- Jim Bowden, Baseball, Insider
Most fans are following the trade negotiations involving players like Hunter Pence, Carlos Beltran and Heath Bell because they are the biggest, sexiest names being discussed among the 30 major league teams. However, fans should also be following the top prospects from non-contending teams because they are the game’s potential future stars.
As a former general manager, when our team was in the “seller” mode we would hold out for a top-tier prospect if we were trading away a star player that the other club would control beyond the existing year. On the other hand, if the player was a “rental” player for the balance of the season, the bar would always be set north of the potential compensation of two first-round draft choices.
You have to be realistic, though, and ask yourself if you would make the deal if you were in the other GM’s position. Deals are supposed to work for both sides.
Most GMs know how they value the players involved in the trade negotiations and how far they’ll go before the process even commences. Then, if you don’t get the deal you like, you wait until the deadline to see if the other party blinks. As a result, 95 percent of the deals you work on never come to fruition. You must be able to walk away from a deal as easily as you would pull the trigger. The “sellers” are always chasing the top prospects, and the “buyers” are always trying to get you to take lower-tier compensation from among their prospects. At the end of the day, both teams know the value of players. And if there is a deal to be made, it will get done. No team wants to trade their top prospects, and no team wants to trade their star players. Both sides just try to make it work for each other’s needs and direction.
Here is a look at some of the “buyers” top seven prospects, any of whom teams like the Astros, Mets and Padres are hoping to acquire in packages for stars like Pence, Beltran and Bell: