Each MLB Team’s Top Trade Bait
Top Trade Bait for Each MLB Team
I am a hot stove addict. I don't know what it is, but I am addicted to the rumor mill. Ever since I can remember I would read each and every baseball trade and signing rumor that I would come across. Obviously, only a small percentage of these rumors come true, but it is still fun to see the possibilities for each MLB team.
Because of my rumor mill addiction, this time of year is a lot of fun for me. While it is still over a month away, the trade deadline is getting closer and closer and we are now starting to determine which teams will be buyers and which will be sellers. Now is the time when the hot stove really starts to kick into overdrive. It is becoming more clear which players will be available for contenders to trade for at the deadline.
In baseball, rarely are there trades where both teams acquire major league talent. Usually, the team that is selling wants to get rid of a player who is not a part of their future in exchange for prospects who could potentially be contributors in the future for the selling team. Because of the new MLB CBA rules, which do not allow teams to overpay for talent in the draft, teams seem to be less likely to trade away their prospects. That being said, there are always teams out there that feel like they are one piece away from a championship and for the right price will certainly make a deal for the right player.
In this article, I am going to list the top trade bait for each and every MLB team. With this list, I am trying to be realistic. If I believe a team will be a seller at the deadline, their trade bait will be a major leaguer who I think has a legit chance of being traded. If I think that a team will be a buyer, their trade bait will be a minor league player who could bring a big return and also realistically be traded. Here it is, the top trade bait for each MLB team. Find out who's on the list for your favorite team.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Archie Bradley
Currently sitting atop the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been a bit of a surprise this season. At this point there is no reason to believe that they will be anything but buyers at the deadline. There are not many holes on this Arizona team, but if they want to make a splash at the deadline, Archie Bradley is a prospect that would bring a great return. Bradley is arguably the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. His 1.34 ERA and 9.0 SO/9 at Double-A this season have scouts very excited. If the D-Backs make Bradley available, there is no doubt that there would be plenty of suitors.
Atlanta Braves: J.R. Graham
The Atlanta Braves look to be one of the best teams in baseball this season as their 41-28 record indicates. There are not many holes on this Braves team, but I do see some room for improvement, most notably in with the bullpen. I think the Braves will be in the market for a bullpen arm to help set up closer Craig Kimbrel. J.R. Graham is a right-handed pitcher in the Braves organization with some nice upside. Teams who are selling would be happy to give up a bullpen arm or two in exchange for Graham.
Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop
The Baltimore Orioles were one of the most surprising teams in all of baseball last year when they made the playoffs as a wild-card team. Baltimore is back at it again, as they are currently sitting in second place in the AL East. Even though the Orioles have been successful this year, if they expect to compete for a championship I think they need to make a couple of moves. While Jonathan Schoop is struggling a bit at Triple-A, and the athletic infielder has some nice upside. Schoop is still considered one of the best prospects in Baltimore's organization. He could be a nice centerpiece in a deal where the Orioles would acquire a second baseman or starting pitching depth, both of which are currently huge needs.
Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes
The Boston Red Sox are somewhat surprisingly sitting atop the AL East. The Red Sox have been great this season and really do not have any key holes. They could probably use an upgrade in left field and some bullpen depth, but they are likely championship contenders if they stand pat. If Boston really decides to go for it, pitcher Matt Barnes would be elite trade bait for the team. Barnes is considered an elite pitching prospect and would surely net the Red Sox a nice return if they were to deal him.
Chicago White Sox: Jake Peavy
The Chicago White Sox are in last place and are in serious need of a rebuild. Their core of players have been successful in Chicago, but it is time for them to start over. Most of their players are way past their prime and their minor league system is in need of some serious influx of talent. Jake Peavy is a guy that I think the White Sox will trade. He would be a nice acquisition for a contending team looking for starting rotation depth and would bring the White Sox a nice return to help re-stock their minor leagues.
Chicago Cubs: Matt Garza
There has been no doubt all season that the Chicago Cubs were going to be sellers at the deadline. The Cubs front office have made it obvious that their focus is on the future of the team, not the present. Matt Garza has had an up and down career in Chicago. When he has been on the mound, he has been very good. The problem is he has struggled with injuries. That being said, I am sure the Cubs will find a taker on Garza if they do make him available. He could be a nice piece in the rotation for a contending team and would help add to the already impressive minor league system of the Cubs.
Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton
The Cincinnati Reds are currently right in the thick of things in the very competitive NL Central. While the Reds are a very talented team, they have one very obvious hole in left field. Ever since Ryan Ludwick went down early in the season, Cincinnati has struggled to get production out of the position. I strongly believe that they will be looking to upgrade there at the deadline. Billy Hamilton burst on the scene last season when he stole 155 bases, which is a minor league record. Hamilton has the best pure speed in all of baseball, but he does struggle a bit at other parts of the game. He has never really hit for a great average and has little to no power. Defensively he is decent, but his speed makes up for other areas in his game that are lacking. I think if the Reds can use Hamilton to acquire an upgrade for their left field situation, they will not hesitate to do so.
Cleveland Indians: Tyler Naquin
While they do have some holes, most notably starting pitching depth, the Cleveland Indians are currently right in the thick of things for a playoff spot in the American League. If they really think they can compete, I think the Indians need to acquire at least one starting pitcher. Tyler Naquin would be a good trading chip to use to acquire one. Naquin is considered one of the best prospects in the Indians' system. He shows good contact and defensive skills for a guy playing at A-ball. While the power is not elite, he does show signs of more pop as he gets older. If the Indians are serious about competing, then they may have to trade away future assets like Naquin.
Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado
The Colorado Rockies have been another very surprising team this year as they are right in the thick of the NL West race. If they continue to play well then I think they will try to make some additions for a deep playoff run. The Rockies could really use some pitching depth, both in the rotation and bullpen. While he is an important piece to the puzzle, Nolan Arenado could bring a very good return for the Rockies. The young Arenado is the current starting third baseman for Colorado, but I think if somebody insisted on him being involved in a trade for quality pitching, the Rockies would give up the young slugger.
Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos
The Detroit Tigers may not need to improve the team much, considering it appears that they will run away and hide with the AL Central crown. That being said, there is always room for improvement. The one obvious flaw with the 2013 Tigers is the bullpen. I think Detroit would be willing to give up some serious young talent for an established bullpen arm or two. Nick Castellanos is the top prospect in the Tigers system. He is a very good contact hitter and has some pop. Castellanos can play 3B or the outfield, and there would be a lot of teams that would be interested in this top prospect.
Houston Astros: Bud Norris
The Houston Astros are another team that will surely be selling at the trade deadline. Even though they have been better than expected, the Astros still have not been very good. I think they will trade many MLB pieces to continue to stock their minor league system. Bud Norris will almost certainly be one of those pieces. Norris, with his 3.47 ERA, would be a welcomed addition to any starting rotation.
Kansas City Royals: Orlando Calixte
Even though the Kansas City Royals are in the mix for a playoff spot in the American League, I do not think the team will want to sell off much more of their future to compete this season. Before the year started the Royals traded one of the top prospects in all of baseball in Wil Myers to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields. Because of this trade, the Royals are a little depleted in the minor leagues. I think they will make a minor "go-for-it" type of move, but I do not think that they are willing to mortgage their future for it. Orlando Calixte is a solid SS prospect currently in Double-A. He is a well-rounded prospect who should receive a decent return as the Royals try to fill a few holes on their major league team.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jason Vargas
The Los Angeles Angels are in a very interesting position right now. They have the talent to be competing, but it just hasn't come together yet this season. Unless they really start to play better, I do not see the Angels making a run for the playoffs this year. With that being said, I do not think the Angels will want to start selling off all their current assets, because this is a talented team that could still compete in the near future. If they do become sellers, Jason Vargas is a guy that I could see the Angels trading. He is a left-handed starting pitcher, and those guys are a hot commodity this time of the year. The Angels could get a solid return on a player that probably does not fit in to their future plans.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Zach Lee
The free-spending Los Angeles Dodgers have not had the start to the season that they expected, as they are in last place in the NL West. That being said, the Dodgers no doubt have the talent to compete. Rookie sensation Yasiel Puig has given them a spark since he was called up. When Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez return from injury, the Dodgers will have a lineup filled with stars. Obviously that does not guarantee wins, but the talent is there to make a run in a division that is full of teams playing much better than expected. I could see the Dodgers staying in the race until the trade deadline and then making a move to make this team better. One of the Dodgers' minor leaguers who could bring a nice return is pitcher Zach Lee. Lee is considered by most as a top 100 prospect in all of baseball, and his 2.65 ERA at Double-A this season is fairly impressive. If the Dodgers are going to make a move during this deadline, Lee is a guy that would bring them a nice piece at the major league level.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
There is no doubt that the Miami Marlins, with the worst record in baseball, will be sellers this year at the deadline. Guys like Ricky Nolasco, Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre will almost certainly be dealt to a contender. The big question mark is whether the Marlins will make young slugger Giancarlo Stanton available. If they do so, there will certainly be a ton of teams lining up to get their offers in for the 23-year-old outfielder. It seems crazy to even think that Miami would trade Stanton, but this organization has never paid their players and Stanton will be a guy that will one day receive a huge payday.
Milwaukee Brewers- Yovani Gallardo
The Milwaukee Brewers have been a very disappointing team this season. They are almost certainly out of the race, and I think they will become sellers at the deadline. Yovani Gallardo has struggled some this season, but the six year veteran has a successful track record. I think teams looking for starting pitching would be willing to take a shot on Gallardo, and the Brewers would pick up a few nice pieces for a team that is currently going nowhere.
Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau
The Minnesota Twins have been a little bit better than expected so far this season. That being said, I just do not see this team realistically making a playoff run and think that they will be sellers at the deadline. A lot of their current major league talent are guys who are young and will probably help this team in the future, but they do have some veteran pieces that could help a contending team. One of those guys is Justin Morneau. The 11-year veteran still hits for a solid average and does a nice job of working the count, but his power is no longer there. Defensively, Morneau is still very solid and would be a welcome addition to a team that does not need more power.
New York Mets: Daniel Murphy
There is no doubt in my mind that the New York Mets are a team that will not compete this season. They have some nice young pieces, and I think that they will look to build on those pieces at the deadline. Daniel Murphy could be a target for a handful of teams. He plays a premium position at 2B and is a solid hitter, especially considering the position he plays. He is not a great defender by any means, but his bat makes up for it.
New York Yankees: Mason Williams
With a team full of misfits, the New York Yankees are right in the thick of things in the AL East. The usual suspects have not been there for the Yankees. Aside from Robinson Cano all of the Yankees' offensive stars have been injured at one point or another this season. I could see the Yankees going after a veteran in the outfield and/or 3B. Possibly the best trade bait the Yankees possess in the minor leagues is Mason Williams, who is an athletic five-tool type of outfielder. I am sure the Yankees would like to hold on to Williams, but if they are serious about making a run this season, they may need to make some tough decisions.
Oakland Athletics: Michael Choice
Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane does not like to trade his prospects. If the first-place A's are serious about making a run this season, Beane may have to swallow his pride and trade a couple of their top prospects in order to add to the major league roster. Michael Choice is a powerful outfielder who would be very intriguing to a lot of teams that are rebuilding. He would certainly get the A's a nice return on their investment.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee
With an aging roster, I think the Philadelphia Phillies must start rebuilding this year with a trade deadline sell-off. The player who will probably get the most interest on the open market is left-handed-pitcher Cliff Lee. He is still a very good starting pitcher that would be a welcome addition to any major league rotation. Lee would bring in a good return for the Phillies as they look to improve their minor league system.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gregory Polanco
With 41-28 record the Pittsburgh Pirates are a surprising contender this year. Even with their great start to the season, the Pirates do have some holes that need filling including shortstop and starting pitching depth. If the Pirates decide to go for it this season and become buyers at the trade deadline, Gregory Polanco would be a prospect that would bring them a great return. Polanco is a speedy outfielder that has great contact skill. He is easily considered one of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball. While Polanco is a great talent, the Pirates already have young stud outfielders at the major league level in Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. Because of the success of McCutchen and Marte, Polanco could be a little bit expendable for the Pirates, and they may look to use him to make the current team better equipped for a long playoff run.
San Diego Padres: Chase Headley
The San Diego Padres are a tough team to figure out. They are currently only two games out of the division lead in the NL West. If they continue to be competitive up until the trade deadline, they will probably not be sellers. If they do end up falling off a bit, Chase Headley is a guy I think they should look to deal. The switch-hitting third baseman has had a bit of an off year, but everyone knows that he is a talented hitter who plays a premium position. Even with the down season, I think that the Padres could get a fair return on Headley if they were to make him available. There are a ton of teams out there that would love a 29-year-old switch hitting third baseman.
San Francisco Giants: Kyle Crick
With few holes on their roster, I do not think that the San Francisco Giants will look to "sell the farm" at the trade deadline this year. That being said, they could use some pitching depth in both the rotation and bullpen. If they look to improve those areas, I think Kyle Crick is a possible trade chip for them. The 20-year-old right-handed pitcher is still very young and a little raw. While talented, Crick is a long ways away from competing at the major league level. I think the Giants will use Crick as trade bait to try and acquire someone who can help them now.
Seattle Mariners: Kendrys Morales
Kendrys Morales has been a bright spot for the Seattle Mariners during his first season with the team. If the Mariners decide to sell, Morales would be a nice get for many teams out there. He is a switch-hitting first baseman, who also has the bat to be a DH.
St. Louis Cardinals: Carlos Martinez
With the best record in baseball at 44-25, the St. Louis Cardinals are a team with few holes. I could see them possibly trying to add a pitcher, either in the bullpen or starting rotation and maybe a shortstop. Either one of those things would just be an added luxury for this team. If the Cardinals do decide to add a the deadline, Carlos Martinez would be great trade bait. With St. Louis having an impressive amount of young starting pitching, Martinez could be a guy that is expendable for the right price. The 21-year-old right-hander would be a great get for any team that is looking to rebuild.
Tampa Bay Rays: David Price
If he returns soon and looks healthy, I think the Tampa Bay Rays will look to trade David Price. Price will hit the open market soon, and the Rays do not like to pay for players who appear to be past their prime. While Price may still have some left in the tank, I do not think the Rays are willing to bet on that and will look to trade their star pitcher as soon as they can.
Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar
The Texas Rangers are a team with few needs. However, I could see them looking to acquire a big time starting pitcher at the trade deadline. If they wish to do so, they may have to part with their potential future star in Jurickson Profar. Profar is one of the best young players in the game and would surely net a very good player for the Rangers who are having trouble finding a spot for him in their lineup.
Toronto Blue Jays: Josh Johnson
After making several additions this offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have been one of the most disappointing teams in all of baseball. At 32-36, the Blue Jays are showing no signs of being able to make a run at the playoffs. That being said, there is a ton of talent on this team, and I do not think they will want to start a complete rebuild. However, they should look to sell a few pieces at the deadline. Josh Johnson is an obvious trade candidate for Toronto. The big right-hander has a track record of success and would be a welcome addition to most starting rotations.
Washington Nationals: Matt Skole
With few holes on their team, I think the Washington Nationals will be small-time buyers in this market. They may look to add a pitcher or two, but I do not think they will mortgage their future for success this season. Matt Skole is the type of prospect I could see them trading. The 23-year-old infielder has a good bat, but he plays third base, which is a position that Washington has a lot of system depth. I think Skole would be more valuable to another team.