco Rodriguez used to be one of the most dominant closers in baseball, but in recent years, hasn’t been nearly as effective. This season, however, K-Rod has been fantastic, as he’s only allowed one earned run in 16.1 innings of work. He’s also only walked three batters all season long for the Brewers.

    Rodriguez’s recent success has teams calling about his availability, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The former All-Star reliever would be a great addition to a contending team seeking late-game help. He can handle the closing duties, if necessary, but would also work as a seventh- or eighth-inning arm.

    Prediction: Stays with Brewers

Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies

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    We already know what the plan is for the Phillies this summer: Trade players if out of contention; hang on to players if in contention. But what’s going to happen with Michael Young, who’s played third base for the Phillies this year and is only under contract through the remainder of this season?

    Young is a versatile infielder and a solid right-handed bat who will certainly draw interest as the trade deadline nears. Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philly believes that the Yankees would be an ideal fit for Young. Young can play a variety of positions in New York’s banged-up offense. It seems like a logical choice.

    Prediction: Traded to Yankees

Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals

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    The play of Anthony Rendon in the coming weeks for the Nationals is going to say a lot about what’s going to happen with Adam LaRoche. If Rendon continues to play well, Washington could end up playing the young star at third base, moving Ryan Zimmerman to first base and then trading LaRoche.

    Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that scenario is a possibility, but the Nationals aren’t currently shopping the first baseman. As a left-handed bat, LaRoche would do well with a team like the Yankees, in my opinion. If New York can’t get its hands on a decent first baseman this year, look for the Bronx Bombers to ask for LaRoche.

    Prediction: Stays with Nationals

James Russell, Chicago Cubs

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    While the Cubs may be willing to deal some of their starting pitchers this summer, relievers are a completely different story. Or, it may just be that Chicago wants to hang on to lefty reliever James Russell. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that teams have called general manager Jed Hoyer, but Chicago won’t deal him.

    Russell has gotten better and better with more experience. His ERA has dropped each year since coming up three years ago. This season, the lefty is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA through 30.1 innings of work. He could eventually turn into the Cubs’ closer, depending on what happens with the rest of the bullpen in 2013.

    Prediction: Stays with Cubs

Phil Hughes, New York Yankees

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    Phil Hughes used to be a valuable asset for the Yankees, but it seems like those times have come and gone. Hughes has really been bad this season, as he’s currently 3-7 through 15 starts while posting a 4.82 ERA. He’s had a very difficult time retiring batters and keeping the ball in the park.

    Hughes is an interesting case, though. As an AL executive told Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger, if Hughes is pitching well, it doesn’t make sense to trade him. But if Hughes is pitching poorly, the Yankees probably won’t get much in return for him. If Hughes can put together a few solid starts, expect New York to move him while it still can.

    Prediction: Traded to Phillies

Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins

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    While Steve Cishek pitches for one of the worst teams in all of baseball, he may be moved before the season comes to an end. Miami’s closer has saved 14 games this season and sits two shy of setting a new career high. His ERA has been below 3.00 the last two years, but this year, it’s just slightly higher at 3.24.

    If Cishek goes on the trade block, the Tigers will be interested, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. The Braves are also seeking additional help in the bullpen, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. While Cishek could be the closer in Detroit, he’d likely have the seventh or eighth inning in Atlanta.

    Prediction: Stays with Marlins