The trade deadline is a few weeks away, so the rumor mill is about to heat up. To prep you for the coming trade season, we're providing a primer on who the top available trade targets could be as get closer to July 31st.
We'll start by looking at the catcher position because all the other positional previews will seem a lot more exciting once you get a loud of this batch of humps.
Probably not available, but it couldn't hurt to ask
Carlos Ruiz – People weren't able to "cot for choice" but maybe they can "tad for choice." For those who don't habla the Twitter, that means trade for Chooch. The Phillies are running out of time to get back into contention, so they could be ready to sell come July 31st which could put Ruiz on the block since he is 33 years old and going to be a free agent at season's end. However, Chooch is a fan favorite and the Phightins intend to contend next season, so they might prefer to hold onto their All-Star backstop and re-sign him rather than make him part of a mini-fire sale.
J.P. Arencibia – The Blue Jays are more likely to be buyers than sellers at this point, but in the uber-competitive AL East, that could change in a hurry. In that event, Toronto might be willing to part with their young slugging backstop as they have top prospect Tyler D'Arnaud waiting in the wings for 2013 and Jeff Mathis (stop laughing) available to hold down the fort until D'Arnaud is ready. Arencibia isn't a big difference maker, but there are plenty of teams who would be happy to have his kind of power at their catcher spot.
Nick Hundley – The Padres gave Hundley a three-year contract before the season and now he is in the minors. Oops! Even with Hundley being a major disappointment this season, more than a few teams would be happy to take him off San Diego's hands. However, the Padres are in no rush to move Hundley, even with his replacement Yasmani Grandal getting off to a great start, especially if it means trading him at his absolute lowest value.
Take my (overpaid and/or ineffective) catcher, please!
Kurt Suzuki – Derek Norris is up and Suzuki's production is down… way down… for the third year in a row. The antiquated Suzuki is also owed nearly $6.5 million 2013, a bill that the cash-strapped A's would probably prefer not to pay. As such, they may not require anything other than one or two low-level prospects for the privilege of getting to pay Suzuki his salary in 2013.
Geovany Soto – The former All-Star and 2008 NL Rookie of the Year is on the outs with the Cubbies. His career has been plagued by inconsistency, but his 2012 season has been an unmitigated disaster. Thanks to his .585 OPS, Soto is looking like a potential non-tender candidate this off-season, so it would behoove the Cubs to try and move him now since there are so many teams desperate for catching help due to injury this season.
Something is better than nothing
Miguel Olivo – Olivo is having a down season (like .595 OPS kind of down), but he is arguably the best readily available catcher on the trade market. Yeah, the market is that bad. While his numbers are awful this season, he has shown real power in previous seasons which could make him an attractive trade target (just don't look to closely at his defense). Getting him out of Safeco could breath new life into his bat. If it does, Olivo has an affordable $3 million team option for 2013. If it doesn't, he just becomes another low-cost rental.
John Baker – If your team really wants to trade for a Padre catcher, they would be better off setting their sights on John Baker. He is no more than a back-up, but he has a left-handed bat with a little bit of pop, making him a perfect candidate for a platoon. Even though he is 31 years old, he is under team control through 2014, so he'll cost a bit more than a rental of his caliber, however, it also means the Friars aren't particularly motivated to move him.
Chris Snyder – He is a catcher. He has his own glove and everything. He also has a pulse. These are positive attributes.