For teams going nowhere near the playoffs, the best time of year might be at the July 31st trade deadline. At this point in the season the general manager is looking toward the future. Upcoming free agents they don’t have interest or a chance at signing are often shopped to other teams. Others locked into contracts, are still traded as their value is seen by teams looking to make a push and need a missing piece to complete this mission. The way the 2014 baseball season is going, these are some of the players you can expect to swap squads midseason.
There seems to be a yearly theme for the Chicago Cubs and that’s trading away any players performing well. Emilio Bonifacio is the player in 2014 to surprise so far. His versatility might be the most desirable quality about him. Bonifacio can play the outfield and infield, making him a great utility man on any team looking for someone who can move around. He has speed too and so far in 2014 he has showed that his bat is pretty good too.
The golden days behind him, Russell Martin may find himself as trade bait when July rolls around. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not as good as they were in 2013. Veterans like Martin are often dealt in dire times like these. Unless the Pirates can contend then there is little reason to keep Martin around. Pittsburgh is on the verge of something great and using Martin to improve the team two years from now or with an extra bullpen arm for next season might be the way to go.
An ace emerged last year for the Cleveland Indians in the form of Justin Masterson. His contract complete after 2014, the big 6’6 pitcher may be heading in the direction of testing free agency. So far Masterson has been unable to repeat what he did in 2013. This may actually mean the Indians will be able to sign him to an extension before the season is through, although other teams may want him instead. As a still relatively young pitcher this upcoming offseason will be his opportunity to earn the largest possible contract he can. Knowing this the Indians may trade him to get something in return instead of losing him for nothing.
Former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy came to the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2013 and he might be going somewhere else in 2014. The Red Sox are playing poorly and since they may instead have more interest in keeping Jon Lester, paying for Peavy to come back in 2015 does not make much sense from a cost-perspective. Peavy’s time in Boston has been nothing memorable and since they may not compete we should not be surprised if they ship him away in a trade.
Could Kung Fu Panda’s days with the San Francisco Giants be coming to an end? His contract up after the 2014 season, he might be someone the team considers sending elsewhere. The third baseman and lifelong member of the Giants has not had a good 2014 season so far and the fact that his numbers seem to go down every season does not help his situation. Considering the Giants are playing well as a team, they will probably not get rid of Sandoval unless they have an equaled replacement. The biggest factor in where Sandoval goes will be reliant on how the pitching does and if they need to keep him around in hopes that he gets back to swinging a hot bat.