2012 Trade Market Rumors
Over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve previewed the trade market for pitchers and position players. Nearly 100 players have been mentioned as possible trade candidates, but keep in mind that many players not mentioned on these lists will be dealt. I’ve linked to the entire series below:
- First basemen
- Second basemen
- Third basemen
- Starting pitchers
- Left-handed relievers
- Right-handed relievers
Most contenders could use another right-handed reliever for the season’s final two-plus months. Here are some potentially available right-handers:
- Jonathan Broxton, Royals - The Royals are open to moving Broxton, but they aren't about to give him away for nothing.
- Matt Capps, Twins - It sounds as though the Twins are willing to listen to offers for Capps, who was recently activated from the disabled list after recovering from shoulder inflammation. The trade candidate has a 3.42 ERA with a 16K/4BB ratio in 26 1/3 innings.
- Grant Balfour, Athletics - Balfour has a 3.14 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 so far this season. His contract includes a $4.5MM club option for 2013. Click here for more on Balfour.
- Brandon League, Mariners - League's trade value has diminished this year, but he still has a 3.35 ERA and recent success as a closer.
- Huston Street, Padres - Street has a 1.13 ERA with 12.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 for the Padres and is definitely a midseason trade candidate. His contract includes a mutual option for 2013.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - The Orioles were shopping Gregg earlier this year. He has a 4.07 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 through 23 appearances.
- Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle, Rockies - The Rockies would have to be overwhelmed to trade either pitcher, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported last month.
- Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers - If the Brewers become sellers, they could trade Rodriguez. The Mets are one interested team.
- Brett Myers, Astros - The Astros are prepared to move Myers, who has pitched well in his return to the bullpen. Click here for more on Myers.
- Shawn Camp, Cubs - Camp leads the NL with 43 appearances and he has a 2.80 ERA. Yet he's a 36-year-old on a one-year deal, so the Cubs could flip him for prospects.
- Casey Janssen, Blue Jays - The Blue Jays need Janssen now, but if they do decide to sell he’d draw interest.
- Brad Lincoln, Pirates - The Diamondbacks and Padres might have some degree of interest in Lincoln, who's enjoying a breakout season.
- Joel Hanrahan, Pirates - I don’t expect the Pirates to trade Hanrahan now that they’re leading the NL Central. But if they had to part with him to get an impact bat, they might listen.
- Brandon Lyon, Astros - Lyon has a 3.24 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 so some teams might be willing to overlook that $5.5MM salary.
- Mark Lowe, Rangers - It appeared earlier in the year that the Rangers were willing to listen on Lowe and Scott Feldman.
- Wade Davis, Rays - Davis has a 3.12 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 since the Rays moved him to the bullpen, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him draw interest.
The Dodgers, Mets and Cardinals are among the contenders with potential interest in adding left-handed relievers to their respective bullpens this month. Here’s a partially speculative list of potentially available left-handers:
- Brian Fuentes, free agent - The recently-released 36-year-old has drawn some interest from the Cardinals. He posted a 6.84 ERA with an 18K/10BB ratio before the Athletics removed him from their roster.
- Will Ohman, free agent - Ohman’s available for nothing but a roster spot and the league minimum salary after being released by the White Sox.
- Matt Reynolds, Rockies - The Rockies and Mets discussed Reynolds when considering Ramon Hernandez deals.
- Jose Mijares, Royals - Mijares is pitching well and he earns just $925K, so there’s a good chance he’ll draw interest as a July trade candidate.
- Darren Oliver, Blue Jays - The Blue Jays don’t figure to consider trades for Oliver unless their next three weeks are particularly ugly. If they do make him available he’d be in high demand.
- Wesley Wright, Astros - Wright has three years of team control remaining after 2012, so the Astros aren’t under pressure to trade him. Wright has a 4.13 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 through 24 innings and will head to arbitration for the first time over the winter.
- Brian Duensing, Twins - While there's no indication the Twins are shopping Duensing, they could consider offers for the 29-year-old at a time that left-handed relief is in demand. Duensing is on track for a significant raise via arbitration this coming offseason.
- Joe Thatcher, Padres - The 30-year-old has averaged more than one strikeout per inning with the Padres, both in 2012 and for his career. It wouldn't be surprising if teams inquire about him.
MLBTR has previewed the trade market by looking at potentially available catchers, first basemen,second basemen, third basemen, shortstops, outfielders and starting pitchers. Right-handed relievers are up next.
Starting pitching is in demand every summer. And as fans of Doug Fister and the 2011 Tigers know, it’s not always the biggest names that have the biggest second-half impact.
Teams are now navigating the trade deadline under a new collective bargaining agreement, and for the first time in decades clubs cannot obtain compensatory draft picks if players acquired midseason depart as free agents. There’s been some speculation that this rule change will mean lowered asking prices for top players. After all, why would a team surrender top prospects for a player who could disappear without a trace a few months later?
It’s a fair question, but there’s still reason to believe top players will cost top prospects. Imagine for a minute that you’re a general manager calling up Doug Melvin of the Brewers about Zack Greinke. You say ‘Hi Doug, we’d like to acquire your ace right-hander, but the CBA changed so we’re going to scale our proposal back and offer a couple B and C prospects. That OK?’ Melvin could then say ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll wait it out and get a top draft pick next year. Good luck having replacement level pitchers in your rotation for the next two months.’
Within a few weeks we’ll know how the trade deadline will affect the value of top pitchers. Until then, here’s a look at which pitchers will -- or might -- be available between now and the upcoming trade deadline:
- Cole Hamels, Phillies - Hamels is one of the best pitchers in the game. Though he's just 28, he has a seven-year history of success in a major market, including a World Series MVP award. Hamels has the potential to improve some team’s rotation dramatically and demand will reflect that upside if the Phillies make him available.
- Zack Greinke, Brewers - If you go by the numbers, Greinke's just as desirable as Greinke. However, some teams question Greinke's ability to thrive in the spotlight. Still, the right-hander has the potential to make a team’s front office look really smart.
- Matt Garza, Cubs - Garza's 4.32 ERA is pretty ordinary, but he’s still a tremendously valuable trade chip for the Cubs. Unlike Greinke and Hamels, Garza's controllable through 2013. He has succeeded in the AL East and his peripheral stats remain strong.
- Wandy Rodriguez, Astros - Rodriguez has a 3.38 ERA through 18 starts, but his salary could be an obstacle for some clubs. The left-hander will earn $10MM in 2012, $13MM in 2013 and, potentially, $13MM in 2014 (the team’s ’14 option becomes a player option following a trade). However, the Astros showed that they’re willing to absorb salary if it means a chance at obtaining better prospects when they dealt Carlos Lee to the Marlins.
- Ryan Dempster, Cubs - Dempster, who has an NL-best 1.99 ERA, should draw lots of interest as a mid-season trade candidate. The Cubs seem willing to absorb some of his $14MM salary to facilitate a deal.
- Shaun Marcum, Brewers - Marcum, now on the disabled list, is on track to hit free agency this offseason. He has a 3.39 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 through 82 1/3 innings in Milwaukee.
- Paul Maholm, Cubs - Maholm could appeal to teams looking to add back-of-the-rotation depth. His contract includes a $6.5MM option for 2013.
- Randy Wolf, Brewers - Wolf's trade value would be limited by his 5.80 ERA and $9.5MM salary.
- Jeremy Guthrie, Rockies - Guthrie’s trade value may be at an all-time low following three disappointing months in Denver.
- Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard could be available, but there’s no reason for the Padres to trade such controllable, young arms without obtaining a remarkable package in return.
- Jason Vargas, Mariners - Vargas is similar pitcher to Wandy Rodriguez, but he's younger and less expensive, as I explained last month.
- Kevin Millwood, Mariners - Millwood, 37, has a 3.69 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 90 1/3 innings with Seattle. He earns $1MM and will hit free agency after the season.
- Despite the annual speculation surrounding Felix Hernandez, there’s no indication he’s truly available.
- Bartolo Colon, Athletics - Colon, 39, is the player the Athletics are most likely to trade, according to Ken Rosenthal. The righty has a 3.80 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 through 104 1/3 innings.
- Brandon McCarthy, Athletics - The A's would reportedly consider offers for McCarthy, a prospective free agent who has a 2.54 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. He's now on the 15-day disabled list.
- Brian Matusz, Orioles - Matusz appears to be a trade chip for the Orioles. He's now in the minor leagues after posting a 5.42 ERA through 16 starts in Baltimore.
- Francisco Liriano, Twins - Liriano, a free agent after the season, has pitched well since returning to the rotation. Still, clubs are wary of trading for the left-hander, whose walk rate remains high.
Teams willing to trade everyday outfielders this summer won’t have a shortage of interest. The Reds, Pirates, Indians, Dodgers, Tigers and Yankees are among the contenders with possible openings in the outfield. Here’s a look at some potentially available outfielders:
- Shane Victorino, Phillies - It’s unclear if the Phillies are serious about moving Victorino, but he’s definitely on the radar as a potential trade candidate in the final year of his contract. The 31-year-old is hitting .245/.311/.369 with eight home runs and 19 stolen bases this year. He earns a $9.5MM salary.
- Peter Bourjos, Angels - Teams continue to call the Angels about Bourjos and the Angels would move him in the right deal, Jayson Stark reported recently. The speedy 25-year-old is a fourth outfielder in Anaheim but could start elsewhere.
- Denard Span, Twins - Span has a respectable .334 on-base percentage and a team-friendly five-year, $16.5MM contract. The Nationals have had interest in Span before and the Twins seem willing to listen again this summer.
- Coco Crisp, Athletics - Crisp, now in the first season of his two-year, $14MM contract with the A's, is off to a slow start at the plate.
- David DeJesus, Cubs - DeJesus can play all three outfield positions and has a .271/.359/.387 batting line through 311 plate appearances. He earns just $4.25MM per season through 2013. So far there's no indication the Cubs have made him available.
- B.J. Upton, Rays - There's been some speculation that Upton could be traded, but nothing concrete. The 27-year-old is hitting .248/.303/.376 and earning $7MM as he approaches free agency.
- Justin Upton, Diamondbacks - The Diamondbacks will listen to offers for Upton, who’s still just 24 years old. While his offensive numbers are down (.273/.353/.401 slash line), this represents a buy-low opportunity for contenders and non-contenders alike.
- Jeff Francoeur, Royals - Francoeur's on-base percentage is below .300, his slugging percentage sits at .378 and he'll earn $6MM in 2012 and $7.5MM in 2013. In other words he'd have very little trade value. The Royals might be able to get Francoeur's contract through waivers in August.
- Bryan LaHair, Cubs - There's no urgency for the Cubs to move LaHair, who posted an impressive .286/.364/.519 batting line en route to an All-Star berth.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cubs - Soriano could draw trade interest despite his over-sized contract. I discussed him in detail earlier this year. Soriano's contract will clear waivers, so the Cubs could trade him in August without restrictions.
- Carlos Quentin, Padres - Quentin figures to draw considerable interest given his production and contract status. I also discussed him in detail earlier this year.
- Juan Pierre, Phillies - The Reds have some interest in Pierre, who's reaching base and stealing bases as usual.
- Josh Willingham, Twins - The Twins don't seem eager to part with Willingham, though he'd draw considerable interest if Minnesota made him available. He has 19 home runs and an OPS of .913.
- Chone Figgins, Mariners - It’s doubtful Figgins would draw much interest even if the Mariners were willing to absorb all of his salary. Figgins would clear waivers, so he'll be an August trade candidate.
- Vernon Wells, Angels - Wells has a .704 OPS and a contract that pays him $21MM annually through 2014. The Angels would be covering most of Wells' salary in any deal. Like Figgins and Soriano, Wells would clear waivers.
- Mark Kotsay, corner outfielder, Padres - Kotsay, 36, has a .745 OPS and a salary of just $1.25MM.
- The Red Sox could trade Ryan Kalish, Ryan Sweeney or Daniel Nava once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are activated from the disabled list. The Reds match up well with Boston on paper.
The trade market for shortstops looks thin this summer. Here’s a closer look:
- Marco Scutaro, Rockies - Scutaro figures to draw considerable interest because he can play second base and shortstop while contributing at the plate. Though he’s mostly playing second in Denver, he has considerable experience at shortstop, including 27 games at the position in 2012. The 36-year-old infielder has a .277/.329/.372 batting line in 2012. He earns $6MM this year and will hit free agency this coming offseason.
- Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks - The Diamondbacks could consider offers for Bloomquist once John McDonald returns from the disabled list. Bloomquist, 34, has a .294/.324/.393 batting line and earns $1.9MM per season for 2012 and 2013. Now that Stephen Drew is back, Bloomquist is on the bench.
- Cody Ransom, Brewers - The Brewers could trade Ransom if they become sellers this month. The infielder has a .214/.313/.403 batting line in 177 plate appearances so far this year and has played shortstop 32 times.
- Brendan Ryan, Mariners - Teams might be willing to overlook Ryan's .187/.287/.276 slash line because of his reputation as a tremendous defender. He's earning $1.75MM this year and will be arbitration eligible this coming offseason.
- Jamey Carroll, Twins - Carroll, 38, has a .234/.318/.278 batting line and more than $5MM remaining on his contract with Minnesota, so he wouldn’t have much trade value.
- Jed Lowrie, Astros - Lowrie is essentially unavailable, Ken Rosenthal reported five days ago. The Dodgers recently asked about Lowrie, who has an impressive .254/.343/.461 batting line in his first season as a National Leaguer.
- Rumors and speculation surrounded Starlin Castro early on this year, but it appears that the 22-year-old is staying put.
The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are among the teams that are looking for third base help this summer. Here’s a preview of some potentially available third basemen:
- Chase Headley, Padres - The Padres control Headley's rights through 2014 and he's earning just $3.48MM this year, so there's no need to move the 28-year-old in the short or long-term. He's hitting .272/.374/.421, which would make him one of the trade market’s most sought-after players.
- Placido Polanco, Phillies - It's unclear if the Phillies will be willing to trade veterans such as Polanco. The 36-year-old is hitting just .269/.314/.346, so he's not the offensive threat he was five years ago. He earns $6.25MM this year and his contract includes a $5.5MM mutual option for 2013.
- Chone Figgins, Mariners - Figgins would not necessarily draw interest on the trade market even if the Mariners agreed to take on his entire salary. The 34-year-old has a .186/.245/.276 batting line in 165 plate appearances.
- Mike Fontenot, Phillies - Fontenot's playing time has been reduced since Chase Utley returned from the disabled list. He's now a bench player with a .338/.378/.403 batting line and the ability to play multiple infield positions.
- Cody Ransom, Brewers - The Brewers, who selected Ransom from Arizona in May, could trade him if they become sellers this month. The infielder has a .216/.318/.405 batting line in 171 plate appearances so far this year.
- Once Evan Longoria returns from the disabled list, the Rays could be positioned to trade an infielder such as Sean Rodriguez, Brooks Conrad, Jeff Keppinger or Will Rhymes.
- In theory, the Angels could consider deals for Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis and move Mark Trumbo to the hot corner. Trumbo now has some experience at third base, but he hasn't played there since May 3rd.
MLB second basemen have combined to hit .255/.317/.381 for the first half of the season -- hardly an impressive offensive performance. In fact, Robinson Cano, Aaron Hill and Ben Zobrist are the only three qualified second basemen with an OPS over .800 this year. Here’s a preview of the midseason trade market at the position:
- Marco Scutaro, Rockies - Scutaro will likely be traded, Troy Renck of the Denver Post wrote last month. The 36-year-old infielder has a .285/.336/.385 batting line and considerable experience at shortstop. He earns $6MM this year and will hit free agency this coming offseason.
- Orlando Hudson, White Sox - It's been a rough year for Hudson, who lost his roster spot on the Padres then his starting job on the White Sox. If a team were to call about the 34-year-old, the White Sox would presumably listen.
- Darwin Barney, Cubs - Rival teams have asked about Barney, but there's no reason for the Cubs to rush a deal. Barney won't even be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and he has an acceptable .264/.309/.371 batting line.
- Mike Fontenot, Phillies - Fontenot's playing time has been reduced since Chase Utley returned from the disabled list. He's now a bench player with a .329/.372/.384 batting line and the ability to play multiple infield positions.
- Chris Getz, Royals - Getz, now on the disabled list with a leg strain, had been playing well before his injury and could draw trade interest this summer.
- Kelly Johnson, Blue Jays - As long as the Blue Jays don't fall too far out of contention, Johnson figures to stay in Toronto.
- Jose Altuve, Astros - Despite some speculation that Altuve’s available, it seems far more likely that they’ll hold on. Just because Houston’s headed for another 100-loss season doesn’t mean Jeff Luhnow will trade a controllable middle infielder who’s playing at an All-Star level.
The Marlins traded for Carlos Lee this afternoon and more first basemen could be dealt within the next four weeks. The Dodgers, who attempted to acquire Lee from Houston, are one team that figures to explore the first base market. Here are some of the options they could consider:
- Ty Wigginton, Phillies - Though Wigginton isn't exactly your prototypical slugging first baseman, he can play the position and hit lefties. Wigginton's availability presumably depends on the health of teammates such as Ryan Howard as much as anything. He earns $4MM this year ($2MM from both the Rockies and Phillies) and his contract includes a club option for the same $4MM salary in 2013.
- Bryan LaHair, Cubs - LaHair has trouble hitting left-handers and he's mired in a six-week slump. Yet he has power and will remain under team control for years to come. Anthony Rizzo's promotion bumped LaHair to the outfield, but he has spent most of his short MLB career at first base.
- Justin Morneau, Twins - Morneau's production has been passable, but unimpressive: ten homers and a .238/.307/.434 batting line. Add his contract -- $14MM per season through 2013 -- and concussion issues to the mix, and you have a trade candidate who will scare away some potential suitors.
- Adam Lind, Blue Jays - Though Lind has hit well since returning from the minor leagues, his place in the Blue Jays organization seems far from secure. The team exposed him to waivers earlier this season then removed him from the 40-man roster, strong indications that he'd be available in the right deal. Edwin Encarnacion could be available if the Blue Jays fall far out of contention in July.
- Corey Hart, Brewers - At the moment it doesn’t appear that the Brewers will listen on Hart. Perhaps the left-handed hitting Travis Ishikawa will draw trade interest.
- Mark Kotsay, Padres - Kotsay hasn't played much first base since 2010, but he has a .790 OPS and a salary of just $1.25MM.
- Jason Giambi, Rockies - Giambi's more of a pinch hitter and designated hitter than he is a first baseman at this point. He's earning just $1MM this year so, like Kotsay, he's an affordable option.
The Cardinals could be positioned to make a buyer-buyer deal once Lance Berkman returns from the disabled list. Alternatively, the Cardinals could keep Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams and Allen Craig to preserve their offensive depth for 2012 and beyond.
MLBTR started previewing the trade market yesterday with a look at potentially available catchers.
MLBTR will be previewing the trade market at various positions between now and the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. We’ll start the series off today with a look at some potentially available catchers:
- Kurt Suzuki, Athletics - Suzuki’s his trade value may have reached an all-time low. Measured by wOBA, he ranks 58th out of the 64 MLB catchers with at least 50 plate appearances. Plus, his contract calls for a $6.45MM salary in 2013 and an $8.5MM club option in 2014 -- enough to deter some potentially interested teams. Suzuki could clear waivers, making him an August trade candidate.
- Ramon Hernandez, Rockies - Hernandez, who's now on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hand, could interest teams looking to add a veteran backstop if his rehab goes well. He'll earn $3.2MM in 2013 under his current contract.
- Geovany Soto, Cubs - Soto hasn't done much at the plate so far in 2012. He earns $4.3MM this year and though he’s under team control through 2013, he must be considered a non-tender candidate. Keep in mind that this contract could also slip through waivers in August.
- Kelly Shoppach, Red Sox - The Red Sox could move Shoppach and create roster space for Ryan Lavarnway. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's emergence might make it easier for Ben Cherington to part with Shoppach, a right-handed hitter who’s best used in a platoon. Only two catchers have a better wOBA than Shoppach's .378: Carlos Ruiz and Jonathan Lucroy.
- Humberto Quintero, Royals - The Royals designated Quintero for assignment last week, so he's definitely available. The 32-year-old posted a .232/.257/.341 batting line in 144 plate appearances before losing his roster spot.