We’ve looked at starting pitchers and relief pitchers on the trade block. Now, it is time to look at the position players that could be available at the trade deadline. There are certainly more than ten players available and that is only according to what we widely believe based on previous substantiated rumors and common sense. There are always one or two players to get moved that completely come out of nowhere. So, here represents our best guess.
1) Justin Upton– Arizona Diamondbacks
Teams usually offer up good but not great players when the deadline comes along, so when you hear a name like Justin Upton you perk up and listen. The odd thing is that it seems like the sellers are the ones most interested in Upton. He is signed through 2015, so those teams see him as a long-term building block. While that widens the possible scope of a deal, it also means that the Dbacks may wait until the offseason to pull the trigger. He could get them a huge haul at the Winter Meetings with a number of GMs competing against each other.
2) Josh Willingham– Minnesota Twins
Willingham signed a three year contract in the offseason, so he would not be a rental either. He might qualify as more of a lease to buy. Willingham already has more than 20 home runs in Minnesota and could conceivably play left field, right field, or be a DH. It is unclear as to whether the Twins are actively shopping him or not. If they play hard to get they could potentially get quite a haul for someone that is not quite a star.
3) Carlos Quentin– San Diego Padres
The Padres are potentially locking up Quentin long-term. Yet, that talk might be a smoke screen to see if teams would be willing to offer more for Quentin. Most GMs understand that you don’t get much for your veterans if you treat them like flaming bags of dog feces. Quentin didn’t start playing until late May, but he still could reach 20 home runs this year if he goes to a team with a more favorable ballpark. Right now that would include any team outside of San Francisco.
4) Hunter Pence– Philadelphia Phillies
Again, we aren’t sure if he is going to be available. This is one those deals where we have to see if the Phillies become sellers. Pence is getting into the neighborhood where he will start costing 15 million a season. I’m not sure how many teams will be in on a player that could claim that kind of arbitration prize in the final year of arbitration. It might end up limiting him to places like Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.
5) Chase Headley– San Diego Padres
Headley is the perfect trade candidate this time of year. He has good numbers, but they are suppressed based on playing half of his games at Petco Park. Trade him to a team with a neutral park and he would become a perfect complementary player in the lineup. There are quite a few playoff teams that could use an upgrade at third base, so I suppose that Josh Byrnes could field a lot of calls in the next couple of weeks.
6) Shane Victorino– Philadelphia Phillies
Part of me is rooting for Ruben Amaro Jr. to realize that this is the perfect time to start retooling. He has three veteran position players that could easily be dealt and one starting pitcher. Victorino is one of my favorite players. He doesn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he does a little bit of everything and he winds up with very good numbers at the end of the season. He is the perfect player for a deep team and there could be a few teams willing to kick the tires.
7) Michael Cuddyer– Colorado Rockies
Cuddyer was signed to push the Rockies over the top in the NL West. Through no fault of his own, the mantra in Denver may have changed. Troy Tulowitzki has been hurt or ineffective most of the season and their pitching staff has fallen apart like a Wal-Mart suit bought during the assistant manager’s day sale. Therefore, Cuddyer could end up as a victim in all of it. He’s played up to expectations, but if the Rockies are moving to a rebuilding mode he may not make much sense to keep.
8) Peter Bourjos– Los Angeles Angels
How many times has this happened in baseball? You have a player that has proven himself to be very good, but someone comes along that just happens to be better. Bourjos’ has taken a beating this year because Mike Trout is a superstar, Mark Trumbo is a superstar, and Torii Hunter is a veteran. Bourjos has nowhere to play even though he is a Gold Glove quality center fielder. He could probably still start for 20 teams and many of those will come calling over the next couple of weeks.
9) Carl Crawford– Boston Red Sox
He’s finally back and just in time for the deadline. The Red Sox probably regretted signing this deal from the moment they signed it. They might be willing to take someone else’s problems in exchange for getting out from under that contract. The afforementioned Marlins (mentioned along with Heath Bell) could be a partner in that one. Crawford can still run well and should be a .300/20 HR/30 SB type of player for at least the next few seasons. A few teams might be willing to take the risk that he will bounce back.
10) Alfonso Soriano– Chicago Cubs
Speaking of toxic contracts, Soriano has been virtually unmovable for several years now, but something happened in May: Soriano started hitting. He now is approaching 20 home runs and he has been driving in as many runs as could be expected in Chicago. A team with a larger budget could potentially sustain such a contract until it runs out in 2014.
Filed under: MLB