Front offices from across the league will spend the MLB winter meetings in an attempt to improve their teams. However, some clubs are being more aggressive than others.
While no one is giving up on the 2014 season before it even starts, a few organizations are looking for opportunities to get younger and save money by trading away established players. Of course, there will always be contenders on the other side looking for potential stars to help in the upcoming year.
There is still a long time before Opening Day, but here is the latest trade buzz from around the league.
Philadelphia Phillies Willing to Give Up Pitching
After building up a rotation full of All-Stars in an attempt to contend for a World Series title, the Phillies are now ready to break it apart.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported that while the team is looking to contend in 2014, it will still hear possible options to help the future:
[Phillies] have told other teams that they are willing to consider trades of either of their two best starting pitchers, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, as sources say.
They have told other teams they'd be ready to move either of their two best starting pitchers, as well as closer Jonathan Papelbon.
This would not be a surprise from a monetary standpoint, as each of these pitchers is under contract at a high price this season. With large contracts to Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and others still on the books, Philadelphia is clearly looking for ways to save money.
However, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are among the most reliable pitchers in baseball. Both starters have topped 200 innings in each of the last four seasons while mostly displaying a great deal of success.
While Jonathan Papelbon did have seven blown saves last season, he does have a 2.41 career ERA, so it makes sense for a team to attempt to deal for an established player.
Of course, a much more surprising move is a possible trade involving Domonic Brown. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Phillies are shopping the 26-year-old player after a big season:
Sources: Phillies actively shopping OF Domonic Brown. Looking for controllable starting pitching in return. Idea is to sell high on him.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2013
This type of aggressiveness with the current roster is certain to disappoint a lot of fans, but it might be necessary in order to compete in the near future.
New York Mets Infielders Available
The Mets have made some interesting moves this offseason to improve the lineup, signing outfielders Chris Young and Curtis Granderson. As a response, the team is now looking to deal its excess infielders.
Passan reported that the club is trying to move second baseman Daniel Murphy:
Among those, from the no-surprise department: Mets pushing very hard to deal Daniel Murphy. Between him/Uggla, some 2B inventory available.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 10, 2013
Joel Sherman of the New York Post followed that up by saying the Baltimore Orioles are interested, as well as giving some info on first baseman Ike Davis:
However, Marc Carig of Newsday clarifies that Davis is the one more likely to be traded:
Source says at this point Ike Davis is more likely to be moved than Daniel Murphy.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) December 10, 2013
New York has a choice to make at first base heading into next season with both Davis and Lucas Duda capable of playing the spot. After trying Duda in the outfield over the past couple of years, it is clear he is better suited in the infield.
As a result, the Mets will likely trade whichever could return more value, which would likely be Davis due to his past success. The 26-year-old player did hit 32 home runs in 2012.
The team could have another logjam if Eric Young Jr. moves back to second base with a now-full outfield. Murphy put up solid all-around numbers last season with a .286 batting average, 13 home runs and 23 stolen bases, and he could bring in some young talent as well if he is put on the open market.
Los Angeles Dodgers Remain Willing to Trade Matt Kemp
There might not be a more intriguing player on the trade market than Matt Kemp. Two years ago, he was arguably the most complete star in the majors. Unfortunately a couple of seasons worth of injuries have slowed him down.
Still, the outfielder could be dealt this offseason, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN:
Matt Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, said Monday night at baseball's winter meetings that he believed "something was brewing" in trade talks involving the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has said publicly that he will listen to offers on his outfielders, of which he has a surplus.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times then quoted an even-more-certain Dave Stewart, who said, "I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen. I haven't heard a player's name floated around like that and something not happen."
When healthy, there are few better players in baseball. In 2011, Kemp was second in the MVP voting behind Ryan Braun, finishing with 39 home runs, 40 stolen bases, a .324 batting average and the most runs and RBI in the National League.
The problem is that he has also missed 145 games over the past few years and is under contract until 2020 after signing an eight-year extension.
Still, the risk might be worth the reward for a team willing to complete a deal for the talented outfielder.
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