The recent moves that sent Scott Feldman to the Orioles and Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers kicked off what should be an intriguing few weeks as the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July approaches. With two fewer pitchers available for teams seeking rotation help, the players still on the market may come at a steeper price, though only time will tell. The star players who are dealt most of the time get the headlines despite being dealt one of multiple solid prospects in return.
Take one of the more lopsided deals recently; the Rangers traded Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to the Braves for Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones. Not a bad haul for the Rangers and while Andrus and Feliz didn't make their debuts until 2009, those two along with Harrison all played a big part in helping the Rangers reach back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011.
It's not the only lopsided deal at the deadline in history and while it's possible that a one-sided deal could happen this season, the point is that the prospects involved in these deals, whether moving teams or taking the spot of a departing star (or stars), are something to watch. Here's a look at several young players in position to benefit from deadline deals.
Jarred Cosart is surprisingly still awaiting his first look with the Astros yet as he's been solid all season long with Triple-A Oklahoma City. If Bud Norris is moved, Cosart could move into Norris' spot in the rotation. The 23-year-old right-hander is 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA and opponents are batting just .213 against him. Walks continue to be his Achilles heel as he's issued four or more in six of his 17 starts including a season-high seven in a start on May 28. He's averaging exactly a strikeout per inning but he's only completed the seventh inning once this season and that was a complete game effort.
Cody Asche could take over a third base for the Phillies if Michael Young is moved at the deadline. A 2013 International League All-Star, Asche is batting .281/.342/.441, numbers that have remained fairly consistent all season. His power numbers are not what you expect out of a corner infielder but he does have 21 doubles and four triples to go with eight home runs. The 23-year-old should be a good player for the Phillies at the hot corner whenever he arrives and if he hits over .300 like he did last season, his fantasy value rises a bit.
Nick Castellanos is perhaps one of the most intriguing prospect names at the deadline because he would more than likely be involved in a deal for a big name, possibly a closer, if the Tigers decide to go a different route than Joaquin Benoit at that position. Castellanos made the transition to the outfield after playing a couple of seasons to begin his professional season at third base, using the Arizona Fall League to expedite the process last fall. The 21-year-old has been one of the more consistent parts of an otherwise poor Triple-A Toledo squad. Castellanos is an International League All-Star this season and finished play Tuesday with a .288 average playing primarily in left field. One of the younger members of the IL all season long has 11 home runs, 47 RBI and 28 doubles in 93 games. In fact he leads the league in at-bats (364) and is tied for the lead in games played. If the Tigers want to upgrade, especially at closer, Castellanos may be the price. It is entirely possible that Castellanos is called up by the Tigers to help an unstable outfield in the Motor City.
On a similar level with the aforementioned Castellanos is Bruce Rondon who has been nothing short of dominant at Triple-A, compiling a 1-1 record and a 1.52 ERA with 14 saves and 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. The fireballer has appeared in just eight games with the Tigers this season but at 22, Rondon is a young major league ready reliever who fits the mold of a player a team who is rebuilding would seek. It's not crazy to think it's possible he could be moved for a more sure-thing and it's even less crazy to think that Rondon stays put and helps the Tigers' bullpen as they push for a division title. Keep in mind that general manager Dave Dombrowski is willing to shell out prospects for what he believes is return that can help Detroit win now (see: Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante trade last season).
A lot of talk has surrounded the Mariners and whether or not they move Raul Ibanez, Michael Morse or Kendrys Morales. If Ibanez or Morse especially are dealt keep an eye on Stefen Romero. Romero missed the beginning of the season due to an oblique injury in spring training but he's fared well since. He's batting over .300, has 25 extra-base hits and has driven in 49 runs in 62 games. The arms in the Mariners' organization that get most of the attention and for good reason but if Romero continues to put up solid numbers he'll be in the big leagues helping Seattle win games at the dish.
The Brewers are an interesting team with pieces like Yovani Gallardo, Aramis Ramirez, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford that could potentially help a contending team. It's probably unlikely that more than two of these players are dealt (especially with Ramirez's ongoing knee trouble) but there are several prospects that could be called upon if a departure happens. A couple of starters to keep in mind are Hiram Burgos and Jimmy Nelson. Burgos has found some trouble in the early goings of his major league career and is still bothered by a shoulder injury which forced him to leave a recent Triple-A start. It's concerning for sure but if he's healthy he should be back in Milwaukee's rotation. If not, it's possible that Nelson's name gets thrown around. Nelson is huge at 6-foot-6 and was promoted to Triple-A Nashville in early June and was adjusting nicely before his start on July 8 in which he allowed six runs, all earned, in five innings. He's walked 23 in 32.1 innings and that is a bit concerning but if multiple pitchers are moved by the Brew Crew, Nelson could be an option. Hunter Morris and/or Khris Davis are also two to watch as their power potential makes them intriguing.