Players Likely To Be Traded: MLB on the Block

As we round the first curve of this MLB season, there are a lot of surprises.  The expert picks have all looked really bad as new teams sit atop every division (with the exception of the AL West, which was supposed to be a crap shoot).  The best divisions in baseball, so far, have been the AL and NL East where every team remains above .500.  The season is still young and no one is out of contention yet but it's never too early to start looking at possible trade candidates.  I don't think we'll see any blockbuster deals until later in the summer but I'm going to throw out some guys that could be switching teams before this season ends.  I'll be highlighting some teams that have needs, the willingness to move and their possible targets.


Infielders/DH/Utility Men

Alexi Casilla
Edwin Encarnacion
Kelly Johnson
Carlos Lee
David Wright
Mark Trumbo
Kevin Youkilis
Justin Morneau

Ichiro Suzuki
Torii Hunter
Carlos Quentin
Yoenis Cespedes

Starting Pitchers
Brandon McCarthy
Erik Bedard
Zack Greinke
Francisco Liriano
Edinson Volquez
Matt Garza
Randy Wolf

Relief Pitchers
Brett Myers
Grant Balfour
Brian Fuentes
Kevin Gregg
Luke Gregerson
Matt Capps


Possible Sellers - Blue Jays
Standing Pat - Rays, Yankees
Buyers with Needs - Orioles, Red Sox

Baltimore Orioles

Needs Analysis: The Orioles' record is sort of misleading but they're leading the AL East and they have a lot of depth on the farm so they could make plenty of noise.  Their starting pitching has been middling (only one two starters with an ERA below 4.75), their lineup is dysfunctional (their 420 strikeouts leads all of major league baseball and they have the third fewest stolen bases in MLB) and their defense is poor (47 errors is second worst in baseball).  So how have they won so many games?  Their pitching overall has been bolstered by a very good bullpen and they've been able to live off of the long ball (75 home runs total, one behind Texas who leads all of baseball).  Adam Jones is having an MVP-type season while flying under the radar.

I think they will be looking for infield help, potentially focusing on defense (Robert Andino and Wilson Betemit have 15 errors between them and neither are lighting the world on fire at the dish).  They could also be in the mix for a front-line starting pitcher.

Possible Targets: Alexi Casilla, Erik Bedard, Brandon McCarthy and Zack Greinke

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have no problems scoring runs (second best runs per game in all of baseball), they just don't have anyone capable of keeping runs off the board at the back end of their rotation or in their bullpen.

If Clay Bucholz doesn't turn his season around, the Red Sox will be forced to replace him in the rotation.  They're going to be right there when the season ends regardless of whether they add pieces but they have a log jam at the corner infield positions (Gold Glove first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, has been forced into the outfield to open a spot for Will Middlebrooks, who has put pressure on Kevin Youkilis at third base) so they could choose to trade Youkilis for prospects that could be used to help them obtain a starting pitcher or some bullpen help.

Possible Targets: Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, Erik Bedard, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Myers, Randy Wolf, Matt Garza

New York Yankees

The Yankees could use a bat and at they're going to be in the mix for a starting pitcher if Phil Hughes can't right the ship.  Any of the starting pitchers named above could be targets.


Possible Sellers: Twins, Royals
Standing Pat: Tigers, Indians
Buyers with Needs: White Sox

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have been on a tear, as of late.  That might be a bit of a surprise but the South Side Sox have a very robust payroll and the talent to make a run at the postseason.  They have decent starting pitching (which could be better if John Danks pulls it together) and they have been getting solid production out of the top half of their lineup.  I think they'll stand pat but they could look to add a bat (especially if Brett Morel doesn't turn things around).

Possible Targets: Edwin Encarnacion, Kevin Youkilis


Possible Sellers: Mariners, A's
Standing Pat: Rangers
Buyers with Needs: Angels

LA Angels 

The Angels have a roster crowded with players that could help other teams.  Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are guys that could end up in trade discussions.  The Angels are in a position to fetch a king's ransom for Trumbo; not sure how well that would be received but they'd have to consider it if the price was right.  When Jered Weaver was sent to the DL, their needs list got a bit longer but I still think they will be inclined to go with what they've got and add bullpen depth or a complimentary bat on the left side of their infield.

Possible Targets: Edwin Encarnacion, Kevin Youkilis, Grant Balfour, Luke Gregerson, Kevin Gregg


Possible Sellers: Phillies, Mets,
Possible Buyers: Nationals, Marlins
Standing Pat: Braves

Washington Nationals

The Nationals are winning games with their pitching.  They boast the best rotation in baseball; their 2.98 staff ERA ranks first and they've given up fewer runs per game than any team in baseball.  Despite that, they're walking on thin ice.  Somehow, they've managed to overcome a slew of injuries en route to a 29-20 start but it seems like the need a witch doctor to keep them healthy.  They've lost Wilson Ramos for the season, Jayson Werth is out for the foreseeable future, Mike Morse hasn't played yet this season and their closer and potential set-up man are both on the shelf.  They're also up against a strict self-imposed innings limit on their franchise pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.  They'll be looking for depth and for veteran guys to help them down the stretch.

Possible targets: Randy Wolf, Torii Hunter and Brett Myers.

Miami Marlins 

Not sure if the Marlins need to do anything but they'll probably look to add some depth in their lineup and some bullpen help.  This is a team that is playing very well right now; they have a real shot to make it into the postseason.

Possible targets: Grant Balfour, Luke Gregerson, Yoenis Cespedes (oh, the irony), Ichiro Suzuki


Possible Sellers: Astros, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates
Possible Buyers: Reds
Standing Pat: Cardinals

Cincinnati Reds

Perhaps the biggest surprise in baseball thus far, is the fact that the Reds have been winning games with their pitching.  Don't believe me... their 3.40 team ERA ranks fifth best in all of baseball.  Park adjusted, their ERA is top three!  I think that most people thought that the Reds would be a team that would live and die with their bats; Mat Latos was a nice addition but it is the emergence of Homer Bailey and the consistency of Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo that is buoying this team.  The NL Central is up for grabs and I think the Reds will be in the market for a third baseman and/or some bench help.

Possible targets: Kevin Youkilis, Kelly Johnson, Edwin Encarnacion

NL West

Possible Sellers: Padres, Rockies
Possible Buyers: Dodgers, Giants
Standing Pat: Diamondbacks

LA Dodgers

With Matt Kemp likely on the shelf for a while, the Dodgers could end up standing pat but given the hot start and the new ownership group, I think it's likely they'll be on the market for a big bat to replace some of Kemp's production.  One place where I think they could look to improve is at first base where James Loney, who is in the final year of his contract, is not really giving them much offensively.  Dee Gordon has also been a trainwreck this season; he leads the league in errors committed and is slugging a putrid .277 thus far.  If Gordon gets sent back down to work things out, the Dodgers could look to add someone with a little versatility on the left side of their infield.

Possible targets: Carlos Lee, Mark Trumbo (a long shot), Alexi Casilla

SF Giants

With Pablo Sandoval on the shelf, the Giants are getting zero offensive production out of their infielders.  In addition, they lead all of major league baseball in errors committed.  If Tim Lincecum isn't going to pitch the way he's capable of pitching, the Giants are probably not going to go hard at anyone but they could look to add some offensive help in their infield if the price is right.

Possible targets: Justin Morneau, Kelly Johnson


  1. I'm not 100% convinced the Mets will be sellers at the break. Their only real chip is Wright, and NY rumor mills have it that the Mets might actually try to re-sign him. They have a real nice young nucleus right now with some really good pitching prospects in the farm system. They probably need another basher or two (which they can get once Bay is gone). If they can develop Ike and Duda to go along with Wright and Murphy, maybe they compete the next few years.

  2. I think you are probably right with the Mets- they're as likely to be standing pat as they are to be selling because they don't have a whole lot to sell BUT if the negotiations don't work out between the Mets and David Wright, they will have to trade him. He could fetch a huge return especially given the number of teams in need of help at third base. The reality is they're one or two years away if their young talent holds up. You can't expect them to be buyers yet.

  3. I don't see Ichiro on the market. That would be a PR disaster in Seattle. I know they've let A-Rod, Griffey and Randy all leave, but Ichiro? I don't think it will happen.

  4. There are plenty of articles out there suggesting that the Mariners need to trade Ichiro and I agree with the premise whole heartedly. I doubt it will happen but I think the Mariners will listen to offers. It would sting and most people close to the situation assume that Ichiro doesn't want to play anywhere else... But... besides Ichiro's preference and the sting of losing a 12 year franchise player, all signs point westward. He's a free agent after this season, he's 38 years old (never played in a World Series; only one postseason berth in 12 seasons), his skill set is declining and the Mariners are not really in contention. I think that he could have some value on the open market and as September approaches, the thought of ending his career without having the opportunity to play in a World Series has to begin creeping into Ichiro's mind. But beyond that, the Mariners almost have to listen to offers and here's why- the Mariners will not offer Ichiro arbitration (Ichiro would accept arbitration and they won't want to pay the arbitration price - given his decline, he's not worth what he has done over the past few years) so at that point Ichiro becomes a free agent... no compensatory picks... and all bets are off. Once agents and money get involved, funny things happen and as I mentioned, Ichiro has not played in a World Series. If they don't trade Ichiro, the scenarios are a.)Ichiro in RF again next year (the fans aren't exactly thrilled with that proposition right now as Ichiro is posting a .655 OPS in right field) or no Ichiro and get nothing return. I think they have to give him an extension now or brace themselves for the possibility that they may need to trade him before the end of this season.


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