Top Trade Chips: AL East

Let's finish off our series with the toughest division in baseball…

  • Blue Jays: The Jays already traded away most of their top pieces, but they still have three desirable relievers in Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, and Kevin Gregg. All three can become free agents after the season. There might be some interest in first baseman Lyle Overbay, who will also hit the open market after the season. 
  • Orioles: Considering how poorly he pitched before landing on the DL, I'm sure a large part of the Baltimore faithful wouldn't mind seeing Mike Gonzalez go. Alas, that won't happen anytime soon. There always seems to be interest in Luke Scott, who still has two more years of team control left. If they decide to sell at mid-season, Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie could find their way onto the block. 
  • Rays: The Rays are a player development machine, and they have enough young players to get get pretty much anyone they want. They have enough depth that they could trade one of Reid Brignac or Sean Rodriguez plus one of Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, or Jeremy Hellickson and not miss a beat. If they fall out of it and decide to sell, it doesn't get much better than Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, and Carlos Pena. I believe the term is "stacked."
  • Red Sox: Boston has held onto Clay Buchholz for this long, but with his name appearing so frequently on the rumor circuit, it really wouldn't be surprising if they moved him for a big time player. They might still be able to find a taker for Mike Lowell, and there would be interest in Manny Delcarmen if he were made available. They did lose a valuable chip when Junichi Tazawa went down with Tommy John surgery. 
  • Yankees: They seem unwilling to trade either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, so their best chip is the semi-blocked Jesus Montero. Of course, the Yankees have the ability to absorb even the ugliest of contracts, so maybe we should consider that their biggest trade chip.


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47 Comments on "Top Trade Chips: AL East"


5 years 4 months ago

4 of the 8 Yankees top prospects are catchers. I believe that should be mentioned.

yankeesfan5891
5 years 4 months ago

Agreed. There would be no point of them holding onto Montero, Romine, Sanchez and Murphy if they can get a good return.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

But catching prospects seem to be toughest to groom and project, so there is no guarantee the ones you keep will actually pan out (I assuming Montero will be DH). Lots of teams try to have deep reserves of catching prospects (like the Sox with Wagner, Espisito, ect.) because, except with premium catchers like Mauer, Posey, or Weiters, there so are few can’t miss catching prospects and they tend to struggle in the majors (see salthalamacchia, teagarden, montero, doumit, ianetta)

Vmmercan
5 years 4 months ago

So a top 10 (and on some lists a top 3) minor league prospect is not considered “premium” in Montero? And how exactly when you say “tend to struggle in the majors” do you include Montero on that list when he has never played in the majors? Unless you mean Miguel, who has been solid in the majors?

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah I meant Miguel who actually had a better year last year than I thought. And I don’t see Jesus Montero as a catcher in the MLB. He is in the top 3 because of his offense and that is it. Scouting reports on him are very bad defensive wise. He is describes as stiff, too upright, and doesn’t call a good game. If he makes it as a catcher I would be shocked. Especially with how much people hate Posada’s defense no matter what he does with the bat. Because by the sound of it Montero is much worse than Posado.

Vmmercan
5 years 4 months ago

He’s also 21 years old and you would barely know who he was if he wasn’t duplicating Miguel Cabrera’s minor league career at the plate. Posey? 23. Wieters? Turning 24. Salty? Turning 25. Teagarden? 27 and the list goes on.

Miguel Montero didn’t play a game in the majors until he was what? 24?

Mauer aside (I don’t think anyone expects anyone to be the next Mauer), nobody has had this much offensive success at the catching position at such a young age as Jesus, and as a result we’ve concentrated so much on his defense, ignoring the fact he’s still so incredibly young. That’s my one major problem with your opinion.

Scouting reports from Jesus Montero at 19 and 20, yes, very bad. They say he lacks footwork, he’s too big, he has a slow release and he’s still learning how to call a good game. Well guess what? He’s barely drinking age. Jorge Posada was a shortstop at Jesus’ age.

He has a cannon for an arm and Jorge Posada was still learning defensive fundamentals as of 2008. We know the size isn’t a say all end all just by naming the Mauers and Wieters of the world.

Saying he doesn’t project as a catcher is premature for someone as young as Jesus and you’d be hypocritical to say otherwise. It’s a legitimate concern, but it’s a concern with no conclusion and it only has generated this much steam because there are no criticisms of his bat.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

No, saying he doesn’t project as a catcher is exactly what one is FORCED to say because of his age. If he were older, we’d just say “definitely not a catcher; guy sucks back there”. Instead, he just very much looks like he’s always gonna suck back there. Projections account fully for the fact that the improbable development path might occur. They just treat it as what it is: improbable.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

Montero should not considered a premium CATCHING prospect, no, because he’s so large a liability at catcher that he’ll be moved elsewhere. He’s still a premium prospect, of course, but the commenter you’re trying to jump on here was referring specifically to premium CATCHING prospects. And said so.

It seems obvious that he was referring to Miguel whose first adequate season was last year, before which he in fact — guess! — struggled to a greater degree and for a longer period (2 seasons) than you’d want any coveted prospect to. That catching prospects are rarer and more difficult to rely on developmentally is pretty much beyond dispute. Citing exceptions will prove the rule.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah you explained that better. J. Montero is a hitting prospect. Not a catching prospect.

Vmmercan
5 years 4 months ago

Nobody is disputing the larger unpredictability of catching prospects. I’m disputing Jesus Montero not being considered a premium catching prospect. But GUESS! –You’re closing the book on a 21 year old because of his defensive fundamentals, largely attributed to his footwork. And as I responded to J, quoting his size isn’t really relevant when you can say Mauer and Wieter’s names in the same conversation. A bit hypocritical for someone of your fair nature? Isn’t it? You’re usually much more level-headed than that.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

“quoting his size isn’t really relevant when you can say Mauer and Wieter’s names in the same conversation. A bit hypocritical for someone of your fair nature? Isn’t it? You’re usually much more level-headed than that.”

Did I make reference to his size? I didn’t even mention his footwork. I’m not interested in posturing as a scout, only in accounting for the unanimity among scouts that Montero does not project as an adequate backstop. If he beats the odds, oo-rah for him. But again, that one might beat the odds in no way disproves or even calls to question what the odds were.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

I think the Yankees really have faith that Montero will turn into a decent defensive catcher along with his elite offensive skills.

That should make at least one, if not two, of the 3 other highly touted catching prospects that you mentioned available.

I assume the Yankees realize their catching prospect depth. With this said they probably understand that if their current left field situation struggles, they can easily unload one of their 3 “other” catching prospects along with others for a good LF.

I think one of the Tampa Bay outfielders, Crawford or Upton, makes sense. The Rays lack good Catchers and also have an ensuing outfield glut with the eventual call-up of Desmond Jennings.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

If even one of their other catching prospects develops well, they have no NEED for Montero to develop competence there. It will only make him more expensive.

Yankeeboy11
5 years 4 months ago

Eh I’d love to trade for Crawford but I don’t see the point. I’d rather just keep my players and sign him during the offseason. He’ll join with his good friend the other CC LOl

alphakira
5 years 4 months ago

Just a reminder why we all hate the Yankees.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

I completely understand what u are saying, but right now the Yankees outfield does not look World Series quality. If the outfield production (especially in LF) stays where it is now, the Yankees really have a need.

Obviously it would be much nicer to just wait it out and sign Crawford w/o giving up any prospects, but if there is enough need for a LF in July and the Rays are out of contention and in selling mode, it makes sense to just get Crawford then.

Not to mention, if the Yankees win the World Series with Crawford, he is much more inclined to sign with them after the season.

XD23
5 years 4 months ago

O’s have a few guys that are soon to be free agents. So mid-season you could see: Millwood, Tejada, Atkins, Wigginton, Izturis, Guthrie or Scott go.

5 years 4 months ago

Um, putting aside the Yankee love/hate for a sec, Grant Wheeler is a free agent in Tampa after this year, any team looking for a reliable bullpen arm should consider him available if Tampa fades.

5 years 4 months ago

Is this player the genetically combined hybrid of Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour?

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

He’d probably still be bad though

5 years 4 months ago

Uh, over the last 2 seasons and change Wheeler and Balfour have been league average AT WORST. If you want bad, you need to splice in genes from Mike Ekstrom.

5 years 4 months ago

Ha, my mistake. But Wheeler has a club option for ’11, and Balfour is a F.A., so both potentially could be in play. Both have been very reliable bullpen arms, and no doubt would draw some interest.

SosaCrackers
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe the Yankees want the DH that’s sitting in LF at Wrigley…

Yankees420
5 years 4 months ago

There’s no way you mean Alfonso, the guy posted a .303 OBP last season and you think that’s DH quality?

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

What ever happened with rumors of Miguel Cabrera going to Boston? It seems like the Tigers would be more willing to accept a package from the Red Sox for more expensive players like Ellsbury, Delcarmen, or Buccholz than San Diego.

I know that Detroit would have to be falling out of contention to consider such a move, but Buccholz would be a strong addition to an already good, young staff. Ellsbury could provide a long term option in the outfield to go along with Austin Jackson.

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

“Why would a trade between Detroit and Boston be easier?”

They would unload roughly $20 million per season by trading Cabrera. They have question marks down the line with their outfield. Their bullpen needs work. They want to contend in the short run. They like to spend money and could use the $20 million minus the new salaries they would gain in trades to explore the free agent market next offseason. (Along with the money coming off the books.) Power first basemen/DH types like Carlos Pena and Adam Dunn will be available this offseason for about half Cabrera’s price.

The Padres appear to be in the market for prospects and possibly young major leaguers that are still a ways away from arbitration. They have no real reason to increase payroll in the short run from what I can see.

“Are you under the impression Detroit will unload a bat such as Cabrera’s for a bunch of scrubs ? ”

Define “scrubs” and how Buccholz, Ellsbury, and any other touted prospect that the Tigers may demand for Cabrera fit into that category. I’m not sure exactly what you’re getting at here.

“What does Detroit gain by such a deal? Give up one of the premier RH bats in the game for a #3 starter and Ellsbury ? ”

Money, like I mentioned before would be the biggest reason, especially if they fall out of contention.
I wasn’t aware that Buccholz only projects to be a # 3 starter. Some may agree, others may not. All that matters is what the Tigers believe Buccholz can do in this case.

They dealt Austin Jackson, which means that they would likely want to add starting pitching after loosing someone who performed pretty well for them last season. They have two young guns and might be under the impression that they could turn Buccholz into something special as they have done in recent memory. He’s got ace stuff, but hasn’t been able to put it together yet. His stuff certainly does not project to be that of a # 3 starter.

If I have missed evidence to suggest that San Diego would be more apt to unload Gonzo, bring it up. I just don’t see it, although I very well could be missing something that hasn’t been mentioned yet.

Patattack
5 years 4 months ago

“They dealt Austin Jackson, which means that they would likely want to add starting pitching after loosing someone who performed pretty well for them last season.”

I think you meant Curtis Granderson. But yea, they acquired Jackson.

But also in that deal, they got Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, so they did get some starting pitching in that deal. They also have Bonderman, Willis, and Ordonez coming off the books, which is close around 40M in salaries gone, so I don’t think money is as big of an issue. They could go out and get decent back end starting pitchers with that money, and a starting outfielder if they are smart about it. So, I don’t see the Tigers traded Cabrera, especially if they plan on competing with Minnesota, Chicago, or even Cleveland in the future.

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

Thanks. I meant Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks. I might be wrong, but some have speculated that they could be in the running for Cliff Lee. A rotation of Verlander, Porcello, Lee and Buccholz could really be special. I’m probably getting ahead of myself though.

Patattack
5 years 4 months ago

Yea, that would be a very good rotation (something Detroit is not used to hearing). I could see Lee happening, but I just can’t see Buccholz, since I don’t think they’ll give up Cabrera.

Random question: is there any particular reason the Sox want to go after a first baseman? I understand getting MCab or AGon would be nice, but a catcher seems to be more reasonable. Victor can play first- he hit .350 as a 1B for the Tribe last year (only .206 as a catcher). It just seems that a catcher would be more suitable, to me at least.

Mitch_Cole173
5 years 4 months ago

Well, one of the main reasons could be there’s no real impact players out on the trade market at the catcher position. I think, if they can’t find a suitable option to trade for at catcher, search internally and give Mark Wagner a shot. Here’s a link to his player profile on the prospects site. http://soxprospects.com/players/wagner-mark.htm. I mean, yea, V-Mart’s a decent catcher, but he’s below average defensively, and he doesn’t hit as well at catcher compared to when he plays first or DH. Right now, Beltre isn’t exactly helping the team. Did you see his horrid error on Friday night against the Rays? His hitting has been decent, but they’re mostly base hits, no HR’s or big doubles or anything really. If he continues this play, I say unload him as soon as you can(I think it’s somehwere around mid-June you can trade guys in the first year of their contracts) and throw Youk at third and V-Mart at first and maybe send a couple of B-prospects like Kyle Weiland and Aaron Bates over to Washington for Adam Dunn. With Papi doing horrible and V-Mart struggling to find a rhythm, there’s a need for left handed power in the lineup. Throw Dunn in at DH and see what he can do. He would have a field day at Fenway with short distances to left and right field, and would certainly make an impact RBI wise as well.

Patattack
5 years 4 months ago

You’re right, the more I looked at it, there really aren’t any impact catchers that would be for sale. I looked at that site, and it seems like Wagner would be a good fit for the Sox, and moving V-Mart to first, because, as you said, he is a below average defensive catcher. It just seems like that would be a more logical move to go for a catcher (or go internally), or even a DH, because it seems like this Sox team is more defensive minded, and V-Mart doesn’t exactly mesh with that well behind the plate. What about possibly giving Delgado a shot this year as a DH? I don’t think he could do any worse than Ortiz.

Mitch_Cole173
5 years 4 months ago

That could be an interesting move. I haven’t seen any of Delgado since, well, the last time he played against the Sox lol. If Delgado can still bring it and maybe give us around 30 dingers and maybe 60-70 RBI’s, I say do it. If Epstein has any doubts about that(that is if he’s even considering Delgado), he won’t do it and will search elsewhere. I really think Dunn could be a great fit for us, though. He could probably reach somehwere around 40 HR’s and maybe around 80-90 RBI’s, and that would go a long way.

Patattack
5 years 4 months ago

You’re right, the more I looked at it, there really aren’t any impact catchers that would be for sale. I looked at that site, and it seems like Wagner would be a good fit for the Sox, and moving V-Mart to first, because, as you said, he is a below average defensive catcher. It just seems like that would be a more logical move to go for a catcher (or go internally), or even a DH, because it seems like this Sox team is more defensive minded, and V-Mart doesn’t exactly mesh with that well behind the plate. What about possibly giving Delgado a shot this year as a DH? I don’t think he could do any worse than Ortiz.

Mitch_Cole173
5 years 4 months ago

Well, one of the main reasons could be there’s no real impact players out on the trade market at the catcher position. I think, if they can’t find a suitable option to trade for at catcher, search internally and give Mark Wagner a shot. Here’s a link to his player profile on the prospects site. http://soxprospects.com/players/wagner-mark.htm. I mean, yea, V-Mart’s a decent catcher, but he’s below average defensively, and he doesn’t hit as well at catcher compared to when he plays first or DH. Right now, Beltre isn’t exactly helping the team. Did you see his horrid error on Friday night against the Rays? His hitting has been decent, but they’re mostly base hits, no HR’s or big doubles or anything really. If he continues this play, I say unload him as soon as you can(I think it’s somehwere around mid-June you can trade guys in the first year of their contracts) and throw Youk at third and V-Mart at first and maybe send a couple of B-prospects like Kyle Weiland and Aaron Bates over to Washington for Adam Dunn. With Papi doing horrible and V-Mart struggling to find a rhythm, there’s a need for left handed power in the lineup. Throw Dunn in at DH and see what he can do. He would have a field day at Fenway with short distances to left and right field, and would certainly make an impact RBI wise as well.

MB923
5 years 4 months ago

I think Wakefield would be more likely to go to the bullpen than Buchholz, no?

Yankees420
5 years 4 months ago

Definitely, when Dice-K comes back Buch will be slotted as the 4 or 5, and about what piece Boston needs to acquire it’s a very tough situation, they have V-Mart who can kinda play C, but should be a 1B, Youk who can play 1B or 3B (his numbers look better coming from 3B, I’m not sure about his defense there though) and if Beltre exercises his player option then they really have a logjam at the corners next year. Ortiz comes off the books so that frees up DH, maybe they stick V-Mart there and play him at C for only 50-60 games, (assuming he is resigned) and I’d suggest Boston should bolster the OF but that’s jammed up as will with Cameron being under contract for 2 years, if his bat isn’t good this season though they could make him a 4th OF and go for Jason Werth, the Sox obviously don’t have much of a problem having an expensive bench player, i.e. Mike Lowell.

Best case scenario is that Beltre opts out of his player option, they resign V-Mart to be primarily a 1B, slide Youk over to 3B, sign a cheap defensive C as a stopgap until one of their prospects are ready, and then make Cameron a 4th OF and sign Werth to be the big bat in the middle of the lineup. Of course I hope this situation doesn’t play out because I hate Boston with a passion, but being as objective as I can be, I’d hope for something like I mentioned if I was a Sox fan.

Yankees420
5 years 4 months ago

Definitely, when Dice-K comes back Buch will be slotted as the 4 or 5, and about what piece Boston needs to acquire it’s a very tough situation, they have V-Mart who can kinda play C, but should be a 1B, Youk who can play 1B or 3B (his numbers look better coming from 3B, I’m not sure about his defense there though) and if Beltre exercises his player option then they really have a logjam at the corners next year. Ortiz comes off the books so that frees up DH, maybe they stick V-Mart there and play him at C for only 50-60 games, (assuming he is resigned) and I’d suggest Boston should bolster the OF but that’s jammed up as will with Cameron being under contract for 2 years, if his bat isn’t good this season though they could make him a 4th OF and go for Jason Werth, the Sox obviously don’t have much of a problem having an expensive bench player, i.e. Mike Lowell.

Best case scenario is that Beltre opts out of his player option, they resign V-Mart to be primarily a 1B, slide Youk over to 3B, sign a cheap defensive C as a stopgap until one of their prospects are ready, and then make Cameron a 4th OF and sign Werth to be the big bat in the middle of the lineup. Of course I hope this situation doesn’t play out because I hate Boston with a passion, but being as objective as I can be, I’d hope for something like I mentioned if I was a Sox fan.

porschevespa
5 years 4 months ago

Hey…fans …Remember Boston’s fans already trade Lugo for Hanley Ramirez,,They think Detroit will trade Cabrera for Del Carmen…nut..dilusionals fans…They already trade Ortiz for Adrian Gonzales….

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

You might consider speaking before spewing unsubstantiated smut like this. Don’t get me wrong, people get too riled up about prospects the want. If you have reasons for why it is unreasonable to question why the Cabrera to sox rumors are gone, thats fine. Articulate it. If you think its so farfetched that the Tigers might have a need for Buchholz, Ellsbury, or Delcarmen in a package with other prospects, articulate it. By all means. Posts like this, however, are just senseless.

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

You might consider speaking before spewing unsubstantiated smut like this. Don’t get me wrong, people get too riled up about prospects the want. If you have reasons for why it is unreasonable to question why the Cabrera to sox rumors are gone, thats fine. Articulate it. If you think its so farfetched that the Tigers might have a need for Buchholz, Ellsbury, or Delcarmen in a package with other prospects, articulate it. By all means. Posts like this, however, are just senseless.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

Guys who throw that hard always have trade value.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

Probably the only pitcher in history to fall behind in the count and then serve up a fastball. That’s wacky stuff.

Delcarmen absolutely has trade value. Just not nearly as much as he once did.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

And actually in his major league career he has only given up 16 homeruns in 243.1 innings in his career for a nice .6 HR/9. So I’m not sure where you saw those balls “flying over the wall”

Vmmercan
5 years 4 months ago

I think he was referring to the Burrell home run tonight (Saturday night), but yeah, Delcarmen for the most part has been good with keeping the ball in the park

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

I am not suggesting that Ellsbury and Buccholz should be traded together to land Miguel Cabrera. The thrust of my comment was that a trade between the Red Sox and Detroit would probably be easier than a trade between the Red Sox and Padres.

Are you under the impression that the Red Sox should not trade for a big bat this season?

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

Cabrera probably isn’t going anywhere, I personally would prefer the Sox giving up less prospects to land him than going after Agon.

The problem with looking for catching is that it isn’t out there, as a few of you have mentioned. It might not be feasible to come up with anyone other than an average major league catcher like Gerald Laird.

Another thing to consider too is that the Red Sox might be in the market for a DH before the season is done.

As for Lackey-Buccholz, many thought that signing Lackey put the Red Sox in a good position to use Buccholz’s high ceiling to trade for a big impact player like Cabrera or Agon. He absolutely might get relegated to the bullpen. I’ve heard that it might be a good opportunity to work on his 2 seam fastball and help his development.

nhsox
5 years 4 months ago

Cabrera probably isn’t going anywhere, I personally would prefer the Sox giving up less prospects to land him than going after Agon.

The problem with looking for catching is that it isn’t out there, as a few of you have mentioned. It might not be feasible to come up with anyone other than an average major league catcher like Gerald Laird.

Another thing to consider too is that the Red Sox might be in the market for a DH before the season is done.

As for Lackey-Buccholz, many thought that signing Lackey put the Red Sox in a good position to use Buccholz’s high ceiling to trade for a big impact player like Cabrera or Agon. He absolutely might get relegated to the bullpen. I’ve heard that it might be a good opportunity to work on his 2 seam fastball and help his development.