There’s no shortage of teams with potential interest in the corner outfield market, with the Angels, Mets, Royals, and Orioles all having notable potential needs. Other clubs, too, could see an opportunity to upgrade or add a new bench piece. Note that we’ve already covered some corner outfield possibilities in the center field trade market piece. Contenders certainly may consider moving for players like Gerardo Parra, Will Venable, Ben Revere, or even Carlos Gomez with intentions of using them in a corner role.
Here are some names that could come up in the coming week:
Jay Bruce & Marlon Byrd (Reds), Justin Upton (Padres), Yoenis Cespedes (Tigers), Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies), Josh Reddick (Athletics), Brandon Moss (Indians), Mark Trumbo (Mariners), Andre Ethier & Carl Crawford (Dodgers), Melky Cabrera (White Sox)
- Bruce and Byrd are both appealing trade pieces, in different ways, for a struggling Cincinnati club that is said to be looking to shed salary. The former is controllable and affordable, with two years and $25.5MM left on his deal after this year (the latter season via club option). And after a rough 2014, he’s back on track for a typical .800+ OPS, thirty-homer, ten-steal, solid defensive campaign. The ageless Byrd, meanwhile, is still delivering impressive power, with a .465 slugging percentage and 16 long balls. He makes plenty of sense as a rental for a team in need of that skillset.
- San Diego is probably out of it, and has a lot of young talent to recoup after its offseason acquisition spree. Upton is slashing a relatively light (for him) .252/.331/.426, though Petco is doing him no favors and he has contributed 15 long balls and 17 stolen bases. He’s probably the best clearly available rental piece.
- It remains to be seen whether Cespedes will be marketed, as the Tigers make their final assessments, but he’d be in high demand. (One recently-reported twist: if Detroit wants to bring him back, it basically must either extend him or trade and re-sign him.) Cespedes is delivering his best overall season thus far, with well-above-average offensive production and quality defensive ratings.
- CarGo’s value is down with ongoing injury concerns and a rough early start, but he’s coming on with big numbers in June (.865 OPS) and July (1.016). His contract is no longer the asset it used to be, but the two years and $37MM remaining after this year are a reasonable price and risk for a player with his track record. Gonzalez does face the same questions as most hitters who succeed at Coors Field, but the bigger concern may be his abysmal numbers against left-handed pitching this year (.162/.222/.176 in 82 plate appearances). And the bigger question, as always, is whether the Rockies are really willing to move one of their more marketable players.
- Reddick may not be available, but the Athletics will surely at least listen with one year of control remaining. He’s put up a strong .283/.337/.456 slash line (considering he plays half his games at the O.Co Coliseum) and has always been a highly-regarded defender, though his metrics are off this year. Given that Reddick will only be building off of a $4.1MM arb salary next year, it’s going to take a legitimate haul to pry him loose.
- Last we heard, Moss won’t be made available by the Indians. He isn’t putting up the big numbers he had in recent campaigns, but seems to have been a bit unlucky on the hard contact he’s made. Like Reddick, he’s affordable ($6.5MM this year) and controllable for another season, making him an asset to a Cleveland team that hopes to contend next season.
- Trumbo falls roughly in the same camp as Reddick and Moss, but he’s not as good an overall player. And the 29-year-old has not hit much (.213/.250/.287) since coming over to Seattle. The Mariners are said to be reluctant to sell, despite having fallen well off the pace in the AL West, so Trumbo seems a good bet to stay.
- The Dodgers aren’t sellers, of course, but Ethier and Crawford are just two of many options for the position-player-rich club. With big dollars remaining on both of their deals, the pair of 33-year-olds will have a limited market. They’ll also have quite different markets, as Ethier has produced at his in-prime level at the plate while Crawford has struggled with injury and performance. That makes the former a much more valuable asset, with the latter factoring more as a salary swap candidate.
- Speaking of offloading salary, Cabrera’s $29MM in post-2015 obligations are not looking too good at present. The up-and-down performer is in the latter camp at present, though he has picked things up of late. It’s not clear that there’s much of a market or much impetus to deal him, but it can’t be ruled out if the White Sox look to free some future salary space.
Platoon Candidates & Backups
Alejandro De Aza, Shane Victorino & Daniel Nava (Red Sox), Jonny Gomes (Braves), David Murphy & Ryan Raburn (Indians), Alex Guerrero & Scott Van Slyke (Dodgers), Dustin Ackley (Mariners), Domonic Brown & Jeff Francoeur (Phillies)
- Boston is probably better served by getting an extended look at other options in the outfield — Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo chief among them — and would find at least some interest in its trio of veterans. De Aza has impressed since coming over earlier in the year, and would be a nice fourth outfield piece elsewhere. Victorino, on the other hand, has struggled with injuries and owns a meager .247/.330/.303 slash, so moving him would likely be a matter of saving a bit of cash at the tail end of his deal. And Nava, who himself only just been activated after a long DL stint, has been even worse (.159/.250/.190). Unlike the others, he has control after this year, though he profiles as a non-tender candidate.
- There are several classic veteran platoon pieces among the next several names on the list that could draw varying levels of interest. Murphy is a veteran righty-masher who’s been successful this year. Gomes and Raburn have good numbers against left-handed pitching and are exactly the type of veteran part-time pieces that contenders often look to add. Francoeur has traditionally done the same, though he’s posted reverse platoon splits this season and was wholly unproductive from 2012-14.
- The other players noted come with additional control, but don’t really look like pieces that a team would expect to plug into a starting role. Guerrero and Van Slyke are both enjoying solid years and are part of a busy mix in Los Angeles, though the former can become a free agent after the year if traded and the latter may be too cheap and flexible a piece for the Dodgers to move him.
- As for Ackley and Brown, there are a fair number of similarities. The 27-year-olds once looked like future stars but have fallen shy of expectations. They are each earning $2.6MM this year with two more arb seasons to go. It’s hard to imagine a contender having a ton of interest, and the non-tender specter looms, but either could in theory be change-of-scenery candidates.
Currently in the Minors
Oswaldo Arcia (Twins), Justin Ruggiano, James Jones, & Stefen Romero (Mariners), Robbie Grossman & Alex Presley (Astros), Alfredo Marte & Roger Kieschnick (Angels), Dayan Viciedo & Ryan Roberts (Athletics), Michael Choice (Rangers), Roger Bernadina (Rockies), Chris Heisey (Dodgers)
There are some reasonably interesting names on this list, including some players who could still have some upside remaining in Arcia, Jones, Grossman, and Choice. It remains to be seen how much patience their organizations have, but any could conceivably factor into various trade scenarios. And for contenders seeking depth or final bench piece options, there are some guys with a good bit of big league experience who are playing well at Triple-A, with Ruggiano representing perhaps the most interesting name in that regard.
You can check out the rest of this ongoing series by using the “2015 Trade Market” tag, or by clicking on these links: Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Shortstops, Third Basemen, Center Fielders.