MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Explaining Why Certain Stars Weren’t Dealt

Posted on Jul 30 2012 - 5:37am by Ely Sussman

Photo credit: Brian Kersey/AP

Major League Baseball’s 2012 non-waiver trade deadline is officially history. Individuals with star potential like Matt Garza and James Shields were rumored to be on the move, but never actually dealt.

The question is why. The answer can be found below.

OF Shin-Soo Choo (Cleveland Indians) – Choo was being courted by teams seeking a lefty-swinging corner outfielder. He’s under team control through 2013 and enjoying a strong offensive year. The Tribe was reluctant to trade him because it would mean giving up on this season despite being within striking distance of the AL wildcard and AL Central leads. To weaken themselves in the present, the Indians were looking for assets that could propel them into contention within a couple years.

RHP Matt Garza (Chicago Cubs) – Buyers were scared off by the buildup of fluid in Garza’s triceps, even though Cubs manager Dale Sveum reported that his bullpen session on Monday went “entirely well.” Whomever acquired him would be responsible for paying his salary next summer, a figure that Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors estimates at around $12.1 million. That’s quite a risk to take on someone who’s currently injured.

3B Chase Headley (San Diego Padres) – The Padres were hopelessly out of contention at the deadline, but unmotivated to part with Headley. Because he won’t reach free agency until after the 2014 season, he’ll still be highly coveted this winter. As of July 31, there wasn’t much demand for third basemen among playoff hopefuls. The Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers met their needs with earlier trades for Kevin Youkilis and Hanley Ramirez, respectively.

1B/DH Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins) – Money was the main deterrent when it came to Morneau. His contract expires after 2013, but in the interim, he is owed $19 million. A major concussion—along with other nagging aches and pains—have reduced him from AL MVP to platoon player. Yahoo’s Tim Brown reported that the Twins also wanted to receive an big leaguer in return. Nobody was desperate enough to cooperate.

RHP James Shields (Tampa Bay Rays) – Tampa Bay’s front office informed potential suitors that it would require a three-prospect package to get him out of town (via Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com). In other words, they valued him as much as the Milwaukee Brewers did Zack Greinke. While his pure stuff isn’t as enticing, Shields can be retained for two extra seasons thanks to affordable team options. Ultimately, there was consensus that such a price tag was excessive for a right-hander who, until the night of the 31st (complete-game shutout), wasn’t in top form.