MLB Trade Speculation: Potential Impact Deadline Deals for All 30 Teams
The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is now officially less than one week away, and each team will continue to evaluate its roster and make decisions that affect its future.
Whether or not that future is short-term or long-term likely depends on the standings.
Some teams have already decided their futures. The Miami Marlins have already expressed their disappointment in how the season has progressed by shipping out Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers, and according to team president Larry Beinfest, more changes could be in store.
“The message to the fans is we’re disappointed, (and) they should be disappointed,” Beinfest said (via The (Ind.) Republic). “The current team did not win at the level we thought it should, and we need to make some changes. We’re not winning as it is, so we might as well try something else.”
Obviously, Monday's deal indicates a change in direction for the Marlins, who were hoping that their offseason acquisitions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell would give them the opportunity to contend this year.
There are still plenty of deals to be made from now until July 31, and we will outline one major impact deal that each MLB team could pull off that takes care of needs for both now and in the future.
Arizona Diamondbacks Trade OF Justin Upton
Detroit Tigers Trade 3B Nick Castellanos and LHP Casey Crosby
The Detroit Tigers clearly gave an indication on Monday that their future is now, trading for second baseman Omar Infante and starter Anibal Sanchez for top pitching prospect Jacob Turner, catcher Rob Brantly and minor league pitcher Brian Flynn.
Now, GM Dave Dombrowski could further the Tigers' chances of a World Series berth by acquiring Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton.
Putting Upton in the lineup along with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder would make for a formidable punch in the middle of the batting order, and when DH Victor Martinez returns full-time next season, the Tigers would once again be prohibitive favorites in the American League.
Castellanos is a huge price to pay, but his path in Detroit is currently blocked at third base.
Update: Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall told ESPN.com that there's a "close to 100 percent chance" that Upton will not be dealt this season.
Yup, we all know that's a certainty, right?
Boston Red Sox Trade LHP Jon Lester
Atlanta Braves Trade RHP Randall Delgado and LHP Chasen Shreve
This particular deal would be a moot issue if Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster waives his no-trade clause for the current deal on the table for the Braves.
If in fact that doesn't happen, the Braves could well set their sights on Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, who has struggled for much of the season.
The Red Sox will have some major decisions to make regarding their future within the next six days. With the team back under .500 before Tuesday night's game with the Texas Rangers, GM Ben Cherington may well decide that re-tooling needs to begin, and Lester will be an attractive chip to offer.
The Braves are clearly looking to upgrade their roster, especially after Jair Jurrjens' miserable outing on Sunday. Lester is under contract through the 2013 season with an option for 2014 and affordable.
A change of scenery could in fact be the medicine for what ails Lester.
San Diego Padres Trade 3B Chase Headley
Baltimore Orioles Trade INF Wilson Betemit, RHP Steve Johnson and OF L.J. Hoes
If there is one area of need for the Baltimore Orioles aside from pitching, it's at the corners.
Wilson Betemit has provided the bulk of the starts at third, with Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis sharing the bulk of duties at first.
Acquiring Headley would solidify one corner. Headley is hitting .265 with 11 HR and 50 RBI and would likely see a surge in production away from Petco Park. In addition, he is under team control through the 2014 season.
The Padres have Jedd Gyorko waiting in the wings, so moving Headley gives Gyorko his chance to shine in San Diego. Betemit would give the Padres a solid utility player who can back up at both corners and has an affordable contract, as well.
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox Trade SS Mike Aviles
Pittsburgh Pirates Trade SS Brock Holt
The Red Sox could be in a selling mode come July 31, and if they are, the Pirates could well be interested in Mike Aviles.
Aviles is hitting .260 with 10 HR and 50 RBI, much better production than what's been provided thus far by current Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes (.207, 4 HR, 25 RBI).
In addition, Aviles comes cheap—a $1.25 million contract his year and not eligible for free agency until 2015, a win-win for the Pirates all around.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/22/2906124/infection-keeps-miami-marlins.html#storylink=cpy
Chicago Cubs Trade RHP Matt Garza
Kansas City Royals Trade LHP Mike Montgomery, RHP Jordano Ventura and RHP Greg Billo
The Kansas City Royals tried upgrading their rotation with the acquisition of Jonathan Sanchez last offseason.
Obviously, that plan failed.
In obtaining Cubs starter Matt Garza, they get a pitcher who is under team control for one more season and not afraid to pitch in pressure situations, and the Royals have the talent in their farm system to deal without totally depleting their system.
Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners Trade RHP Kevin Millwood
Chicago White Sox Trade RHP Jhan Marinez
The Chicago White Sox have already been busy, dealing for third baseman Kevin Youkilis and closer Brett Myers.
Now, they'd love to find one more piece that can help them for the next two months.
That piece would be Mariners starter Kevin Millwood. Millwood is only 3-8 in 19 starts for the M's, but with a 4.13 ERA.
At just a $1 million salary, Millwood fills a need for the White Sox without the team's breaking the bank and without it's having to dig deeply into a farm system that's already been depleted.
Minnesota Twins Trade CF Denard Span
Cincinnati Reds Trade LHP Tony Cingrani, C Tucker Barnhardt and RHP Chad Rogers
The Cincinnati Reds have already indicated their disappointment in the production of current center fielder Drew Stubbs. John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that the Reds would look into reducing Stubbs' current role with the team.
The Twins are looking for pitching—GM Terry Ryan has already made that pretty clear. Span has been hitting better of late, raising his average to .280 and on-base percentage to .344.
That's a far sight better than what the Reds have produced from the leadoff position thus far in 2012 (.202/.248).
Cleveland Indians Trade RHP Chris Perez
San Francisco Giants Trade OF Francisco Peguero and RHP Dan Otero
With the recent problems of current Giants closer Santiago Casilla, the Giants are looking to bolster the back end of their bullpen.
While the Indians haven't yet given up on the 2012 season, they are 4-7 since the All-Star break and headed in the wrong direction in the AL Central.
It could be deja vu all over again.
Perez has been an All-Star for two consecutive seasons; has 27 saves with a 2.97 ERA; is affordable, with a $4.5 million contract; and under team control for two more seasons.
Colorado Rockes Trade C Ramon Hernandez and LHP Matt Reynolds
New York Mets Trade IF Justin Turner, RHP Jacob deGrom and 3B Aderlin Rodriguez
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York first talked about this deal earlier this month, and it still makes sense today.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson takes care of two needs—added production from the catching position along with much-need bullpen help.
Rubin reported that the Rockies have long coveted Turner, who's currently stuck in a utility role behind Daniel Murphy and David Wright.
Potential Trade: None
Okay, let's assume for a minute that the Detroit Tigers aren't able to obtain outfielder Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Based on D-Backs president Derrick Hall's comments on Tuesday, that could very well be true.
The Tigers already made a fairly impressive deal in landing second baseman Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
My guess is that if the Tigers can't get Upton, they aren't likely to go after anyone else until the offseason.
GM Dave Dombrowski already acknowledged giving up a lot to get Infante and Sanchez—if he can't land Upton, don't expect him to overpay for anyone else.
Houston Astros Trade SS Jed Lowrie
San Francisco Giants Trade LHP Edwin Escobar and RHP Chris Heston
The Houston Astros are in full-on rebuild mode, with trades of Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon, Carlos Lee and J.A. Happ already in the books.
On Tuesday night it was being widely reported that the Astros had also dealt southpaw starter Wandy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with cash for a package of prospects, as well.
Why not throw just one more trade into the mix?
The Giants would love to add an impact bat to their infield—Lowrie clearly takes care of that need. Lowrie has 14 HR and 36 RBI on the year and is under team control through the 2014 season.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals Trade RHP Jonathan Broxton
Los Angeles Angels Trade RHP Ariel Pena
The Los Angeles Angeles have long been rumored to be looking for additional relief help, even after adding Ernesto Frieri in early May.
Adding Broxton allows the Angels to use Scott Downs in his more normal setup position and gives the Angels a nasty closing tandem along with Frieri.
Pena is the 15th-ranked player in Los Angeles' system, according to MLB.com, and can throw high-90s heat and a nasty slider.
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Angels Trade C Hank Conger, CF Peter Bourjos and RHP Ervin Santana
Tampa Bay Rays Trade RHP James Shields
Let me say this right off the top—this is not my idea.
ESPN's Tim Kurkjian reported this deal on Tuesday, and I absolutely love it.
As Kurkjian noted, the Rays are looking for catching help, and Bourjos would likely replace current Rays center fielder B.J. Upton, who is expected to be allowed to walk when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The deal would include Santana, who has a $13 million option for the 2013 season that would likely be declined by Tampa Bay, making Santana essentially a throw-in.
Shields has options for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, for $21 million total.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago Cubs Trade RHP Matt Garza
Los Angeles Dodgers Trade RHP Zack Lee, RHP Garrett Gould and RHP Andres Santiago
If the deal in an earlier slide involving Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza doesn't pan out, here's one that could.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly shifted their focus toward the Windy City, in the hopes of putting together a package that would entice the Cubs to give up starting pitcher Matt Garza.
According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, the Dodgers now seem willing to offer up top pitching prospect Zach Lee:
Cubs not resting on their laurels continue trade discussions with Dodgers on deal that would send Matt Garza for package including Zach Lee
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 23, 2012
This represents a clear shift for the Dodgers, who previously were loathe to discuss Lee in any negotiations.
It clearly shows that the Dodgers are ready to compete now.
Miami Marlins Trade SP Josh Johnson
Toronto Blue Jays Trade RHP Deck McGuire and LHP Justin Nicolino
The Miami Marlins are likely not done dealing after their Monday trade that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers.
The Blue Jays have been on the lookout for starters, especially after injuries to Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek and Brandon Morrow.
GM Alex Anthopoulos loves players who are still under team control, and Johnson certainly fits that criterion with a contract that runs through 2013.
McGuire and Nicolino are top-10 prospects for the Jays, but Toronto would still be left with Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Daniel Norris and several lower-level prospects.
Milwaukee Brewers Trade 3B Aramis Ramirez
Los Angeles Dodgers Trade RHP Chris Withrow, CF Leon Landry and RHP Yimi Garcia
The Los Angeles Dodgers are intent on upgrading both corner positions—third baseman Aramis Ramirez fills that need.
The Brewers seem likely to sell at this point, and Ramirez clearly has value as a power-hitting corner-infield option. Considering the relative impotence of Juan Uribe, Ramirez is a major upgrade.
(Update: This is less likely with the Dodgers' recent acquisition of Hanley Ramirez, via FOX Sports.)
Minnesota Twins Trade SS/2B Jamey Carroll
Washington Nationals Trade LHP Christian Meza
The Washington Nationals will be looking for infield depth with shortstop Ian Desmond on the shelf for at least a month with a torn oblique muscle.
Twins infielder Jamey Carroll is a perfect solution.
Armed with a reasonable contract and the ability to play multiple positions, Carroll won't cost the Nats an arm and a leg and can provide a solid bat and the ability to fill in across the infield.
New York Mets
San Diego Padres Trade RHP Jason Marquis
New York Mets Trade LHP Adam Kolarek
The New York Mets are in a full free-fall right now, having lost 10 of their last 11 games, falling to 10.5 games out of the lead in the NL East.
On Saturday GM Sandy Alderson told MLB.com that the team's play over the next week will dictate his moves.
"It's not a question of what we need to see on the field to make us buyers; it's what we see on the field that causes us not to be buyers," Alderson said. "The presumption here is that we're buyers, and it has been. Realistically, the next seven, eight, 10 games become important for us."
The Mets have about six days left to convince Alderson that they are indeed buyers.
If they are, Alderson may need to look at his rotation, with Johan Santana being rested and Dillon Gee likely out indefinitely after surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder.
San Diego Padres pitcher Jason Marquis has turned his season around after a disastrous start to the season with the Minnesota Twins that saw him released after seven starts and an 8.47 ERA.
In nine starts with the Padres, Marquis has posted a much more respectable 3.79 ERA, and his game could translate well at Citi Field for the remainder of the season.
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies Trade 3B Mike Fontenot
New York Yankees Trade RHP Mikey O'Brien
The New York Yankees just got through pulling off a blockbuster trade with their acquisition of outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
Now, they may have to look for insurance at third base.
Alex Rodriguez was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's against the Seattle Mariners. Rodriguez will be put on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture (h/t Daily (N.Y.) News).
GM Brian Cashman does have Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix in house, but he will likely look for outside options. Mike Fontenot could fit the bill.
Hitting .298 in limited action with the Phillies, Fontenot won't cost Cashman much and can provide depth while Rodriguez is on the mend.
Arizona Diamondbacks Trade SS Stephen Drew
Oakland A's Trade OF Jeremy Barfield and RHP Thomas Walz
The Oakland A's have surged big time of late, winning 15 of 17 games in the month of July to pull ahead of the Los Angeles Angels into second place in the AL West, just five games behind the Texas Rangers.
It certainly appears that GM Billy Beane will be buying, and shortstop Stephen Drew could be a target. Drew has played in 18 games since his return from the disabled list, still finding his way with a .222 batting average.
However, it's still a whole lot better than the production provided by Cliff Pennington.
Drew is in the final year of his contract with a mutual option for next season, so Beane won't need to give up much in the way of top prospects at all.
Philadelphia Phillies Trade OF Juan Pierre
Baltimore Orioles Trade RHP Clay Schrader
The Baltimore Orioles have used 11 different players at the leadoff position this season, and obtaining Juan Pierre could finally solidify the top spot in their batting order.
Pierre is hitting .305 with 23 stolen bases, and with a salary of just $800,000, he won't cost very much in return.
Chicago Cubs Trade OF Alfonso Soriano
Pittsburgh Pirates Trade RHP Brandon Cumpton, LHP Josh Poytress and Competitive-Balance Lottery Pick
The Pirates have already started the buying process, acquiring Houston Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez on Tuesday for minor leaguers Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman and Colton Cain (h/t ESPN.com).
I think GM Neal Huntington has another big deal left in him.
The acquisition of Soriano makes a lot of sense for the Pirates, who would love another strong bat to complement star center fielder Andrew McCutchen. In addition the Cubs will likely pay the lion's share of what is remaining on Soriano's contract.
Pittsburgh has a golden chance to move on to the postseason for the first time in 19 years—and the Pirates appear ready to seize their moment.
San Diego Padres
Potential Trade: None
In previous slides, we've addressed Padres' deals involving third baseman Chase Headley and starting pitcher Jason Marquis.
The Padres have committed long-term to outfielder Carlos Quentin and could do the same to closer Huston Street. With new ownership headed by the family of Peter O'Malley to be voted on by MLB owners on Aug. 16, it's possible the Padres could be done making moves until ownership comes in and makes its own full assessment of needs and the team's direction.
San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies Trade 3B Placido Polanco
San Francisco Giants Trade LHP Michael Kickham
At 36 years of age, Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco is nowhere near the player he was several years ago, but according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, he's exactly the type of player that Giants GM Brian Sabean covets:
There aren’t many attractive third basemen expected to be made available, but Sabean is known to value an experienced player such as the Phillies’ Placido Polanco.
The Giants have have had internal discussions about the possibility of moving Pablo Sandoval to first base, so Polanco could provide help down the stretch, and at a fairly minimal cost.
Seattle Mariners Trade LHP Jason Vargas
Baltimore Orioles Trade LHP Brian Matusz, 2B Ty Kelly and RHP Steve Johnson
The Orioles are looking to beef up their starting rotation, and Mariners southpaw Jason Vargas could help them do just that.
Vargas is affordable ($4.85 million), under team control through next season and a quality innings-eater having a solid season (10-7, 3.91 ERA) for the third-worst team in the American League.
Matusz could well benefit from a change at this point, and with a 21-33 record and 5.51 ERA, the O's have no doubt lost patience in waiting for him to mature.
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs Trade RHP Shawn Camp
St. Louis Cardinals Trade RHP Richard Castillo
One of the problems for the Cardinals has been in the bullpen. While Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte have been solid on the back end, manager Mike Matheny has struggled to find the right combination for the middle innings.
Marc Rzepczynski, who was instrumental down the stretch last season after his trade from the Toronto Blue Jays, has been largely ineffective, with a 5.06 ERA in 44 appearances. Victor Marte, Fernando Salas, Kyle McLellan, Eduardo Sanchez and Sam Freeman haven't been much help, either.
Cubs reliever Shawn Camp has been a bright spot in the Chicago bullpen, posting a 2.79 ERA in 47 appearances.
Camp is 36 years old and has a $550K contract, so GM John Mozeliak won't have to give up much in return for bolstering his bullpen.
Tampa Bay Rays
Potential Trade: None
In an earlier slide, we talked about the possibility of the Tampa Bay Rays trading starter James Shields to the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Hank Conger, center fielder Peter Bourjos and starter Ervin Santana.
That deal alone would help both teams out—Shields to help bulk up the Halos rotation, Conger to give the Rays added production behind the plate and Bourjos as a potential replacement for B.J. Upton.
Considering the Rays' hesitance to make big deals in the past, that may just suffice.
Milwaukee Brewers Trade RHP Zack Greinke
Texas Rangers Trade RHP Barret Loux and RHP Cody Buckel
The Texas Rangers received a jolt on Monday when they learned that starting pitcher Colby Lewis was lost for the season with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
According to Christian Colon of MLB.com, Rangers GM Jon Daniels will likely step up efforts to land an impact starting pitcher:
"It's going to depend on the specifics of the situation," Daniels said. "We've been looking at some different things. We've had conversations with clubs. Our focus is still the same -- to have the best club out there that gives us a chance to win. But the deal's got to be right."
The above deal seems right to me.
Toronto Blue Jays
Potential Trade: None
The Toronto Blue Jays have already been busy, acquiring starter J.A. Happ and relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter from the Houston Astros.
In an earlier slide, we have the Jays dealing for Marlins' starter Josh Johnson, as well.
I believe those qualify for pretty solid impact deals, don't you?
Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos will likely continue monitoring players over the next six days, but he's not about to drain his farm system for the short term.
Chicago Cubs Trade LHP Paul Maholm
Washington Nationals Trade RHP Aaron Barrett and CF Billy Burns
Cubs starter Paul Maholm was sharp on Tuesday night, allowing just one run on four hits in eight innings in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Maholm is now 9-6 with a 3.88 ERA on the season and has become an attractive trade chip for the Cubs.
The Nationals may need some insurance in the rotation if GM Mike Rizzo follows through in shutting down star pitcher Stephen Strasburg sometime in early September.
Maholm just could be that insurance policy.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.