It's exactly 2 weeks until the trade deadline. As he has done the past several years, Dave Cameron is doing an MLB Trade Value Series at Fangraphs. For the third year in a row, I'm doing a Cardinals Trade Value post (see 2010 and 2011). Here's the criteria I am using to come up with this top 10 list, from Cameron's introduction in his 2010 series:
Essentially, the idea is to take all the information that goes into encapsulating a player’s value to an organization - his present skills, his future potential, how long he’s under club control, the expected cost of paying him over that time, and the risks involved with projecting his future performances - and figure out which players currently have the most trade value in baseball.
Reminders: This isn't a prospect list. Also, since this is a measure of a player's trade value for this deadline, players who are going to be injured come deadline day won't be on the list, which means no Jaime :(
List is after the jump...
1. Allen Craig-- I thought long and hard about this one. It was a tough call between Craig, Taveras, and Miller. My final decision was made after realizing that Craig actually has 4 years of const-control left for any team that gets him in a trade. He has proved he can mash ML pitching (in almost 450 major league plate appearances, he has a wRC+ of around 157). Shelby and Oscar haven't proved they can do it in the majors. Teams who aren't in contention this year but hope to in the next couple would drool over the chance to get a middle of the order bat with 4 years of cost-control left.
2. Oscar Taveras-- I'm putting him here under the assumption he can stick in CF with league average defense. The offense speaks for itself (169 wRC+ as a 19/20 year old in AA). He's a game changer who most pundits believe will be a major leaguer by the end of next season. Teams looking to rebuild would gladly give up a top end major league star for a package headlined by Taveras, who they will control for 6 years.
3. Shelby Miller-- His stock might be down a bit due to his struggles this far in AAA. That might take a little bit of the trade value gleam off of him, but not enough to drop him any further down my list. He's a starting pitcher with good peripherals pitching in AAA as a 21 year old. He has number 1 upside, and most teams would be willing to trade a nice piece for him in return.
4. Carlos Martinez-- Young flamethrower who is holding his own in AA even though he is young for the league. Plus, he's a "name" prospect. Teams will love the stuff and the potential, and he can be the main piece in a trade for a difference maker at the break. I think the questions on whether his frame hold up long-term are legit, and it could negatively affect his trade value.
5. Carlos Beltran-- A pro-rated $13M and $13 next year is pretty good value for a 143 wRC+ hitter. Injury concerns are there, but I think a team needing a middle of the order bat would be willing to give up a good amount for Beltran. Heck, the Giants gave up Zach Wheeler for him just last season.
6. Adam Wainwright-- This was a tough one, mainly due to the fact that A.D.A.M. is coming off surgery. He would be near the top of this list if it weren't for the injury. He's had struggles with results this season, but his peripherals have been excellent. His xFIP is currently the second lowest of his career. He's an ace, and teams love to trade for aces. His contract only increases his value. Any team trading for him gets him for a year and half at around $16M, which represents great value, if he stays healthy. We could get a gaggle of prospects from a team.
7. David Freese-- 3.5 years of team control left. Good defense at third base. wRC+ in the mid 120s. What's not to like? He'd certainly bring back a couple nice B prospects in a trade.
8. Jason Motte-- Jason Motte has been remarkable consistent for the past 2.5 years with xFIPs of 3.52 in 2010, 3.39 last year, and 3.37 so far this year. He's also got the closer label which is always able to add trade value. Whatever team trades for Motte would get him for 2 years plus the rest of this season at below market rates. That's a good value for a mid-3 xFIP reliever with "closer" credentials.
9. Lance Berkman-- Middle of order bat on a one year deal. He's a rental for sure, but teams would love his veteranness, potent bat, and general awesomeness for the stretch run. We could probably get a B level prospect in return for him.
10. Mitchell Boggs-- A lot of the same attributes i mentioned about Motte apply here. xFIPs are solid, he's got closer stuff, he has a beard. He's actually got 3 years of team control left, though the track record isn't as long as Motte's. He would not be the centerpiece in a trade, but he could be the secondary piece that allows the team to grab a top end talent from another team.
11. Trevor Rosenthal-- He's got really good stuff. He's has really good results over the past two years, and made a huge jump to AA this year with continued good success. Potential is there to be a top of the rotation starter. Will be very interesting to see how he does in his bullpen cameo over the next few weeks. Some team would love to add him to their farm system.
12. Kolten Wong-- 2nd basemen who can hit are a much sought after commodity. Wong is going through a bit of a cold streak in AA, though he still has a 123 wRC+. He could be the main piece in a secondary deal.
OK, I'm tired.