MLB Trade Rumors: Handicapping Odds for Hottest Potential Deals
One of the truly awesome features of the offseason MLB Hot Stove league is that speculation is the order of the day.
As the days and weeks pass by, more and more prognosticators give their best estimates, opinions and suggestions regarding player movement across MLB. Much of that comes via trade proposals.
Thus far, dozens of trade proposals have been offered up already. While a couple of trades have come to fruition, I can pretty much guarantee that no one correctly predicted the trade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays.
The term "that came out of left field" was invented just for that type of deal.
As surprised and shocked as many baseball experts were by that transaction, there will no doubt be other deals made this winter that could have a high amount of shock value as well.
We will take a look at some of the trade proposals that have been offered up thus far and attach odds to the possibility of that particular deal actually occurring.
Mike Moustakas for Gavin Floyd
Kansas City Royals Trade: 3B Mike Moustakas
Chicago White Sox Trade: RHP Gavin Floyd
When I first saw rumblings about this particular deal, I have to say I wanted to jump through the screen and scream "no!"
The deal, proposed by A.J. Mass of ESPN (Insider subscription required), would send a young, upcoming third baseman to a team badly in need of one, for a pitcher who has basically been a .500 pitcher with a 4.50 ERA his entire career.
In addition, it's a trade within the division, generally the type of deal general managers are loathe to make.
Odds: Zero Percent
Absolutely no way I make this deal. Moustakas at this point is worth way more than Floyd, and I don't see either White Sox GM Rick Hahn or Royals GM Dayton Moore working together on any deal.
Billy Butler and Wil Myers for Nick Franklin, Taijuan Walker and Kyle Seager
Kansas City Royals Trade: DH Billy Butler, OF Wil Myers
Seattle Mariners Trade: IF Kyle Seager, IF Nick Franklin, RHP Taijuan Walker
Last week, FOXSports.com baseball guru Ken Rosenthal cited a rival executive as saying that the Seattle Mariners "covet" Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.
B/R featured columnist Thomas Holmes took it a step further and suggested a five-player swap between the Mariners and Royals.
The biggest issue I have with this deal is that the Royals are desperate for pitchers who can contribute now, not in the future. Walker is certainly a heralded prospect, but he's at least a year away at this point.
In addition, Royals general manager Dayton Moore would have to be completely blown away to deal prospect outfielder Myers. This deal just doesn't have that blow-away feel to it.
Odds: Zero percent
Alex Gordon to New York Yankees for Young Pitching
Kansas City Royals Trade: LF Alex Gordon
New York Yankees Trade: RHP Ivan Nova or RHP David Phelps or RHP David Hughes plus prospects
Last month, Buster Olney of ESPN.com suggested that the Kansas City Royals might make some of their position players available in order to acquire front-line starting pitching.
Taking that a step farther, Chad Jennings of The LoHud Yankees Blog suggested that the New York Yankees could be a possible partner with their cadre of young starting pitchers—Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and David Phelps.
Both Olney and Jennings presumed that Royals left fielder Alex Gordon would certainly attract the Yankees. However, the Royals are looking for impact pitching at this point, and none of the above trio has the type of impact that would convince Royals general manager Dayton Moore to make this deal.
Unless the Yankees offer up a lot more than just one of three above pitchers, this deal doesn't make much sense.
Odds: One percent. I do think the Royals will listen to offers, but Gordon has a whole lot more value than just Nova, Hughes or Phelps and a prospect or two.
Alex Gordon to Atlanta Braves for RHP Kris Medlen
Kansas City Royals Trade: LF Alex Gordon
Atlanta Braves Trade: RHP Kris Medlen
National sports talk show host Jody McDonald was the author of this trade proposal.
@fredeowens All#s you quoted would be WELL off what he did this year if full time starter next. Trade when value highest. For Gordon..done !— Jody McDonald (@jodymacman) November 13, 2012
Obviously the suggestion here is that Medlen's year was a one-off deal and that dealing him now will save pain for the Braves later. In addition, with the possible move of Martin Prado to third base to replace the retired Chipper Jones, Gordon would be a natural fit in left.
There is absolutely no way the Royals make this deal unless Medlen is packaged with at least one or two of the Braves' young pitching prospects.
Odds: Zero percent
R.A. Dickey to Toronto Blue Jays for C J.P. Arencibia and Others
New York Mets Trade: RHP R.A. Dickey
Toronto Blue Jays Trade: C J.P. Arencibia and others
On Wednesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that the Mets would certainly have willing partners if they were to consider trading reigning Cy Young Award pitcher R.A. Dickey.
Sherman further suggested that the Toronto Blue Jays absolutely appear to be all-in for the 2013 season with their recent activity. As such, they could be willing to deal for Dickey if the Mets allowed a window of time to work out an extension for Dickey.
In return, the Blue Jays could offer up catchers J.P. Arencibia or Travis D'Arnaud along with center fielders Rajai Davis or Anthony Gose and a choice between pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard or Aaron Sanchez.
This is, of course, assuming that a contract extension can be worked out with Dickey by the Jays.
More from Sherman:
Several executives I spoke to said they could not imagine Toronto giving up a player from each of those subsets for Dickey in just 2013, but believe it would be more open-minded to doing so if Dickey were willing to do an extension. The Mets could use the catcher and center fielder now, and hope the high-end young starter eventually joins Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in a powerful rotation.
Odds: Ten percent. I will give this somewhat of a chance. The fact that the Mets and Dickey have been unable to come to terms on an agreement as of yet is certainly a factor.
The Blue Jays are clearly all in for next season—adding one more front-line starter further bolsters that opportunity.
Justin Upton to Texas Rangers for 3B Mike Olt and LHP Martin Perez
Arizona Diamondbacks Trade: RF Justin Upton
Texas Rangers Trade: 3B Mike Olt and LHP Martin Perez
Earlier this week, former general manager and current ESPN baseball expert Jim Bowden suggested several trades that the Arizona Diamondbacks could explore regarding right fielder Justin Upton.
One of the trades suggested was Upton heading to the Texas Rangers for young prospects Mike Olt and Martin Perez.
Olt makes sense—the Diamondbacks are looking for help on the left side of the infield. But I don't see Rangers general manager Jon Daniels giving up two prized prospects for Upton, especially considering Upton's deflated numbers in 2012.
Odds: Zero percent
Jacoby Ellsbury to Los Angeles Dodgers for RF Andre Ethier
Boston Red Sox Trade: CF Jacoby Ellsbury
Los Angeles Dodgers Trade: RF Andre Ethier
Another trade proposal from the desk of ESPN.com analyst Jim Bowden.
This deal would give the Red Sox cost certainty and their long-term right fielder, as Ethier just signed a six-year $95.5 million deal through 2017 with a vesting option for 2018. The Red Sox have top center field prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings to eventually take over the position long term. The Dodgers would then have an outfield of Matt Kemp, Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. When healthy, it would be the best in the National League with an incredible combination of speed and power. More importantly, the Dodgers would have their leadoff hitter.
Odds: Ten percent. I'm oddly curious about this deal. With Ellsbury's injury history, the Red Sox likely won't commit to a long-term contract. As Bowden suggested, Bradley could be their long-term option in center as well.
David Wright to Cincinnati Reds for RHP Mike Leake and CF Drew Stubbs
New York Mets Trade: 3B David Wright
Cincinnati Reds Trade: RHP Mike Leake, CF Drew Stubbs
Late last month, ESPN.com's Mark Simon offered up a "what if" column concerning New York Mets third baseman David Wright and the possibility of a trade.
Simon named the Reds as a possible fit. In exchange, Simon suggested RHP Mike Leake and center fielder Drew Stubbs as a starting point.
First of all, it would have to be a lot more than Stubbs and Leake, neither of whom have been particularly impressive in their brief careers.
Odds: Two percent. This conversation would only get interesting if the Reds offered up a whole lot more than Stubbs and Leake.
Zack Cozart to Oakland Athletics for Coco Crisp and Reliever
Cincinnati Reds Trade: SS Zack Cozart
Oakland A's Trade: CF Coco Crisp and a reliever
Earlier this month, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reported that the Cincinnati Reds might be willing to part with one of their young shortstops if a deal netted what they were looking for—a leadoff hitting outfielder.
Morosi suggested that the Oakland A's could be a partner due to a surplus of outfielders and a deep stable of relievers.
Odds: Five percent. Not sure the Reds would take Crisp with just one year and $7 million on his contract, and a somewhat low OBP for a leadoff hitter (.325 in 2012). Reds GM Walt Jocketty could absolutely get more value in return.
Justin Masterson and Shin-Soo Choo to Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Indians Trade: RF Shin-Soo Choo and RHP Justin Masterson
Boston Red Sox Trade: Package of minor league prospects
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, major league sources informed him a couple of weeks ago that the Red Sox were very interested in both Masterson and Choo.
According to Morosi:
It’s not clear how advanced the talks are, but the fit is obvious: The Red Sox have the ability to take on payroll after unloading roughly $250 million in contracts three months ago, and the Indians are willing to listen to offers for virtually every player on their roster.
Boston’s farm system has strengthened over the past 12 months, partially because of prospects obtained from the Dodgers in the August blockbuster. Thus, the Red Sox can afford to move the necessary minor leaguers to bring back Masterson, Choo, or both.
Odds: Two percent. First of all, the Red Sox have been there and done that with Masterson. While new Sox manager John Farrell favors Masterson, I'm just not sure he can truly be effective pitching half his games at Fenway Park.
In addition, Choo is a free agent next season at which time he'll be 31 years of age. Are they going to be willing to commit long-term?
Morosi also correctly brings up the fact that the Sox farm system has certainly been bolstered in the past 12 months. However, depleting that farm system for Choo and Masterson doesn't make sense. I can see it for more impact-type players, but not for this duo.
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.
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