MLB Trade Rumors: 8 Outlandish Trade Whispers That Might Actually Happen

Jason Lempert@MetsPride84Correspondent IJune 30, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: 8 Outlandish Trade Whispers That Might Actually Happen

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    Despite being a top trade candidate, Jose Reyes leads the National League in a number of categories.
    Despite being a top trade candidate, Jose Reyes leads the National League in a number of categories.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    The Major League Baseball non-waiver trading deadline is swiftly approaching. Just 30 short days to be exact.

    So with one month left to go, trade winds will be picking up drastically over the next few weeks with rumors of who will be moving, where, and for whom.

    But how many rumors actually happen? Not many. Most of them just die before they even get a chance to live. For instance, how many times did we hear that the Texas Rangers were going to trade Alex Rodriguez to Boston for Manny Ramirez back in the early part of the decade?

    So which rumors might actually come true this year? Let's find out...

B.J. Upton to Washington Nationals

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    B.J. Upton is a former #1 draft pick
    B.J. Upton is a former #1 draft pickJeff Gross/Getty Images

    It feels like rumors of the Tampa Bay Rays trading B.J. Upton have been swirling for years. But 2011 could finally be the season the Rays trade their former No. 1 draft pick.

    Upton, drafted second overall in 2002, is having a poor year for the Rays. Entering play on Thursday, Upton is batting just .223 with 12 home runs in 278 at-bats.

    Despite that, the speedy center fielder will turn just 27 years old in August, and still possesses all the tools to be a dynamic ballplayer.

    Recently, the Washington Nationals have been the team most linked to Upton, though their need for a center fielder may be diminishing with the improved play of Roger Bernadina while Rick Ankiel has been out. But they have the talent to make an Upton deal possible (Todd Coffey, Tyler Clippard, Jesus Flores).

    But Bernadina can easily move to left field, pushing Laynce Nix to a bench role, which could give the Nationals a solid outfield of Bernadina, Upton and Jayson Werth.

Jose Reyes to San Francisco Giants

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    Jose Reyes is a free agent-to-be after this season.
    Jose Reyes is a free agent-to-be after this season.Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    New York Mets' fans may want to skip over this slide.

    With the impending free agency of Jose Reyes approaching, the New York Mets may find themselves forced to deal their star shortstop sooner rather than later. Of course, this will be a very hard move to swallow in Queens, with Reyes leading the league in batting average, hits, triples and runs scored.

    However, thanks in large part to his incredible 2011 season, Reyes will likely land a Carl Crawford-like contract (seven years, $142 million), which may be out of the Mets' budget. And Reyes has already gone on record, saying he will not negotiate a contract during the season.

    So if the Mets fall drastically out of the Wild Card race, and/or they determine that they will not be able to afford to keep Reyes, they may be left with no alternative but to deal him away.

    The San Francisco Giants have a glaring hole at shortstop. Miguel Tejada, Brandon Crawford and Mike Fontenot have just not gotten the job done at the plate this year.

    The Giants (or any other team for that matter) would likely have to give up a lot in return for Reyes. A starting point would be a major league-ready prospect and a young pitcher, both of which the Giants have in stock at the moment.

Michael Cuddyer to Philadelphia Phillies

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    Michael Cuddyer was drafted by the Twins 9th overall in 1997.
    Michael Cuddyer was drafted by the Twins 9th overall in 1997.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Even the best teams have holes to fill. And in the case of the Philadelphia Phillies, they certainly could use a right-handed corner outfielder with pop. Current right fielders (Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown) have not hit well at all this year.

    It's no secret that the Phillies' offense is very left-handed. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez make up the meat of their lineup, and they all hit from the left side. And though switch-hitters Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino historically hit better from the right side, neither one has put up high power numbers this year.

    Early on in the trading season, the Phils have been linked to Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham. But the Twins' Michael Cuddyer may make more sense for both clubs. The 32-year-old is set to become a free agent after this season, and the Twins have a number of young outfielders rising through the ranks.

    And Cuddyer would certainly ease the Phillies' offensive concerns. He has 10 long balls on the year so far, and he averaged 16 home runs between 2004-2010 (including an injury-shortened 2008 season).

Heath Bell and Jason Bartlett to St. Louis Cardinals

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    The St. Louis Cardinals are in dire need of bullpen help.
    The St. Louis Cardinals are in dire need of bullpen help.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    It's no real secret that the St. Louis Cardinals need some relief from their current relief. Their bullpen has a total of just 22 saves with a 4.19 ERA. Their opening day closer, Ryan Franklin, has been nothing short of awful this year (1-4, 7.90 ERA).

    Heath Bell is one of the biggest names (physically and statistically) out there in the closers' trade market. Bell has saved over 40 games each of the last two season for the San Diego Padres, replacing legend Trevor Hoffman. Bell is due to become a free agent after the season, making him expendable for the Friars.

    One of the more recent trade rumors to appear includes Bell and fellow teammate Jason Bartlett being targeted by the Cardinals. Bell would certainly give the Cards the legitimate closer they desperately need, and Bartlett is a slick fielding shortstop who gets on base.

    The Redbirds may not have to give much up in return for the two—perhaps a prospect or two. But with the Cards' mess of a bullpen, it may be worth the cost to acquire one of the game's top closers.

Coco Crisp to Atlanta Braves

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    Coco Crisp has 23 stolen bases so far in his first season by the Bay
    Coco Crisp has 23 stolen bases so far in his first season by the BayJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Coco Crisp's first season with the Oakland A's has been fairly successful so far in 2011. His power numbers are down (just two home runs in 280 at bats), but he's swiped 24 bases and has been a steady presence in the lineup for the green and gold.

    But, entering play on Wednesday, the A's are in the cellar of the AL West, sitting six games behind first-place Texas. Should the A's decide to call it a season, they could offer Crisp and the remainder of his one-year, $5.75 million contract to a contending team.

    A contending team, such as the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have been eying Crisp for quite some time; their center field situation with Jordan Schafer and Nate McLouth just hasn't worked this year. For a minimal price, the Braves could land the center fielder that they've been looking for.

Mark Ellis to Baltimore Orioles

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    Mark Ellis hit 19 home runs in 2007
    Mark Ellis hit 19 home runs in 2007Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The Baltimore Orioles have been without All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts since the middle of May due to concussion syndromes. Since then, Robert Andino has seen the majority of playing time at second base, and the last-place O's have gone 16-21 since Roberts went down.

    The Oakland Athletics have a bit of a surplus of middle infielders, particularly second basemen. Youngster Jemile Weeks has seen a lot of playing time lately, and recent acquisition Scott Sizemore has done a nice job as well. That leaves veteran Mark Ellis as extra baggage that the A's could unload for some relief and/or farm help.

    The Orioles need a second baseman, the A's have one to spare. Seems like a perfect fit, as the Orioles do have a number of bullpen arms that they could use to net themselves someone like Ellis.

    However, moments ago, the Colorado Rockies reportedly acquired Ellis from the A's. Looks like the trading season has begun...

Francisco Liriano to New York Yankees

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    You can't talk trades and not include the New York Yankees. They seem to be involved in just about every rumor out there.

    Though the Bronx Bombers currently sit two-and-a-half games in first place, they do have holes. And one of those holes is their rotation. Despite the upcoming returns of Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes from the disabled list, the Yankees' rotation certainly could use a face-lift.

    The Yanks have been eying the Twins' Francisco Liriano since Spring Training, and if the Twins decide to become sellers next month, they could unload the left-hander in exchange for a prospect or two.

    Despite throwing a no-hitter earlier this season, Liriano is having a down season after a bounce-back 2010 campaign. His ERA is bordering 5.00, and he has just four wins on the season. Still, he's a tough lefty that could help improve the Yankees' rotation, which currently ranks 10th in baseball with a 3.55 ERA.

Jeff Francoeur to Boston Red Sox

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    Earlier today, the Boston Red Sox designated outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment. Cameron hit a paltry .143 against left-handers, and the Sox were looking for much better production in that area.

    Jeff Francoeur is a master against left-handed pitching and could provide Boston with some pop off the bench, as well as in right field—a position at which MLBTradeRumors declares the Red Sox need help.

    Francoeur has hit 11 home runs so far for the Royals. Last season, he was picked up by the Texas Rangers as a waiver trade with the Mets. He helped the Rangers claim the American League pennant in 2010. He could do the same for the Red Sox in 2011.

    There are other possibilities (Ryan Ludwick, Michael Cuddyer), but "Frenchy" might be more affordable for the Red Sox, who reportedly are not able to take on anymore payroll this year.