There have been a few notable trades, like the one that sent Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Ian Kinsler. Doug Fister was also shipped from the Detroit Tigers to the Washington Nationals, and the Oakland A's acquired elite closer Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles. By and large, though, the majority of trades this offseason have been for role players and other lesser-known contributors.
Even though there are just a few weeks left until pitchers and catchers report for the start of spring training, there's still time for teams to make some deals. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports recently suggested that teams might be more inclined to pursue players via the trade market now that the price of free-agent contracts are soaring.
Though Masahiro Tanaka's meet and greets with prospective MLB teams are dominating the hot stove conversation, there have still been a few trade rumors that have popped up in recent days. Here's a look at the latest trade rumblings from around the league.
In an offseason that's been littered with Ike Davis rumors, the latest report has the struggling first baseman staying put with the New York Mets. Davis showed promise in his first two-plus years with the club but was in a season-long slump in 2013, batting .205/.326/.334 with nine home runs, 33 RBI, 57 walks and 101 strikeouts in 103 games played.
Still, that hasn't stopped teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles from inquiring about the left-handed power hitter.
Regardless, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson recently made some comments to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo giving a strong indication that Davis will be sticking around in 2014:
We're not going to move Ike just to move Ike -- or any other player, for that matter. This is a trade market, not a yard sale. And right now, we're perfectly happy to go into Spring Training with Davis and (Lucas) Duda both on the team. Frankly, we're not that actively engaged in trade discussions involving Ike at this point. I think that underscores our willingness to go into camp with both.
Alderson's comments will be welcomed by Davis, who recently told Andy Martino of The New York Daily News that he wants to remain with the Mets in 2014.
In the end, it appears that the Mets have been asking for too much in return for Davis. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that Milwaukee and New York have had discussions about Davis, but nothing ever materialized.
The Mets were rumored to have asked for promising young Milwaukee righty Tyler Thornburg, per Rosenthal, and Baltimore southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez, per Mike Puma of The New York Post, but couldn't command such a haul for a player like Davis.
For now, it looks like the 26-year-old first baseman will try to figure out his swing with the Mets.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been frequently mentioned in rumors lately, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports added more fuel to the team's hot stove earlier this week. The veteran MLB writer recently reported that the Diamondbacks are "looking to move" reliever J.J. Putz this offseason while naming New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki as a potential return player in a deal.
Earlier this offseason, Arizona acquired closer Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox, perhaps making Putz expendable. Reed, 25, saved 40 games for the Pale Hose in 2013, posting a 3.79 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 71.1 innings of work. He is expected to compete for the closing gig in Arizona.
Reed said, via ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla:
I'm going into spring training and I'm going to try to do everything I can to prove to them that that ninth inning belongs to me and compete for that job. Closer is the only thing I've ever dreamed of, the only thing I've ever wanted, so I'm going to make their decision as tough as possible to put me in any position other than the ninth inning.
If Putz is still around, he would be Reed's main competition. Putz dealt with elbow issues in 2013 after starting out as the team's closer, eventually giving way to Heath Bell and Brad Ziegler. But with Reed on Arizona's roster and Putz owed $7 million, Rosenthal's proposed deal for Suzuki and his $6.5 million salary in 2014 makes sense.
Ichiro has the type of game that would translate well to the National League, and he would provide a solid table-setter for sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo. For New York, trading away Suzuki helps free up some space in their crowded outfield while also giving David Robertson some competition for the closer's role after the retirement of Mariano Rivera.
In an ideal world, Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty would be able to re-sign Homer Bailey and keep him beyond the final year of his contract in 2014.
The fact is, pitchers are seeing the big money thrown around on the free-agent market, and it's hard to ignore. Bailey is a promising 27-year-old right-hander, who has been reliable in recent seasons and is entering his contract year. Over the past two seasons combined, Bailey has gone 24-22 with a 3.58 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a 7.9 K/9 ratio in 417 innings pitched.
In a recent conversation with Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Jocketty admitted that it will be tough to keep Bailey around for more than one more season: "He would be probably the one guy that's going to be the most difficult because of how well he's done and where he's at in this service class. Young pitchers are getting quite a bit."
As such, the team might be inclined to trade Bailey away, unless they can ink him to an extension this winter. Bailey would surely command a big haul in a deal with another team, even though he is projected to earn a healthy $9.3 million in arbitration, via Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.
John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer recently laid out a case for trading away Bailey, saying he could bring back talent to help an offense that won't be the same without Shin-Soo Choo in 2014.
Jason Castro is arguably his team's most valuable player, but the Houston Astros might be better served trading him away now while he is at peak value.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the 26-year-old backstop could become a trade candidate:
Rival teams have inquired on Castro, according to major league sources. If the Astros cannot sign him to an extension, he could become the team's best trade chip. The 'Stros also could move him to first base.
Castro is about to enter his first year of arbitration, meaning he's under club control for the next three seasons. After his breakout campaign in 2013, during which he batted .276/.350/.485 with 18 homers, 56 RBIs, 50 walks and 130 strikeouts in 120 games, the Astros might be smart to sell high on Castro while they stockpile their farm system for the future.
The AL West figures to be ridiculously competitive in 2014, and catchers generally have shorter career spans, so it might be in the team's best interests to unload him now. Evan Drellich of The Houston Chronicle listed the pros and cons of keeping Castro or trading him away, and there is a strong case for both.
This might be a trade that also makes more sense at the July 31 deadline as the team awaits prospect Max Stassi, who spent 2013 in Double-A before making a brief appearance after a September call-up.