The 2015 Major League Baseball trade deadline is Friday, and a flurry of action in the MLB could mean plenty of movement for Vanderbilt alumni in the minors. While All-Stars like David Price and Pedro Alvarez may be the headliners, prospects like Tony Kemp and Caleb Cotham could all be relocated based on the moves their bosses make. With rumors swirling, here are the seven former Commodores most likely to be traded in advance of the 2015 MLB trading deadline.
1. David Price. Price may not be leaving Detroit, but this tweet from Sunday night certainly seems to suggest that something may be amiss in Michigan:
I'm lookin forward to the memories of right now, never forgettin from where I came and no matter where Im headed I promise to stay the same— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) July 27, 2015
The former Cy Young winner is a free agent after this season and is no lock to return to the Tigers. As such, they're shopping him around to interested parties in order to gauge the return they could get on their 2014 investment. Teams like the Pirates, Blue Jays, and Dodgers could be interested in the five-time All-Star.
2. Tony Kemp. Kemp has blasted his way through the minors, but his path to playing time with the Astros is blocked by All-Star Jose Altuve at second base. He's made a move to center field with the AAA Fresno Grizzlies, but he could be seen as a special, but redundant, talent in Houston. Kemp suffered through an 0-23 slide in the past week, but that won't be enough to dim his rising star. He snapped out of that slump with a 3-4 performance against Tacoma on Monday night. Vanderbilt fans fully know what he's capable of, but in case you've forgotten:
3. Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates are reportedly shopping their meatball-smashing first baseman. Alvarez's move across the diamond hasn't brought much of a return at the plate (.232 average, .301 on-base percentage, .430 slugging) and that isn't nearly enough to offset the -1.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) that he's cost the Buccos in the field. Despite his recent power surge, Pittsburgh will still try to ship him to an American League team that could effectively deploy him as a designated hitter and bring back some veteran help in return. Alvarez is still only 28 years old. A change of scenery could do him wonders - but there's still time to turn his 2015 season around in the Steel City.
4. Conrad Gregor. Gregor isn't the same level of prospect that Kemp is, but he plays for a Houston system that's looking to sell minor leaguers for immediate help, and that could put the young slugger's name on the trade manifests this summer. Gregor posted a .404 OBP and drove in 86 runs in 124 games across three stops in A and AA ball, but he's cooled off in 2015. He's batting .246 in his third year as a professional, but he's shown signs of progress at every level of the minors he's called home. He's not a home run prospect, but he's patient at the plate and his path to the majors is blocked in a crowded Astros program. That could lead to a change in address for August.
5. Caleb Cotham. Cotham has proved to be a valuable reliever in the Yankees' system, but with New York looking like mid-market buyers at the trade deadline that proficiency could get him shipped out of town. The Yanks aren't in the market for a blockbuster deal, but acquiring a proven but flawed starting pitcher like Mat Latos or an effective but overvalued reliever like Craig Kimbrel could cost them a package that includes an under-the-radar prospect like Cotham. The Vanderbilt alum is currently 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 19.2 innings of AAA ball. Opposing batters are hitting just .208 against him.
6. Taylor Hill. Like Cotham, Hill plays for a team - the Nationals - that won't be looking to add too much firepower at the trade deadline. However, if they make a minor deal, a AAA starter who can't crack Washington's loaded rotation could be an interesting piece for a team that's selling. Hill has been better as a reliever in the majors this season than he's been as a starter in the minors, but he's struggled in general after a breakout 2014. He's only one year removed from a campaign where he went 11-7 with a 2.81 ERA in 24 starts and he's 26 years old. That's value - especially for a farm system that's low on pitching.
7. Mike Yastrzemski. The Orioles could be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Yaz rated out as Baltimore's 9th-best prospect by MinorLeagueBall.com, but he's hit a wall in AA ball this summer. Despite a season with little progress, he's got the kind of name recognition that could excite fans that otherwise wouldn't have batted an eye at the minor leaguers coming back from a midseason trade. Who wouldn't want to be the GM that traded for a Yastrzemski?