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December 2014

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Top Trade Options On The Market

Written by , Posted in General

Free agency is already in full swing, which means many of the top names have already found new homes. Though there has been quite a bit of movement on the trade market already, with Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers heading to San Diego, Josh Donaldson going to Toronto and a few other notable moves, there are a few players that could wind up getting moved prior to the season kicking off.

Cole Hamels

Much like a majority of the Philadelphia Phillies roster, Hamels has to be seen as available to other teams just based on the fact that the team should (hypothetically) be in a rebuilding phase. General Manager Ruben Amaro has defied logic in the past, but he would be crazy to not at least listen to what teams would offer for his ace.

Hamels is the cream of the crop as far as the trade market goes, as he’s a proven ace who is under team control for at least the next four seasons with a contract that is right in line with his value (along with a $20 million team option for the fifth season).

While he has not experienced Kershaw-level dominance, he is still just about as reliable of a pitcher that you’re going to find, and potentially a better option than the top two free agent pitchers that are left unsigned, James Shields and Max Scherzer.

As we have seen in the past, Amaro has a tendency to expect a bit too much of a return in any transactions, so the price for Hamels might be higher than if he were on any other team. It’s going to take a top prospect or two to pry him away from Philly, but the return could end up being more than worth it if he goes to the right team.

Troy Tulowitzki

If this were a case of comparing talent with no external factors, Tulowitzki would have undoubtedly topped this list. When he’s healthy, he’s undoubtedly the best shortstop (and one of the best players overall) in all of baseball.

He has won two Gold Gloves in his career and just as many Silver Sluggers, sports a .371 OBP for his career and has a 20 stolen base season on his resume. He is the prototype of what you would want out of a shortstop, but there’s one major problem for any team acquiring him; he can’t stay healthy.

After playing 151 games in the 2009 season, Tulo has went on to miss 281 games over the past five years, including 71 just last season. It hasn’t been a series of nagging injuries, but rather some major ones that include hip surgery, groin surgery, a broken wrist and a strained quad that caused him to miss nearly 50 games.

He’s under team control for the next 6 years, which would be a dream with his production, but could end up being a nightmare with his injury history. The cost of acquiring him from the Colorado Rockies will be steep, which will only increase the risk of trading for him.

Jordan Zimmermann

Unlike the other options that have been listed, Zimmermann does not offer the security of sticking with a team beyond this coming season, as 2015 is the last year on his contract. He’ll be making $16.5 million this year, but that could skyrocket if/when he hits free agency.

Regardless of his contractual situation, however, Zimmermann has quickly asserted himself as one of the top right-handed arms in the game and he’s managed to stand out in a rotation that also features Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister.

Over the past three seasons, Zimmermann is 45-22 with a 2.96 ERA (3.18 FIP) and a superb 4.43 K/BB ratio that was even higher this past season at an astounding 6.28, which was good for 6th in all of baseball. He’s only 28 years old and he seems to be improving with each season, so we may not have even seen his top form at this point.

Giving up a substantial package for what could be a one-year rental is always a nerve-wracking proposition, but the talent that Zimmermann brings to the table should outweigh any of those concerns. For a team that is in need of a pitcher to put them over the top, they should have no qualms about making a move with the Washington Nationals.

What other trade options are out there that you find appealing? What would you be willing to give up for any of the players listed?

  • Dork

    My guess is that looking at these top guys is not where the cubs will be looking. I suspect if they trade for another pitcher or bat it will be a second tier person that fits into a value proposition. They have overpaid for the one player that they thought was worth the risk in Lester. if they do acquire another MLB piece, the bat will have a high career OBP and the pitcher would have low walk totals. I would not rule out the cubs looking to sign Zimmerman when he becomes a free agent at the end of 2015.

    • Noah_I

      Agreed. Honestly, I’m curious to see if the Cubs will look to the Padres and try to trade Castillo for one of their surplus outfielders (particularly Venable or Maybin). The Padres should be looking at having Norris, a terrible defensive catcher, play 1B a lot more than catcher, and Federowicz just isn’t a starter. Both Venable and Maybin would be hope for return to form types. Venable is less speculative because you’d just be hoping he can get back to 2012/2013 form. A lot of his difference between those seasons and his 2014 performance was BABIP, but there is a concern with how little power he hit for in his age 31 season, so that could just be decline. I’d think the Cubs would also need a prospect in there, since Venable is a free agent after this season. But, if things turned out well, Venable could be the rich man’s version of Chris Coghlan: similar offensive value but better defender in left field.

      Maybin’s a bigger roll of the dice with the injuries he’s dealt with over the last season, plus he had an amphetamine suspension last season. He’s a good defensive center fielder, though, and you’d hope his offensive skill set would just fit better in Wrigley than it did in Petco, which is one of the hardest places in baseball to hit.

      My bet is the Cubs trade Valbuena for either a mid-rotation pitching piece or prospects. If the Cubs trade Valbuena for a mid-rotation pitcher, then Wood hits the market to try to bring in a prospect or two. If the Cubs trade Valbuena for prospects, Wood stays put. Either way, I don’t see any names as big as three listed here coming to the Cubs this season.

    • Doc Raker

      I agree with Dork. Is Carlos Pena available?

      • I know you’re joking, but consider this. Say you have a matchup between a young pitcher and a guy who works a lot of counts. Even if that guy doesn’t hit for average (Pena) he still has the potential of, say, a 10 pitch at bat. Maybe that pitcher is limited to 100 pitches…you just ate 10% of that. This is exactly why I’m beginning to think we maybe should have signed Adam Dunn in ’09.

      • It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a roster of nine such players would be able to knock out the opposing pitcher in the 4th while collecting 10 outs. We’d know this if we hadn’t similarly swung and missed on Milton Bradley in ’09.

      • Eddie Von White

        Its not working.

      • Think he rounded 2nd?

      • Eddie Von White

        I think he’s listening to Lizzie.

      • It’s gotta be more than that. He never listens to me.

      • Eddie Von White

        You never know. He’s eyes might have finally been opened.

      • Seymour Butts

        Could be Love.

      • Second base will do that to a guy.

      • cap’n realist

        as if any of you have ever gotten to second base with a living, breathing female human….

      • Doug S.

        Pretty tough criteria

      • Seymour Butts

        I’m thinking that living and human don’t have to be simultaneous.

      • Eddie Von White

        I think its the same bug that bit Jeremiah.

      • Seymour Butts

        Could be Love.

      • Second base will do that to a guy.

      • cap’n realist

        as if any of you have ever gotten to second base with a living, breathing female human….

      • Eddie Von White

        Its not working.

      • Think he rounded 2nd?

  • Dork

    My guess is that looking at these top guys is not where the cubs will be looking. I suspect if they trade for another pitcher or bat it will be a second tier person that fits into a value proposition. They have overpaid for the one player that they thought was worth the risk in Lester. if they do acquire another MLB piece, the bat will have a high career OBP and the pitcher would have low walk totals. I would not rule out the cubs looking to sign Zimmerman when he becomes a free agent at the end of 2015.

    • Noah_I

      Agreed. Honestly, I’m curious to see if the Cubs will look to the Padres and try to trade Castillo for one of their surplus outfielders (particularly Venable or Maybin). The Padres should be looking at having Norris, a terrible defensive catcher, play 1B a lot more than catcher, and Federowicz just isn’t a starter. Both Venable and Maybin would be hope for return to form types. Venable is less speculative because you’d just be hoping he can get back to 2012/2013 form. A lot of his difference between those seasons and his 2014 performance was BABIP, but there is a concern with how little power he hit for in his age 31 season, so that could just be decline. I’d think the Cubs would also need a prospect in there, since Venable is a free agent after this season. But, if things turned out well, Venable could be the rich man’s version of Chris Coghlan: similar offensive value but better defender in left field.

      Maybin’s a bigger roll of the dice with the injuries he’s dealt with over the last season, plus he had an amphetamine suspension last season. He’s a good defensive center fielder, though, and you’d hope his offensive skill set would just fit better in Wrigley than it did in Petco, which is one of the hardest places in baseball to hit.

      My bet is the Cubs trade Valbuena for either a mid-rotation pitching piece or prospects. If the Cubs trade Valbuena for a mid-rotation pitcher, then Wood hits the market to try to bring in a prospect or two. If the Cubs trade Valbuena for prospects, Wood stays put. Either way, I don’t see any names as big as three listed here coming to the Cubs this season.

  • Dork

    One player that I would like to see the cubs add is Gerardo Parra. I heard a rumor early on that the brewers might be interested in trading him. I am not sure you can pull off a trade in the division, but he is a great defender and a left handed bat.

    • Noah_I

      I’d like Parra as well. If trade returns were equal I’d prefer Venable because I think he’s not that far off defensively in LF from Parra and is more likely to hit for some power than Parra, but Parra is a guy who should provide similar offensive production to Coghlan (presuming Coghlan regressed to the mean a bit) with MUCH better defense.

    • shrekogre

      he has one year left on his contract, Brewers (Selig) won’t trade within their own division.

      • Noah_I

        Selig has absolutely nothing to do with Brewers ownership anymore, and hasn’t for a long time. Attanasio has no relation with the Selig family aside from having bought the team from them 10 seasons ago.

  • Doc Raker

    I think White Sox fans are very intelligent. Batch cooking makes sense. Homer Simpson is the worst character on TV ever.

    • Dork

      Wow you guys are really trolling here.

      • Doc Raker

        Maybe they never made up and he is despondent, not even bashing White Sox fans will make him feel any better. Or they are watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ over and over as CAPS says to his lady, “You want the moon Mary, I will get you the moon, I will lasso the moon for you Mary.” Dreamy.

      • Eddie Von White

        I didn’t know we could all miss one person so badly. I feel like there’s a big hole in my heart.

      • Seymour Butts

        You should get that looked at. Trust me…

      • Eddie Von White

        I was thinking about that.

  • Faux CAPS

    I was busy doing zumba and batch cooking plantains. The White Sox still suck.

  • HLCBSL691
    • Doc Raker

      Merry Christmas CAPS. Where you busy shopping for someone special? I know Seymour has been but his someone special is Joe Pepitone and we already heard all about his dinners with ex big leaguers.

    • Seymour Butts

      Merry Xmas CAPS!

  • AC0000000
    • Seymour Butts

      Merry Xmas CAPS!