Trade Deadline: Where will the top hitters go?

The Trading deadline is vastly approaching and there are some big name players who could be changing uniforms over the next month. I am going to break into two articles, the Top 5 Hitters and Pitchers, that I think will be traded and where they may go. This may change over the course of the next few weeks, as teams could fall from contention and become sellers, or rise to contention and become buyers. Today I am going to cover the hitters.

Andre Ethier (Los Angeles Dodgers) –

With the emergence of Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers are loaded in the outfield. Ethier seems like the odd man out of the lineup. The big issue is that Ethier signed a five-year $85 million contract extension last season. So if the Dodgers were to trade him they are going to have to pay some of the remaining dollars on the contract. Ethier is a solid outfielder and would be good addition to any team that could use an everyday player. He does strikeout way too often but is a solid career .288 hitter.

Teams that could use him: Mets, Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox

Though I don’t see him landing in a Ranger uniform, I would have to think the option would be open for discussion. With Murphy and Martin playing in the OF along with Cruz, there is an opening for him there. But I think the dark horse is the Red Sox. If they continue to contend towards the break, they could use another bat down the stretch.

Where he will land:

The Mets, if he isn’t traded at the deadline to any of the teams I listed. I see him getting traded this offseason for sure. Also, watch for a trade in the August waivers deadline as well. However, I think he will land with the Mets which will give them a solid hitter in a weak lineup.

John Buck (New York Mets) –

Buck started the season red-hot and has since cooled off a bit. After hitting 9 HRs in the month of April, he has only 3 to date. There are a number of teams that could use a veteran catcher behind the plate. I also think a team in the AL could use him as DH as well as Catcher.

Teams that could use him: Rays, Tigers & Angels

With Chris Iannetta behind the backstop, I would fully expect the Angels to take a look at Buck.  I can only see them trading for someone if they are within a few games of the division or the Wildcard.

Where he will land:

The Tigers.  Victor Martinez

Alex Rios (Chicago White Sox)

Rios’ contract a few years ago was a bit laughable. Well, he has since turned it around and is hitting well. He is making $12.5 through 2014, and a team option in 2015 with a $1M buyout. So his contract is manageable for sure. He is hitting .276 with 11 HRs and 35 RBIs. He could be an upgrade for any team that would acquire him.

Teams that could use him: Giants, Reds & Rangers

As stated earlier, with Ethier the Rangers could use a bat. Rios is a bit cheaper and hits for more power. So the Rangers could go this route. Reds need some help in the outfield as well.

Where he will land:

The Giants.  If they are going to contend in the West, they need an upgrade in the outfield together with some hitting. Rios fits that bill for them, and I think they need to pull the trigger if they are going to try for their 3rd World Series title.

Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox) –

Konerko definitely is not the hitter he once was, but he can still play baseball. I would really like to see him play for a contender down the stretch, as this may be his last year in the majors. He does have 7 HRs on the season and could be a perfect 1B/DH fit for contending teams.

Teams that could use him: O’s, Rays, Pirates & Yankees

With Teixeira gone for the season, I think the Yankees could make a play for Konerko. He is also a good fit for AL East teams, the Rays & O’s systems, as well. All 3 of those teams could use some more hitting and Konerko could offer a nice addition to their lineup. The Pirates are another team that could use his veteran presence as well.

Where he will land:

The Rays, I think this would be a small move that could help them in the 2nd half secure one of those Wild Card slots. He would only be under contract through this year, and the Rays shouldn’t have to give up that much to get him.

Michael Morse (Seattle Mariners) 

Morse hasn’t exactly had a clean bill of health over the last few seasons but, when healthy, he is a solid hitter. He can play either 1st base or Left Field, which increases his value at the deadline over some others. He comes cheap as a team would probably be on hook for around $3 million for the rest of the season.

Teams that could use him: Rays, Giants, Reds & Pirates

Any of the teams I listed could really use him in their lineup. The Rays are a team I thought should’ve traded for him this past offseason. The Reds & Giants need help in the outfield, and Morse would fit there as well.

Where he will land:

The Reds, I think the Reds need to be a bit aggressive at the deadline, and getting Morse would be key if they are going to contend with the Pirates and the Cardinals for the NL Central Crown.

Other names to watch: Daniel Murphy, Rickie Weeks & Josh Willingham.

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