With the MLB trade deadline less than a month away, it’s time to look at the players who will most likely be on the move. Last season provided evidence of how teams, through a trade or two, can completely alter the course of their season and ride their acquisitions all the way to the fifth game of the World Series (the Mets and Cespedes). This year may be no different. For the sake of simplicity, I’m outlining only players the will be free agents come season’s end, so some of the bigger names mentioned by the media as possible trade candidates, such as Ryan Braun and Julio Tehran, will not be found in this list.
Rich Hill, SP (OAK), 2016 Contract= $6 million
- 2.31 ERA, 2.72 FIP in 70 innings pitched.
- 10.3 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9).
- 3.76 xFIP- which shows his ERA may go up by at least a run in the second half of the season because he will likely give up more homeruns, especially if he’s traded to a team with a hitter’s park.
- 3.34 walks per 9 innings (MLB average for SP is 2.97)
- He’s 36, a journeyman, and is he really that good?
Possible suitors: Texas, Boston, Baltimore
Jeremy Hellickson, SP (PHI), 2016= $7 million
- 3.92 ERA, 3.90 xFIP in 105.2 innings
- Average strikeout and walk rates: 7.92 K/9, 2.30 BB/9
- Solid 4 or 5 starter
- 4 or 5 starter, nothing more
- innings eater that doesn’t eat innings (never thrown 190 innings/season)
- injury prone last two years
Suitors: see Hill, Rich
Andrew Cashner, SP (SDP), 2016= $7.15 million
- throws hard? 93.8 average fastball velocity
- 2 years removed from a 2.55 ERA, 3.05 FIP season (I’m really stretching)
- below average K and BB rates (6.41 and 3.66)- especially alarming for a guy who has plus stuff
- #2 starter in San Diego, #5 starter anywhere else
- has all of these numbers despite pitching in extreme pitcher-friendly park
Suitors: see Hill, Rich; Hellickson, Jeremy
Aroldis Chapman, RP (NYY), 2016= $11.3 million
- 13.5 K/9, 1.64 BB/9
- 2.86 ERA, 1.90 FIP
- 16-17 in save opportunities
- Other than the high price tag, not much. And even then, the Yankees have the capability of paying some of his salary in return for prospects
Suitors: Texas, Cleveland, Detroit
Steve Pearce, 1B/OF (TB), 2016= $4.7M
- .322/.393/.540 in 196 plate appearances
- 152 wRC+
- versatile- can play OF, 1B, 2B
- Other than this half-season, he’s had one other good year (2014). He’s 33.
- While he plays multiple position, he really only plays one position well (1B).
Suitors: Washington, Texas, Houston
Jonathan Lucroy, C (MIL), 2016= $4M, 2017= $5.25M team option
- extremely team-friendly salary and option
- .302/.359/.484 in 315 PA
- 2.2 WAR (3rd highest amongst catchers)
- With a name like Lucroy, the only negative is that you’re probably going to have to give up a small fortune to get him
Suitors: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit
Josh Reddick, OF (OAK). 2016= $6.58M
- .303/.382/.434 in 199 PA
- 119 wRC+
- has put up these numbers despite playing in a extreme pitcher-friendly home park
- I don’t have many bad things to say here. Just that he’s a career .255/.316/.435 hitter, and not a whole lot better than a 5th or 6th hitter on a contending team.
Suitors: Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City
Gordan Beckham, 2B (ATL), 2016= $1.25M
- .284/.382/.442 in 110 PA
- 126 wRC+
- A lot of the teams that need second basemen really need second basemen. Take a look at each team’s second basemen ranked by OPS.
- he’s been on the DL for the past month, so will have to prove that his numbers in a small-ish sample size aren’t a fluke
- his numbers very well may be a fluke (he’s a career .244/.307/.374 hitter)
- an average fielder: has a -0.3 UZR at 2B over his career (cost his team 0.3 runs)
Suitors: Toronto, Pittsburgh, Kansas City