Trade Targets With Control

Rentals such as Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Ricky Nolasco, Edinson Volquez, and Frank Francisco figure to have their names kicked around the trade market this summer, assuming decent performance from the players and a lack of playoff potential from their employers.  More appealing, however, are players who are under team control beyond this year.  Names to watch:

  • David Price, Rays.  Price owns a 6.25 ERA on the season, but his struggles with the longball and hits allowed shouldn't last.  However, his average fastball velocity is at a career-worst 93.3 miles per hour.  The Rays remain a legitimate contender, but if they fall back over the next few months and Price's numbers stabilize, there will be a feeding frenzy.  He's under team control through 2015, though only a few select teams could assemble the necessary package of premium young talent.
  • Chase Headley, Padres.  The Padres have talked about making a franchise-record offer to retain Headley, which doesn't mean much since their biggest contract was worth $52MM.  If Headley sticks to his word of not negotiating during the season, the Padres must choose between trading him this summer at peak value, or being forced to deal him during the offseason if talks break down.  The Padres could also look to move controllable players such as Carlos Quentin, Huston Street, Luke Gregerson, and Nick Hundley.
  • Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins.  The young slugger is under control through 2016.  He's currently on the DL with a hamstring strain, and the Marlins probably won't want to sell low on the biggest trade chip this summer.  The Marlins may weigh trading Kevin Slowey (under control through next year) or Steve Cishek (through 2017).
  • Josh Willingham, Twins.  The Twins are only a game under .500, but if they fall out contention, Willingham could command a premium since he is signed affordably through 2014.  The Twins also have appealing, under-contract relievers in Glen Perkins and Jared Burton.
  • Andre Ethier, Dodgers.  The Dodgers could look to unload Ethier's contract, which pays $52MM over 2014-17.
  • Jake Peavy, White Sox.  Assuming Peavy's back spasms turn out to be a minor issue, the Sox could market him as something close to an ace.  He's signed through next year but can trigger a player option for 2015 by meeting certain criteria.  Alex Rios and Matt Thornton could be popular as well.
  • Tommy Hanson, Angels.  If the Angels aren't contending and feel they might non-tender Hanson after the season, a trade makes sense.  Same goes for the Brewers' John Axford and the Padres' Clayton Richard.
  • Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Justin Maxwell, Chris Carter, Astros.  No one seems off-limits on the Astros, though Jose Altuve would be extremely difficult to pry loose.  Norris is under team control through 2015, Harrell through '17.
  • Cliff Lee, Phillies.  Lee is under contract through 2015, with a pricey club/vesting option for '16.  He can block trades to 21 teams each season.  If the Phillies decide to blow up the roster, getting a deal similar to Boston's purge of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett could work.  Lee could serve as the Gonzalez piece, with Ryan Howard tacked on to fill the Crawford role.
  • Ike Davis and Jon Niese, Mets.  I generally considered these two as building blocks for the Mets before this season, but if they're playing acceptably this summer I wonder if the team might be willing to discuss them.  Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell would hold appeal to other teams as well.
  • Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus, Cubs.  Owing Soriano $18MM for 2014 is generally not viewed as a plus, but he is technically controllable.  With a $6.5MM club option for '14, DeJesus is more appealing.  The Cubs could shop Carlos Villanueva, Scott Hairston, and Nate Schierholtz as well.  It's also worth noting that team ace Jeff Samardzija is under control only through 2015, so if the team can't lock him up and things look bleak for '14, they should entertain offers.
  • The Blue Jays are 11-21 on the season and appear likely to become deadline sellers.  While controllable players such as Brandon Morrow and Colby Rasmus would draw interest, it seems more likely to me that the Jays will re-tool and make another push for 2014.  If so, dealing controllable players might not make sense.  I feel similarly about the Brewers.
  • The most commonly traded controllable players are, of course, prospects.  We may see names like Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt (Rangers), Nick Castellanos (Tigers), Gregory Polanco (Pirates), Matt Davidson (Diamondbacks), and any number of Cardinals arms bandied about in the coming months.

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