Written by Matt Snyder at CBS Sports.com
As we surge toward the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline (Aug. 1 this year), we’ll continue to hear all about which players might be traded. For fun, because that’s what we’re all about here, let’s go in the opposite direction and check out some of the most untradeable players in baseball.
Caveats? We have caveats.
Bad players with low contracts won’t make the cut
Those type of players aren’t tradeable, but they are immensely releasable. Thus, there’s no reason to discuss their tradeability (lots of invented words here, which is fun).
No player is truly 100 percent untradeable
Look at James Shields, for instance. He would have made this list, but he’s already been traded. Being on the most untradeable list doesn’t mean a player is untradeable. How does that make sense, one might ask? Just use common sense. We’re all smart here. Being the fastest sloth doesn’t make said sloth fast, right? Apply similar logic here.
Just being past prime with big deal not enough
Yeah, that’s not going to cut it here, either. Justin Verlander is 33 years old and making $28 million per season through 2019, but I don’t think it would be overly difficult for the Tigers to deal him if they decided to take that route.
Similar sentiment goes for Joey Votto, who is due $172 million from 2017-23 with a team option ($7 million buyout) for 2024, when he’s 40. There’s no doubt in mind something could be worked out if the Reds tried to deal him.
This isn’t a highest-contract list, either
Giancarlo Stanton has that deal and it wouldn’t even be remotely shocking to see the Marlins find a huge list of suitors should be be made available. I also shied about from including Elvis Andrus (six years, $88M left) and Troy Tulowitzki (three years, $60M) due to playing shortstop. Someone would jump.
Onto the list!
The 10 most untradeable players:
10. Joe Mauer 1B / Minnesota Twins
He’d be higher on this list, but his $23 million annual salary only runs through 2018. Still, with a pretty extensive history of injury issues and having a first baseman with so little power that his on-base percentage rivals his slugging percentage, there is virtually no trade value here at all. If the Twins were willing to eat almost all the remaining money on the deal, maybe it would work, but it’s hard to see that happening.
There’s always value in a center fielder on defense, but Ellsbury costs $89.56 million through 2020 to provide below-average offense and he’s not even a great base-stealer anymore, as he’s been caught seven times in 24 tries this season. He hasn’t exactly been a poster child for durability in his career either.
Kemp’s home run and RBI totals are gaudy, but he provides no value outside of power. He is a poor defender, hasn’t even attempted a stolen base, has a terrible .280 on-base percentage and has struck out 93 times compared to 13 walks. That’s a worthwhile six-hole hitter — preferably a DH — for a contending team that gets on base frequently in front of him, provided the salary isn’t big. Instead Kemp is playing right field and will make $62.25 million total from 2017-19.
To continue reading this article, click here.