By Illya Harrell on July 28, 2014
The Tampa Bay Rays are white hot, just having a nine-game winning streak snapped on Sunday. The club is only 4.5 games out of the AL Wild Card race, making a David Price deal highly unlikely. With the darling of the 2014 trade deadline season seemingly out of the picture, who is left? Good question. Here are the top 10 players still available.
The Boston Red Sox's left-handed reliever Andrew Miller is having a career year. His ERA is lower than in any previous season as is his WHIP, K/9, H/9, BB/9 and K/BB. Most impressive is the reduction in BB/9, where 4.5 was previously his high-water mark. Allowing 2.9 BB/9, this season he's found control. Miller is also only six games away from passing his career high of 53 appearances. The Nationals are showing heavy interest.
Marlon Byrd's wife is from Philly. When he signed as a free agent, that was the major reason. Byrd has stated he does not wish to be traded, and general managers should listen hard to his statements. He's a pro and knows that trades are part of the territory, but taking a man away from his family would likely squash his moral. Still, the Cincinnati Reds have been rumored as an interested party.
Corner outfielder Seth Smith could be the next player subjected to the San Diego fire sale. His slash of .299/.396/.914 are career highs in each stat category. Any team looking solid corner outfield help would be wise to look hard at Smith.
Current Texas Ranger right fielder Alex Rios has revived his career in the Lone Star State. His power numbers have fallen over the last two seasons, but he's still a quality bat with great gap power. Rios is leading the AL in triples this season. Teams rumored to be courting Rios include the Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.
Martin Prado's value sits mainly in his ability to play anywhere on the field. Don't think for a second that defense is the only part of Prado's game. Offensively his stick, though possibly regressing with age, is reliable for about a .280 average, occasional pop and above-average gap power. There have been a slew of teams calling Arizona about Prado. Utility men who can hit are a rare commodity.
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is the club's most valuable offensive chip. However, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has reportedly been difficult to deal with. Amaro needs to face the fiddle and accept that the 35-year-old, injury-prone Utley -- while having a fine comeback campaign -- will not fetch the players he desires.
The Los Angeles Dodgers outfield is almost as crowded as a Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Matt Kemp seems to have the most trade value of the outfielders Los Angeles is willing deal -- in other words, anyone not named Yasiel Puig. The Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners seem like Kemp's most likely landing spots.
Jonathan Papelbon will be very tough to unload. He has a whopping contract that is likely to last until the end of 2016. The 2016 deal has a vesting option that, unless he gets hurt, is very obtainable. Papelbon's contract says he can (and will) nix a trade to any team where he will not be the primary closer. With Houston Street and Joakim Soria having already been dealt, GM Amaro seems to have missed the boat -- again.
With David Price out of the picture and John Lester likely to re-sign with the Boston Red Sox, teams with hopes of landing an ace like Price are now desperate for a left-handed starter. Cliff Lee is coming off of an injury and hasn't upped his trade value in his two post-injury starts. But the dude is a fierce competitor and a proven winner. If traded to a team in the hunt, Lee's about-face would take as long as a quick finger snap.
With Price and Lester not likely to be dealt, Cole Hamels is the most palatable option left for teams looking for another starter. Teams mentioned are the Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Mariners. Phillies GM Amaro has stated he wants three top-tier prospects for Hamels. Bad news Amaro, Hamels is not Price. If the Phils GM doesn't stop pussy-footing the team will challenge for 2015's worst record in the majors and he will definitely be canned.
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