By Jacob Kornhauser on June 28, 2014
Whether they're buyers or sellers, every team in the league has their top trade chip this season. For sellers, star players are the key trade chips, as they will be sent to contenders. For buyers, top prospects are the key trade chips, as that's who they have to send in return of major league superstars. Here is every team's greatest trade chip with about a month until the MLB trade deadline.
The Baltimore Orioles figure to be buyers at the deadline and as their best pitching prospect, Dylan Bundy is the biggest trade bait the team possesses. If they hope to land a big name in July, they will have to ship Bundy somewhere else.
Not many teams have promising young catching prospects in their systems, and Blake Swihart could be appealing to those teams. The Boston Red Sox are still close enough to contend and should be buying this deadline, and they could send Swihart somewhere as part of a package for a key piece.
The New York Yankees' 2013 first round pick, Ian Clarkin is already showing promise. He's very young and raw, but seems like he could be a superstar at some point. For any seller who's trading a superstar, Clarkin grouped with others could bring very solid future returns.
Knowing they need to get something for him before he hits free agency this offseason, the Tampa Bay Rays are quickly trying to get rid of their ace. He may be the best player available this deadline, and so the team with the worst record in the league should get some very nice prospects in return.
Marcus Stroman has already impressed at the big league level, and the Toronto Blue Jays are reluctant to ship him somewhere else. However, if they decide to go all in this season, Stroman could be the key piece in any potential deal.
The Chicago White Sox have been shopping their shortstop for around a year now, and this year might be when they finally find a trade partner. Alexei Ramirez would be a solid piece for any contender looking for middle infield help. In return, the White Sox could expect a modest package of prospects.
Justin Masterson is slowly turning into an ace, and that will make teams extremely eager to get their hands on him this deadline. He's unlikely to re-sign this offseason, so the Cleveland Indians need to get what they can for him. Based on where his career seems headed, they could get quite a bit in return.
One of many pitching prospects the Detroit Tigers have, Robbie Ray could be a key trade chip if the Tigers decide to add anyone this July. Since they have so much pitching depth at the big league level, Detroit may be more willing to part ways with Ray if they find the right deal.
The Kansas City Royals have plenty of pitching prospects and a couple needs at the big league level heading into the second half of 2014. That being said, Sean Manaea is one of the best of those prospects and will likely need to be included in a deal for any superstar caliber player the Royals may be interested in.
Josh Willingham is having one of the best seasons of his career even though he's very much a veteran now. Most teams that need help in their outfield will give the Minnesota Twins a call about him because at this point in his career, being a contributing piece on a contender is about all that matters to him.
The Houston Astros are in the awkward position of having many prospects they need to perform and having veterans that aren't really tradable. One player they could potentially deal at the deadline is Chris Carter. He has tremendous power upside and is only in his late 20's. That may appeal to some team willing to ship a couple prospects in return.
With the Los Angeles Angels deep on offense at the big league level, they could potentially afford to part with one of their top prospects. Kaleb Cowart is one of the more intriguing of those prospects and will draw interest from any team that wants to deal one of their key players to Los Angeles.
Given the fact that the Oakland Athletics' top prospect is another shortstop -- Addison Russell -- they may be willing to deal Daniel Robertson. It isn't known what exactly Oakland is targeting this trade deadline, but if they're going big, Robertson may have to be included in a deal.
The Seattle Mariners' south paw is on his way up in the big leagues and there are several teams that want to make sure his makes his ascent with them. Since the Mariners will be buyers this deadline, they may have to send James Paxton to someone as part of a deal for an ace or second tier pitcher.
Adrian Beltre's time in Texas may soon be coming to an end. He has had an amazing run for the Texas Rangers, but now that they're scuffling, they could use him as trade bait. There are several players who will be on the market for the Rangers, but Beltre is the biggest difference maker among them.
The Atlanta Braves' top prospect could be on the move as they look for a star pitcher to add to their staff. They appear to be in on both the Jeff Samardzija and David Price sweepstakes, and if they hope to land either ace, Lucas Sims will likely have to be included in a deal.
One of the Miami Marlins' top pitching prospects could make his big league debut elsewhere. Miami was not expected to buyers at the trade deadline, but here they are. Even though they're likely to make subtle moves, Adam Conley could be used as bait to acquire a top tier player.
Daniel Murphy is putting together an All-Star caliber season, and it could be the time for the New York Mets to get a return for him. He likely doesn't figure into their future plans, and selling him at his highest value would make sense for New York. A solid package of prospects would be a fair return for the second baseman who is having a very nice year.
The wily veteran could be headed somewhere else this deadline for a number of reasons. The Philadelphia Phillies don't seem like serious contenders, and Cliff Lee has shown how clutch he can be down the stretch and in the postseason. He is one of a handful of pitchers who teams will be willing to pay top dollar for.
The Washington Nationals will be buyers this deadline, as they currently sit atop the National League East division. Should they decide to deal for a difference maker at the deadline, one of their top pitching prospects will have to be included. A.J. Cole could be ready for the big leagues soon, and is enticing to several sellers this deadline.
Jeff Samardzija is one of the biggest names on the trade market this season and will have a high asking price. It all comes down to what teams are willing to pay for him, but the Chicago Cubs are likely in for a giant package of prospects for their ace.
It's unclear whether or not the Cincinnati Reds will be buyers at the deadline, but if they are, then Phil Ervin is likely to be headed elsewhere. He's a very nice, young hitting prospect and could be used to acquire several different high quality players.
Khris Davis has tremendous power upside and is still very young. The Milwaukee Brewers would have to be trading for an absolute stud at the deadline to ship Davis away, but it's possible. Sitting in first place in the National League Central division, the Brewers may need to do whatever it takes to stay there.
Even though he's currently injured, Francisco Liriano could hit the trade market in the next month. The Pittsburgh Pirates would need to have a great run to get back into contention this season, so they may decide to get some prospects in return for their lefty. As he ages, the Pirates could decide to get younger and look to the future.
The St. Louis Cardinals aren't going to part with outfielder Oscar Tavares, nor are they going to part with some of their other pitching prospects. However, Rob Kaminksy is still a solid piece they'd be willing to move. A tall lefty, Kaminky could be included with other prospects for an important piece the Red Birds may decide to add at the deadline.
One of the most underrated outfielders in the game, Gerardo Parra would be a great addition to any contender. The Arizona Diamondbacks are high on him, so they won't just give him away, but there's sure to be interest in the outfielder. He may have the best outfield arm in the game other than Yoenis Cespedes, and has a decent bat as well. That's very appealing to contenders around the league.
It seems like he's never healthy, but when he is, Brett Anderson is one of the better lefties in baseball. Given his injury history, some contender could get a great bargain by dealing for the lefty. However, selling teams on his health may be tough for the Colorado Rockies to do.
Once their top prospect, Zach Lee is still going to be the cornerstone in any deal the Los Angeles Dodgers make this trade deadline. If they make subtle moves, Lee won't be included, but if they make a blockbuster deal, he is likely on the move.
Relievers are at a premium at the trade deadline, and Huston Street may be the best available this season. With the San Diego Padres out of contention, they could be ready to move their closer, who has been lights out this year. Whether a contender wants to make him their closer or a set up man, they're going to get a high quality back end bullpen arm.
The San Francisco Giants are some of the biggest buyers this trade deadline, and could be in on a few top pitchers. If they deal for Price or Samardzija, the Rays or Cubs could request Kyle Crick in return. As he's nearly major league ready, it may be hard for them to part with their top prospect, but in order to win another World Series title, the front office may decide it's worth it.
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