Major League Baseball’s yearly Trade Deadline isn’t until July 31st, however, that doesn’t stop teams from making major trades for prominent players during the regular season.
Over the years, stars such as C.C Sabathia have been acquired in major mid-season trades that completely changed the balance of October. Hell, in 2014 BOTH Jeff Samardzija AND David Price were both traded in-season. The Padres, in a frivolous spending spree, traded for former Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton and former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp — they also managed to land Wil Myers.
There are many major, All-Star type of names on the 2015 trade market, and due to the radical shift between teams potentially trending down — the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals (inevitable), Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies — and the teams potentially trending up — the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres — there should be a lot more trades with a few major ones sprinkled in.
Here are some of the players who could be traded in 2015:
Hamels’ 108-83 career record is slightly deceiving. He’s had great years with bad run-support and a terrible 2009 sprinkled in. Hamels is a legitimate ace who is still only 31. He’s also signed through 2018 at over $22 million per season, which means that the team that acquires him has him throughout the duration of his prime.
Troy Tulowitzki & Carlos Gonzalez
Tulo and CarGo are inexplicably linked being the stars on a continuously sinking ship known as the Colorado Rockies. So long as the Rockies have no starting pitching, they won’t contend.
The smart money says Gonzalez will be dealt and the Rockies will hang on to their franchise player, but don’t be surprised if both are dealt by July 31st to start a massive rebuilding of the organization — think mid-2000s Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 2012, Castro signed a seven-year, $60 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that had him signed through 2019 with a club-option for 2020. The 25-year-old shortstop is already a three-time All-Star (2011, 2012, 2014), which means his trade value is exponentially high.
When the Cubs traded Samardzija, they acquired top shortstop prospect Addison Russell from the Oakland Athletics in the deal. With players such as: Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler in the mix for Chicago, Castro could net a hefty return and continue to replenish the organization for general manager Theo Epstein.
Cueto is a strikeout machine. Problem is: the Reds missed their window already after early exits in the 2009 and 2010 postseasons, and now with the National League Central being as good as it is, they may very well be the worst team in the division.
Cincy’s 2nd best starter is Homer Bailey who will start the season on the DL after surgery last September to repair a torn flexor tendon. After that is… Mike Leake, who was serviceable in 2014. The Reds No. 4 starter at this minute is Jason Marquis, which is not a good sign for their Division aspirations.
In the biggest trade of 2014, the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners teamed up for a three-teamer that sent David Price to the Tigers, Austin Jackson to seattle and Drew Smyly and Nick Franklin to the Rays. That was the best the Rays could do for David Price?
Price is set to hit the open market when 2015 comes to a close. In the meantime, Price signed a one-year $19.75 million contract with the Tigers — the highest salary for any arbitration player ever. With Justin Verlander seemingly falling off a cliff, Price is easily the Tigers’ ace.
He will presumably cost a lot of money to the team that is willing to pony up and pay him in Free Agency, which is why teams may be skeptical to trade him mid-season. If the Tigers are struggling in the American League Central competing with the defending AL Champion Kansas City Royals and MUCH improved Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, the Tigers may end up selling at the deadline and try to fast-track a reboot they’re probably two years behind on already.
Here are two more big names, yet minor players who could be traded and make a big impact on a contender:
Craig came out of nowhere and set the world on fire with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. He was an All-Star in 2013. Then he was traded along with Joe Kelly to the Boston Red Sox for John Lackey in 2014. That move that helped the Cardinals advance to the National League Championship Series.
Craig’s batting average fell off a cliff last season as he hit .215 combined with St. Louis and Boston. If Craig finds a resemblance of his 2012-13 bat, he can play outfield and first base and help alleviate the log-jam that the Red Sox have created in the outfield with a trade — preferably for a starter.
Believe it or not, Kazmir is only 31-years-old — feels like he’s been around forever, no? Kazmier has spent his last two seasons with the Cleveland Indians and Athletics, reviving his career. The two-year, $22 million contract he signed before 2014 was a bargain. He was an All-Star in 2014.
Athletics General Manager Billy Beane is forever turning over his roster because of budget constraints and his ability to maximize value on players who organizations believe had diminishing talent. Sonny Gray, the As ace, is still only 25 and Jarrod Parker remains in the mix. Kazmir represents that player who Beane grabs, builds his value back up and then unloads later. Teams like the Yankees, Orioles, Cubs and Dodgers, who all have plenty of money, may look into Kazmir as the season progresses hoping to acquire a solid No. 3 starter.