MLB Trade Scenarios: 7 Jaw-Dropping Deals We May See This Season
As summer approaches film buffs and baseball fans both share an anticipation of the "summer blockbuster." It seems as if every summer there's a big film or two that dominate the box office.
Baseball is a little different. Every summer features plenty of discussed blockbusters but not all that many mega-deals are ever consummated.
The summer of 2011 featured a few mid sized trades. Hunter Pence, Mike Adams and Carlos Beltran all changed teams. No real "blockbuster" though.
On July 9th 2010 Cliff Lee was dealt from the Seattle Mariners to the Texas Rangers along with Mark Lowe for a package of minor leaguers. Justin Smoak, Josh Leuke, Blake Beavan and Matthew Lawson. It was a fairly major deal. Lee was a former Cy Young winner and was also in the midst of a dominant season.
The 2012 season is rapidly approaching. Pitchers and Catchers will being working out in a few weeks. Opening Day is just a touch over two months away. That means in five months it will be almost July. Midseason trade rumors will be flying and plenty of big names will be bandied about.
It's possible that not one player on this list will be dealt as August 1st approaches but it's also possible that a few of them could find new homes this summer.
Zack Greinke to the Rangers for Jurickson Profar
Last season Zack Greinke never was able to reclaim the type of dominance he displayed when he won the Cy Young Award as a member of the Royals in 2009.
Greinke is still only 28 years old though. He could have a very good season in 2012 and with free agency looming if he were to do that he'd enter the market with the leverage to demand a very nice contract next winter.
Picture this scenario though. The Rangers who spent big on Yu Darvish are locked in a tight battle with the Angels for American League West superiority. Derek Holland is improving, Neftali Feliz has struggled a bit to adjust to the role of starting. Darvish has struggled to adjust to playing in the majors and the offense is as expected among the best in baseball.
On a team with one of the best offenses in baseball the Rangers have one of the youngest and brightest stars at shortstop. Elvis Andrus is only 23 and is already among the best players at his position.
The Rangers also have one of the best minor league systems in baseball and among the top prospects in that minor league system is Jurickson Profar.
Profar is only 19 years old and is already ranked among the brightest young players in all of baseball. That makes him more than just a tempting prospect, he's an extremely tempting prospect.
There are as there will be with all of these projections a lot of "ifs" associated with this deal.
The first involves the Rangers starting pitching which could be very good this year. There are enough questions within the rotation to make one think that there could be problems though. In addition the Rangers showed a willingness to make exactly this type of trade in spite of looming free agency in July of 2010 when they dealt for Cliff Lee.
Unlike Lee, Greinke could be an easier pitcher to resign to a long term deal for Texas. At one point Greinke had a list of teams he could "veto" a trade to and both Boston and New York were on the list. If that were the case next season then some of Texas' competition to resign Greinke could be eliminated and that could make him a more attractive trade target for Texas.
Milwaukee meanwhile may end up embarking on a rebuilding path this season. Ryan Braun may end up missing the first 50 games due to suspension. Prince Fielder has already left the team. The Brewers traded away a very strong shortstop prospect in Alcides Escobar to acquire Greinke they could now potentially acquire one of the best young shortstop prospects in the game by dealing Greinke before he possibly leaves as a free agent.
A.J. Pierzynski to the Marlins for Rob Rasmussen
If things pan out in Miami they could be a contender this season. That would mean that Hanley Ramirez adjusts to third base both on and off the field. It would also mean that Josh Johnson would need to be both healthy and effective.
It might mean that having John Buck as their starting catcher wouldn't make manager Ozzie Guillen too comfy as the pennant race heated up.
With the White Sox in some form of rebuilding and with A.J. Pierzynski becoming a free agent following the 2012 season the potential for trades from Kenny Williams and the White Sox is as high as it's ever been in this upcoming season.
It wouldn't seem too irrational for the Marlins to acquire a veteran presence like A.J. Pierzynski to catch if in fact they were in a race for a playoff spot. Pierzynski has plenty of experience playing for Ozzie Guillen as well as catching for veteran pitcher Mark Buehrle who is now a member of the Miami Marlins.
The price might not be sky high either. The Marlins would probably be willing to part with lefty Rob Rasmussen and maybe one more prospect if they felt that Pierzynski could be the difference between October baseball and missing the playoffs.
For Chicago they'd merely be parting with a player that would be likely to leave via free agency at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Better to try and take advantage of any value he could have than lose him outright.
Tim Hudson to the Tigers for Drew Smyly
Right about now Braves fans are thinking: "There's no way this will happen, we're not going to be sellers at the trade deadline!"
Meanwhile Tigers fans are thinking: "There's not a chance that the Tigers will deal Drew Smyly.
Both could be 100 percent right also.
However the Braves might not be serious contenders this season. The Phillies will be tough and both Miami and Washington are improved.
Up north in Detroit the Tigers will be counted on to win the American League Central. The real goal lies well beyond divisional titles though. The goal is to win the World Series. If the Tigers are looking good but are of the opinion that they need more starting pitching then it might be a bit early to depend on their impressive homegrown talent.
The Tigers don't want to deal Smyly but if there is a legitimate feeling within the organization that bringing a pitcher like Hudson aboard could actually win them a World Series then a guy like Smyly could become expendable real quick.
Smyly is a 6'3" left-handed pitcher who was a second round pick in the 2010 draft. In 126 minor league innings he's sports an impressive 2.07 earned run average and 130 strikeouts.
Hudson is of course an experienced veteran who has been with Atlanta for the last seven seasons. He's got an impressive track record of very steady and solid performance. Just what a team like Detroit could use to make a deep playoff run starting behind ace Justin Verlander.
Adam Jones to the Rangers for Martin Perez and Justin Grimm
Adam Jones is a multi-faceted young outfielder playing on a perennially bad team rapidly approaching a date with free agency and big money at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
The Baltimore Orioles need pitching in the worst of ways.
The Texas Rangers meanwhile have tons of young pitching talent in the minors. They also have one outfield spot that's not totally settled and another being manned by Josh Hamilton who may or may not remain on the team following the upcoming season when his contract expires.
Add all that up and there's some potential for a big deal.
The Orioles aren't going to relish the idea of trading Jones who is their most dynamic offensive player. This is a team that desperately needs pitching though and the Rangers are usually wiling to wheel and deal and also have some nice pieces they could part with as well.
Martin Perez is only 20 years old and last year he advanced all the way to the Triple-A level of the Rangers' system where he promptly hit a wall.
That's okay because at his young age he's got plenty of time to refine his techniques and maximize his effectiveness on the mound.
Perez would be the centerpiece of this deal but Grimm wouldn't be just a "throw-in" type of player.
Grimm could end up as a starter or long reliever when he eventually reaches the majors. The 23-year-old Georgia Alum was a fifth round pick in the 2010 draft.
For the Rangers Jones would round out what is already a lethal lineup for the 2012 season. He'd also provide for some insurance offensively were Hamilton to leave via free agency.
The Orioles would get what they desperately need, young pitching to begin the process of forming a decent major league rotation.
David Wright to the Dodgers for Allen Webster and Garrett Gould
The Mets are headed into a major rebuilding process. The combination of the teams' own internal financial problems, injuries to key players, bad contracts and the general improvement of their own division with teams like the Marlins and National becoming increasingly competitive have all conspired to plunge the Mets into a downward spiral.
David Wright is a highly talented and not that old third baseman rapidly approaching free agency. The Mets might not be able to afford him even if he wanted to resign with the team. Would he want to? That's a question no one truly knows the answer to but for the Mets to wait and see as the did with Jose Reyes would seem foolish.
Wright is a major commodity on the market should the Mets decide to shop him. Meanwhile out west in Los Angeles the Dodgers will probably have a new owner by the time summer rolls around. Once that happens the new owner will want to make some waves. The Angels have been dominating headlines but the Dodgers might just have the best pitcher and the best all around hitter in Los Angeles in Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.
Juan Uribe is a nice player at third base but David Wright would be a huge upgrade.
To the shock of no one the Dodgers minor league system is stocked with solid young pitchers. The Mets need a everything but young pitching is the key to rebuilding and both Allen Webster and Garrett Gould could be in the majors in the next few years. Both are projected as dependable starters with Webster possessing a slightly higher ceiling.
The new owner of the Dodgers would be able to afford to resign Wright to a long-term deal possibly before he even opts for free agency. The Mets would now have five young pitching prospects with legitimate major league expectations. Every prospect doesn't turn out as planned but if you've got five solid ones your odds of netting a few good starters seem pretty good.
Matt Cain to the Tigers for Drew Smyly, Tyler Collins and Aaron Westlake
This deal would be made under similar circumstances to the previous Tim Hudson deal but it's a little more major an undertaking for the Tigers.
They're also getting better pitcher in return.
Matt Cain will be a free agent following the 2012 season. He's going to cost a fair amount of money to resign. The Tigers have clearly shown a willingness to spend and spend big if they think it could net them a World Series ring.
Adding Cain would be quite a step. It would create a devastating one-two punch with reigning Cy Young and MVP Justin Verlander.
To get Cain the Tigers will have to part with one very nice prospect in Drew Smyly and two other promising young players one of whom who given the current Tigers roster is completely expendable.
Smyly is a top prospect, a left handed potential starter that any team in baseball would covet. Aaron Westlake was a third round pick in the 2011 draft out of Vanderbilt. Tyler Collins was a sixth round pick in the same 2011 draft.
At 23 years old Westlake is not that young but at 6'4" 235 pounds he's already got the type of build that could make him a power hitting first baseman. The Giants need to add run production to a lineup that struggled mightily in 2011.
The Tigers with the recent signing of Prince Fielder will not need a first baseman anytime in the near future.
Collins may was the National Junior College Player of The Year. He could develop into a nice major league outfielder.
The Giants will probably ask for third baseman Nick Castellanos but the Tigers are not likely to deal both Smyly and Castellanos.
Peter Bourjos, Kendrys Morales and Nick Maronde for Hanley Ramirez
When the Miami Marlins signed Jose Reyes to a massive free agent contract this past fall they immediately had to deal with some alleged negative feedback from Hanley Ramirez.
That sparked some trade rumors that never came to fruition.
That doesn't mean that he won't be dealt this summer though.
Meanwhile across the nation in Los Angeles the Angels made the big offseason moves by signing both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. The Angels are obviously trying to win, and win big in the next few years. The one potential weakness is the offense which in spite of Pujols addition still has some holes when compared to teams like the Tigers, Rangers, Yankees and Red Sox.
Erick Aybar is a nice shortstop for the Angels but Hanley Ramirez would represent a dramatic upgrade. The cost to the Angels would be fairly large but the two major leaguers Peter Bourjos and Kendrys Morales are both players that the team doesn't need to have on the roster.
Morales plays first base. Mark Trumbo hit 29 home runs as a rookie last season playing first. Bourjos is a speedy outfielder with a great glove but with top prospect Mike Trout poised to join the Angels outfield Bourjos is also a player that while valuable is also expendable.
The Angels would have to throw in a young pitcher as well. They don't have a ton to choose from but Nick Maronde a 22-year-old 2011 third round draft pick may fit the bill.
Miami would be acquiring a speedy young outfielder in Bourjos which would allow them to move Emilio Bonafacio back to third base. They'd also get Morales who would make Gaby Sanchez expendable if another trade were needed down the road.