MLB Winter Meetings: 20 Players Who Should Start Packing Their Bags
MLB Winter Meetings: 20 Players Who Should Start Packing Their Bags
The last two days in the baseball world have already seen some surprising trades and free agent signings.
On Monday, the Detroit Tigers inexplicably got rid of starter Doug Fister, trading him to the Washington Nationals for left-handed reliever Ian Krol, second baseman and utility man Steve Lombardozzi and left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray.
On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays shipped reliever Brad Lincoln to the Philadelphia Phillies for backup catcher Erik Kratz and left-handed reliever Rob Rasmussen. There was also a three-team deal in which the Tampa Bay Rays received Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell, while the Arizona Diamondbacks received reliever Justin Choate, and the Cincinnati Reds got lefty reliever David Holmberg.
The Athletics remained active, trading left fielder Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres for setup man Luke Gregerson.
The Rangers acquired top prospect Michael Choice, an outfielder with power, from the Athletics for platoon outfielder Craig Gentry and right-hander Josh Lindblom. Choice will most likely have the opportunity to play right away in the Rangers' outfield and showcase his raw power in Arlington.
The Astros picked up Dexter Fowler by trading away center fielder Brandon Barnes and young starter Jordan Lyles to the Colorado Rockies. This move makes little sense for the Rockies, as Fowler was one of the best players in baseball for the first half of last season.
Here are 20 more players who should start packing their bags ahead of the Winter Meetings.
20. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals
With Trevor Rosenthal taking over as closer at the end of 2013 and being the closer of the future, the St. Louis Cardinals can trade the hard-throwing Motte, who many teams would love to bring in as their closer or set up man.
19. Vernon Wells, New York Yankees
Although the New York Yankees would have to eat a large portion of his ridiculous $21 million salary, Vernon Wells would be an option at DH for many American League teams. The Yanks have a plethora of outfielders, and would be smart to get rid of Wells while he still has some value.
18. Ryan Dempster, Boston Red Sox
The defending World Series Champions have a lot of starting pitching. With a pack of younger pitchers waiting to come up from Triple-A, Ryan Dempster might be a smart guy to trade off of the roster, due to his age and his average career stats.
17. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
The signing of Brian Wilson pretty much guaranteed him the closer role for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That leaves Kenley Jansen as a very good set up man. However, with some other options in the bullpen, the Dodgers can move Jansen for perhaps an upgrade at third base.
16. Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics
Brandon Moss’ power numbers were impressive in the opening months of last season, but his success did not continue. With other options at first base and DH, Oakland will remain active this offseason, and get rid of Moss, who will be a DH on another American League team.
15. Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs will have Brett Jackson in center, Junior Lake in left, and most likely top-prospect Jorge Soler in right field to start next season. That leaves Nate Schierholtz as the odd man out. Playing in the National League, he would be a platoon player at best. I’d look for him to be moved, as he has shown he can be an average to above average corner outfielder.
14. Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays
With younger pitchers coming through their system, the Toronto Blue Jays will want to get rid of veteran lefty Mark Buehrle. He struggled the past two seasons, and is not producing up to their original standards when they signed him. Many American League teams would love to add a lefty to the end of their rotation.
13. Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays
Brandon Morrow can be a top-to-middle rotation guy for a lot of teams in the league. He can bring the Blue Jays much needed help offensively.
12. Colby Rasmus, Toronto Blue Jays
Colby Rasmus was signed to a big deal, but hasn’t produced up to his potential. With his value relatively high, the Jays could gain some offensive prospects or younger pitchers.
11. Russell Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates recently signed Chris Stewart, and have top-prospect Tony Sanchez on their 40-man roster. They won’t have three catchers on their opening day roster, and Russell Martin would be the likely choice to get left off. While his abilities to serve as a leader in the clubhouse are noted, his on the field play over the past few years has been very shaky.
10. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Boasting a career 71-39 record to go with a 3.19 ERA, there isn’t a team in MLB who wouldn’t love to have Price on their roster. The Rays will move Price, however, since they will not be willing to pay him the ridiculously large contract that he will demand when he becomes a free agent.
9. Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics
The Athletics will move Anderson, who has reportedly drawn interest from many different clubs. With their infusion of young pitching, the A’s have no spot for him and can add infield depth or relief pitching by giving up the lefty.
8. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
With a New York Yankees outfield now consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells, veteran speedster Brett Gardner will be on his way out. With Carlos Beltran also potentially signing, the Yankees need to ship someone away, and the one with the most trade value is Gardner. With the ability to hit leadoff on any team, trading Gardner will allow the Yankees to acquire a third baseman or starting pitching.
7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Over the last two seasons, Matt Kemp has played in 173 regular season games combined. After his 2011 season when he finished second in MVP voting, Kemp has struggled to stay on the field, hitting a combined 29 home runs and knocking in 102 RBIs over the last two seasons. That being said, he will have relatively high value in the market, and the Los Angeles Dodgers might be able to find a few positional upgrades or add a stopper in the bullpen for Kemp.
6. Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels
Over his first three full seasons, Mark Trumbo has hit 95 home runs and driven in 282 runs. With the Los Angeles Angels acquiring David Freese to play third base and having young outfield talent in J.B. Shuck and Kole Calhoun, among others, the Angels will deal the power hitter for starting pitching or a catching prospect, which are the team’s biggest needs.
5. Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have seemingly lost faith in Will Middlebrooks, who barely played in the 2013 postseason. Youngster Xander Bogaerts will certainly be in the starting lineup in 2014, and he looked very comfortable at third base in the playoffs. Middlebrooks can be dealt for a shortstop or a third baseman, depending on Boston’s plans for Bogaerts.
4. Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
Chase Headley struggled last season after returning from injury, when he hit .250 to go along with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs. However, a year before, he hit .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBIs. That will still be on the minds of many GMs around the league, and the Padres can load up on young talent for the third baseman.
3. Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals need a bat. Tyler Clippard, who was an All-Star in 2011, has proven to be a valuable setup man. With Rafael Soriano and Drew Storen on the roster, Clippard can be moved either for starting pitching or an outfield upgrade.
2. Chris Iannetta, Los Angeles Angels
Chris Iannetta will most likely be out as the Angels' catcher, with Hank Conger showing more promise at the position. Many teams will be interested in adding Iannetta as their backup catcher.
1. Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
Andre Ethier and Dustin Pedroia were best friends and teammates in college at Arizona State. Could Pedroia convince the Red Sox front office to persue his close friend? Ethier might welcome the move, as Yaisel Puig’s emergence left him in the rear-view mirror last season. I expect him to be moved, as he also is in the middle of a large contract signed through 2017.