The Runner Sports

Top 15 Most Trade-able Players

The season is trotting along, and we’re just a little over a month away from the trade deadline on July 31. It’s a time for contenders to think about bringing in that one piece to aid them in a September run. It’s also, however, a time for teams with a little extra baggage to start “spring cleaning” a little early. Dumping expiring contracts so that they may get something in exchange, or move that big contract out of town.

The internet is a horrible place of rumors, and I am not saying that any of these guys are in trade talks, but I am saying they represent a potential trade. While there are literally a couple hundred prospects, and major leaguers that could be traded, these were my top 15. To make this list the trade must benefit the team sending the player off, but also represent a good value to a team that would pick them up.

1.

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Clayton Kershaw  Los Angeles Dodgers  SP  $9,500,000  2013 (Arbitration)

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kershawSo let me first start off by saying the Dodgers and Kershaw are still in the middle of negotiating a 7 year extension that would expect to earn him upwards of $180 million plus. Which, at the beginning of the season, I was all for personally. The Dodgers were the expected NL West favorites, or to at least be serious contenders in the division. If you’re winning games, I have no problem with a team spending big bucks on a pitcher that affects a team once every five games or so. However, the Dodgers are nowhere near hitting that contending mark, with a record of 30-42 and trailing the division leading Diamondbacks by 9.5 games. There is no way you can justify spending that amount of money on one man, when clearly there is still so much wrong with this team. It’s not fair to the fans, nor anybody else in that locker room. No doubt Kershaw is semi-deserving of the money, but if he had any team loyalty, he would be willing to make it a smaller extension with less bucks so the team can stabilize themselves. Although with him potentially being in his prime, you can’t blame him for wanting to cash in while teams would offer him that much. So what does that leave the Dodgers with? He would be a seriously great piece in a trade to bring in one of the many voids the Dodgers organization needs help filling. You hate to lose a guy that could potentially be the face of the organization, but at the same time you cannot pay him that much and just let the team struggle. With a number of big market teams looking for that great ace, you would no doubt be able to send him where they can afford his cost, while giving the Dodgers a respectable compensation of talent.

2. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Jacoby Ellsbury  Boston Red Sox  CF/OF  $9,000,000  2013

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Already praised as one of the hotter free agents to be available after this year, Jacoby Ellsbury is creating quite the divide in Red Sox Nation. Half of the fans believe Jacoby, with his amazing defensive skills and consistent offensive abilities, is a vital role player to this team. There are also those who see him as injury prone, and somebody who doesn’t quite live up to the fans expectations of him. Which he can only blame himself for after setting a ridiculously high bar in 2011 with numbers like 105 RBI, 32 HR, 39 SB, along with a .321 batting average. Since then, his slump in numbers and games played have caused a lot of fans to write him off as somebody that Boston would be alright without. There is no doubt Jacoby is an awesome player, and the Red Sox would most definitely benefit from his staying on the team, but the concern for his upcoming expiring contract is how much he and notorious agent Scott Boras are going to be asking for. There is no doubt the number is going to be big, and the Red Sox have to be careful with what they decide to do. They’re in the middle of a bounce back year, but a couple poor roster moves could have this team repeating their 2012 season in a hurry. The last thing they want to do is be stuck in a long expensive contract that isn’t providing results. So what do you do to make this easier on management and fans? You trade him away, so that way, when his asking price is insane at the end of the year, the Red Sox don’t feel like they are left with nothing, and at least they got something out of him leaving town. He’s putting up good numbers like .283 avg, .351 OBP, 25 RBI, and 31 SB. So realistically, his trade value is potentially peaked, and the Red Sox could capitalize on his success. Never fun to see a guy like Jacoby leave town, but when there is a solid chance he won’t be here next year anyways, it doesn’t hurt to get something in return for his departure.

3. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Justin Morneau  Minnesota Twins  1B  $13,333,333  2013

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This was a guy I said would be traded at the beginning of the season unless the Twins were freakishly in the hunt for October. As expected, though, they are not, which means a trade including Morneau is very likely in my eyes. His contract is up at the end of the year, and he’s going to draw a decent amount of signing competition. The fact of the matter is Morneau being in Minnesota at the start of next season would come as a big surprise to me. There is definitely a shopping market for a first baseman currently too, so why not make the trade? Morneau has had decent enough numbers this season with his .284 BA, .335 OBP, 42 RBI, 3 HR, 17 doubles, and not to mention he’s a pretty solid defender at first. I could see the Yankees in the running for him as their medical issues continue to build up and they are definitely in the market to improve both 1st and 3rd base. The Twins take a serious risk in not at least entertaining all trade options and letting his contract just expire this season, so I would be shocked to see them not send him away.

4. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Stephen Strasburg  Washington Nationals  SP  $3,775,000  2013

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Orioles_Nationals_Baseball_07547It’s kind of crazy to even think about trading away Strasburg, who has captivated fans in Washington for a couple of years now. Although we’re beginning to figure out he comes with quite a bit of headaches. His career has so far been tarnished with injury, and now that he’s back and healthy this season, he doesn’t even look that impressive. Strasburg picked up his first win in June last night, now improving to 4-6 with a 2.40 ERA, 86 SO, with a 3.44 K/BB. A lot can be chalked up to the struggling Nats team as a whole, and as his ERA shows, he’s pitching well enough, just not getting the run support he needs. Which points out the fact that the Nats needs to bring in some more veteran guys to add stability to an otherwise very young roster. You can easily use Strasburg as a means to bring in some of that help. Another guy you’d hate to lose as a franchise, but there are definitely teams who would still be willing to give up enough to make his departure less painful. You’d certainly wanna see Strasburg sent away over Bryce Harper or Ian Desmond at this point. Who knows though, maybe this team starts clicking like we all expected them to this year and make this trade not necessary. Until then, I would start to look at options involving Strasburg if I was running things in the nation’s capitol.

5. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Giancarlo Stanton  Miami Marlins  RF/OF  $537,000  2013 (Arbitration)

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giancarlo-stanton-ap2Stanton’s name has already been tossed around a lot this season as trade bait, which makes you think there is no doubt the Marlins are shopping him already. Makes sense though, they still need a lot of work on their roster, and he is really the only guy on their entire team that could be traded and result in a quality return of talent. There are talks of him heading to Pittsburgh, which would be quite special, and make the currently threatening Pirates that much more dangerous. As spectators, it would make it easier to watch Stanton if he wasn’t playing for Miami too. There are definitely teams shopping for him, and more than a few markets that would really embrace his arrival. It’s a smart move for Miami to continue to do anything they can to go in the opposite direction than they reside in currently, which is the laughing stock of the MLB. If that means giving up one player in return for multiple that can help the organization out, they’d be dumb not to make it happen.

6. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Alfonso Soriano  Chicago Cubs  LF/OF  $17,000,000  2014

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Soriano is finally looking like the guy the Cubs hoped he’d be back when they brought aboard in 2007. The Cubs as a team, however, are not in the running currently, sitting 16 games back in the NL Central. The only way I can see the Cubs coming out on top in the Soriano saga is by cashing out now. His worth might as well be maxed, and if you can sell him off while he looks good, you might be able to get a team in need of a big name and additional help in the outfield to take the bait. He’s batting a respectable .245 with a .276 OBP, 30 RBI, 7 HR, and 8 SB. Although that could literally change to a downhill decline within a matter of at bats. The Cubs have a potential to shake things up in a matter of years with a young core of talent, if they can add some more by sending Soriano off, how could you not be all for it? As far as I’m concerned, most Cubs fans I know are counting down the days on his contract anyways. So expedite that process while it’s an option.

7. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Tim Lincecum  San Francisco Giants  SP  $20,250,000  2013

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Lincecum has come a long way from the all star he was a matter of seasons ago. He’s about hit rock bottom after he seemingly imploded last season. He still hasn’t recovered and is currently 4-7 with a 4.52 ERA, 40 BB, and 89 SO in 15 games played. While the time to make a deal involving him might have already come and gone, I’m not ready to say it’s not possible he can’t be dealt. Surely there has to be a team that thinks a change of venue might kick start him back into the pitcher he was three seasons ago. It’s not an easy contract to absorb, especially for the high risk in his current level of play. I do feel however though that there is at least a couple of teams out there that would be willing to make it work if the right pieces were included. Otherwise the Giants are gonna have to experiment with putting him in the bullpen for the rest of the year, and not bringing him back after his contract expires. I would think it’s in their best interest to shop the former Cy Young winner and see if they can get even a decent return.

8. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Rickie Weeks  Milwaukee Brewers  2nd  $9,625,000  2015

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If the rumors about the potential suspension of player linked to the Biogenesis of America clinic that include Ryan Braun are true, the already struggling Brewers are in some trouble. Currently tied with the Cubs for last in the Central the Brewers have a lot of problems to fix already, and the potential of Ryan Braun missing serious time only makes all of them worse. They already should be looking at how they could improve their roster, and the recent news of Braun should only increase the urgency of that. They need to make some deals as of last week to start to rebuild this roster. I looked at this roster and thought of who was the most tradeable, yet was somebody the team could live without and I decided upon Rickie Weeks. Weeks brings both a solid defensive presence and contributing offense to the table. He’s batting .217 with a .314 OBP, 15 RBI, 6 HR, and 4 SB. To really get more out of any trade the Brewers would likely need to include a little more, but I could see Weeks being involved in any trade. The team needs something, even if Braun doesn’t look to face suspension, you have to think they’ll be making a deal.

9. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Kendrys Morales  Seattle Mariners  DH/1B  $5,250,000  2013

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Morales is likely a guy already looking to get out of Seattle after just a couple of months playing there. He isn’t overwhelmingly the best option as DH or 1B, but he does provide some depth for teams looking to explore. His price tag is reasonable, and low enough to make him an option for so many teams. Although he’s so far proved his worth to Seattle, and the Mariners may just to keep him around when it’s all said and done. He’s batting .275, with a .318 OBP, 38 RBI, 8 HR, and 18 doubles. In the 23 games he’s played at first this season he’s had a perfect fielding percentage. If the Mariners do decide to make any moves he’s a likely piece to include though.

10. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 AJ Burnett  Pittsburgh Pirates  SP  $16,500,000  2013

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Burnett is an enticing pitcher that could draw some attention if shopped. He has played well enough this year with a 4-6 record that includes a 3.12 ERA with 99 strikeouts. He has a hard time drawing run support, but his talent is present nonetheless. I talked about the Pirates being interested in Stanton, and maybe they could use Burnett to please the Marlins, although his price tag might be a little high. He’s a player the Pirates seemingly could survive without, which makes sense that they would try to make a move involving him. The Pirates are certainly looking to make acquisitions though, which means they need to send some players out, why not Burnett?

11. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Joba Chamberlain  New York Yankees  RP  $1,875,000  2013

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Even with Mariano retiring, Joba has seemingly over stayed his welcome in New York. He’s made some foolish comments and has essentially turned a fan base on him. Besides his performance doesn’t do anything to improve his chances of sticking around. Joba has a 6.06 ERA with 1 save and 20 strikeouts. While he wouldn’t be the easiest item to shop, there are teams in a need for a relief/closer. If Joba gets out of the Bronx maybe he can turn himself around and back to the quality closer many though he’d be a couple of years back. Since Mariano has hung around he hasn’t really been given another chance, and we get the frustration of waiting, but his attitude has been very poor during this period, which will mark a concern for any interested teams. He’s proven himself in the past though and maybe if given a chance he’d succeed. There is a slim chance teams make a trade for him when he’s likely to just end up in free agency after this season without any of the major market teams really pursuing. If the Yanks do however come across somebody interested there is no doubt they send him off.

12. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Domonic Brown  Philadelphia Phillies  LF/Of  $500,000  2013

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domonic-brownBrown has finally seemingly broken out, although I personally don’t think it’ll last very long. That is why I think it’d be wise for the Phillies to make a move to capitalize on the maxed out value Brown poses as currently. It doesn’t look like they’re gonna have it in them to turn things around with the roster like it is currently, so it would make sense that they start to rebuild. Sure Brown has been smoking hot with a .275 BA, .322 OBP, 50 RBI, and is 2nd in the NL with 19 HR, but the odds of this becoming a consistent thing for him year in and year out is slimmer than it not being. The smart thing would be to make a play for additional pieces by way of trading Brown. I’m sure there are more than a few teams willing to bet they think this side of him we’re seeing now will become a permanent feature. His current price tag is reasonable for every team that would be shopping and that perhaps makes him the easiest trade bait to utilize. Although it also makes sense that with how little he’s making, they Phillies just keep him around until the end of the year and if he walks he walks.

13. 

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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Paul Konerko  Chicago White Sox  1B/Dh  $12,500,000  2013

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The White Sox have quite a bit of spring cleaning to do on their entire roster as of right now. Paul Konerko, who’s contract expires at the end of the season, is a good place to start, and the real question should be how much does he have left in the tank? He’s played 16 seasons and we’re seeing a third consecutive season where his numbers are on the decline. If the White Sox could send him away and get anything at all decent back for him you’d have to count that as a win. Despite 13 seasons with the club, there is always a time to move on, and that moment might just be right now. I could easily see a team looking to add a little extra scoring help make a move for him. Anything that gets done with him is strictly short term though.

14. 
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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Daniel Murphy  New York Mets  2B/1B  $2,925,000  2013 (Arbitration)

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This one was hard for me to include. It is such a toss up as to whether the Mets would benefit from doing nothing to their roster or at least attempting to make a move. I considered it would be wise for them to make a move. They’re shopping for Stanton it appears. The drawback to a team like the Mets is there are really only four tradeable players, and they’re all very good players that you would hate to see go. David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Matt Harvey, and John Buck. You can’t get rid of Wright, that’d just be a foolish move, and with how great we’ve seen Harvey be, it’d be suicide to the level of the Babe Ruth trade. John Bucks’s trade value goes down every time he steps to the plate now. So that really only leaves Daniel Murphy as the center piece to any trade. As he’s the only one with value that wouldn’t be completely foolish to depart with. He’s batting .270 with a .312 OBP, 31 RBI, and 5 HR. His value is there, and there are certainly teams in need of a second/first baseman. If the Mets intend on making moves he’s really their only option to do so, unless they wanna start tossing prospects and draft picks in exchange for pickups. But as far as tangible trading material, Murphy is their best bet.

15. 
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Player Current Team Position Average Salary Contract Expiration
 Jered Weaver  Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim  SP  $17,000,000  2016

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This is a tough player to include on this list, as he’s almost made himself untradeable. However there wouldn’t be many smarter moves than for the Angels to dump this contract in any way possible. They’re paying so many big names so much money it’s embarrassing that they’re 10 games back from second place Texas. Weaver continues to struggle with his 1-4 record featuring a 4.65 ERA, and 30 strikeouts. I have a little faith in me that SOME team in this league would be willing to give this man another chance to start a new. New team, new town, and maybe he starts to perform again. That’s a hard bet to take when he’s costing an average of $17 million a year, but we’ve seen weirder things go down. The fact of the matter is the Angels need to change their pitching staff if they have any intention of becoming competitive again. I think they have to start by figuring out a solution as to what needs to be done with Weaver first.

 

 

(Photo 1 source)  http://sitracking.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/kershaw.jpg?w=600&h=375

(Photo 2 source)  http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_296w/WashingtonPost/Content/Blogs/nationals-journal/Images/Orioles_Nationals_Baseball_07547.jpg?uuid=Elmd4KOUEeGec_Tjh5s0ow

(Photo 3 source)  http://simlb.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/giancarlo-stanton-ap2.jpg?w=610&h=398

(Photo 4 source)  http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/17/061713-MLB-PHILLIES-DOMONIC-BROWN-DC-PI_20130617233015492_660_320.JPG

 

 

 

Author: Tyler Arnold

My name is Tyler Arnold, I am the founder, a co-owner, and editor-in-chief of The Runner Sports. Sports have been my life since I was young, so here I am doing the only sensible thing, making a career of it. I love it all, and will watch any and every game I possibly can. Thanks for your readership.