MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Win-Win Trades That Need to Happen
While it is far easier to spend money on a free agent than it is to give up a player (or players) that teams believe have value in a trade, general managers around baseball are beginning to realize that the trade route may be their best chance to improve their clubs for the 2013 season.
As there are only a handful of players left on the free-agent market that can truly make an impact, deals that had been discussed earlier this winter—or even last season—will start to be revisited as we draw closer to the start of spring training.
Note, while there have been rumors surrounding one or more of the players involved in these deals, the exact scenarios that are being laid out on the pages that follow have not necessarily been discussed.
It's part rumors, part speculation, and all the more reason why we love the Hot Stove League.
Diamondbacks Trade Justin Upton to the Rangers
Diamondbacks Get: SS Elvis Andrus
Rangers Get: RF Justin Upton
Not much has changed on this front in months, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reminds us:
The Rangers want to acquire Upton without giving up either shortstop Elvis Andrus or infielder Jurickson Profar. Their preference is to build a package around third baseman Mike Olt, and the team is willing to add a top pitching prospect and third quality piece to the package, sources say.
It's time to stop the insanity and get a deal done.
Why It's a Win for the Diamondbacks
Yes, Arizona already made a deal for a shortstop (Didi Gregorius), but he's a prospect and Andrus is an All-Star.
There's really no debate.
Why It's a Win for the Rangers
The Rangers finally get their guy, an All-Star outfielder with power that they can plug into the middle of the lineup.
As presently constituted, Texas has no chance of replacing Josh Hamilton's production in the middle of the lineup. Upton brings the Rangers much closer to accomplishing that goal.
Cubs Trade Alfonso Soriano to the Phillies
Cubs Get: OF Domonic Brown
Phillies Get: LF Alfonso Soriano
In an attempt to make Soriano more attractive to teams, the Cubs have made it known they will eat the bulk of the money left on Soriano's deal, which runs through the 2014 season.
From CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:
#cubs are willing to pay about $26M of soriano's $36M if they get right prospect back. seems reasonable. 30/100 last yr— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2012
Why It's a Win for the Cubs
With the Cubs in the midst of rebuilding, they can afford to take a chance on Brown, a talented 25-year-old outfielder who has floundered in limited playing time for Philadelphia over the past three years.
A change of scenery may be exactly what Brown needs to kick-start his career.
Why It's a Win for the Phillies
ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Phillies weren't all that enthralled at the idea of adding Soriano to the mix:
They should be.
Philadelphia is built to win now, and the team needs another bat with power to plug into the middle of the lineup. He's a perfect fit to hit in the five-hole, sandwiched between Ryan Howard and Michael Young.
Soriano is coming off of a season that saw him hit .262 with 32 home runs and 108 RBI, answering the team's need for a slugger.
He's hit well at Citizens Bank Park, posting a .314/.358/.520 slash line with five home runs and 10 RBI in 24 career games there.
Red Sox Trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the Mariners
Mariners Get: CF Jacoby Ellsbury
Red Sox Get: LHP James Paxton, RHP D.J. Mitchell
Boston GM Ben Cherington doesn't plan on trading Jacoby Ellsbury, according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes:
Cherington reiterated his intent is not to trade Ellsbury and expects CF to be key part of club in 2013— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) December 19, 2012
However, trading Ellsbury now makes more sense than trading him later.
Why It's a Win for the Mariners
Seattle was led down the yellow brick road by Josh Hamilton only to have the Wicked Witch of the AL West, Angels owner Arte Moreno, have his flying monkeys swoop down and take Hamilton back to Anaheim.
The Mariners need a big bat and they have pitching to spare.
Seattle also gets a jump on the competition when it comes to signing Ellsbury after the season. It gets a full year to see if he's a fit in Seattle, while Ellsbury gets a full year in Seattle to see if it's somewhere he'd like to play for a long time.
Why It's a Win for the Red Sox
Ellsbury is going to test the free-agent market after the season (Scott Boras' clients always do), and landing Paxton and Mitchell is a far better return than a draft pick.
Paxton, a left-handed power pitcher, gives Boston a young arm with a high ceiling to bolster the rotation with, while Mitchell is a versatile pitcher that can start or throw out of the bullpen.
Tigers Trade Rick Porcello to the Orioles
Tigers Get: SS J.J. Hardy
Orioles Get: RHP Rick Porcello, SS/3B Jhonny Peralta
The proposed deal, originally mentioned by Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, makes a lot of sense for both teams.
Jim Leyland told us that Andy Dirks is the every day left fielder as of now and Rick Porcello & Drew Smyly will compete for 5th starter #SXM— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) January 3, 2013
Why It's a Win for the Tigers
Detroit has been looking for a defensive upgrade at shortstop and Hardy fits the bill.
An excellent defensive player, Hardy has some pop in his bat and would be yet another contributor to what is shaping up to be an even more potent Tigers lineup than last year.
Why It's a Win for the Orioles
Porcello hasn't been outstanding over his four-year major league career, but he's won double-digit games each season and is still only 24 years old.
There's still time for him to improve, and perhaps a change of scenery is what he needs to take the next step. He'd add experience to a rather inexperienced Orioles rotation.
Peralta has experience playing third base, allowing the Orioles to finally begin the era of Manny Machado as the team's starting shortstop, his natural position.
Cubs Trade Matt Garza to the Rangers
Rangers Get: RHP Matt Garza
Cubs Get: 3B Mike Olt
Entering the final year of the "will they or won't they" trade Matt Garza era in Chicago, Theo Epstein finally makes a move, ending more than a year of trade chatter and speculation about the talented right-hander.
Why It's a Win for the Rangers
Rebuffed by Zack Greinke, the Rangers get an established veteran starter with a track record of success in the American League.
Garza's not Greinke, but he's a good fit in the Rangers rotation, either as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.
Why It's a Win for the Cubs
Ian Stewart isn't the answer at third base and Josh Vitters seems to have fallen out of favor with the new regime.
Olt is someone who can man the hot corner for the next decade on the north side of Chicago.
Rick Weiner is a Featured Columnist covering all of MLB and a member of B/R's Breaking News Team.