MLB Trade Scenarios: One Blockbuster Trade Idea for All 30 MLB Teams

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2012

MLB Trade Scenarios: One Blockbuster Trade Idea for All 30 MLB Teams

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    The MLB offseason is here, and the Hot Stove has already begun as teams make decisions regarding player options and a few free agents have already re-upped with their former teams.

    The free-agent class is always the talk of the offseason early on, but once the winter meetings roll around, attention turns to the trade market and what potential blockbuster deals could go down prior to the start of spring training.

    What follows is one blockbuster deal for each MLB team, moves that I feel are beneficial to both sides and would help both teams involved moving forward. I'm by no means predicting that all or even any of these deals will happen, but I'm simply laying out some trade scenarios that could be explored before the offseason is through.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians

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    Proposed Deal

    Diamondbacks Get: SS Asdrubal Cabrera

    Indians Get: SP David Holmberg, SP Josh Collmenter, SS Chris Owings


    It's no secret that the Diamondbacks' biggest need is at shortstop, and while they recently acquired Cliff Pennington in a three-team trade, he is far from the answer and is better suited in a utility role at this point.

    Cabrera has emerged as one of the game's better offensive shortstops over the past two seasons, and while he is signed through 2014, the rebuilding Indians could very well look to move anyone and everyone with value in the months ahead.

    With this package, they'd get a future replacement for Cabrera with plenty of upside in Owings and a starter who could fill a rotation spot now and still has potential to be a solid starter in Collmenter.

    The real prize, though, would be Holmberg. A 2009 second-round pick who has been overshadowed by Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs, Holmberg is impressive in his own right, going 11-8 with a 3.32 ERA between high Single-A and Double-A at the age of 20.

Atlanta Braves: Acquire David Wright from Mets

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    Braves Get: 3B David Wright

    Mets Get: SP Julio Teheran, RP Cory Gearrin, 3B Joey Terdoslavich


    The retirement of Chipper Jones leaves a clear hole at third base in Atlanta, and while the Mets are expected to do everything they can to re-sign Wright, a trade is not out of the question.

    The 29-year-old Wright had a phenomenal first half and ended the season with a .306 BA, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 15 SB line as he continues to be the face of the franchise.

    Giving up Teheran would be a tough move for the Braves to pull the trigger on, but having the opportunity to slot Wright between left-handed hitters Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman in the lineup would make an already solid Braves lineup that much more balanced and dangerous.

    Aside from Teheran, Gearrin could give the Mets some desperately needed immediate help in the bullpen, while Terdoslavich would serve as a potential replacement for Wright a couple years from now.

Baltimore Orioles: Acquire Josh Johnson from Marlins

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    Orioles Get: SP Josh Johnson

    Marlins Get: SP Jake Arrieta, RP Clayton Schrader, 3B Nick Delmonico


    Johnson was shopped at the deadline, and while there were a number of teams interested, he wound up staying put. That does not, however, mean that he's guaranteed to start the season in Miami.

    He was able to prove healthy after making just 28 starts in 2010 and nine starts in 2011, and while his 8-14 record didn't show it, he was solid with a 3.81 ERA.

    The Orioles clearly need a front-line starter, and while Johnson has No. 1 starter stuff, he may not command as big of a prospect package as guys like Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez did last offseason, seeing as he's a free agent at the end of the season.

    Arrieta would give the Marlins a rotation replacement with huge upside if he puts it all together. Schrader struck out 68 batters over 58 innings with a 1.86 ERA over two minor league levels and is capable of being a solid late-inning guy. Delmonico gives the team a high-ceiling third baseman who is a bit of a project at this point, but he has the potential to be an everyday player.

Boston Red Sox: Trade Jacoby Ellsbury to Rangers

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    Red Sox Get: SS Elvis Andrus

    Rangers Get: CF Jacoby Ellsbury, SP Drake Britton, SP Brandon Workman


    Red Sox fans will quickly point to Ellsbury's 2011 numbers and say that an Ellsbury-for-Andrus deal straight up is more than reasonable, but his 2012 campaign can't simply be overlooked.

    That coupled with the fact that Andrus plays a premium position and is one of the best in the business means that the Red Sox would have to sweeten the deal if this trade were to happen.

    Britton offers a high-upside arm if he can improve his command, while Workman doesn't have the same ceiling but is a relatively safe prospect at this point.

    Ellsbury would serve as Josh Hamilton's replacement, assuming he walks, while the Red Sox would finally get their long-term answer at shortstop they've been searching for since Nomar Garciaparra left.

Chicago Cubs: Trade Alfonso Soriano to Rays

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    Cubs Get: SP Matt Torra, SP Kyle Lobstein

    Rays Get: LF/DH Alfonso Soriano, $28 million


    The Cubs tried to deal Soriano last season, but they didn't find any takers, and he wound up putting together his best season in years with a .262 BA, 32 HR, 108 RBI line.

    He's due $36 million over the next two seasons, and at 36 years old, he clearly doesn't factor into the Cubs' future plans. If they can acquire something for him and save some of that remaining money, they'd no doubt jump at the chance to move him.

    At $4 million per year, he'd be a reasonably priced bat for the Rays to add to their weak lineup, and with an abundance of pitching prospects, losing Torra and Lobstein wouldn't be much of a blow.

    That said, the 28-year-old Torra (12-7, 4.10 ERA at Triple-A) and 23-year-old Lobstein (8-7, 4.06 ERA at Double-A) would continue the Cubs process of looking to bolster their pitching top-to-bottom in the organization.

Chicago White Sox: Trade Alex Rios to Mariners

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    White Sox Get: SP Brandon Maurer, SP Jordan Shipers

    Mariners Get: CF Alex Rios, $17 million


    The White Sox made a surprise run at the postseason in 2012, but they inevitably fell short, falling apart down the stretch and coughing up the AL Central title to the Tigers.

    One of the reasons for their surprise success was the bounce-back season of Alex Rios, who hit just .227 in 2011 but went .304 BA, 25 HR, 91 RBI, 23 SB this past season.

    He's due $26 million over the next two seasons and has a $1 million buyout in 2015, so if the White Sox are given the opportunity to save some of that money, they would likely jump at the chance.

    If they ship him along with $17 million for a pair of pitching prospects with high upside, it would give the Mariners a much-needed offensive addition on a two-year, $10 million deal, and it would save the White Sox money and bolster a weak farm system. A win-win.

Cincinnati Reds: Acquire Coco Crisp from A's

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    Reds Get: CF Coco Crisp, $4 million

    A's Get: SP Stalin Gerson


    The A's recently acquired center fielder Chris Young from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, and as a result, incumbent Coco Crisp may be on his way out this offseason.

    He is due to make $7 million next year and has a $7.5 million option with a $1 million buyout for 2014, so the A's will likely have to eat some of that money if they hope to get anything in return.

    A complete lack of production from the leadoff spot in the lineup hurt the Reds this past season, and while Crisp hit just .259, he did post a .325 OBP and stole 39 bases.

    Gerson is not a top prospect, but he has decent upside and went 8-9 with a 4.09 ERA last season over 28 starts. Really, saving the $4 million is the real prize here for the A's.

Cleveland Indians: Trade Shin-Soo Choo to Phillies

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    Indians Acquire: SP Julio Rodriguez, 1B Darin Ruf

    Phillies Acquire: RF Shin-Soo Choo


    The Indians will be looking to sell off the remainder of their veteran pieces this season, as they appear to have a long rebuild ahead of them. And free-agent-to-be Shin-Soo Choo may be their most valuable trade chip.

    The 30-year-old does a little bit of everything, as he is a safe bet to approach .300 BA, 20 HR, 20 SB while playing plus defense in right field and posting a great OBP.

    Rodriguez got his first taste of Double-A last season at the age of 22, and while there were road bumps, he was decent with a 4.23 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 134 innings, and he could move quickly from here.

    Ruf, while not really a prospect at 26, tore through Double-A pitching last season with a .317 BA, 38 HR, 104 RBI line and hit .333 BA, 3 HR, 10 RBI through 33 major league at-bats. He could be given the chance to step in as the Indians' everyday first baseman.

Colorado Rockies: Trade Michael Cuddyer to Red Sox

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    Rockies Acquire: SP Stolmy Pimentel 

    Red Sox Acquire: RF Michael Cuddyer, $5 million


    The Rockies signed Cuddyer this past offseason to a three-year, $31.5 million contract, and while an oblique injury limited him to just 101 games, he managed a .260 BA, 16 HR, 58 RBI line.

    He remains a positive clubhouse guy and a good offensive performer, but following the emergence of Tyler Colvin, he appears headed for a utility role in 2012.

    The Red Sox could lose right fielder Cody Ross, and while there are a number of options on the market, the team showed interest in Cuddyer last offseason before settling on Ross and could conceivably pursue him again.

    Pimentel, who's just 22 years old, would give the Rockies another young starter as they try to sort out their rotation, but the real gain would be moving Cuddyer's contract.

Detroit Tigers: Acquire Chris Perez from Indians

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    Tigers Get: RP Chris Perez

    Indians Get: SP Adam Wilk, SP/RP Andy Oliver


    The Tigers entered the postseason without a real closer and with incumbent Jose Valverde struggling mightily. And while Phil Coke stepped in admirably, the job won't be his next season.

    The team does have plenty of internal options, with Joaquin Benoit, Brayan Villarreal, Al Alburquerque and flame-throwing prospect Bruce Rondon all potential ninth-inning guys. However, that does not necessarily mean that the team won't still look externally to fill the void.

    Perez will be on the market this offseason, as will essentially every veteran on the Indians roster, and with needs up and down the lineup, adding a pair of MLB-ready arms like Wilk and Oliver would be a solid move.

    On the flip side, the Tigers get to hold onto top pitching prospect Casey Crosby, and their entire bullpen is better as a result of leaving their incumbent guys in their current roles.

Houston Astros: None

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    The Astros have no one on their roster under contract in 2013, as everyone is either arbitration-eligible or has not yet reached arbitration.

    After trading off Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee, Brett Myers and J.A. Happ among others this past season, they really don't have any more movable parts.

    Jed Lowrie is one name they could shop, but seeing as he's under team control though 2014 for cheap, they may as well hold onto one of their few power options.

Kansas City Royals: Acquire Jason Vargas from Mariners

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    Royals Get: SP Jason Vargas

    Mariners Get: 1B/OF Brian Fletcher, Low-Level Prospect


    The Royals have already indicated that they're willing to spend to improve what was a horrible pitching staff in 2012.

    There are a number of free-agent arms they could go after, but the trade market is an option as well, and someone like Vargas could be exactly the type of innings-eating veteran they need.

    Fletcher, an 18th-round pick in 2010, has shown solid power with a .272 BA, 15 HR, 59 RBI season, and the 24-year-old should be able to make an impact at the big league level by 2014. Another prospect would likely be needed to complete the deal, albeit just a low-level guy.

Los Angeles Angels: Acquire James Shields from Rays

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    Angels Get: SP James Shields

    Rays Get: 1B C.J. Cron, SP Nick Maronde, SS Andrew Romine, C Hank Conger


    The Angels only have two starters set for next year's rotation in Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, as Zack Greinke is a free agent and Ervin Santana and Dan Haren will both likely have their extensions declined.

    They'll make a push at retaining Greinke, but trading for someone like Shields would represent a lower-cost solution on a team that already has a very high payroll.

    Shields will make $9 million in 2013 and has an option for $12 million in 2014, which, given his status as a bona-fide ace, makes him a relative steal.

    The Rays would be getting an impact bat at first base in Cron, a top-tier pitching prospect in Maronde, a solid utility infielder capable of more in Romine and a catcher who is still capable of emerging as an everyday option in Conger.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Trade Andre Ethier to Tigers

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    Dodgers Get: 3B Nick Castellanos

    Tigers Get: RF Andre Ethier


    It would come down to whether or not the Tigers would be willing to take on another big contract with the six-year, $95.95 million deal Ethier signed during the 2012 season.

    The Dodgers could eat some of the money on Ethier's deal, or they could just opt to trade him straight up for Castellanos, as I've proposed here.

    The Dodgers will have an outfield moving forward of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and presumably Yasiel Puig whenever he is ready. They could plug in someone like Scott Van Slyke or Alex Castellanos until Puig is ready, or they could sign a stopgap option. 

    Castellanos, Nick that is, could step in immediately at third base for the Dodgers after hitting .320 BA, 10 HR, 57 RBI and reaching Double-A last season and can hold down the position for the foreseeable future.

Miami Marlins: Trade Josh Johnson to the Highest Bidder

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    Earlier, I suggested that the Marlins trade Johnson to the Orioles for a trio of players fronted by Jake Arrieta.

    That trade makes a lot of sense for the Orioles, as it could for the Marlins as well. But at the end of the day, the Marlins need to trade Johnson, and they need to do it to the highest bidder this offseason.

    I think Johnson falls in right behind Zack Greinke and right ahead of Kyle Lohse in this year's free-agent class. And once Greinke picks a destination, the Marlins should be as aggressive as possible in getting teams to bid against one another for Johnson and then don't hesitate to take the best offer.

    He's a free agent at season's end, and after failing to contend last season, the Marlins are clearly headed for some rebuilding. Johnson's value won't be any higher at the deadline than it will be this offseason.

Milwaukee Brewers: Acquire Chris Archer from Rays

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    Brewers Get: SP Chris Archer

    Rays Get: C Martin Maldonado, 1B Hunter Morris


    After trading Zack Greinke at the deadline and with Shaun Marcum set to depart in free agency, the Brewers appear ready to turn the rotation over to an inexperienced group behind ace Yovani Gallardo.

    They could go after a starter in free agency, but the fact remains that guys like Michael Fiers, Mark Rogers, Tyler Thornburg and Wily Peralta will likely play a major role in the team's 2013 success.

    Adding another young starter in Archer, who likely would have already established his spot in the rotation if he played for anyone besides the Rays, would give them another high-upside arm ready to contribute immediately and to establish himself in the rotation

    Maldonado would give the Rays a catching option for the present and future, while Morris is coming off of a terrific .303 BA, 28 HR, 113 RBI season in the minors that saw him reach Double-A. He could be the solution at first base as soon as this upcoming season in Tampa.

Minnesota Twins: Trade Justin Morneau to Blue Jays

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    Twins Get: SP/RP Joel Carreno

    Blue Jays Get: 1B/DH Justin Morneau, $9 million


    Carreno would certainly not solve the Twins pitching problems, but freeing up $9 million would certainly help them pursue free agents.

    Morneau is in the final year of his current deal and is set to earn $14 million this coming season. After missing significant time in 2010 and 2011, he stayed relatively healthy this past season and hit .267 BA, 19 HR, 77 RBI in 505 at-bats.

    A native Canadian, Morneau could thrive in a homecoming as he plays for his next contract. Adding him would allow the team to move Adam Lind and would be an improvement for a lineup that battled injuries all season.

    Carreno struggle in 2012, but he was one of the Blue Jays' top prospects entering the season and still has a 3.48 ERA and 9.6 K/9 mark in seven minor league seasons. If the 25-year-old could bounce back, he'd immediately be a welcome addition to the big league rotation.

New York Mets: Acquire Justin Upton from Diamondbacks

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    Mets Get: RF Justin Upton

    Diamondbacks Get: SP Jon Niese, 3B Wilmer Flores, RP Josh Edgin, IF Zach Lutz


    With Jason Bay on the out, Andres Torres headed for a non-tender and Scott Hairston set to walk in free agency, the Mets outfield next season will consist of Lucas Duda and a handful of question marks.

    Adding Upton would be the type of impact move that Mets fans are no-doubt hoping for after the team's second half collapse this past season, and he would be a long-term answer in the outfield as he's signed through 2015.

    In return, the Diamondbacks would add Niese to an already solid crop of starting pitchers, allowing them more flexibility to make secondary trades using some of their prospects.

    Flores, who took a big step forward this past season with a .300 BA, 18 HR, 75 RBI season that saw him reach Double-A at the age of 20, would give the Diamondbacks an impact bat at the hot corner for the long term. 

    Edgin could step into a big league bullpen role right off the bat, and Lutz has little left to prove in the minors and would be a solid bat off the bench capable of playing corner infield.

New York Yankees: Acquire Joe Mauer from Twins

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    Yankees Get: C Joe Mauer, $23 million

    Twins Get: SP Ivan Nova, C Gary Sanchez, SP David Phelps, SP Dellin Betances


    This would be the offseason trade to end all offseason trades, but if the Twins were to put Mauer on the market, one has to imagine the Yankees would get involved.

    The 29-year-old Mauer enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2012, and he's set to make $138 million over the next six seasons.

    In chipping in $23 million in cash (essentially one season of Mauer's salary), the Twins could set themselves up for a much better return of players.

    Nova would step in as the staff ace, while Phelps would likely fill a rotation spot out of spring training as well. Sanchez gives the team a terrific prospect to step in for Mauer within the next few seasons, and Betances remains an intriguing talent despite struggling over the past few seasons.

Oakland Athletics: Acquire Yunel Escobar from Blue Jays

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    A's Get: SS Yunel Escboar

    Blue Jays Get: SP Sonny Gray, SP Travis Banwart


    The shortstop market, as usual, is thin this season with Stephen Drew and Marco Scutaro the only real options on the market.

    The A's acquired Drew at the deadline and declined a $10 million option on him this offseason, though they could still look to bring him back.

    A better option, however, would be for them to pursue Escobar, who is on the outs in Toronto with the presence of prospect Adeiny Hechavarria. 

    Escobar has a 6.9 WAR over the past two seasons, and with a $5 million salary for 2013 and $5 million options for 2014 and 2015, he is a relative bargain.

    The Blue Jays would be getting a top-tier pitching prospect near big league ready in Gray and another arm in Banwart, who is capable of stepping in this coming season should injury strike again.

Philadelphia Phillies: Trade Cliff Lee to Rangers

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    Phillies Get: 3B Adrian Beltre

    Rangers Get: SP Cliff Lee


    Trades like this don't happen very often, as it often results in a sideways move for both sides when a pair of star veterans are traded for one another. But in this case, it would greatly benefit both sides.

    The Rangers are still without a true staff ace, and adding Lee would give them a pitcher capable of carrying the team in a postseason series.

    Beltre, while certainly not expendable, could be moved as the Rangers continue to look for a way to work Jurickson Profar into the everyday lineup. Exactly how they would align things remains to be seen, but moving Beltre would mean an everyday role for the young phenom one way or another. 

    The Phillies, in turn, would be getting a third baseman who gives the team a replacement for Placido Polanco, who recently had his option declined. Beltre would bolster what was a stagnant offense last season and would give the Phillies a top-tier run producer.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Acquire Justin Masterson from Indians

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    Pirates Get: SP Justin Masterson

    Indians Get: SP Kyle McPherson, SP Zack Von Rosenberg


    The Pirates struck gold in a trade last offseason when they took a chance on acquiring A.J. Burnett from the Yankees, and they could be players on the trade market again this offseason.

    Masterson is another of a handful of Indians on this list, and while he has had an up-and-down three years in Cleveland, the 27-year-old should still have plenty of value on the trade market.

    He's won 23 games since the start of 2011 and topped the 200-inning mark in each of the past two seasons, and that stability would no-doubt be a welcome addition to the Pirates rotation.

    As for the Indians, they'd be getting a big league-ready starter in McPherson, who has solid upside, and a slow-developing but high-upside pitcher in Von Rosenberg.

San Diego Padres: Trade Nick Hundley to Mets

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    Padres Get: OF Juan Lagares, RP Jeff Kaplan

    Mets Get: C Nick Hundley


    Coming off a .288 BA, 9 HR, 29 RBI season in 2011, the Padres inked Hundley to a three-year, $9 million extension with an option for 2015.

    However, the emergence of 23-year-old Yasmani Grandal has left Hundley as little more than an expensive backup who may well be starting on another team.

    One such team would be the Mets, who made their need to improve the catching situation no secret last season before acquiring Kelly Shoppach at the deadline. They could look to bring him back, but Hundley may be a more appealing long-term option.

    Lagares gives the Padres a decent outfield prospect, and Kaplan could step into the bullpen in 2013 and make an impact, but really, it would be about unloading Hundley's contract.

San Francisco Giants: Acquire Glen Perkins from Twins

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    Giants Get: RP Glen Perkins

    Twin Get: SP Clayton Blackburn, SP Eric Surkamp


    The Giants' biggest need this offseason is clearly in the outfield, where they will need to address center field and, one would assume, look to upgrade over Gregor Blanco in left field.

    However, I believe they will re-sign Angel Pagan to play center and will either land a free agent to play left field or will turn things over to top prospect Gary Brown.

    That leaves perhaps their most pressing need as finding a replacement for Jeremy Affeldt as the primary left-handed setup man should he wind up departing in free agency. 

    Perkins has emerged as a premier reliever over the past two seasons, posting a 2.52 ERA over 135 appearances. He's signed through 2015 with an option for 2016 and is a bargain at no more than $5 million per season.

    Surkamp, despite being injured last season, has shown the stuff to be a big league starter, while Blackburn has tremendous upside after impressing in his first pro season last year at the age of 19.

Seattle Mariners: Acquire Michael Morse from Nationals

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    Mariners Get: 1B/OF Michael Morse

    Nationals Get: SP James Paxton, RP Lucas Luetge, SP Tyler Pike


    If the Nationals go after an outfielder, as expected, and they bring back Adam LaRoche, they could shop Michael Morse this offseason, and he'd represent perhaps the best power bat on the market outside of Josh Hamilton.

    A free agent at the end of the 2013 season, a deal like this would likely come with an extension to Morse, who will be 31 next season. 

    The slugger actually began his big league career in Seattle, but he never really got a chance until he was traded at the deadline in 2009 to the Nationals for Ryan Langerhans.

    In return, the Nationals would get a big league-ready top pitching prospect in James Paxton, who could fill Edwin Jackson's spot in the rotation. Luetge would give them a needed second lefty in the bullpen (should they let Sean Burnett walk), and Pike is a low-level prospect with plenty of upside.

St. Louis Cardinals: Acquire Matt Thornton from White Sox

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    Cardinals Get: RP Matt Thornton

    White Sox Get: 1B Matt Adams, RP Maikel Cleto


    The Cardinals entered the postseason with just one left-hander on their roster in Marc Rzepczynski, and they will no-doubt look to add another southpaw to the mix this offseason.

    The hard-throwing Thornton has been one of the league's best for a while now, appearing in at least 60 games every year since 2006 and posting a 3.25 ERA over 435.1 innings during his seven seasons with the White Sox.

    He'll be 36 next season, so he's nearing the end of the line, but he is relatively reasonably priced at $5.5 million this season with a $6 million option for next.

    Adams would give the White Sox a slugger capable of stepping up should Paul Konerko depart next season or either him or Adam Dunn go down with an injury.

    Cleto is a flame-throwing reliever capable of hitting triple digits that made his big league debut this past season. He's still raw, but he could be a potential late-inning guy if he can continue to improve his control.

Tampa Bay Rays: Acquire Troy Tulowitzki from Rockies

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    Rays Get: SS Troy Tulowtizki

    Rockies Get: SP Matt Moore, SP Alex Cobb, SS Derek Dietrich, SP Jeff Ames


    Despite his status as a superstar, Tulowitzki may not be as untouchable as some people think, and after suffering through a season of horrendous pitching, the Rockies could look to make a big move this offseason in an effort to bolster their staff.

    The Rays desperately need help at shortstop and, in general, offensively. And while the price would be steep, they could have a left side of the infield that would rival any in baseball for the foreseeable future with Evan Longoria at third base.

    Prying Moore away from the Rays may well be the toughest part of this deal, and both he and Cobb would slide into the top of the Rockies rotation.

    Dietrich has solid upside as an organizational replacement for Tulowitzki, while last year's rookie Josh Rutledge showed enough that he would be able to step in at shortstop in 2013. Ames is a low-level pitcher with upside.

Texas Rangers: See Previous Deals

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    I already have the Rangers making a pair of huge moves in the preceding slides, so we'll leave it at that as far as my suggestions. Just for a quick refresher:

    Trade With Red Sox

    Rangers Get: CF Jacoby Ellsbury, SP Drake Britton, SP Brandon Workman

    Red Sox Get: SS Elvis Andrus

    Trade With Phillies

    Rangers Get: SP Cliff Lee

    Phillies Get: 3B Adrian Beltre

    These both may seem like a long shot, but expect the Rangers to be incredibly aggressive this offseason. Their team is not getting any younger, and they are coming off of a disappointing postseason exit. 

    Their window is not necessarily closing, but it certainly isn't going to open any further with the talent they have, and there are a number of AL teams that also rank as legitimate World Series contenders.

Toronto Blue Jays: Acquire Tommy Hanson from Braves

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    Blue Jays Get: SP Tommy Hanson

    Braves Get: OF Jake Marisnick, SP Deck McGuire, C A.J. Jimenez


    The Blue Jays were devastated by injuries last season, specifically to their starting rotation. Seemingly the only guy who stayed healthy was ace Ricky Romero, who took a huge step backwards in what many expected to be a breakout season.

    With a full season of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in the Braves rotation, alongside returning veterans Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm as well as the numerous top pitching prospects, the Braves could look to move Hanson.

    The 26-year-old right-hander is arbitration-eligible for the first time this coming season, and he stands to earn a substantial pay raise, even after a moderately disappointing 2012 season.

    Marisnick, one of the top outfield prospects in baseball, gives the Braves a long-term option at a thin position organizationally.

    McGuire profiles as a workhorse type and would add to the team's stable of pitching prospects, while Jenkins gives the team another option alongside Christian Bethancourt once Brian McCann is gone at catcher.

Washington Nationals: Acquire Wilson Betemit from Orioles

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    Nationals Get: UT Wilson Betemit

    Orioles Get: SP Yunesky Maya


    Filling out their rotation is the Nationals' biggest offseason need, and I have then addressing that in an earlier move where they acquire James Paxton from the Mariners.

    Beyond that, the team does not have much in the way of a glaring need, though they do have a very inexperienced and somewhat non-versatile bench.

    Betemit is primarily a corner infielder, but he's capable of playing the rest of the infield and even corner outfield in a pinch. Given Ryan Zimmerman's injury history, having a solid backup for him may not be a bad idea.

    The Orioles don't really need Betemit with Manny Machado settling in at third base and Mark Reynolds or Chris Davis manning first base. Maya is no prospect at 31, but he was solid at Triple-A last season (11-10, 3.88 ERA) and gives the team some big league-capable pitching depth.