10 Overrated MLB Trade Deadline Targets
10 Overrated Players Who Could be Moved at the Deadline
The MLB trade deadline is now just one week away, and as it rapidly approaches, offers and rumors will emerge at a rapid pace, naming players who could be move from non-contenders to those in the race so that both teams can benefit.
As great as the trade deadline can be for good teams who need help, it ends up hurting teams just as often. Several prominent examples of this have occurred over the past several years, including the trade between the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles which sent Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to Baltimore in exchange for reliever Koji Uehara. As we all know, Davis is now in the middle of the AL Triple Crown race and has a great chance to break the single-season home run record, while Hunter is an elite reliever for the Orioles. Meanwhile, Uehara did not even make the Rangers' postseason roster in 2012 and left Texas at the end of the season.
Another major flop came when the defending champion San Francisco Giants decided to send their top pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler, to the New York Mets in exchange for Carlos Beltran. However, Beltran's arrival coincided with the team tanking in the NL West race and he was soon injured. These days, Wheeler is in the Mets' rotation and is expected to be a cornerstone of their staff for years to come. Beltran was not re-signed after the season and the Giants received no compensation for him.
Other teams have made smaller trades which have still had very negative effects on their team. On July 31, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 54-52 and 4.5 games out of the lead in the NL Central. They thought they would be boosting a young team by adding veteran hitters Derrick Lee and Ryan Ludwick. Lee hit very well while Ludwick only hit .232, but they disrupted the youthful vibe that the team had. Following the acquisitions, the Bucs went on to finish 72-90 and 24 games out of the division lead.
With a rather weak trade market this season, mistakes are bound to happen again. If a team gets too trade-happy and makes a deal for an overrated player simply to boost morale, it is very possible that they will regret the move in the long run. Here are 10 seemingly available players that all MLB teams should be wary of trading for over the next week.
10. Kendrys Morales, DH/1B, Seattle Mariners
Morales is a worthwhile trade target, however, there are limiting factors which the team who acquires him must be willing to deal with. First and foremost, he has never truly recovered from the leg injury he sustained in a home run celebration gone wrong several years ago. Seeing as he has only started 26 games in the field this year, Morales is probably not strong enough to play first base every day, so his options are likely limited to AL teams.
Morales is a free agent at the end of 2013, so if a team decides to trade for him, they will be giving up at least a mid-level prospect in order to gamble on a player who will be, at most, a designated hitter. Morales has put up pretty solid numbers this year with a .279 average, 15 homers and a .339 OBP, but the relatively small impact that he is capable of having on a team makes him just a bit more highly-regarded than he should be.
9. Huston Street, RP, San Diego Padres
Street has previously proven to be capable of contributing to a playoff bullpen, and he is owed $7 million both this year and next with a club option for 2015. With these factors in mind, any team that acquires the San Diego Padres closer will be paying big, whether it be though giving up a premium prospect or taking on the large majority of his salary.
Unfortunately, Street really hasn't done much to justify that payment this year. He's given up 10 home runs in only 32.1 innings, and only has 20 strikeouts, a big change from last season where he struck out 47 batters over 39 innings. All of this is supported by an unimpressive 3.90 ERA. Relievers are always at a premium at deadline time, though, and any team that acquires him will probably be giving up more for him than he is truly worth.
8. Bud Norris, SP, Houston Astros
“Overrated” isn't necessarily the best word to describe Bud Norris, but he is being talked about as one of the best pitchers available on the trade market, while the reality is that if he pitched on a good team, he would be a no. 3 or 4 starter. He is an innings eater who is good at getting ground balls, but his stuff is underwhelming. He's having a slightly better-than-usual season this year, putting up a 3.91 ERA as opposed to his career 4.33. However, his WHIP and BAA are up this year at 1.43 and .280 respectively.
Norris is a solid pitcher and will deliver consistent results, but some trade gurus are forecasting trades where he will be moved for multiple highly-ranked prospects. While it is good that Norris is under team control for another couple years, he simply isn't good enough to warrant that large of a return.
7. Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Lee is having a great year, but many fans who want him to be traded to their team are ignoring the logistics of the deal. The soon-to-be 35-year-old lefty is due the remainder of his $25 million dollar salary for this season, and at least $62.5 million guaranteed over the next three years, depending on if his buyout clause is exercised in 2016.
While Lee is a proven ace that has pitched in several World Series, it's hard to justify paying that kind of money to any player while also giving up several top prospects. Any team that trades for Lee will certainly see a boost in their rotation's production, but they will certainly feel the effects of it in their checkbook and farm system. It would be particularly foolish for a team like the St. Louis Cardinals to give up some of their prized young pitchers and take on that salary in order to fortify a rotation that has already shown flashes of dominance this year.
6. Justin Morneau, 1B/DH, Minnesota Twins
Morneau is a free agent after this season, but any team that deals for him would be forced to pay the rest of his $14 million dollar 2013 salary. While he is having his best season since 2010, Morneau is by no means the game-changing player that he once was, and his numbers are not at all worthy of what he is being paid.
For as many concussion issues as he has had over the past several years, Morneau has been able to play a surprisingly high 83 games at first base this year. His offensive stats are lacking, though, as he is hitting only .270 with seven homers. Morneau can provide a lot of playoff experience from his time with the Twins, but a team must decide whether it is worth the money plus a prospect or two before they take a gamble on a guy who really doesn't seem to be that good anymore.
5. Yovani Gallardo, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
The 27-year-old Gallardo is considered one of the top remaining starters left on the trade market, and it is likely that he will be moved as the Brewers execute a fire sale following Ryan Braun's PED suspension. It is debatable, however, how well he will be able to perform down the stretch. Gallardo is having the worst season of his career to this point, having put up a 4.58 ERA with a horrendous 1.42 WHIP and -0.4 WAR. He's always been more of a ground ball pitcher during his big-league career, but that has been cemented this year by him having his lowest strikeout rate ever with only 96 Ks over 120 innings.
For the high level of success that Gallardo has had during his young career, he is making a relatively reasonable $7.75 million this year and is due to make $11.25 million next year. He has a $13 million dollar option for 2015 which can be bought out by the club for only $600 thousand. With his highly desirable contract situation, Milwaukee is going to be seeking cream-of-the-crop prospects. His partial no-trade clause could complicate things as well. While Gallardo has a good track record, he has not been very good this year, and any team that may acquire him will have to trust that he will return to his traditional form not only this year, but next season as well.
4. Michael Young, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
While he is still a solid player, Michael Young is not nearly the player that he once was, and much of his trade value lies in his reputation and his experience as a winner. The 36-year-old hit .300 during more than half of his big-league seasons, and used to be counted on to hit 20 home runs a year. This year, he still has a respectable .284 average, but his power-hitting ability is gone. Even in Philadelphia's hitter-friendly park, he has just seven homers and 28 total extra-base hits to this point. In addition, Young has been a disaster at third base as usual, possessing a .959 fielding percentage with eight errors. Somehow, the 36-year-old is still one of the most desired players on the trade market. While he'll be a nice clubhouse presence and is still an acceptable hitter, he will probably command more trade value than he rightfully deserves.
3. Brendan Ryan, SS, Seattle Mariners
Ryan is by no means considered a premium trade piece, but he is constantly brought up as an option for teams with shortstop issues, despite the fact that he is one of the most dreadful offensive players in the league. To this point, Ryan is having his worst season as a defender since his rookie year, putting up only a .971 fielding percentage to this point. That gives Ryan a 1.0 defensive WAR, so it's mildly surprising that Seattle still believes he is deserving of a big-league roster spot. The 31-year-old is hitting .194 this year with a .254 OBP and has 11 extra-base hits, so he is not making up for his defense at the plate. Ryan has just been an all-around terrible player this year, so it is shocking that anyone would consider trading for him unless Seattle designates him for assignment and it's a no-risk move.
2. Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox
Rios is widely considered the best outfielder available on the trade market this year, but he really is not that good of a player and the high amount of interest in him is somewhat confusing. Rios is seen as a player who does not always give a great effort, as evidenced by his early removal from this past Friday's game due to his failure to hustle. It may not be a coincidence that he has never played in a playoff game during his 10-year major league career.
Rios has been very inconsistent during his White Sox career, and any team that tries to deal for him should be very wary of that fact. He hit only .199 in 41 games after being picked up by the team in 2009, and hit just .227 in 2011. This year, he has been pretty serviceable, having hit .278 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs to this point, but there's no telling if he will tank once he goes to another organization. Even at his best (which he hasn't been at since he was with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008), Rios is an above-average hitter with okay power-hitting ability. If the White Sox can get a good return for him, they should consider themselves lucky.
1. Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago White Sox
Peavy is riding on his previous big-league reputation more than perhaps any player this trade season. Though he had a standout year in 2012 for the White Sox, he's returned to his recent form in 2013, being limited to 12 starts this year due to injuries and posting a 4.19 ERA. Much of Peavy's ineffectiveness lies in the fact that he has struggled in the transition from power pitching to a more disciplined approach. While he averaged more than a strikeout per inning during the height of his career in San Diego, he has not done so in any season since he was traded to Chicago, and the rest of his numbers have suffered accordingly. Peavy is making $14.5 million this year and will make the same amount next season. While the team that trades for Peavy will have to take on the large majority of this salary, they likely will not have to give up a premium prospect. Still, it's difficult to understand why so many teams appear to be interested in a pitcher who lost his elite form a long way back and has never really recovered.