Saturday, July 13, 2013
Futures Gamers who could be traded
By Jim Bowden
Sunday's Futures Game at Citi Field in New York is an annual opportunity for general managers, assistant GMs, scouting directors and scouts to see the very best prospects in one game. During my years as GM, I always sent at least two of my top evaluators to the game and made it a must-watch for everyone in baseball operations.
Although most of the players participating are labeled "untouchable" by teams in trade discussions, there are always some who will be dealt at the trade deadline for proven veterans who can help get a team to the playoffs and possibly a World Series.
Here is a look at six prospects from this year’s Futures Game who could be traded at this year's deadline:
Joc Pederson, OF | Los Angeles Dodgers Stats: .299/.388/.522, 14 HRs, 25 SB (Double-A Chattanooga)
Pederson is at Double-A Chattanooga of the Southern League, and scouts are drooling over his hit tool, power and the fact he can play all three outfield positions. With his path to the majors blocked in L.A., he’s the most likely top prospect it will move if it can acquire a difference-maker.
The Angels have the first-base and designated hitter positions tied up for years to come with Albert Pujols signed to a $240 million deal through 2021 and the salary arbitration rights to Mark Trumbo through 2017. Therefore, Cron is expendable.
Cron, 23, was a first-round pick in 2011, and I think he has 30-homer potential. He could be used in a trade package to acquire Chase Headley of the Padres or a good pitching prospect, such as Danny Hultzen of the Mariners or Chris Archer of the Rays.
In spring training, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny decided to give Matt Carpenter a chance to compete for the every-day second-base job, and now Carpenter is getting ready to play in his first All-Star Game.
Meanwhile, Wong is getting ready to play in his second consecutive Futures Game. Some Cardinals executives think Carpenter could be moved to third base next year, with Wong taking over second base if David Freese is not retained. I think there is also a possibility that Freese is given an extension, Carpenter is kept at second, and Wong is moved in a package deal for an every-day shortstop or more pitching.
Several clubs would like to acquire a long-term solution at second base, including the Royals, Phillies and Dodgers. He’s definitely one of the game's best second-base prospects and could be an important trade chip come late July if the Cards decide to make a blockbuster deal.
Gregory Polanco, OF | Pittsburgh Pirates Stats: .302/.361/.452, 8 HRs, 28 SB (high Class A/Double-A)
Polanco is a five-tool outfielder who, along with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, could give the Pirates the best defensive outfield in the majors.
His bat continues to develop, and there is no reason why he can’t end up being a .290 hitter or better in the major leagues. He also could become a huge trade piece if GM Neal Huntington feels he can trade for a proven run producer in right field who the club could control beyond this season. The Pirates are one big bat away from having a legitimate shot at winning the division and possibly going as far as the World Series.
To make a trade of this magnitude, you have to give up something significant, and with flamethrower Jameson Taillon off-limits, Polanco might be the top prospect they would have to include in a deal.
Eddie Butler, RHP | Colorado Rockies Stats: 2.36 ERA, 8.9 K/9 (low Class A/high Class A)
The Rockies were in trade discussions for Ricky Nolasco of the Miami Marlins before he was traded to the Dodgers. They’ve also kicked the tires on Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers and Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs, as the Rockies understand they need one more starting pitcher to stay with the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the National League West.
The one name that keeps coming up from opposing teams is Butler. The 22-year-old has been whiffing a man per inning in the minors, and his fastball has been consistently clocked at 94-98 mph with sinking late action. He has the chance to develop into a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, which is why everyone is asking for him.
Joey Gallo, 3B | Texas Rangers Stats: .225/.311/.540, 26 HRs (low Class A)
Gallo was a late scratch from the Futures Game because of a groin injury, but I'm including him anyway.
The Rangers have third baseman Adrian Beltre signed through 2015 with a vesting option in 2016, and he is not showing any signs of slowing down. Gallo, 19, could be used to land an elite starter or outfield corner bat.
Gallo, a supplemental first-rounder in 2012, has some of the best raw power in the minors, but he's also struck out 135 times this year, so he has some work to do. Still, power like his is rare, and he has a cannon for an arm.