Trade Deadline: MLB Rumors
The Major League Baseball trade deadline is coming close (July 31) and as the hot stove heats up, everyone is wondering what players will be moved. The trade deadline is very important as it can make some average team into a title contender as the lesser teams trade away good players. This deadline it looks to be the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees as the biggest buyers. Alot can change between now and July 31st but alot of rumors around the MLB have some of the same players involved. This article will go over what those players are and where they may go in order of top hitters and pitchers.
Top Hitters Available
Carlos Beltran, OF, New York Mets 2011 Stats: .293 AVG, .389 OBP, 15 HR, 61 RBI
Yet again Carlos Beltran is back on the trade block, last time he was on the block he went to the Astros in 2004 and helped them compete. While Beltran hasn't returned to that form, he still has been an extremely productive bat in the middle of a below average lineup for lowly Mets. The only drawback with making a deal for him is that he is a rental for whatever contender he goes to, he also is an injury risk, he has not played more than one hundred games in the past two seasons. Beltran has been on the block for quite a few weeks now and the Mets have reportedly been asking for a high level prospect or two from an prospective team that would want him. Three teams are likely to get into a bidding war for him including, San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia. Philadelphia will likely back out seeing as how it'll cost top prospects and they've already give up alot recently to get Halladay and Lee in previous years. Boston may back out of the race because it would cost them their top outfield prospects, Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish.
Where to: Giants
Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros 2011 Stats: .316 AVG, .361 OBP, 11 HR, 61 RBI
The 28 year old Pence could be traded if the Astros get offered a hefty amount of prospects in return. Pence made his first all-star team this season and is having a great season but due to the asking price it is unlikely that he will be traded. The only team that could possibly put together a trade to accomdate Houston's asking price would be Pittsburgh. If Pittsburgh decides to finally part with the great farm system they have in favor of winning now, they could add Pence and create one of the best outfields in the MLB. Tabata, McCutchen and Pence would also be an outfield trio for many years to come.
UPDATE (7/22): Buster Olney had recently just reported at 1 PM of July 21st, that the Astros would be willing to part with Pence to Philadelphia for SP Vance Worley straight up. It is unknown at this time how interested Philly is in that offer. Now the offer that is on the table has the Phillies sending their top prospect Jonathan Singleton, Vance Worley and a lower prospect for Pence.
Where to: Stays in Houston
Josh Willingham, OF, Oakland A's 2011 Stats: .244 AVG, .321 OBP, 12 HR, 46 RBI
Willingham is currently having one of his worst seasons on his new team but a change of scenery to a contender would certainly benefit him greatly. Willingham would fit greatly into a team needing a right handed outfielder like the Giants, Pirates, Braves and Phillies. He may be a much more logical choice for those teams seeing as how much cheaper he would be then the previous two hitters mentioned before him.
Where to: Pirates
Jeff Francoeur, OF, Royals 2011 Stats: .264 AVG, .310 OBP, 13 HR, 59 RBI
Francoeur is already having a much better season than his previous and even has a career high in stolen bases with sixteen. The biggest draw to Francoeur during this trade deadline is how affordable he can be to a contender, seeing as how he won't command a top flight prospect like other players. Even more intriguing about him is that he is just entering the prime of his career. He would also fill the need that many of the contenders have, right handed power. Boston and Philadelphia have been the two teams most frequently linked to him as they both need a little extra pop in their lineup.
Where to: Phillies
Michael Bourn, OF, Houston Astros 2011 Stats: .294 AVG, .353 OBP, 35 SB, 31 RBI
Bourn is an excellent defensive outfielder and has already won a gold glove in his young career. He has now played in five seasons, one with Philadelphia and the rest with Houston, and has been an excellent leadoff man for a subpar team. His speed on the base paths also could likely make him a coveted player in the trade market this season for a team like the Braves. The only downside of his game is that he cannot hit for power, his career high in home runs is five, and his high strikeout to walk ratio.
Where to: Braves
Melky Cabrera, OF, Kansas City Royals 2011 Stats: .294 AVG, .331, 12 HR, 54 RBI
Melky's flexibility to play all outfield positions can make him an attractive option for contenders, especially a team like the Red Sox. The Sox need someone to fill in at right field as they have gotten the least amount of production from that position in the entire MLB. They could maybe plug one of their prospects in, but it seems they don't want to rush them in yet especially with the championship expectations the team has. Cabrera makes more sense considering he has experience in winning a championship back in 2009 with the Yankees. It helps even more that he is managing to have one of the best seasons of his young career.
Where to: Red Sox
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies 2011 Stats: 48 GP, .247 BA, .339 OBP, 5 HR, 16 RBI
Coming into the season Brown was the highest rated hitting prospect but his rookie campaign has been hit by his preseason wrist injury. His numbers don't jump out at you but he is starting to put the bat on the ball and you cannot doubt his athletic ability. Philly refused to part with him for guys like Halladay or Cliff Lee in previous seasons, and rumors have it that if the Phillies were to acquire Beltran, it would cost them Brown. I don't see that happening, if so I'd say it's the most shocking trade of the year.
Where to: Stays in Philadelphia
B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays 2011 Stats: .229 AVG, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 23 SB
This is one of those guys that desperately needs a change of scenery. Ever since the year the Rays made the World Series, his batting average continued to plummet while his home runs and steals stayed about the same. He also has been striking out at a much higher rate year after year. All this being said, he is still a great talent. He can steal bases, he can hit home runs, and he has a great glove. Even better, Upton is only 26 years old. It may be surprising to hear his name on the trade block due to all this but apparently there have been reports of his attitude becoming a problem within the clubhouse. His days are ultimately up in Tampa Bay as recently he had been pulled from the lineup and the Rays organization called up mega prospect Desmond Jennings. Jennings played great in his debut and looks to take the center fielder job from Upton. That leaves one question, where could Upton go? There was talk of a Upton for pitching prospect Brody Colvin from the Phillies, but they seem more interested in a bigger bat and unwilling to part with their top pitching prospect. The Braves seem to be the most logical place for Upton. They have need an upgrade to their outfield for a while now due to the struggling Jason Heyward and McLouth having an up and down season. Martin Prado has stabilized the left field position, but adding Upton would provide the Braves with a great talent and a center fielder to pair with Heyward for the future.
Where to: Braves
Top Pitchers Available
Heath Bell, CP, San Diego Padres 2011 Stats: 2-3 Record, 27 SV, 2.52 ERA
If it wasn't for Mariano Rivera, Bell may be regarded as the best closer in the MLB right now. The Padres have really fallen off since the success they had last season and are mostly likely to trade their top pitching assets, Bell being the best. Teams are however hesitant to trade for him due to the fact that he will be a free agent next season and most of the teams that would trade for him wouldn't be able to retain him. Due to this, Philadelphia had dropped out of the race for him leaving St. Louis the only viable team to acquire his services.
Where to: Cardinals
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies 2011 Stats: 6-8 Record, 108 K, 45 BB, 4.00 ERA
Jimenez was one of the best pitchers in the league last season but tailed off towards the end of the season just like his team, which has carried over into this season. Jimenez has slowly started to turn it around but could really benefit from a change of scenery to a winning team. A team like the Yankees could greatly benefit from his services seeing how they lost out on Cliff Lee during the off season when they so desperately needed a starting pitcher. Jimenez numbers this season may not be great but it is very hard not to notice his impressive K/BB ratio. If the Yankees were to make a trade for Jimenez it would take alot of prospects, but it maybe worth it for the 27 year old starting pitcher.
UPDATE: It now seems unlikely that the Yankees will pursue Jimenez as it would cost them to much. The Rockies asking price is to high for most teams and it seems very likely that they will hold on to their most prized pitcher.
Where to: Stays in Colorado
Andrew Bailey, RP, Oakland A's 2011 Stats: 18 IP, 18 K, 10 SV
Bailey was once a rookie of the year and has been solid every since in his young career. Oakland may look to trade him this off-season, but they would also ask for a pretty penny that most teams wouldn't be willing to offer up for just a reliever. Texas, however, may be in the market just for a reliever and be willing enough to make an offer.
Where to: Rangers
Anibal Sanchez, SP, Florida Marlins 2011 Stats: 6-3 Record, 130 K, 39 BB, 3.52 ERA
It is a very good question if you were to ask why the Marlins would trade Sanchez after looking at his numbers. Even when you notice that he has a career 3.52 ERA. It is still doubtful however that the Marlins would part with Sanchez but there have been rumblings of them possibly trading him to Texas for prospects. It only hinges on Texas willingness to part with those prospects.
Where to: Stays in Florida
Mike Adams, RP, San Diego Padres 2011 Stats: 44 IP, 43 K, 9 BB, 20 HLD, 1.23 ERA
Adams and Bell have been staples in the back of the bullpen for the Padres the past few years as they have locked games down for them. However, as the Padres continue to plummet in the standings it is seemingly more and more likely that they would part with both of their bullpen pieces. Adams, on the other hand, would cost significantly less then that of Bell. The Phillies have been the team most frequently linked to him and seem more then likely poised to acquire him.
Where to: Phillies
Derek Lowe, SP, Atlanta Braves 2011 Stats: 6-7 Record, 83 K, 43 BB, 4.37 ERA
Lowe has been a fairly successful pitcher on his career and been on quite a few teams that have contended. Thus its surprising that the Braves, who have one of the best records in baseball, would trade a pitcher with the kind of resume that Lowe has. Their reasons could be financial and that they do have quite a few good young arms that have pitched well, but who knows. The team was frequently matched with his name however is the Tigers, and it makes sense seeing how they need a starter. Adding Lowe would certainly help them finish out the season and maybe win the division over the Indians.
Where to: Tigers
Vance Worley, SP, Philadelphia Phillies 2011 Stats: 6-1 Record, 48 K, 26 BB, 2.02 ERA
Worley has everything going for him and alot going for him right now on the field and in the trade market. Worley is playing out of his mind right now and fans may figure that General Manager Ruben Amaro may sell high on him while he can. If he does, it could net his championship caliber team the an All-Star outfielder.
Where to: Stays in Philadelphia
James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays 2011 Stats: 9-8 Record, 151 K, 40 BB, 2.53 ERA
Shields has had a fantastic season making up for his last two sub par seasons. Shields was the team's ace when they made their World Series run and hasn't returned to form until this season. Again, it may seem confusing as to why he would be on the block considering he is still a young pitcher (29 years old). Quick answer is that the Rays realize that they can't make the playoffs and make just look to trade him for the best prospects that he can bring in. Since the Yankees have cooled off on their attempts to bring in Ubaldo Jimenez, they have turned their attention to James Shields. Unfortunately for the Yankees, the Rays are asking for more from the Yankees and Red Sox in return due to them being divisional rivals. It'll be intersting to see where he could go as he could ultimately go to whatever team offers the best prospects whether it be the Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers or Pirates.
Where to: Yankees