Most of the dealing on the Hot Stove has been completed. However, teams still have needs. There are still holes that need filling and weaknesses that need reinforcing.
The purpose of this article is to patch up these holes. Which Major League Baseball teams would create the best trade partners?
I'm going to try to do this by looking at the needs of one team and then matching it up with another team who has a surplus in that area.
Paul Goldschmidt had a decent debut at first base for the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the reason I thought about this trade for the Arizona Diamondbacks is because the Kansas City Royals have Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer at the position.
Butler does start at DH, but it is not that difficult to find a replacement. If the Diamondbacks could piece together a pretty solid deal, they could definitely use a more established first baseman like Butler to help them reach for a championship.
This trade had been rumored earlier in the winter. The Colorado Rockies were supposed to send Seth Smith to the Atlanta Braves for Martin Prado. It kind of died off, but it would not be a bad idea for the Atlanta Braves to try to make this happen.
The only problem is that now it would need to happen with the Oakland Athletics.
Smith offers a decent combination of power and speed, and quite frankly, the Atlanta Braves need to do something. The National League East has become so much more competitive, but the Braves haven't been able to step forward.
Smith offers quite a bit of potential and a well-rounded offensive attack. If only they could keep following him.
The Baltimore Orioles have had problems with pitching over the past few years. However, the Texas Rangers happen to have a surplus after acquiring Yu Darvish. Unless they send one of their starters back to the bullpen, there will probably be a trade going down before April.
While trading for any one of these Texas Ranger pitchers would be costly, the Baltimore Orioles are actually in a decent position to do it. They have a young core with a lot of talent, and a young arm from Texas would definitely help that.
Hanley Ramirez was a hot prospect for the Boston Red Sox before they sent him to the Florida Marlins. It might be time to bring him back. Even though the Florida Marlins say that he will play third base, I kind of doubt that he will be happy playing there long term.
Mike Aviles is a decent shortstop, but Ramirez would obviously be a huge upgrade. The Boston Red Sox need to be able to fight every season for the top of the division, and Ramirez would definitely help them do that.
If the situation in Florida doesn't work out, Ramirez could be on the move, and Boston would be smart to pay attention.
I know many of you might wonder why I am thinking about this trade partner for the Chicago Cubs. The main reason is because of Brandon Inge. Last season was miserable for him, but he has demonstrated a ton of power at times.
Wrigley Field is definitely a hitter-friendly park. His power might do very well there. Also, with Miguel Cabrera moving to third base, Inge will probably be very expendable.
For what would probably be an extraordinarily cheap price, I think that the Cubs could steal this one away. It might seem insignificant, but it could be a relatively small risk for a big potential payoff.
The Chicago White Sox are rebuilding somewhat. However, that doesn't mean that they won't try to be competitive.
Wandy Rodriguez is probably available on the market, as the Houston Astros will be definitely rebuilding. Rodriguez won't carry an astronomical price tag, but he certainly can be effective.
Honestly, the Chicago White Sox are going to have trouble winning the American League Central with the Detroit Tigers on top, but adding Rodriguez would give them a pretty decent starting rotation.
The New York Mets need to rebuild. Because of that, they will probably be selling a lot of pieces. In particular, the Cincinnati Reds could use some of the Mets' pieces out of the bullpen.
The Mets need to sign a bunch of new bullpen arms, so they could be willing to deal some of the other pieces such as ground ball pitcher Bobby Parnell.
The Reds already added Ryan Madson to become the new closer, and they could use a few more pieces. The type of move would definitely help them compete in what should be a weaker National League Central.
I like Edwin Encarnacion. However, the Toronto Blue Jays have a huge blue-chip prospect in Brett Lawrie waiting to take over that position, which is why I think that this might be a good fit.
The Indians have Jack Hannahan at the hot corner right now. He is definitely a serviceable option, but Encarnacion would provide more power and really power up the Indians' lineup.
For the price that it would probably take to pull Encarnacion away from Toronto, I really think that he would be worth pursuing to help the Indians.
I know that the Colorado Rockies already traded Seth Smith, so Martin Prado for Seth Smith wouldn't work right now. However, it would still be a good idea to bring Prado to Denver.
Prado is able to play a variety of positions, hit for a high average and actually provide a little bit of power. His power numbers would even rise by playing in Colorado. If they can make up an alternate way for this to happen, it would definitely be worth their while.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have one too many outfielders. Justin Upton, Chris Young, Gerardo Parra and the newly signed Jason Kubel should all be starting somewhere, but that won't happen in Arizona with only three outfield spots.
The Detroit Tigers could use another outfielder to help them drive for the championship that they are surely aiming for.
Of that group, Parra is probably the most likely to be traded, and that might not even happen. However, the Detroit Tigers could definitely use a move like this to strengthen their outfield.
It isn't a secret that the Houston Astros need to kind of start over. The best way to do that is to trade away any veteran that has value and get the return in prospects.
Wandy Rodriguez could be the right piece for a contender. He is definitely a solid pitcher who can round out the Detroit Tigers' rotation but will be relatively cheaper than other options on the market such as Matt Garza.
However, at the same time, the Tigers are definitely trying for a championship. They will be willing to pay a nice price for Rodriguez.
The Astros will get their prospects, and the Tigers will get their pitchers. Everyone is happy.
The Kansas City Royals have Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler. Both of them are solid players, but both of them play first base.
The Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, just lost Prince Fielder at first base. Butler can be a very solid piece in the middle of their lineup. The National League Central shouldn't be that strong this season, so this move could help Milwaukee over the top.
In return, the Royals could probably use some pitching support. This could be a mutually beneficial opportunity for both teams.
I know that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have an amazing rotation already. However, part of me would love to see James Shields join that rotation. That means we would have some type of blockbuster in place.
The Tampa Bay Rays have Luke Scott at DH, but Kendry Morales could be a nice upgrade at that position. Also, the Angels have an overloaded outfield, and they will surely want to bring up Mike Trout to a more significant role.
Someone like Torii Hunter could also move in this type of trade. The Rays' outfield is young and could use a veteran presence.
This would be a huge deal if it went down. The teams are surprisingly compatible.
The Los Angeles Dodgers might not be able to keep Andre Ethier long term, so they should be looking to trade him. They need some bullpen help after Jonathan Broxton departed for Kansas City.
The San Diego Padres have some very nice pieces in their bullpen, such as Luke Gregerson, that could help the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Similarly, with the acquisition of Carlos Quentin, it is obvious that the San Diego Padres are trying to improve their lineup. There are pieces that both sides would be interested in, so maybe with a little more work, some kind of deal could come out of this.
The Miami Marlins will need to move Hanley Ramirez eventually. He really is a shortstop, and I think he and the Marlins would benefit from an eventual split.
The Tampa Bay Rays could use a more productive shortstop, and they have a lot, on the verge of too much, pitching.
The Marlins have a decent rotation, but who knows how the Carlos Zambrano situation will play out? This could be a nice pairing.
Again, this is one of those situations that I really like. The Milwaukee Brewers could use an upgrade at first base. The Kansas City Royals have two solid first basemen in Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer.
It definitely makes sense for the Milwaukee Brewers to try to get something done. They need some way of filling that hole in the lineup, and this could be an easy way of doing it.
I don't necessarily have a particular trade in mind as I am pairing up the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs. However, I paired them up because the Twins should be selling and rebuilding, while the Cubs will be looking to make a winner immediately with Theo Epstein at the helm.
For the Twins, perhaps Denard Span could move to the Cubs. If the Twins got prospects in return, it would definitely be worth it. They need to build for the future.
The National League East is so strong right now that the New York Mets should be focused on rebuilding. David Wright should be on the move, and the Los Angeles Dodgers could use a third baseman.
Juan Uribe is not a bad option, but adding David Wright to that lineup with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier would be great.
The Mets would get a ton of probably pitching prospects in return from the Dodgers, and that would put them in a better position to compete in the future.
The New York Yankees have revamped their pitching rotation with some major acquisitions this winter. Therefore, they kind of have an overload at that position.
The Kansas City Royals have a decent pitching rotation, but I am thinking that it might be worth the risk for them to acquire A.J. Burnett. He has had some very good years, and maybe a change of scenery would bring that stuff back.
For the Yankees, they could get some prospects and reinforce their farm system. This could help both teams fill some of their needs.
Dallas Braden is a solid pitcher, but he probably won't be a piece of the Oakland Athletics' long-term picture. Because of that, they should sell him for prospects right now.
The Milwaukee Brewers have Chris Narveson as their fifth starter. Braden would be an upgrade over him, and I definitely think that the Athletics would like to bring in more prospects. They won't compete in 2012, but they will have a pretty good shot in the future if all of their prospects pan out.
The Philadelphia Phillies have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, but their bullpen could be a weakness.
They have quite a few young arms in the bullpen that might be excellent or might have some difficulties. Because of that, I matched them up with the San Diego Padres.
The Padres might be selling to build for the future, and Luke Gregerson had a great ground ball arm. He would do well in Citizens Bank Park and provide another solid option for the Phillies.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could actually be in a decent position to compete for the National League Central this season. Because of that, I think acquiring Maicer Izturis from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim might help them upgrade that position.
He doesn't have as much power as Clint Barmes, but he does hit for a good average and run well. He is also very versatile and can play around the infield. Making a move like this would definitely help the Pirates moved closer to capturing the Central.
Andre Ethier might be on the move from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The San Diego Padres could use a bat to pair with Carlos Quentin.
Ethier has 30-home run potential, and he could definitely turn the Padres into a decent offensive team. On the flip side, the Dodgers could use some bullpen support, and the Padres have never been known to be short on pitching.
This very well could be a solid agreement and fair deal.
The San Francisco Giants have a few very effective pitchers in their bullpen. However, they do not have very many arms. Because of that, I think that they could trade for more arms just for some additional support and in case of injury.
The Washington Nationals have a lot of young arms in the bullpen, and they just added Brad Lidge. They could be willing to trade some of those arms in the right type of deal.
The Giants have a very realistic shot of competing in the West, so they need to make the most of it.
This is going to sound very similar to the advice I gave to the Cleveland Indians. Edwin Encarnacion is going to be trapped behind Brett Lawrie. Obviously, that will lower his price slightly.
The Mariners will want to remain competitive in the West, but at the same time, I think they need to focus on the future. Encarnacion would not have such a high price tag that he would compromise that future, but he would be a good piece to have and help them try to be competitive.
The St. Louis Cardinals took a big hit when they lost Albert Pujols. However, they recovered pretty nicely and will definitely still be a great team.
They do not have very many bullpen pitchers, though. While they might want to reinforce this area, they probably won't want to pay very much.
The Houston Astros will be selling, of course, so it makes sense that these two could become real partners. The Astros want whenever they can get, and the St. Louis Cardinals only need to fill small holes in a mostly solid team.
The Tampa Bay Rays could use a little more support at shortstop. Sean Rodriguez isn't that bad, but they could use a little bit of an upgrade.
Perhaps they could work out a deal for prospect Zack Cozart and not only have a piece for the future, but he would also be cheap and effective in the present.
Of course, this would need to be a relatively substantial offer, but the Tampa Bay Rays do not have very many other needs. Shortstop is really their biggest weakness, and this type of trade would be a good way to fix it.
If the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to try to compete for the division championship in 2012 (which I think they should), then another starting pitcher would definitely not hurt.
The Texas Rangers have six solid starting pitchers, and they might as well trade one of them to get the return in prospects. There is no sense moving one of their starters to the bullpen and wasting that talent. They might as well get the return in prospects and improve for the future.
The Atlanta Braves have quite a few starting pitchers, and they have prospect Julio Teheran waiting to burst onto the Major League scene. Therefore, maybe the Toronto Blue Jays could go after Jair Jurrjens.
His name was floated around early in the offseason as a potential trade target, but nothing really developed. With a rotation headlined by Ricky Romero and Jurrjens, the Toronto Blue Jays would have one of the better rotations in baseball.
This is going to sound really insignificant, but it really is important for the Washington Nationals. They do not have much outfield depth, so since the Boston Red Sox signed Cody Ross, I would encourage the Washington Nationals to go after Darnell McDonald.
He may not hit for a high average, but he can play every outfield position, and McDonald has a decent bit of pop. Depth is important, and it is oftentimes underappreciated; depth is where the Washington Nationals should try to improve.
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