Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Placing odds on top players getting dealt
By Jim Bowden
Now it's just a waiting game for Cliff Lee as to whether he will be traded by Wednesday.
With the clock ticking down to the major league trade deadline, there has been some activity the past two days, and we're bound to see some more between now and 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.
So I decided to handicap the odds of these players being traded and which teams they’d best fit based on what I’m hearing from around the front offices. You can bet any movement that happens will somehow involve one of these guys.
Jake Peavy | RHP | Chicago White Sox | Odds: 75 percent
The White Sox have been demanding prospect packages far beyond what the Texas Rangers gave up to the Chicago Cubs for Matt Garza. Although the White Sox should get slightly more than the Cubs got for impending free agent Garza -- because the acquiring club would be getting an additional year of control of Peavy in 2014 -- their asking price still must come down if they want to move him.
But you can’t blame the White Sox for asking for elite young prospects such as pitchers Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha or shortstop Xander Bogaerts, considering there’s just one day left until the deadline and they own all the leverage because of a slim market.
Cliff Lee | LHP | Philadelphia Phillies | Odds: 40 percent
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is doing the smart thing by first listening to everyone then asking for two top prospects and a midlevel prospect and insisting that any partner take on Lee's entire contract. However, those types of deals just don’t happen anymore. The most realistic landing spots for Lee are the Boston Red Sox and the Cardinals because they both have the payroll and the farm system to make a deal of that magnitude.
The Red Sox are more willing to give up some of their top-end prospects than the Cardinals are, and, although they don't want to part with Bogaerts, Matt Barnes or Anthony Ranaudo, they might be willing to include a package centered on Will Middlebrooks and either Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa.
Ian Kennedy | RHP | Arizona Diamondbacks | Odds: 30 percent
The Diamondbacks have soured on Kennedy, and, with a thin starting-pitching market, they have made him available. They feel comfortable that top prospect Archie Bradley can give them the same type of production in the near future. Kennedy is pitching like a fifth starter but would still be an upgrade for a team such as the Nationals.
Alexei Ramirez | SS | Chicago White Sox | Odds: 40 percent
The White Sox need to be in full rebuild mode, and including Ramirez in a Peavy package to maximize the prospect return only makes sense. Like Peavy, Ramirez fits the Cardinals, and, with their deep farm system, there has to be some kind of a deal that works for both sides. The Cardinals aren’t happy with Pete Kozma’s bat and lack of range to his right, and Ramirez would benefit from a change of scenery.
Michael Young | 3B | Philadelphia Phillies | Odds: 90 percent
One of my bold predictions in spring training was that Michael Young would play in a playoff game this year but not for the Phillies. I still think this is going to happen. If Alex Rodriguez is suspended, I think Young would be the perfect replacement for him. Young can DH, fill in all over the infield, and bring Yankees-caliber makeup and leadership. The Yankees are trying to go for it in Mariano Rivera’s last season. The Rays and Orioles also would fit Young.
Kendrys Morales | 1B/DH | Seattle Mariners | Odds: 65 percent
We keep hearing that the Mariners don’t want to "sell," that they’d rather let the fan base enjoy more wins in the last two months of the season. That would be a foolish move, considering they have a chance to contend in 2014. They need to get what they can for Morales, and, with Lance Berkman out for the year, the Rangers are the perfect fit.
Justin Morneau | 1B | Minnesota Twins | Odds: 65 percent
The Twins have decided they are not moving Glen Perkins, but they do want to move Morneau. The only question is: Are the Orioles, Yankees, Rangers or Pirates willing to give up a midlevel prospect and take on Morneau’s salary?
Hunter Pence | RF | San Francisco Giants | Odds: 40 percent
Pence told me he wants to stay with the Giants beyond this year, but he hasn’t been given a contract offer. The Giants would like to keep him and plan to negotiate with him at season’s end. However, trading him now for prospects and re-signing him in November would be their best move. The Rangers and Pirates desperately need Pence. The Pirates need the help more, as this is the first time they've had a shot at a World Series in more than two decades.
Alex Rios | RF | Chicago White Sox | Odds: 50 percent
When Rios originally signed his seven-year, $69 million deal in 2008, it was a bad contract. Now, it’s a market deal, but teams still walk away over it. The White Sox dislike the offers they’ve been given; teams think that, if they take on the financial exposure, they shouldn’t have to give up a good prospect, too. A team such as the Rangers could keep Rios or trade him in the offseason. I still think the Rangers or Pirates will step up at the deadline or in August.
Jason Kubel | LF | Arizona Diamondbacks | Odds: 50 percent
Kubel was not able to repeat his performance from last year, but his left-handed power makes him attractive enough for a team such as the Rangers to consider if the price is right.
Nate Schierholtz | RF | Chicago Cubs | Odds: 40 percent
The Cubs don’t have to trade him, and there is a good chance they'll retain him, but, with so many teams looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder who plays good defense and can deliver in clutch situations, the Cubs might find a deal they like. The Nationals could use him as their fourth outfielder.
Kevin Gregg | Chicago Cubs | Odds: 90 percent
The Cubs have been the clear winners among the sellers so far at this trade deadline, so they might as well complete the task by dealing Gregg, who has done his part in pitching himself onto a contender. His 22 saves and 2.68 ERA this year have been impressive, although he should expect to return to a setup role in any trade in which he is involved. The Dodgers would be a good landing spot for him.
Oliver Perez | Seattle Mariners | Odds: 50 percent
He’s one of the best left-handed setup relievers in baseball. He was the perfect fit for the Atlanta Braves, who instead traded for Scott Downs. This is a Cardinals type of move, and the Mariners would be foolish not to take advantage of St. Louis’ deep farm system.
Javier Lopez | San Francisco Giants | Odds: 50 percent
When GM Brian Sabean acquired Javier Lopez in July 2010 from the Pittsburgh Pirates, the deal went largely unnoticed, but, four months later, the Giants celebrated a world championship. Lopez’s work against Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the playoffs had a lot to do with the San Francisco win. Now in sell mode, the Giants are listening to offers on Lopez.
Joe Thatcher | San Diego Padres | Odds: 50 percent
The Padres are listening on Thatcher, and now it’s a game of musical left-handed pitchers with a market flooded with Perez, Lopez, Mike Dunn and Josh Outman. The A’s always seem to find a way to get solid players at the right cost, and Thatcher would just bring more depth and talent to their pen.
Josh Outman | Colorado Rockies | Odds: 75 percent
Outman can spot start and can pitch long relief and middle relief. The Rockies and Indians always make deals, so why not a minor one here?