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MLB Trade Deadline: Three Teams Who Should Sell

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A few days ago I wrote about three teams that should be buyers at the trade deadline, so now it’s time to look at three teams who should sell. With so many clubs struggling in 2016 there was a number of different avenues you could go with this, but I tried to find clubs that had the most to offer a contending team and who were clearly looking to rebuild themselves.

Trading what assets they had could help these three organisations add to their young group of minor leaguers that may one day pave the way for their next trip to the World Series.

Colorado Rockies

This one might be a little controversial, but I think the Rockies should definitely be sellers at the trade deadline. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love a lot of what they’ve assembled over the last few years. The problem is they’re playing in the NL West and at best would likely finish third in the division because San Francisco and the Dodgers don’t look like they’re going to relinquish their strange hold on things anytime soon.

At present, Colorado are eight games below .500 and 13.5 games back for the division lead. They’re also well out of the Wild Card race, seven games behind Miami.

In 2016 they’ve done a great job in establishing a number of tradeable assets who could potentially help a contender. Shortstop Trevor Story, second baseman DJ LeMahieu, first baseman Mark Reynolds, outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon, starters Jon Gray, Chad Bettis and Tyler Chatwood as well as reliever Boone Logan could all fetch a really nice return.

That’s even excluding the team’s best player: All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado.

If the Rockies really wanted to start from scratch, now would be a great time to do so. Earlier this year Baseball America ranked the Colorado farm system as the sixth-best in the game, others have had them as high as fourth. Should they trade even a few of these great players and hang onto some of their younger core the Rockies could be back contending for the division title in the next few years.

The problem is and has always been pitching. No free agent pitcher who wants to boost their value will ever go to Colorado and play at the altitude of Coors Field. That’s where the Rockies have a chance in 2016 to trade some of their offensive core like LeMahieu, Gonzalez, Reynolds and Blackmon to bring back some young controllable pitching who might be good enough to handle the challenges that playing with this organisation presents.

According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi the Nationals have recently shown interest in acquiring Charlie Blackmon. In return the Rockies could easily ask for Reynaldo Lopez, Erick Fredde, A.J. Cole or Austin Voth. All are young starters who have plenty of upside and who the Rockies could try to develop as they have with Gray.

The next few days will tell us a lot about exactly what the Rockies plans are for the trade deadline, but I am definitely of the opinion that they should sell what they can, bring in some young starters, develop them and then aim to contend in a few years down the track. Now’s the time for Colorado to start making a move, it’s simply a matter of what move will they make.

Minnesota Twins

To say that the Twins have been bad thus far in 2016 would be a vast understatement. They entered the season with plenty of hope but all that was gone after the team lost their first nine games to open the campaign. Since then it’s all gone downhill with the exception of a couple of individuals who have carried the team.

Eduardo Nunez was an All-Star this season and he’s currently hitting .312 while playing as a utility infielder with Minnesota. Catcher Kurt Suzuki may be 32 but he is in the final few months of a two-year deal and he currently has a .289 average with 13 doubles and 32 RBIs, while outfielder Robbie Grossman is hitting .282 with 11 doubles.

The Twins main goal for the next couple of years will be to see continued development from their young players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Kennys Vargas. Those guys will soon be paired with the likes of Jose Berrios, Nick Gordon, Tyler Jay and others down still down in the minor leagues.

As such, most of their better players in 2016 are just stopgaps who are filling a spot on the roster but with no real future in the organisation. Nunez, Suzuki or Grossman would likely bring back much of a return, but they have no worth to a team that is 21 games back in their division.

The Twins might as well trade them now and get what they can while the iron is hot. You won’t be receiving anything in return once a guy hits free agency and is out on the open market. The worst they could do is get a couple of young middle relievers in return who may or may not help the big league club at some point in their careers. I know I’d rather have that than nothing at all.

One other noteworthy thing about this organisation right now is they just fired their General Manager Terry Ryan who had been with Minnesota since 1994. It mightn’t seem like much, but you may see the Twins operating a little differently now that Assistant GM Rob Antony has temporarily taken over the vacant job. Only time will tell how much of an impact this is going to have.

Milwaukee Brewers

2011 must feel like a long time ago. That was the last year that this Brewers organisation made the playoffs, going as far as the National League Championship Series before losing to the eventual World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2015 they finished 32 games out of first place in the NL Central and are on pace to finish at least 25 games back this season. One thing they have done better this year in comparison to last is build the value of a couple of players who they can sell at the trade deadline.

Milwaukee already shipped off infielder Aaron Hill to Boston earlier this month, and still they have a couple of attractive trade chips that could do something to help a contender.

Jonathan Lucroy is the big name that you first come across. The Brewers could have traded their 30-year-old backstop this time last year and even hung onto him during the offseason as well. Lucroy has now proved he’s over the broken big toe and concussion problems that reduced him to just 92 starts a year ago. This season he’s hitting .305 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs and has been the team’s best all-around hitter excluding Ryan Braun.

Double play partners Scooter Gennett and Jonathan Villar could both add value to a contender, in particular Villar who is hitting .302 with 21 doubles and 34 stolen bases. He currently leads the big leagues in stolen bases, one ahead of Pirates outfielder Starling Marte. While Gennett and Villar may be 26 and 25 respectively, neither have any real long-term place with the Brewers organisation and would be better off at another club as Milwaukee continue this rebuild they are currently in.

27-year-old Jimmy Nelson (6-7, 3.39 ERA) and 31-year-old Junior Guerra (6-2, 3.06 ERA) are two starters who could offer some value to a contender as well particular with a dearth of starters available in the upcoming offseason. Neither will hit free agency until at least 2021 and have both only just started to prove their worth at the major league level.

When it comes to the Brewers, the big question is always whether or not they would trade Ryan Braun. The right-handed hitting corner outfielder is enjoying a decent 2016 campaign, hitting .316 with 44 RBIs. The issue is Braun hasn’t had anywhere near the number of extra-base hits he was once capable of, and at 32 he is moving away from his peak years.

Braun remains signed to a five-year, $105 million deal that started this season so an acquiring team would likely have to take on much of that salary. That remains the biggest obstacle when it comes to any possible trade, which is why I think the Brewers may just have to wait this contract out and hope that he can continue to hit for a solid average.

There’s no doubt that Milwaukee are right in the middle of a rebuild and they need to add young prospects to their farm system. Taking advantage of some value they have on their major league roster now needs to be the number one focus.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com