Although activity and trade buzz around Major League Baseball has slowed since the winter meetings came to a close, there's still some wheeling and dealing left to do before next season. It all comes down to finding the right trade partner.
The market should begin to heat up soon as the number of impact free agents begins to fade. Teams that weren't able to strike gold by landing one of the top players available can still fill a void if they are willing to part with some pieces from the organization.
With that in mind, let's examine some of the latest trade talk from around the league and analyze what it could mean for the players and the teams involved. Less than two months remain until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
The Boston Red Sox took a chance when they traded for Jake Peavy last season in a deal that included rising star Jose Iglesias. It paid off. Boston went on to win the World Series with the veteran starting pitcher serving as a stabilizing force in the rotation and the clubhouse.
But now, as they look toward next season, the Red Sox have an excess number of starting pitchers and are looking to upgrade elsewhere by moving one. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports Peavy and Ryan Dempster are the ones Boston would prefer to move.
A trade remains possible—the Red Sox are checking in with teams that need starters, sources say. Righties Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster appear the most expendable, but the Sox could get a bigger return if they moved righty John Lackey or lefty Felix Doubront.
Peavy sports a 3.51 career ERA and would be a welcome addition to several pitching staffs around the league. The only question is what type of return the Red Sox could get for him after giving up a key piece in Iglesias to acquire him for the playoff run.
Once a premier offensive shortstop, Jimmy Rollins is coming off a down season in which he hit just six home runs to go along with a career-low .666 OPS. Whether he's capable of bouncing back at age 35 will be the biggest question among potential trade suitors.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports the Philadelphia Phillies have made it clear Rollins could be moved if the right offer comes along. One extra hurdle teams would face is convincing the infielder to waive his no-trade clause, though.
PHI has made clear to other teams, as it did during the summer, that it is very willing to move Jimmy Rollins. Has a no-trade clause, tho.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 16, 2013
In 2012, Rollins hit 23 homers, stole 30 bases and had a more respectable .743 OPS. Teams in need of a shortstop would gladly accept that type of production, but Philadelphia cannot expect a major return given his down season. It makes for a tricky trade situation.
After hitting 32 home runs for the New York Mets two seasons ago, Ike Davis struggled throughout 2013. He finished with just nine homers and a batting average barely over the Mendoza Line. That hasn't stopped the Pittsburgh Pirates from showing interest, as Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
The Pirates spoke to the Mets about trading for first baseman Ike Davis, a source told the Tribune-Review on Tuesday
Davis is a left-handed hitter who has shown a blend of power and on-base skills throughout his career. If acquired, he would presumably platoon with Gaby Sanchez at first base.
Which player is the best trade target?
Davis is just 26, so there's plenty of time for him to turn things around. It could be a case where a player simply needs a change of scenery and some new voices to get back on track. In turn, it's no surprise teams are trying to buy low on him.
The Pirates, a team that finished in the middle of the pack in homers last season, could use some more pop in their lineup. Taking a chance on Davis would be a good move, assuming the asking price is reasonable based on his 2013 issues at the plate.