The trade deadline is a few weeks away, so the rumor mill is about to heat up. To prep you for the coming trade season, we're providing a primer on who the top available trade targets could be as get closer to July 31st.
As has been the case for a few years running now, there isn't a whole lot of talent available for teams with needs to fill at third base. More than a few contenders could use an upgrade at the position though, so some intrepid GMs are bound to make a deal of the "let's cross our fingers and hope he gets hot variety." When it comes to that sort of deal, there is no shortage of options available. Mostly terrible options, but options nonetheless. So who out there is the lesser of all the evils?
Probably not available but it couldn't hurt to ask
Chase Headley – Actually, you probably shouldn't ask. You'd only be wasting your time. The Padres have a real shot at winning the NL West and Headley is their best player. The only reason people think he might be available is because they haven't gotten used to the idea of the Padres not being terrible. If anything, the Padres are going to sign Headley to a contract extension.
Trevor Plouffe – Plouffe is a prospect the Twins waited on for awhile only to finally be rewarded this season with a solid .269/.339/.446 slash line. He isn't a world beater by any means, but that is a pretty useful player. It isn't clear though if the Twins will be willing to part with him. Plouffe will only just be hitting his first year of arbitration next season and uber-prospect Miguel Sano is probably still a year or two away, so Minnesota isn't going to be in a rush to trade away the Sano seatwarmer that is Plouffe.
Take my (overpaid and/or ineffective) third baseman, please!
Aramis Ramirez – At 35 years old, Ramirez is starting to show his age seeing his production fall from a .901 OPS in 2012 to .785 this year. That is still more than acceptable for a lot of teams but the problem is Aramis is owed $16 million in 2014 as well as a $4 million buyout of his 2015 mutual option. That money owed could be a big hurdle for anyone looking to strike a deal with the Brewers. Still, Ramirez might be the only thing resembling an impact bat at third base on this year's trade market.
Michael Young – Young is the best kind of overpaid in that someone else has already agreed to foot the bill. Texas is already covering $10 million of Young's $16 million salary this season, so the veteran is now only mildly overpaid in the eyes of anyone interested in him. Young has long been known for his leadership ability and is actually producing this year with a .290/.346/.410 slash line. He is still a liability at third, but for a contender in need of a stopgap, Young should suffice and should come relatively cheap.
Alberto Callaspo – Callaspo has been lauded in the sabermetric community as a guy with a great glove who can get on base at a decent clip. With a .333 OBP thus far, he is holding him the second part of that bargain, but his defense has slipped dramatically. For unknown reasons, Callaspo has gotten a bad case of the yips and has been making throwing errors at an alarming rate over the last month. A team could gamble that he'll work that issue out but they'd have to do so knowing that he is set to earn $4.9 million next season, which may be a positive or a negative depending on the team's needs and budget.
Jeff Keppinger – Keppinger was a pleasant surprise for the Rays last season, so pleasant that the White Sox signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract this off-season. Their reward? A 53 OPS+ and a -1.1 WAR. With the Pale Hose likely going into fire sale mode, Keppinger could likely be had for anyone willing to cover a small part of his remaining contract, which might be a reasonable risk for any team that just thinks he needs a change of scenery.
Well, at least they have a pulse
Placido Polanco – Polanco hasn't hit for years but he used to be a pretty slick fielder at the hot corner. At age 37, his defense has fallen off, but he can still get by and might even be able to fake it at second base here and there.
Luis Valbuena/Cody Ransom – Anything on the Cubs roster that isn't bolted down is more than available this trade season and their platoon of Valbuena and Ransom aren't even scotch taped down. Neither is a solution unto themselves, but any team looking to form or upgrade a platoon of their own could pick up one half of what the Cubs are rolling out there. Ransom has been around forever without doing much but has a little bit of pop whereas Valbuena is left-handed, so that's something. Kick over some cash or nothing prospect or maybe just a pizza from Gino's and teams could have either of these guys.
Miguel Tejada – Yeah, I know. I didn't realize he was still alive either. Miggy is a far cry from his MVP form, but he has been mildly productive as a utility infielder for the Royals this season. You could do worse for a bench player.