Before the 2016 Trade Deadline, we could see quite a few players making a move to a new team.
After all, mid-season trade acquisitions can have a significant effect on a team’s chances to make the World Series.
4) Carlos Santana
Santana, along with teammates Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco, has been rumored to be a trade candidate since the deadline in 2015. This is for good reason, as Santana will be a free agent in 2016 and is an intriguing player.
While he has only had had an average of .231 the past two years, he has had an OBP of above .350 each year he has been in the majors. Santana also has a decent amount of power as well, with over 15 homers every year except his first in 2010 (46 games). Santana will also be just two years removed from 27 homers and three years removed from hitting 39 doubles.
Santana’s ability to get on base via the extra base-hit and the walk is something that cannot be ignored. He plays a position that is largely known for its power (first base), and despite the bad average, he is a good offensive option there.
For those dreaming about him being an option behind the plate, don’t get your hopes up, as he hasn’t played behind the plate consistently since 2013, playing just 11 games there in 2014 and 0 in 2015.
All things considered, you can always count on the Indians selling at the deadline (sorry Indians fans) and Santana is an attractive rental for a club looking for a bat at the deadline. He could also come cheap as a re-sign option if the acquiring team is interested.
3) Jonathan Lucroy
The Brewers are lurking while the Cubs, Pirates, and Cardinals are built to win now. This team is starting to retool and get younger more and more, and it will continue this season as not only will they potentially deal Ryan Braun, but they could see themselves getting rid of their all-star catcher.
Lucroy struggled with injury issues last year and simply wasn’t himself, as is evident by his abnormal .264/.326/.391 slash line. However, 2016 could be a different story for Lucroy and the Brewers. When healthy, he is one of the best catchers in the game both offensively and defensively.
So, a healthy Lucroy in 2016 will allow for the Brewers to capitalize on the upcoming free agent’s value, getting a slew of prospects for the veteran catcher. It will be intriguing to see who would potentially go after Lucroy and whether or not they would keep him at catcher. With most of his injuries occurring behind the plate, there could be consideration for him to play first base.
With trades of Lucroy and Braun, the Brewers will have gotten rid of all of the players that made them so good in 2010-2012, but it is necessary with the division they are in. It will take a stroke of brilliance for them to build a team that could compete with the top three in the NL Central, but they are on the right track.
2) Jay Bruce
The Reds may be dumping Bruce before the season starts, but if they don’t, he is almost an absolute lock to be traded by the trade deadline this season. The Reds woke up this offseason and decided that “Oh hey, we aren’t a good team after all” and sent Todd Frazier packing in a three-team deal with the White Sox and Dodgers.
They then sent Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees, only after a deal with the Dodgers (that could have netted them Julio Urias or Corey Seager) fell through. The Reds also attempted to send Brandon Phillips to the Washington Nationals, and Phillips scoffed at the idea of playing for a contender and blocked the trade.
Now that the Reds are finally serious about rebuilding, Jay Bruce will likely be the next to go. He is a power hitting right fielder who can hit bombs with the best of them. Unfortunately, in the past two years we have seen a decline for Bruce. His power numbers were back last season with 26 homers, but his average was still low at .226.
Unfortunately for the Reds, if Bruce doesn’t return to the Bruce from 2010-2013, the return on a potential trade will be lower. However, that doesn’t mean teams won’t still want to take a shot at getting Bruce’s power in their lineup. Bruce is one of those guys who in a perfect season could come close to 40 homers and that will keep teams hot after his trail.
1) James Shields
“Big Game James” is going to be traded again and that is pretty much a guarantee. Shields will be an attractive option in free agency in the 2016-2017 offseason, as he will almost certainly opt out of his deal with the Padres at the end of the 2016 season. This will allow for Shields to cash in one more time in his career.
Shields did not have a good debut in San Diego and was part of the reason why the Padres never got off the ground to be a contender in the NL West, with his 3.91 ERA and 4.45 FIP. This was a bit of an anomaly from the rest of his career, as he had put up reliable numbers during his time in Tampa Bay and short time in Kansas City.
These numbers will lead to him being quite the get around the deadline. Regardless of his numbers in 2016, he will still be a target for teams looking for pitching, as even with a bad year he has a history of success and teams will bank on being able to “fix” him. This happens every year.
This will mark the second time Shields is traded, and it just makes sense for the Padres. We talked about their inability to compete in a loaded division earlier, so the only thing they can do is attempt to get better by acquiring some prospects to build up their unimpressive farm system, and bank on the other teams getting older.