Yesterday I wrote about the buyers and sellers in the National League and who the Phillies might be trading with in ..."/> Yesterday I wrote about the buyers and sellers in the National League and who the Phillies might be trading with in ..."/> Yesterday I wrote about the buyers and sellers in the National League and who the Phillies might be trading with in ..."/>

Who Are The Phillies’ Potential Trade Partners In The AL?


Yesterday I wrote about the buyers and sellers in the National League and who the Phillies might be trading with in the NL. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the American League teams.

If the season ended today, the Yankees, Rangers, and White Sox would win their divisions with the Angels and Tigers taking home the two wild card spots. After the Angels and Tigers, there are a glut of teams that are all within 2 games of the second wild card spot: the Orioles, Indians, Athletics, Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays. The sellers are the bottom-dwellers in the AL: Kansas City, Minnesota, and Seattle. However, upon taking a look at Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds, it shows that the Blue Jays and Athletics both have just a 3.5% chance at making the postseason. Combining those long odds with the fact that both are young teams that seem to be on the rise with low payrolls, I doubt they buy this year. The Orioles also fit that profile, but they have an 11.8% chance at the postseason might lead them to try to buy at the deadline. That leaves the Yankees, Rangers, White Sox, Angels, Tigers, Orioles, Indians, Red Sox, and Rays as the buyers. That’s subject to change, however, over the next 2 weeks as teams fall in and out of the wild card picture.

The Yankees have an above-average player at every position except LF/DH, but with Brett Gardner set to return from injury soon and Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, and Eric Chavez all performing servicably in their time filling in in LF/DH, it would seem that the Yankees don’t need another bat. Their rotation, however, has been decimated by injuries this season, and with CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and Andy Pettite all currently on the DL, an upgrade there would seem to be a target. However, SI insider Jon Heyman says that’s not the case. Since Justin Upton has a limited no-trade clause that blocks him from a trade to the Yankees, Shane Victorino could be a potential option for the Yankees if they want an outfield upgrade. However, the Yankees’ farm system (ranked 10th in the MLB) is very top-heavy, led by star AAA pitching prospects Manny Banuelos (#9 on’s prospect list) and Dellin Betances (#32). If the Yankees refused to put either of those prospects in a deal for Cliff Lee in 2010, they won’t even discuss putting them in a deal for Victorino. A Yankees-Phillies trade involving Victorino would likely have the Phillies asking for Mason Williams (#60), an outfielder in high A ball who projects as a toolsy CF similar to Bernie Williams at the MLB level, or Tyler Austin (#99), another outfielder in high A ball. The Yankees might be hesitant to include either one of these prospects for Victorino, since he’s a rental, but the Yankees do have a lot of other high-ceiling prospects in the low minor leagues that might entice the Phillies to make a deal.

The Rangers are, to me, the most likely team to trade for Cole Hamels. Their offensive unit is a dominant juggernaut with above-average hitters at every position. Their rotation, however, has suffered some injuries (Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis). Lewis is set to return tomorrow and Feliz is on his way back, but the Rangers could still look to acquire an upgrade (Cole Hamels!) for the rotation to put them over the top and move Feliz back to the bullpen where he was dominant as a closer the past two years. The Rangers made a similar deal in 2010, trading some of their top prospects to Seattle for Cliff Lee despite the fact that he was a pending unrestricted free agent. The deal was both a blessing and a curse: Lee helped get them to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series, but he left for the Phillies in free agency after the season. However, after back-to-back World Series losses (including an excruciating Game 7 loss last year that saw them blow a 3-2 series lead and also come within one strike of winning in Game 6), the Rangers are hungry to get over the hump and win the team’s first World Series title, and acquiring Cole Hamels to be their #1 starter down the stretch would be the best way to do that. They’ve got an excellent farm system (#7 according to Keith Law) led by 19-year old shortstop Jurickson Profar (#4 prospect in baseball), but he figures to be untouchable in any deal. The team’s top pitching prospect is 21-year old lefty Martin Perez (#21), but the prospect that would match up very well with the Phillies is 3B Mike Olt (#33). He’s raking the ball in AA currently, he’s 23, and with third base a huge position of need for the Phillies (Placido Polanco is aging, and a free agent after the season), a deal for Hamels based around Olt would make a lot of sense. The Phillies would likely also try to get Perez included in the trade, but if the Rangers balked at that, Leonys Martin would be a very good substitute. The outfielder (#74) is currently on the MLB roster, but he was hitting .322 with 22 RBIs in AAA before his call-up. He’s not much of a power hitter, but he plays outstanding defense in CF and figures to be a very good #2 hitter in the MLB. The Phillies would likely ask for Perez, Olt, and Martin in the trade, but they could still pull the trigger on a trade if two of those players are included. Olt would likely be the key for the Phillies. We’ll see how this turns out.

The White Sox don’t have many pressing needs. A back-of-the-rotation starter would likely help (hello Joe Blanton), but the White Sox’ farm system is abysmal (#30, “and they’re not particularly close to #29, either” according to Keith Law). It will be difficult for the White Sox to make many moves at the deadline without moving pieces off the major league roster because of the lack of top-tier prospects. However, the asking price for Blanton will be pretty low. They might not be able to out-bid anyone for him, but if the interest isn’t there, but the White Sox could wind up trading for him.

The Angels’ lineup is okay, but they could use another starting pitcher. They’re very interested in Cole Hamels, but their farm system (ranked #15) might not have the ammo for Hamels. Their top prospect is AA shortstop Jean Segura (#45) who projects as a leadoff or #2 hitter with good defense. He’s 5’10, 165, but has a surprising amount of pop for his size. Sound like anyone you know? If they set their aims lower, Joe Blanton could make sense for them in the back of their rotation as they look to keep pace with the Rangers and tighten their grip on one of the wild card spots.

The Tigers could use an upgrade in LF and especially 2B, but Danny Knobler of CBS reports that the Tigers (and White Sox) are prioritizing starting pitchers in trades. The Tigers have two excellent prospects at the top of their system in pitcher Jacob Turner (#10, currently in the MLB) and Nick Castellanos, a 3B who was mashing in AA before being promoted to AAA and being moved to the outfield, probably in an effort to get him to the MLB this year with Miguel Cabrera blocking his path at 3rd base. He would be a very good starting point for a Cole Hamels trade, but FoxSports insider Jon Paul Morosi tweeted that he’d be “very surprised” if Castellanos was moved for a rental. With no other top-100 prospects in their system, a deal with the Phillies for Hamels seems unlikely.

The Orioles have the #17 ranked farm system in the MLB, but there’s a ton of quality at the top of it with SS Manny Machado (#3) and pitcher Dylan Bundy (#7) leading the way. Both would seem to be untouchable in any trades, however. The Orioles could use a LF and a SP, and while their refusal to make Machado/Bundy available likely takes them out of the running for Hamels, they have expressed interest in both Juan Pierre and Joe Blanton according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Ideally, the Phillies could get a good prospect like AA 2B Jonathan Schoop (#91) for the pair of them, but that seems unlikely.

The Indians gave up a lot from their farm system last year in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, and so far it’s backfired on them. Their #29 ranked farm system likely won’t be able to acquire a top player, but they are reportedly interested in Shane Victorino to upgrade from Johnny Damon in the outfield. The Phillies would likely ask for switch-hitting shortstop Francisco Lindor (#25) who is currently playing in A ball. That price would probably be too much for the Indians, and thus a Victorino trade is unlikely. The Indians could then look to acquire Juan Pierre, who is still an upgrade over Damon.

The Red Sox have a glaring need in the rotation, and also could use some help in the bullpen. While the Phillies can’t help them with the bullpen, they do have starting pitching available. The Red Sox farm system is ranked #18, with no prospects in the top 50. However, they do have a group of prospects in the second half of the top 100, including AA OF Bryce Brentz (#51), a righty power-hitting RF, offensively-minded AAA catcher Ryan Lavarnaway (#77), and high A ball righthanded pitcher Matt Barnes (#93). If the Red Sox were willing to build a package around these three players, there’s a chance they could get a Cole Hamels deal done. It’s not the best potential offer on the table, but it might end up being the best actual offer when all is said and done. If they don’t want to part with their top prospects, they could always look at Joe Blanton, who had an excellent start in Los Angeles last night.

The Rays are an interesting case. They’re talking about both buying and selling, with players like James Shields and BJ Upton potentially on the block. If the Rays do decide to buy, their #2 ranked farm system could get them just about any player on the market.  However, their biggest needs are in the middle infield, which doesn’t match up well with what the Phillies have to offer.

What trade partners in the AL jump out at you? Do you think they should sell at all? Sound off in the comments.