All 30 MLB Teams' Best Trade Assets for the 2016-17 Offseason

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2016

All 30 MLB Teams' Best Trade Assets for the 2016-17 Offseason

0 of 30

    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The early stages of the MLB offseason are generally filled with speculation as to where the top free agents might sign and rumors as to which players are expected to be available on the trade market.

    This offseason has been no exception, and as we close in on the winter meetings and some legitimate action on both fronts, the influx of rumors should only increase.

    With that in mind, what follows is a look at each team's best trade asset for the offseason.

    While players did not necessarily need to have been named in concrete trade rumors to be included on the following listand some of these are speculativethey did need to have realistic chances of being traded.

    In other words, you won't see guys like Kris Bryant, Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw on the following list.

Arizona Diamondbacks: CF A.J. Pollock

1 of 30

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Even after an injury-plagued 2016 season, A.J. Pollock has plenty of trade value if the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to shop him.

    If the team feels that Socrates Brito and Peter O'Brien are capable of stepping into more significant roles or that Brandon Drury is best suited serving as an everyday option at a corner outfield spot, moving Pollock could be one way to address other needs.

    The 28-year-old carries a $6.75 million salary for 2017 and has one year of arbitration remaining after that before reaching free agency for the first time.

    Pollock was a 7.4 WAR player in 2015, posting an .865 OPS with 39 doubles, 20 home runs and 39 stolen bases while also winning a Gold Glove.

    He played in just 12 games last season, though, after suffering a broken elbow near the end of spring training.

Atlanta Braves: IF Ozzie Albies

2 of 30

    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    The Atlanta Braves are targeting a number of young, controllable starting pitchers right now, with the focus being on Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Even in a deal for Sale, it's unlikely the team would pull the trigger on moving shortstop Dansby Swanson, but it could still build a competitive trade package with pieces from one of the deepest farm systems in baseball.

    Assuming Swanson is off the table, fellow middle infielder Ozzie Albies would likely need to be included.

    The 19-year-old has been moved aggressively through the minors, splitting last season between Double-A and Triple-A and holding his own with a .292/.358/.420 line that included 49 extra-base hits and 30 steals.

    He has all the makings of a future leadoff hitter with the ability to hit .300 and swipe plenty of bases in the big leagues.

    He's also more than capable of playing shortstop at the highest level and has only moved to second base because of the aforementioned Swanson, so that further adds to his value.

Baltimore Orioles: RP Zach Britton

3 of 30

    Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

    After watching Brett Cecil land a four-year, $30.5 million deal in free agency and with Aroldis Chapman eyeing a $100 million payday, the price for quality relief pitchingespecially of the left-handed varietycontinues to skyrocket.

    With that in mind, the Baltimore Orioles would be wise to at least gauge the market for All-Star closer Zach Britton.

    The 28-year-old was a perfect 47-of-47 on save chances, posting a 0.54 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings on his way to a fourth-place finish in American League Cy Young voting.

    Britton has two years of team control remaining with a projected salary of $11.4 million this coming season, and the Orioles have a pair of capable replacements in Brad Brach and Darren O'Day.

    If it means addressing the starting rotation or adding a controllable corner outfield bat, moving Britton could be the best move for the organization.

Boston Red Sox: SP Michael Kopech

4 of 30

    It's hard to see a scenario where trading Yoan Moncada or Andrew Benintendi makes the Boston Red Sox a better team in 2017, let alone improves their long-term outlook.

    However, they could still build an attractive trade package around the likes of third baseman Rafael Devers and right-hander Michael Kopech.

    Kopech, 20, was 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 56.1 innings this season between Single-A and High-A and he capped things off with a terrific showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 2.01 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 22.1 innings.

    With a legitimate 80-grade fastball and an improving curveball-changeup pairing to back it up, the right-hander is one of the fastest-rising pitching prospects in the game with legitimate front-line potential.

    The Red Sox may balk at the idea of moving him after trading away Anderson Espinoza at the 2016 trade deadline, but Kopech has reached that same level in terms of value.

Chicago Cubs: 2B/OF Ian Happ

5 of 30

    The Chicago Cubs don't have the glaring needs on their roster to mortgage the upper tier of their farm system in a blockbuster deal, especially after shipping out No. 1 prospect Gleyber Torres in July.

    That being said, the focus here is on nailing down the player with the most trade value who is not necessarily untouchable, and that would be Ian Happ.

    The No. 9 pick in the 2015 draft, Happ has split his time between second base, center field and left field during his brief pro career, and those are three spots where he is blocked at the major league level.

    The 22-year-old has already reached upper levels of the minors, posting a .279/.365/445 line with 48 extra-base hits between High-A and Double-A.

    He also shined in the Arizona Fall League with a .778 OPS, four doubles and two home runs.

    If the opportunity comes for the Cubs to land a controllable starting pitcher with Jake Arrieta and John Lackey both eyeing free agency after the 2017 season, a package built around Happ might be enough to get a deal done.

Chicago White Sox: SP Chris Sale

6 of 30

    David Banks/Getty Images

    Chris Sale is this year's big fish on the offseason trade market.

    The 27-year-old has been nothing short of brilliant since joining the starting rotation in 2012, going 70-47 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 1,133 strikeouts in 1,015.2 innings of work.

    He's been an All-Star every year during that span and has finished no lower than sixth in AL Cy Young voting, emerging as one of the game's true aces atop the Chicago White Sox rotation.

    That alone is enough to make him an valuable trade chip, and his team-friendly contract makes him an appealing option for even the market's smallest teams.

    Sale is owed $12 million this coming season, with team options of $12.5 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019, coming to a total of three years of team control for the reasonable sum of $39.5 million.

    It will take a franchise-altering return package built around a pair of young, star-caliber, MLB-ready pieces for the White Sox to move him, but it's hard to argue that he isn't worth the cost.

Cincinnati Reds: SP Anthony DeSclafani

7 of 30

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    The $172 million still owed to Joey Votto through his age-39 season takes a good-sized bite out of his trade value, so instead, we'll focus on a controllable starting pitcher who has flashed front-line potential as the Cincinnati Reds' most valuable trade chip.

    That pitcher is Anthony DeSclafani.

    The right-hander was sidelined with an oblique injury at the start of last season, but he eventually returned in June to go 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 20 starts.

    That came on the heels of a quietly productive rookie season that saw him go 9-13 with a 4.05 ERA while working a team-high 184.2 innings.

    Still just 26 years old and with team control through the 2020 season, DeSclafani would be of interest to more than a few teams in this paper-thin market of starting pitching.

Cleveland Indians: RP Andrew Miller

8 of 30

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweeted earlier this month that the Cleveland Indians did not acquire Andrew Miller "with intention of flipping him this winter, and that hasn't changed" now that the offseason has arrived.

    Such a move is not out of the realm of possibility, though, given the current value being placed on elite bullpen arms. What if someone comes along with a deal the Indians simply can't ignore?

    It cost the Indians a package of four prospects—including a pair of top-100 guys in Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffieldto land Miller in July, as the New York Yankees got an offer they couldn't refuse.

    Now Miller, 31, has arguably seen his value climb even higher after a brilliant postseason that showcased his ability to be utilized in multiple roles.

    With two years and $18 million left on his current contract, he also has the added bonus of being more than just a rental option.

Colorado Rockies: CF Charlie Blackmon

9 of 30

    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    The Colorado Rockies might prefer to trade Carlos Gonzalez if they were to move an outfielder, but there's no question Charlie Blackmon is the more valuable trade chip.

    Fresh off a career year, Blackmon has two years of team control remaining with a reasonable $9.0 million projected salary for the upcoming season.

    The 30-year-old took home Silver Slugger honors on the strength of a .324/.381/.552 line that included 35 doubles, 29 home runs, 82 RBI, 111 runs scored and 17 stolen bases for a 4.4 WAR.

    All signs point to the Rockies making every effort to field a winner in 2017, so Blackmon won't be moved for prospect talent if a trade does come to fruition.

    However, a swap of MLB talent that brings the Rockies some pitching help would be a different story, and the team does have a viable in-house replacement for Blackmon in prospect Raimel Tapia.

Detroit Tigers: 2B Ian Kinsler

10 of 30

    Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are bigger names, but in terms of overall trade value, it's second baseman Ian Kinsler who gets the nod as the Detroit Tigers' best trade asset.

    Kinsler, 34, is owed $11 million this coming season and has a $10 million option for 2018, so he doesn't carry the same significant financial commitment as the aforementioned superstar duo.

    Considering he's been good for at least 5.0 WAR annually and 22.8 WAR total over the past four seasons, Kinsler is an absolute bargain relative to his on-field production.

    His .831 OPS, 28 home runs and 83 RBI this past season were all his highest single-season totals since 2011, so he's by no means slowing down despite his age.

    He's also piled up 62 defensive runs saved over the past four years as one of the league's elite defensive second basemen, finally winning his first Gold Glove award this season with 12 DRS and a 7.5 UZR/150 (ultimate zone rating in runs above average per 150 defensive games).

    Other than outfielder J.D. Martinez, Kinsler looks like the most likely to be moved on the Detroit roster, and he should bring a better return.

Houston Astros: SP David Paulino

11 of 30

    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Even if it means a chance to acquire someone like Chris Sale, Alex Bregman is likely untouchable this winter, as the Houston Astros view him as a franchise cornerstone moving forward.

    That would leave the Astros to build a prospect package around some of their young pitching, headlined by David Paulino, Joe Musgrove and Francis Martes.

    With the highest overall ceiling of that group, we'll give the nod to Paulino as the team's best trade asset.

    The 6'7", 215-pound right-hander has just 203.1 total innings under his belt over five pro seasons, including three appearances for the big club down the stretch.

    With a fastball that can touch 98 and a power curveball that has developed into a plus secondary offering, the development of his changeup will determine his effectiveness in the rotation, but he has legitimate ace potential.

Kansas City Royals: RP Wade Davis

12 of 30

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    For teams unwilling or unable to offer up the five years and nearly $100 million it will likely take to sign Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen this winter, Wade Davis is an attractive alternative.

    The 31-year-old is owed $10 million in the final year of his contract, and when healthy, he's been every bit as effective as those two high-profile free agents.

    That being said, Davis made a pair of trips to the disabled list last season with forearm issues, or he may have already been traded last summer.

    Even with some health question marks, we're still talking about a pitcher who has posted a 1.18 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 11.5 K/9 in 185 appearances over the past three years.

    The Kansas City Royals would sell low if they were to move someone like Lorenzo Cain or Yordano Ventura this winter, so Davis is a fairly easy choice as their best trade asset.

Los Angeles Angels: SP Matt Shoemaker

13 of 30

    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    At some point, the Los Angeles Angels will have to consider the idea of flipping superstar Mike Trout and venturing down the rebuilding road.

    They're not at that point just yet, though.

    However, they could look to move one of their controllable starting pitchers—such as Matt Shoemaker or Tyler Skaggs—in an effort to plug one of the other holes on the roster.

    Here's what Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had to say on the subject:

    Why would the Angels, a team already thin on starting pitching, consider moving Skaggs or Shoemaker, both of whom are under control for four more seasons?

    As always, it depends upon the potential return.

    If the Angels can get the player they want — say, an everyday second baseman — they then would need to measure the dropoff from Skaggs or Shoemaker to a lesser starter and the overall impact on the club.

    Skaggs is five years younger than Shoemaker, but considering his injury history and lack of an MLB track record of success, Shoemaker is probably the more valuable trade chip at this point.

    After a rocky start to the 2016 season that included a demotion to the minors, Shoemaker finished strong with a 2.83 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over his final 20 starts.

Los Angeles Dodgers: SP Jose De Leon

14 of 30

    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Would three years of Chris Sale be worth parting with 20-year-old Julio Urias, who is controllable for the next six years and could be every bit as good as Sale in the near future?

    Probably not, so instead, we'll highlight another young pitcher in Jose De Leon as the Los Angeles Dodgers' most valuable trade asset.

    The 24-year-old has come a long way since being selected in the 24th round of the 2013 draft, emerging as one of the game's elite pitching prospects.

    With a mid-90s fastball, a fantastic changeup, a quality slider and pinpoint command, De Leon has all the makings of a future No. 2 starter, and he doesn't have much left to prove in the minors.

    In 16 Triple-A starts last year, he was 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 86.1 innings while holding opponents to a .194 average.

Miami Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto

15 of 30

    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Here's where things stood with the Miami Marlins and their search for starting pitching help at the end of October, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

    The Marlins know they will need to get creative to acquire two starting pitchers to join Adam Conley, Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler in their rotation. But unless management has a drastic change of heart, the Marlins are disinclined to trade outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who has had injury setbacks and carries an enormous contract.

    Also, we’re told the Marlins do not want to trade outfielder Christian Yelich or catcher J.T. Realmuto. It would take a flabbergasting return, something the Marlins do not realistically envision, to consider trading Stanton, Yelich or Realmuto.

    Will outfielder Marcell Ozuna be enough to pry a capable starting pitcher away from someone like the Tampa Bay Rays, who are in search of offensive help?

    Probably not, as the Marlins have little in the way of top-tier prospect talent to sweeten the deal.

    Yelich is a superstar in the making, and selling low on Stanton would be counterproductive, but for the right return, it could make sense to deal Realmuto.

    While he enjoyed a breakout season offensively (.303 BA, .771 OPS, 42 XBH, 12 SB) and threw out 35 percent of base stealers, he was one of the worst pitch framers in the game, per StatCorner. The Marlins' young arms could actually benefit from having a more experienced receiver anchor the staff.

    To a catcher-needy team willing to overpay for his offense, Realmuto is the Marlins' best trade chip.

Milwaukee Brewers: LF Ryan Braun

16 of 30

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Ryan Braun is probably always going to get booed everywhere he goes on the road, but this is not the same player who scuffled in his return from a PED suspension in 2014, when he posted a career-worst .777 OPS.

    The 33-year-old was back in elite form this past season, posting a .903 OPS with 23 doubles, 30 home runs and 91 RBI for a 4.4 WAR, his highest since 2012.

    That level of production makes his remaining contractfour years and $76 million—look more than reasonable for a team seeking a right-handed power bat, especially when the alternatives are a significantly more expensive Yoenis Cespedes or a defensively challenged Mark Trumbo.

    The rebuilding Milwaukee Brewers have done a terrific job adding young talent over the past few years, building up one of the best farm systems in all of baseball.

    Braun is their last big veteran trade chip, and at this point, they have no reason to trade him for anything but top value, as he's back to producing at an elite level and doing it at a reasonable price.

Minnesota Twins: SP Ervin Santana

17 of 30

    Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Second baseman Brian Dozier is coming off a monster 2016 season where he posted an .886 OPS with 42 home runs and 99 RBI, so it's no surprise he's been generating interest on the trade market.

    However, the second base position is arguably the deepest in baseball right now, and that makes getting max value for Dozier on the trade market tough.

    "You aren’t going to back up the truck for Dozier," one National League executive told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. "It might make sense to try to trade him now, but nobody expects him to hit 40 homers again. You can count on him for 20 to 25, but that means you’d probably get two top-10 prospects for him. Or maybe a big league arm and a prospect."

    With that in mind, right-hander Ervin Santana is the more valuable trade asset this winter.

    Santana, 33, was 7-11 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 149 strikeouts in 181.1 innings last season, and he's owed a reasonable $27 million over the next two years, with a $14 million option for 2019.

    The value of a durable, middle-of-the-rotation, veteran starter is inflated this winter, thanks to the barren free-agent market, and someone might be willing to significantly overpay for Santana as a result.

New York Mets: SS Gavin Cecchini

18 of 30

    Elsa/Getty Images

    The New York Mets appear to be set at the shortstop position for the foreseeable future.

    Veteran Asdrubal Cabrera is signed through 2017, with an $8.5 million option for 2018, while top prospect Amed Rosario reached Double-A for the first time last season and could debut at some point during the upcoming season.

    That leaves fellow prospect Gavin Cecchini without a clear path to an MLB job, which makes him an intriguing trade target for teams looking to add a controllable middle infielder with some upside.

    Cecchini, 22, enjoyed a breakout season in 2015 after a slow start to his pro career, hitting .317/.377/.442 in a full season at the Double-A level.

    It was more of the same in 2016, as he made the jump to Triple-A and batted .325/.390/.448 with 27 doubles and eight home runs.

    He'll never be much of a home run threat, but his advanced approach should allow him to hit for a high average with good on-base numbers and plenty of doubles.

    His future in New York looks to be as a utility player, but he has the tools to be a starting shortstop.

New York Yankees: RP Dellin Betances

19 of 30

    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    This one is purely speculative, as all signs have pointed to the New York Yankees trying to build the bullpen back up this winter around Dellin Betances.

    However, there's little doubt he would net a monster return if made available on the trade market, and the Yankees have shown a willingness to sell high on bullpen assets.

    Betances has been an All-Star in each of the past three seasons, posting a 1.93 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 14.3 K/9 while averaging 86 innings and making 217 total appearances in that span.

    The 28-year-old is under team control through the 2019 season, adding to his overall value, and a return similar to what the Indians gave up for Andrew Miller would be the likely asking price.

    In the big picture, the Yankees could trade Betances, re-sign Aroldis Chapman and roll the dice on someone like Greg Holland to still potentially boast a dominant bullpen while adding even more young talent to the farm system.

    Just a thought.

Oakland Athletics: SP Sonny Gray

20 of 30

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Buster Olney of recently offered up the following on the potential of a Sonny Gray trade:

    Oakland is said to be actively listening to offers for Sonny Gray, who is coming off a difficult season. Gray posted a 5.69 ERA in 2016, and rival scouts dug into the question of whether he's fully healthy, but Gray has just three years of service time, and in a market starved for starting pitching, he would be attractive to any team that believes he'll bounce back next season.

    Teams also have considered the possibility that his struggles may be related to the hopelessness of Oakland's situation and the expectation of its best players that eventually -- even if the team wins -- they'll be traded as the Athletics manage their modest payroll.

    The 27-year-old is just a year removed from finishing third in AL Cy Young voting, as he went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 169 strikeouts in 208 innings in 2015.

    Realistically, it's hard to find another obvious potential trade chip on the A's roster at this point, though given their history, anyone is a possibility.

    Flipping Khris Davis after his 42-homer season isn't out of the question, but it's hard to see that accomplishing much beyond further alienating the fanbase.

    Gray would at least bring a sizable prospect haul, though holding onto him until the trade deadline and hoping he rebuilds some value might be the better approach.

Philadelphia Phillies: SP Vince Velasquez

21 of 30

    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    A potential Vince Velasquez trade is something we've highlighted numerous times already this offseason, and it still makes some level of sense for the right return.

    Velasquez, 24, showed flashes of greatness in his first full MLB season and finished 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 152 strikeouts in 131 innings of work.

    At his best, Velasquez has the stuff to dominate, as evidenced by his three-hit, 16-strikeout shutout against the San Diego Padres in April.

    However, more times than not, he struggled to pitch beyond the sixth inning and turned in just nine quality starts in 24 games.

    Someone willing to pay top dollar for his considerable upside and five remaining years of team control could make the Philadelphia Phillies an offer too good to pass up.

    They won't trade him for a mediocre return, but they would at least be willing to entertain offers in this market.

Pittsburgh Pirates: CF Andrew McCutchen

22 of 30

    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    Unless the Pittsburgh Pirates decide to shop Gerrit Cole on the heels of a disappointing, injury-plagued season, their biggest trade chip appears to be center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

    "There are people I've talked to who are convinced the Pirates are going to trade McCutchen this winter," MLB Network Radio analyst Jim Duquette told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    The Pirates have a suitable replacement waiting in the wings in top prospect Austin Meadows, and moving McCutchen, who has a $14 million salary for 2017 and a $14.5 million option for 2018, would save a small-market team some significant money.

    The trouble here is that they would be selling low on the face of the franchise.

    A perennial MVP candidate heading into the 2016 season, McCutchen posted career-worst numbers across the board with a .256/.336/.430 line, and with his continued decline defensively, that all added up to a minus-0.7 WAR.

    Just how much would a team be willing to give up to land the 30-year-old in hopes that he bounces back and returns to superstar form?

    That's what the Pirates need to figure out this winter as they weigh their options.

San Diego Padres: RP Brad Hand

23 of 30

    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    The San Diego Padres don't have much left in the way of tradeable assets at the MLB level, and with rebuilding efforts underway, they won't be moving any top prospects.

    The team is set to begin extension talks with Wil Myers, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, so the one MLB piece with obvious trade value doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

    That leaves bullpen arms like Brad Hand, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter as the closest things the team has to serious trade assets.

    Hand, 26, was a full-time reliever for the first time in his career last year, and he thrived in the role, posting a 2.92 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 89.1 innings while leading the NL with 82 appearances.

    He carries obvious value as a lefty setup option, but teams thinking outside the box in their search for starting pitching could also view him as an intriguing rotation option with a role in the bullpen as a fallback option.

    Hand has three years of team control left and has a $1.4 million projected salary in his first time through the arbitration process.

San Francisco Giants: IF Christian Arroyo

24 of 30

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The San Francisco Giants will once again be looking to make a run at the World Series in 2017, so they won't be trading any MLB-level talent in their search for pitching help.

    It would take landing a top-tier closer or a controllable starter on the trade market for the team to part with top prospect Christian Arroyo, but he's by no means untouchable.

    The 21-year-old hit .304/.344/.459 with 39 extra-base hits for High-A San Jose in 2015 to solidify his place as the team's No. 1 prospect, but he struggled a bit with the jump to Double-A.

    While his slash numbers dropped to .274/.316/.373, his overall approach improved, as his walk rate climbed (4.6 to 5.6 percent), and his strikeout rate dropped (17.8 to 13.9 percent).

    The Giants will need to find a place to play Arroyo, as Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford are entrenched as the starting middle infield, furthering the argument that he could wind up as a trade chip.

    If they miss out on the top free-agent closers, he could be used as the centerpiece in a deal to acquire someone like Wade Davis.

Seattle Mariners: SP Taijuan Walker

25 of 30

    Matt Brown/Getty Images

    The Seattle Mariners have balked at the idea of trading Taijuan Walker for multiple years, but he remains the team's most intriguing potential trade chip.

    Walker was 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 119 strikeouts in 134.1 innings this past season, once again teasing with the occasional dominant outing:

    • April 25: W, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K
    • June 8: W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K
    • Sept. 13: W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K

    Consistency remained a major issue, though, as he tallied just nine quality starts in 25 games and failed to finish six full innings 15 times.

    For a team willing to pay for potential as opposed to production, Walker remains the Mariners' most valuable trade chip.

St. Louis Cardinals: SP Luke Weaver

26 of 30

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    It's hard to envision a scenario where it makes sense for the St. Louis Cardinals to trade young right-hander Alex Reyes, even if it's to acquire someone like Chris Sale to front the rotation or Charlie Blackmon to upgrade the center field spot.

    However, a package built around right-hander Luke Weaver or outfielder Harrison Bader could still net them a significant piece.

    Weaver is the more valuable asset in a market starved for starting pitching, as he's capable of stepping into an MLB rotation immediately.

    The 23-year-old dominated minor league hitters to the tune of a 1.30 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 83 innings before earning a promotion and showing flashes in 36.1 innings of work with the MLB club.

    With a four-pitch repertoire that is headlined by a mid-90s fastball and a plus changeup, not to mention terrific overall command, Weaver has No. 2 starter upside and a high floor.

Tampa Bay Rays: SP Chris Archer

27 of 30

    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Drew Smyly and Jake Odorizzi are the more likely trade candidates for the Tampa Bay Rays as they look to cash in another of their controllable starting pitchers in an effort to upgrade the offense.

    However, right-hander Chris Archer remains the team's most valuable trade asset.

    After a breakout 2015 season where he went 12-13 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 252 strikeouts in 212 innings to finish fifth in AL Cy Young voting, Archer took a big step back this past season.

    He led the AL with 19 losses, as his ERA spiked to 4.02, and he allowed 30 home runs on the year.

    The front-line stuff is still there, though, and a bounce-back season seems likely, as the 28-year-old continues to refine his electric stuff.

    An incredibly team-friendly contract will make teams that much more willing to bank on a rebound performance, too, as he's owed just $19 million over the next three years and then has a $9 million option for 2020 and an $11 million option for 2021.

    Expect one of the Rays starters to be dealt this winter, and if someone is willing to pay an ace price, it could be Archer.

Texas Rangers: 1B/3B/OF Joey Gallo

28 of 30

    Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    The Texas Rangers still have one of the deeper farm systems in baseball despite trading away some significant young talent at the 2016 deadline to acquire Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress and Carlos Beltran.

    However, they are lacking a marquee prospect.

    Left-hander Yohander Mendez is now the top dog in the system, and while he has been one of the game's fastest-rising pitching prospects, he's still far from a finished product, and there's a good deal of space between his ceiling and floor.

    With that in mind, the Rangers would likely need to part with someone like Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar or Joey Gallo as the centerpiece for a blockbuster acquisition.

    Odor may be deemed off-limits after a breakout offensive season, and the team might not want to sell low on Profar after he posted a .660 OPS in 307 plate appearances this past season, so that leaves Gallo.

    The 23-year-old slugger has as much raw power as any player in the game; it's simply a matter of cutting down his strikeout rate to a manageable level for him to deliver on his 40-homer potential.

Toronto Blue Jays: SP Sean Reid-Foley

29 of 30

    The Toronto Blue Jays have not been shy about trading away their top-tier prospect talent in recent years, so it's fair to say that no one in their system is untouchable.

    Richard Urena is considered by many to be their top prospect, but right-hander Sean Reid-Foley looks like a safer bet to deliver on his upside, and he may carry more value as a potential trade chip.

    The 21-year-old went 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 115.1 innings between Single-A and High-A, and most importantly, he trimmed his walk rate from 6.3 BB/9 in 2015 to 3.0 BB/9 in 2016.

    The top-tier stuff has always been there since the Blue Jays selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft, and now he's starting to show the command needed to succeed at the next level.

    It would take the Blue Jays failing to add a corner outfield bat in free agency and being forced to turn to the trade market for them to even consider a trade big enough to include Reid-Foley, but regardless, he ranks as the team's most valuable asset.

Washington Nationals: SP Lucas Giolito

30 of 30

    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    The Washington Nationals rotation appears to be set for the upcoming season, as they'll trot out a staff comprised of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Joe Ross.

    That leaves a pair of young right-handers in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez without clear paths to MLB roles, at least for the 2017 season.

    The injury histories of Strasburg and Ross and the fact that Gonzalez is a free agent after the 2017 season mean that those two still figure heavily into the team's long-term plans, but that level of pitching depth could make the team more willing to deal one of them.

    Giolito is arguably the top pitching prospect in all of baseball and is almost universally viewed as a future ace, so it would take a massive return for the Nats to entertain the idea of moving him.

    However, with the team looking to win now, he's not quite untouchable and could make the Nationals the front-runner for someone like Chris Sale.


    All stats courtesy of and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Projected salaries courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors. Contract information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!