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Trade proposal: Mariners trade C Mike Zunino, RHP Taijuan Walker, 3B D.J. Peterson to Dodgers for OF Matt Kemp, LHP Julio Urias
My last two trade proposals, starting with Seattle's, take a different, more fantasy-related approach than anything else.
If you don't think the Mariners would part with five years of control over Mike Zunino and six years of control over Taijuan Walker and D.J. Peterson, you clearly haven't been paying attention to what they are doing this winter.
That's not to say the Mariners have had a perfect offseason—far from it—but they are clearly trying to open a window that has been nailed shut for the better part of a decade. They've tried to add power by signing Corey Hart and trading for Logan Morrison, but they've sacrificed any semblance of athleticism in the process.
Robinson Cano will be a superstar and one of the best players in baseball for at least the next three years, but the Mariners need to do a better job of surrounding him with talent.
Matt Kemp is the perfect solution for what they need. He can slot behind Cano in the batting order, steal 30-40 bases to create more RBI opportunities for Hart and Morrison, and provide decent defense in center field.
I also put 17-year-old Julio Urias in the deal. He was one of the biggest stories in the minors last year, throwing 54.1 impressive innings in the Midwest League against players who, in most cases, were four or five years older than him.
Physical projection holds Urias back, but if he's already able to perform at a high level against more advanced hitters, it's not a stretch to think he could turn into a quality mid-rotation arm down the road.
Making the finances work could be a problem, but when you are trying to convince people you are a major player in one of the best divisions in baseball, getting creative is paramount to success.
In return, the Dodgers get a starting catcher in Zunino who can slide into a starting role next season and brings a lot of upside as a 22-year-old. He's got a lot of improvements to make offensively, but his .620 OPS in 2013 wasn't that much worse than 32-year-old A.J. Ellis' .682 mark.
Walker gives the Dodgers a young, high-ceiling arm to plug in right behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Since Walker won't cost much money for at least the next three years, the Dodgers can use those savings to lock up Kershaw for the rest of his career.
D.J. Peterson is a prospect I'm not enamored with because I'm not sold on how the power will play, and there's a decent chance he ends up moving to first base.
That said, Peterson has a very good, natural hit tool and boasts above-average raw power that gives some optimism. He's also got the arm strength for third base but lacks athleticism and range, which could hinder him moving forward.
He's still a solid prospect with a bright future and should move through a system quickly as a polished college hitter. Peterson isn't eligible to be traded until June as a 2013 draftee, so that could turn into a major sticking point in the deal.