Ranking All 30 MLB Teams by Available Trade Assets

Karl BuscheckContributor IIIJuly 8, 2014

Ranking All 30 MLB Teams by Available Trade Assets

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Just ask Billy Beane and Theo Epstein—the MLB trade season is officially underway. 

    As the swap between the Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs clearly demonstrated, teams must be willing to part with premier prospects in order to land the top names on the trade market. What follows is a ranking of all 30 MLB clubs based on their available trade assets.

    The teams are broken down into two groups: buyers and sellers. For the buyers, the top trade chips are prospects. All prospect rankings are courtesy of Bleacher Report's Top 100 Prospects list. For sellers, the most valuable pieces are disposable and often high-priced veterans.

    Now, it's time to see which teams are in the best and worst positions to pull off a major deal between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

30. Detroit Tigers

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Jonathan Crawford, SP
    • James McCann, C
    • Jake Thompson, SP

    The Detroit Tigers don't have a whole lot to work with as the trade deadline approaches.

    The club has zero prospects who rank in the top 100. That means that if general manager Dave Dombrowski is looking to shore up Detroit's bullpen, he'll have to get creative. 

29. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Tyrone Taylor, OF, (No. 97)
    • Jimmy Nelson, SP
    • Mitch Haniger, OF

    Like the Detroit Tigers, the Milwaukee Brewers are a first-place club that is in a less than ideal position as far as the trade market is concerned. 

    The only player from Milwaukee's farm system who checks in as a top-100 prospect is outfielder Tyrone Taylor (No. 97). Starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson, who has been dealing in Triple-A, is arguably the club's most valuable asset. However, it would be extremely difficult to part with the right-hander as he'll likely be needed as a rotation reinforcement later this summer.  

28. Houston Astros

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Chad Qualls, RP
    • Tony Sipp, RP
    • Jason Castro, C

    In recent seasons, the Houston Astros have been highly active around the deadline.

    That doesn't figure to be the case in 2014. The club's most viable trade pieces are bullpen arms like Chad Qualls and Tony Sipp. Qualls, who owns a 2.12 ERA, has already been linked to the Detroit Tigers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports

27. Miami Marlins

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    Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Casey McGehee, 3B 
    • Garrett Jones, 1B

    It's a little bit early to label the Miami Marlins as sellers, but that's the direction that their season appears to be trending toward.

    The Marlins posted an 11-16 record in June and now trail the first-place Atlanta Braves by six games. If Miami does drop out of the race before the deadline, Casey McGehee is a player whom  the club would at least have to consider moving. 

    The third baseman is hitting .322 with 20 doubles and is also playing on a favorable contract. McGehee makes $1.1 million this year and is arbitration-eligible at the end of the season. 

26. Los Angeles Angels

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Taylor Lindsey, 2B (No. 87)
    • Kaleb Cowart, 3B
    • R.J. Alvarez, RP

    The Los Angeles Angels have already made some minor moves by picking up reliever Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana from the Arizona Diamondbacks, per the club's Twitter account.

    An even bigger swap could be on tap. At the end of June, the team was "interested" in Tampa Bay Rays lefty David Price, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported. Pulling off such a deal won't be easy, considering that the Angels' most highly rated prospect, Taylor Lindsey, is struggling in Triple-A. Lindsey is the team's only minor leaguer who is ranked as a top-100 prospect. 

25. New York Yankees

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Status: Buyers

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Gary Sanchez, C, (No. 69)
    • Jose Ramirez, SP
    • Slade Heathcott, OF

    GM Brian Cashman has already been busy improving the New York Yankees roster.

    Over the weekend, the team picked up starter Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks, as was reported by New York's Twitter account. With the club sitting at 45-43, more moves are certainly in order. Double-A catcher Gary Sanchez is by far the Yankees' most valuable trade asset if the front office chooses to put the backstop out on the market. 

24. Seattle Mariners

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    Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • D.J. Peterson, 3B, (No. 67)
    • Edwin Diaz, SP
    • Gabriel Guerrero, OF

    The Seattle Mariners have been surprisingly competitive in 2014, as they currently occupy the second wild-card spot in the AL. 

    The team's position in the standings puts Seattle's front office in a difficult situation, as it decides whether to ship out a promising prospect in order to go all-in. With Taijuan Walker currently a part of the big league rotation, third baseman D.J. Peterson is the only prospect who lands in the top 100. 

23. Atlanta Braves

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Lucas Sims, SP, (No. 49)
    • J.R. Graham, SP
    • Jason Hursh, SP

    The Atlanta Braves have just one top-100 prospect—Lucas Sims. The right-hander, who is currently pitching for the team's High-A affiliate, was selected in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft. 

    The club also has at least one potential trade chip on the MLB roster in Dan Uggla. Of course, with a .163 average and a $13 million salary both this year and in 2015, the 34-year-old has negative value on the market. 

22. Chicago Cubs

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Luis Valbuena, 3B
    • Justin Ruggiano, OF
    • James Russell, RP
    • Wesley Wright, RP

    The Chicago Cubs have already dealt their most valuable chips in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. 

    However, that's not to say that the club's trade resources have been depleted. Luis Valbuena and Justin Ruggiano, who have both enjoyed successful seasons for the Cubs, could prove to be underrated additions for contending teams.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Martin Prado, 3B
    • Aaron Hill, 2B
    • Brad Ziegler, RP

    The underwhelming Arizona Diamondbacks have already begun selling off their players, and there are still plenty more who could be on their way out. 

    Reliever Brad Ziegler, who has posted a 2.23 ERA, should definitely draw interest on the trade block. As for position players, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill could also see their time with the Diamondbacks coming to a close. According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, the Toronto Blue Jays have "scouted" both infielders. 

20. St. Louis Cardinals

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Stephen Piscotty (No. 66)
    • Alex Reyes, SP (No. 85)
    • Marco Gonzales, SP

    Even with Oscar Taveras on the major league roster, the St. Louis Cardinals still have two top-100 prospects who could be used in a deal. The Cardinals also have starter Marco Gonzales as a potential trade piece. The left-hander, who struggled in three outings with St. Louis, has been optioned to Triple-A, per Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

    With the Cardinals sitting in second place in the NL Central, GM John Mozeliak will have to seriously consider making an addition or two to the roster before the July 31 deadline. 

19. San Francisco Giants

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Kyle Crick, SP, (No. 43)
    • Edwin Escobar, SP (No. 99)
    • Chris Stratton, SP

    The San Francisco Giants don't have much to offer in terms of minor league talent. 

    However, GM Brian Sabean told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News that every player on the farm is "available." That includes starter Kyle Crick. The talented right-hander, who is currently pitching for the club's Double-A affiliate, is the kind of pitcher who could be the centerpiece for a major deadline swap.  

18. Cincinnati Reds

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Robert Stephenson, SP, (No. 21)
    • Phil Ervin, OF, (No. 91)
    • Jesse Winker, OF

    Playing in the ruthlessly competitive NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds just might need to make an upgrade before the trade deadline passes. 

    If the Reds wanted to make an aggressive move, Robert Stephenson would be the player to deal. The 21-year-old is the 21st-best prospect in baseball and one of the most talented right-handed starters in the minor leagues. 

17. Minnesota Twins

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Kurt Suzuki, C
    • Josh Willingham, OF
    • Kevin Correia, SP

    With the Minnesota Twins sitting in last place in the AL Central, it appears that it's only a matter of time before the front office begins fielding offers for some of its veterans.

    All-Star backstop Kurt Suzuki could be a name to watch out for, especially if a contending club suffers an injury at catcher. Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports points to outfielder Josh Willingham and starter Kevin Correia as two players who should become available since they're both set to become free agents at the end of the season. 

16. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Aaron Sanchez, SP, (No. 42)
    • Alberto Tirado, SP, (No. 96)
    • Daniel Norris, SP, (No. 100)

    The Toronto Blue Jays definitely have the minor league arms to pull off a major move this July. 

    According to Morosi, the team has the prospects to "make a credible offer" for Price. Snagging the Tampa Bay Rays ace would redefine the landscape of the AL East, where the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees are all fighting for first place. 

15. San Diego Padres

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Huston Street, RP
    • Chase Headley, 3B
    • Chris Denorfia, OF
    • Joaquin Benoit, RP

    The San Diego Padres have an array of veterans who could be on their way out of town before the trade deadline passes. 

    Third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Chris Denorfia both provide bats that should draw plenty of interest between now and July 31. However, it's closer Huston Street who makes for the best trade candidate of all. The right-hander has locked down 23 of 24 save opportunities in 2014. 

14. Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Status: TBD

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Francisco Lindor, SS, (No. 5)
    • Clint Frazier, OF, (No. 39)
    • Cody Anderson, SP

    Just barely hanging around in the AL wild-card race, the Cleveland Indians aren't likely to make any drastic deadline moves. 

    Still, the club is definitely in position to make an impact trade if it wanted to. Shortstop Francisco Lindor is a comparable prospect to Addison Russell, who recently was the centerpiece in the deal that saw Jeff Samardzija go from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics. If Cleveland ever put Lindor on the trade block, he would bring back a monster haul. 

13. Washington Nationals

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Lucas Giolito, SP, (No. 15)
    • A.J. Cole, SP, (No. 76)
    • Brian Goodwin, OF (No. 83)

    The Washington Nationals have a lot of talented players on the farm. None more so than starter Lucas Giolito. The right-hander owns a 2.19 ERA for Washington's Low-A affiliate. While there's no doubt that the club has minor league trade ammunition, it's not entirely clear just what exactly the team would need to use it for. 

    The Nationals are battling with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East, but the club doesn't have any glaring needs. That makes a big move unlikely. 

12. Baltimore Orioles

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Dylan Bundy, SP, (No. 18)
    • Hunter Harvey, SP, (No. 62)
    • Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, (No. 68)

    The Baltimore Orioles are atop the AL East, but in order to maintain that position the club will need to strengthen its subpar rotation. 

    The O's have the minor league talent to make that happen. The organization is particularly strong when it comes to pitching prospects, and the most valuable arm at GM Dan Duquette's disposal is Dylan Bundy. The 21-year-old, who recently returned from Tommy John surgery, was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft.

11. New York Mets

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Daniel Murphy, 2B
    • Jon Niese, SP
    • Bartolo Colon, SP

    Looking at the New York Mets roster, there's no question that Jon Niese is the most valuable trade candidate the team could potentially offer. 

    However, GM Sandy Alderson told Heyman that the left-hander is likely staying put. The same isn't necessarily true of veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon. According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, "club" sources" said that the Mets "may actively shop" Colon. 

10. Oakland Athletics

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Tommy Milone, SP
    • Drew Pomeranz, SP
    • Jim Johnson, RP

    The Oakland Athletics have already pulled off the trade of the season. 

    As GM Billy Beane explained to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the club might not be done just yet. 

    "We're not just going to stop and shut everything down. We've got three-plus weeks until the trade deadline."

    Now that the Athletics are stocked up on starting pitchers, the team could choose to deal one of its excess arms. With no room for Tommy Milone and the sidelined Drew Pomeranz in the starting rotation, either one of those lefties could be dealt to pick up a second baseman. 

9. Chicago White Sox

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Alexei Ramirez, SS
    • Adam Dunn, 1B/DH/OF
    • Dayan Viciedo, OF

    The Chicago White Sox are still lingering in the AL wild-card race. 

    If the team tumbles out of playoff contention before the deadline, there are a number of veterans who could be on their way out. Dayan Viciedo has drawn interest from the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, according to Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times

    Meanwhile, shortstop Alexei Ramirez could also be shipped out. Considering that the White Sox have Ramirez under team control for two more seasons, it won't be easy to pry him away. 

8. Kansas City Royals

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    G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Kyle Zimmer, SP, (No. 22)
    • Raul Adalberto Mondesi, SS, (No. 30)
    • Sean Manaea, SP, (No. 59)
    • Miguel Almonte, SP, (No. 71)

    The Kansas City Royals are right in the middle of the conversation for a playoff spot in the AL. If the club decides to bolster its roster via a trade, there are plenty of top prospects who could be dealt. 

    The Royals have four minor leaguers who rank in the top 100 prospects. None of those players would bring back a bigger haul than Kyle Zimmer. However, the right-handed starter is currently on the disabled list and likely won't resume throwing until mid- to late July, according to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports.

7. Texas Rangers

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Adrian Beltre, 3B
    • Alex Rios, OF
    • Joakim Soria, RP
    • Jason Frasor, RP

    The Texas Rangers' 2014 season hasn't gone to plan.

    The AL West club is currently 18 games off the pace in the division. Based on the standings, the front office will have no choice but to consider moving some of its high-priced veterans. According to Heyman, the Rangers "may be willing to trade just abut anyone."

    Outside of staff ace Yu Darvish, it's difficult to think of a player who would bring back a more impressive return than third baseman Adrian Beltre. In 2014, the 35-year-old right-handed hitter owns a .333 average. 

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Tyler Glasnow, SP, (No. 40)
    • Austin Meadows, OF, (No. 57)
    • Alen Hanson, SS, (No. 85)
    • Josh Bell, OF, (No. 93)

    With five top-100 prospects, the Pittsburgh Pirates have myriad minor league talent to make use of in a potential deadline deal. 

    Such a trade could just happen the way the Pirates have been playing as of late. After a slow start, the club has climbed back into the playoff race and is just 4.5 games off the lead in the NL Central. One area the team could look to strengthen in advance of the deadline is the starting rotation.  

    One pitcher the Pirates could consider is A.J. Burnett. Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke recently told Dan Zangrilli of 93.7 The Fan that "everybody would welcome" such a move.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Corey Seager, SS, (No. 24)
    • Julio Urias, SP, (No. 38)
    • Joc Pederson, OF, (No. 45)
    • Zach Lee, SP, (No. 84)

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are in prime position to make a big splash in advance of the trade deadline. 

    The organization has a seemingly endless ability to absorb new payroll, and the top level of the minor league system is stacked with impact prospects. According to Morosi, the Dodgers "have enough high-level minor-league talent" to swing a deal for Price. 

    The Dodgers certainly don't need the left-hander, but adding him to their already loaded rotation would cement their spot as the most dangerous team in the NL.

4. Boston Red Sox

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Jon Lester, SP
    • Jake Peavy, SP
    • Koji Uehara, RP
    • Burke Badenhop, RP
    • Andrew Miller, RP
    • A.J. Pierzynski, C

    The Boston Red Sox are struggling.

    There's no other way to put it. With the All-Star break approaching, the reigning World Series champions are in last place in the AL East. That means it's time for GM Ben Cherington to seriously consider cleaning house. 

    Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald argues that the Red Sox should deal Jon Lester, pointing out that the club could lose out in the bidding when the left-hander becomes a free agent at the end of the season. In addition to Lester, there are an array of Red Sox who should end up on the trade block this month. 

3. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Alan Diaz/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Chase Utley, 2B
    • Cliff Lee, SP
    • Cole Hamels, SP
    • A.J. Burnett, SP
    • Jonathan Papelbon, RP
    • Jimmy Rollins, SS

    The Philadelphia Phillies have a ton of veterans who are expected to be on the market this July. 

    Of all the players who could get dealt, Cliff Lee likely would bring back the strongest return. Lee is currently on the DL, but he could still be a target for the New York Yankees, according to Heyman

    The fact that all of Philadelphia's potential trade chips are still owed substantial sums of money keeps the club from climbing any higher in these rankings. 

2. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • David Price, SP
    • Ben Zobrist, UTL
    • David DeJesus, OF
    • Matt Joyce, OF
    • Juan Carlos Oviedo, RP

    The Tampa Bay Rays were buried in the AL East. 

    Quietly, though, the club has been slowly climbing back into contention. Still, barring a miraculous turnaround, the Rays will be sellers at the deadline and Price will be on his way out. 

    Now that both Samardzija and Hammel are both already off the market, the Rays should be able to demand a king's ransom for the left-handed ace.

1. Colorado Rockies

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Top Trade Chips

    • Troy Tulowitzki, SS
    • Carlos Gonzalez, OF
    • Drew Stubbs, OF
    • LaTroy Hawkins, RP

    Troy Tulowitzki isn't on the market—at least not yet. 

    However, in an interview with Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post, the star hinted at the fact that he might not mind playing for a new team in the near future. "I want to be somewhere where there's a chance to be in the playoffs every single year," he said.

    It's not exactly groundbreaking stuff that a professional athlete wants a chance to win, but then again that "somewhere" doesn't sound like Denver. If the Rockies ever choose to explore a trade involving Tulowitzki, the return for the team would be absolutely monumental. 

     

    Note: All stats courtesy of MLB.com. All salary information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts on BaseballProspectus.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.