While still almost two months away from the MLB non-waiver trade deadline on Aug. 1, speculation runs rampant about who is moving where.
Several players assumed to be on the block based on a variety of factors from being on a non-competitive team or nearing the end of a contract have not performed well enough in the early going to guarantee their value has remained high.
Here are three players who probably would have fetched better returns last offseason than they would today because of their poor starts.
Jose Quintana, White Sox
Quintana and New York Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka have been the poster boys for disappointment in the early going. The difference, however, is that the Yankees are not expected to ship Tanaka out of town. Quintana was linked to trade rumors throughout the winter, even after the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox.
They waited, and now he’s not going to fetch a king’s ransom like he could have, especially after his superhuman performance at the World Baseball Classic.
Quintana is 2-7 in 11 starts with a 5.60 ERA and 1.40 home runs allowed per nine innings. Both would be career-worst numbers. The win-loss record isn’t especially surprising because the White Sox weren’t projecting as a competitive team, but his lack of effectiveness is shocking.
Unless he’s entirely broken, Quintana should still regain his value. He’s on a team-friendly contract through 2018 with two team options afterward worth $10.5 million apiece. The immediate worst-case scenario involves the White Sox keeping him into next season, hoping for a rebound, and unloading him before the 2018 deadline.
Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals didn’t have much choice but to wait on Peralta to begin the season. He had an injury-laden 2016 where he hit .250 with eight home runs in 82 games. This came after two comparably solid seasons to kick off his Cardinals tenure.
He hit .269 with 38 home runs and 146 RBIs in 312 games between 2014 and 2015 before injuries, and potentially age, eventually caught up with him. He’s missed over a month already this season, and since being activated in late May, has appeared in 12 games – only starting six of them.
Peralta is hitting .189 and hasn’t hit a home run. With the team still on the cusp of competition, it looks like the Cardinals may just eat the contract and let him play out his days as a pinch hitter and sometimes starter, hoping he can reconnect with his past glory.
Curtis Granderson, Mets
Granderson went 1-for-3 on Sunday, raising his season’s batting average to .201. Hitting for average hasn’t been Granderson’s strong suit since he played for the Detroit Tigers, maxing out at .262 over the course of his tenure between the Mets and Yankees.
But this is something else entirely. A free agent at season’s end, his struggles compound the unfortunate beginning to the Mets’ season. The team isn’t about to start a rebuild with the young (mostly injured) pitching talent on the roster, but moving on from Granderson seemed like a foregone conclusion unless they remained competitive. With a 24-31 record, sitting 11 games out of first in the National League East, it doesn’t appear like the team will really need the depth he provides long term.
With the emergence of Michael Conforto and the eventual return of Yoenis Cespedes, his role isn’t guaranteed. He may be in the process of turning things around. He’s hitting .300 since May 14, but his abominable start may keep suitors at bay.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)