As the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline approaches, half of the teams in Major League Baseball have winning records and are within striking distance of a playoff spot. Most of those have a legitimate shot to win their division. Those clubs will be looking to make a key player acquisition that could put their team into the post season, or at least provide their fanbase a reason to come out to the ballpark during the final three months of the season.
Likewise, half of the teams in Major League Baseball have losing records. Some of those teams still hold out some hope of contending, but unless they can make a charge between now and the end of the month, they will be willing to trade players who don't figure into their plans in future seasons.
The most likely players to be traded are those who will be free agents after this season. There is a secondary list of players who are getting expensive as they get deeper into their arbitration eligible seasons, and teams with smaller payrolls could be looking to swap them for younger, less expensive talent.
Here is a list of the American League clubs that will likely be sellers by the end of this month, and the players on their rosters who are nearing free agency.
Houston Astros: 38-54, .413 win percentage, 20 games out of first place, 12 games out of wild card
The Astros have made no secret of the fact that they're rebuilding. If anything, many are surprised that they have won as many games as they have. The club has sold most veteran players who had any value but there may be a few players of interest to contenders.
|Dexter Fowler||OF||$7.35 million|
|Matt Albers||RHP||$3 million club option, $200K buyout|
|Chad Qualls||RHP||$3 million in 2015, $3.5 million option in 2016|
Texas Rangers: 38-52, .422 win percentage, 19 games out of first, 11 games out of wild card
The Rangers' season went south very early as injuries decimated the roster of a team that was expected to be strong contenders. Texas could put together a pretty good roster among players on the disabled list. With a payroll of $133 million, management may feel that their window of opportunity has closed with their current cast, and they might decide to exchange veterans like Rios and Beltre if they can get good young players in return. More likely, the Rangers will try to get what they can for a couple of relief pitchers and reassess their future in the off season.
|Joakim Soria||RHP||$5.5 million|
|Geovany Soto||C||$3.05 million|
|Neal Cotts||LHP||$2.2 million|
|Jason Frasor||RHP||$1.75 million|
|Alex Rios||OF||$13.5 million club option, $1 million buyout, limited no-trade clause
If traded, option converts to $14 million with a $2 million buyout
|Adrian Beltre||3B||$35 million due in 2014-15, $16 million vesting option for 2016|
|Neftali Feliz||RHP||$3.0 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
Boston Red Sox: 39-51, .433 win percentage, 10.5 games out of first place
The defending World Series champs are out of contention, and are expected to be sellers after the all star break, with a $156 million payroll, and possibly the largest cast of pending free agents in the majors.
|Jake Peavy||RHP||$14.5 million|
|Jon Lester||LHP||$13 million|
|Jonny Gomes||OF||$5 million|
|Koji Uehara||RHP||$4.25 million|
|David Ross||C||$3.1 million|
|Burke Badenhop||RHP||$2.15 million|
|Andrew Miller||LHP||$1.9 million|
Minnesota Twins: 40-49, .449 win percentage, 10.5 games out of first, 8.5 games out of playoffs
The Twins have been rebuilding since 2009, and this year is no different. They will hold off until after they host the all star break to call it a season, but they will be selling, barring a big winning streak starting immediately.
|Josh Willingham||OF||$7 million|
|Kevin Correia||RHP||$5.5 million|
|Jared Burton||RHP||$3.25 million in 2014, $3.6 million club option in 2015|
|Kurt Suzuki||C||$2.75 million|
|Brian Duensing||LHP||$2.0 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
Chicago White Sox: 44-47, .484 win percentage, 7.5 games out of first, 5.5 games out of playoffs
The White Sox are still in the pack in their division, but are known to be willing to trade if they can get a favorable return for some of their veteran players. They will have to eat some salary to dump some of the players that they'd like to unload. Chicago has an undersized $90 million payroll for the size of their market.
|Adam Dunn||DH||$15 million|
|Matt Lindstrom||RHP||$4.0 million|
|Paul Konerko||1B||$2.5 million|
|John Danks||LHP||$14.25 million owed per year through 2016|
|Alexei Ramires||SS||$9.5 million in 2014, $10 million in 2015, $10 million club option in 2016|
|Alejandro De Aza||OF||$4.25 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
|Gordon Beckham||2B||$4.175 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
Tampa Bay Rays: 42-51, .452 win percentage, 9 games out of first place
A recent 9-2 road trip -- capped off by winning three of four games in Detroit -- may have thrown cold water on the Rays' fire sale. If anything, the streak delayed it until they see if they can keep it going. The Rays won't be signing any premium free agents (including their own players) so it's a matter of getting the biggest return for them if they're not in the race. They're likely to wait before trading Price -- who is 4th-year arbitration eligible -- until they're out of contention, as he can be traded in the offseason as well.
|Ben Zobrist||2B/SS/OF||$7.5 million club option|
|Juan Carlos Oviedo||RHP||$1.5 million|
|Joel Peralta||RHP||$3.0 million in 2014, $2.5 million club options from 2015-2017|
|David Price||LHP||$14 million in 2014, 4th year arb-eligible|
|Sean Rodriguez||IF||$1.75 million, 3rd year arb|
|Matt Joyce||OF||$3.7 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
Cleveland Indians: 44-45, .494 win percentage, 6.5 games out of first, 4.5 games out of wild card
The Tribe are mathematically very much alive, and a strong finish last summer landed them in the playoffs only to be eliminated in the wild card game. They have just lost Justin Masterson and Michael Bourn to the disabled list, and have lost ground in the division over the past month. Cleveland will hold out as long as they can, but could decide to unload if they fall any farther back in the race by the end of the month. Trading within the division may not be an option.
|Asdrubal Cabrera||SS||$10 million|
|Justin Masterson||RHP||$9.7 million|
|David Murphy||OF||$5.5 million in 2014, $6 million in 2015, $7 million option in 2016|
|John Axford||RHP||$4.5 million in 2014, 3rd year arb-eligible (Super Two)|
Arizona Diamondbacks, 38-54, .413 win percentage, 13 games out of first place, 12 games out of wild card
The D'Backs have already shed some large salaries by trading Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees, dealing Joe Thatcher to the Angels, and releasing reliever J.J. Putz. That's three of the would-be free agents gone. They are open to trading more veterans in exchange for near major league ready talent. Their $112 million payroll at the start of the season figures to go down further before it goes back up.
|Eric Chavez||3B||$3.5 million|
|Gerardo Parra||OF||$4.5 million, 4th year arb-eligible|
|Brad Ziegler||RHP||$4.5 million in 2014, $5 million in 2015, $5.5 million option in 2016|
|David Hernandez||RHP||$2.125 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
Colorado Rockies: 38-53, .418 win percentage, 12.5 games out of first place, 11.5 games out of wild card
Two of the four players earning eight figure salaries figure to be available to a needy buyer, and the Rox may even listen on Troy Tulowitzki if they can unload full contracts.
|Michael Cuddyer||OF||$11.5 million|
|Jorge De La Rosa||LHP||$11 million|
|Brett Anderson||LHP||$8 million in 2014, $8 million club option in 2015|
|LaTroy Hawkins||RHP||$2.25 million in 2014, $2.25 million club option in 2015|
|Franklin Morales||LHP||$1.7 million|
|Chris Capuano||LHP||$2.25 million|
|Jhoulys Chacin||RHP||$4.85 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
|Drew Stubbs||OF||$4.1 million, 3rd year arb eligible|
Chicago Cubs: 38-51, .427 win percentage, 13 games out of first place, 10.5 games out of wild card
We know that Cubs' GM Theo Epstein is selling since he already sold his two best starting pitchers to Oakland. Former Tiger Edwin Jackson is the only player remaining with an eight-figure salary, and Starlin Castro is the only remaining player earning more than $5 million. The few potential free agents remaining are available.
|Nate Schierholtz||OF||$5 million|
|Carlos Villanueva||RHP||$5 million|
|Kyuji Kujikawa||RHP||$4.5 million, $5.5 million club option in 2015|
|Emilio Bonifacio||IF||$2.5 million|
Philadelphia Phillies: 39-51, .433 win percentage, 10 games out of first place, 10 games out of wild card
The Phillies have the third highest payroll in MLB, with three players earning $23-25 million salaries. With winning nowhere on the horizon, they would like to get some wiggle room. It will take multiple moves before theylre in a position to get back in contention.
|Kyle Kendrick||RHP||$7.5 million|
|Mike Adams||RHP||$7 million, $6 million vesting option for 2015|
|Roberto Hernandez||RHP||$4.5 million|
|Wil Nieves||C||$1.125 million|
|Cliff Lee||LHP||$25 million in 2014 and 2015, $27.5 million club option in 2016|
|Jonathan Papelbon||RHP||$13 million, $13 million in 2015, $13 million vesting option in 2016|
|Jimmy Rollins||SS||$11 million in 2014, $11 million vesting option in 2015, full no-trade clause|
|A.J. Burnett||RHP||$7.5 million in 2014, $15 million mutual option in 2015|
|Antonio Bastardo||LHP||$2 million, 3rd year arb-eligible|
San Diego Padres: 40-50, .444 win percentage, 10 games out of first place, 9 games out of wild card
The Padres fired their GM and aren't expected to replace him before the deadline. Trading potential free agents who won't be back seems like a no brainer, unless they intend to make a $14.6 million qualifying offer. Payroll rose from $68 million to over $90 million in the offseason, but by the time they're done former Tiger Cameron Maybin could be the highest paid Padre.
|Chase Headley||3B||$10.5 million|
|Josh Johnson||RHP||$8 million|
|Huston Street||RHP||$7 million in 2014, $7 million club option in 2015|
|Tim Stauffer||RHP||$1.6 million|
|Joaquin Benoit||RHP||$6 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015, $8 million club option in 2016|
|Ian Kennedy||RHP||$6.1 million|
New York Mets: 41-49, .456 win percentage, 8 games out of first place, 8 games out of wild card
Mets' GM Sandy Alderson inherited a mess, and has shed most of the bad contracts. A few remain, but the Mets don't have a whole lot to offer interested buyers at the deadline.
|Chris Young||RHP||$7.25 million|
|Bartolo Colon||RHP||$9 million in 2014, $11 million in 2015|
Miami Marlins: 44-46, .489 win percentage, 5 games out of first place, 5 games out of wild card
The Marlins are still hanging around the race at the break, but never underestimate the willingness of Jeffrey Loria to prove again that he is the cheapest owner in the game. They are saying that Giancarlo Stanton is not available, but they have their price.
|Casey McGehee||3B||$1.1 million|
|Greg Dobbs||1B||$1.7 million|
|Jeff Mathis||C||$1.5 million, club option in 2015|
|Reed Johnson||OF||$1 million|
|Jacob Turner||RHP||$1 million in 2014, club options in 2015 and 2016|