MLB Trade Deadline: 5 Possible Last-Minute MLB Waiver Deadline Steals

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIAugust 29, 2013

MLB Trade Deadline: 5 Possible Last-Minute MLB Waiver Deadline Steals

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    The MLB waiver trade deadline is just a couple of days away and we've already seen some big moves go down in August.

    The Texas Rangers acquired Alex Rios, while the Pittsburgh Pirates brought Marlon Byrd and John Buck on board for what should prove to be a tight race to the playoffs.

    Are there any last-minute deals out there that could shift the balance of power?

    Are any players that could make a major contribution available? And if so, at what price?

    Here's a look at five players that could be a steal as Saturday night approaches.

Jason Kubel, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    The Arizona Diamondbacks designated Jason Kubel for assignment on Tuesday.

    A year after hitting 30 home runs and 90 RBI, Kubel has hit .220 with five home runs and 32 RBI.

    Some teams could use his power potential. There's no doubt he struggled in Arizona, but history is on his side.

    Maybe some team in need of a designated hitter or platoon outfielder will show interest.

    Somehow, some way, some team needs to scoop him up—and let him help their cause in September and beyond.

    Possible Teams: Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians 

Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals

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    This year has been one to forget for Danny Espinosa.

    Not only did he struggle while with the Washington Nationals, but after being demoted to Triple-A, he continued to look lost at the plate.

    While in the big leagues, Espinosa had a line of .158/.193/.272. In the minors, he has a line of .208/.271/.283.

    Needless to say, 2013 has been far from smooth sailing for Espinosa.

    However, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Nationals are trying to decide whether to promote Espinosa when rosters expand. Due to his poor performance with the bat, the team has been unable to trade him at this stage.

    With that being said, as the waiver deadline approaches, some team could take a flier on Espinosa and give up a low-level prospect in return. It could pay dividends in the end.

    Maybe some team in need of good defensive help in the middle infield or hoping to catch lightning in a bottle will show interest. Either way, Espinosa's track record shows he has some potential upside if the Nationals were to trade him.

    Possible Teams: Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees 

Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

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    Phil Miller of the Star Tribune reported Wednesday that Josh Willingham had been claimed off waivers. Whether a deal will be completed remains unknown at this stage, but what we do know is that the team involved is the Baltimore Orioles.

    Willingham could be huge in the middle of the Orioles' lineup. He is batting .212 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI this year. However, don't let those numbers fool you.

    Between 2011 and 2012, Willingham batted .253 with 64 home runs and 208 RBI. A contending team can't go wrong adding another run-producer with some pop.

    As for the odds of the Orioles and Twins working out a trade...it's anyone's guess. He still has one year left on his contract at an affordable $7 million.

    Possible Teams: Baltimore Orioles

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

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    After acquiring John Buck and Marlon Byrd, the Pittsburgh Pirates appear to be going all in. Not only do they not seem satisfied with finishing above .500 for the first time since 1992, but they're looking to guarantee their first playoff berth since that season.

    According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, former MVP first baseman Justin Morneau is on the Pirates' radar:

    "The Pirates upgraded their offense with their trade for outfielder Marlon Byrd on Tuesday, and they have their eye on Twins star first baseman Justin Morneau now."

    While no deal is imminent, the fact that Morneau cleared waivers opens up the floodgates for other teams to make a trade with the Twins.

    Possible Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics 

Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox

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    Adam Dunn has cleared waivers, according to Lance Rinker of The Huffington Post.

    Dunn is batting .231 (his highest since 2010) with 30 home runs and 79 RBI. For a team that needs a power-hitting DH, Dunn would be a perfect fit.

    However, Dunn still has one year left on his contract and it's for $15 million. Any team that trades for him will soon realize it's overpaying for a guy who strikes out a ton.

    There are a few teams in need of a big bat that just might be crazy enough to do that, though.

    Possible Teams: New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians