Check, Your Move: Possible Trades This Year

Joel KochSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2008

     When I use to write blogs on FOX, this was one of my more favorite articles to write. I received a lot of positive press with it, as it was one of my more popular articles. Why? It's baseball trades, the second best thing in baseball (games are obviously the best).

Brian Roberts

     Throughout the entire winter, we heard Brian Roberts was going to the Chicago Cubs. We also heard he was going to the Indians. You know where he's actually going to go? Colorado. The Rockies use Willy Taveras in the leadoff spot, then Troy Tulowitzki in the two hole. If the Rockies make this trade, they will have a dominant lineup from No. 1 to No. 8. Plus, this move allows for Jayson Nix to develop as a hitter at Triple-A a little longer. So, lets see this move in it's entirety:

Baltimore Orioles receive: 3B Jon Herrera, RHP Pedro Strop, RHP Esmil Rogers, 2B Omar Quintanilla & C Edwin Bellorin.
Colorado Rockies receive: 2B Brian Roberts, OF Jay Payton & RHP Bob McCroy.

Positive: The Orioles' overhaul began with the Miguel Tejada trade, where they landed five young players. It continued with the Erik Bedard trade. Today, they finish the overhaul with Roberts and Payton for four young players.
     The Rockies only make this deal if they can get McCroy in the trade. They want him because he could be a good building point for the bullpen in front of Manny Corpas. They take Payton in the trade to be a veteran presence in the outfield. Ryan Spilborghs is a good player, but Jeff Baker shouldn't be anywhere near the Rockies right now. Payton would be a great addition with his ability to be a role player and how he can play all three outfield spots. Of course, Roberts' positive is easy to notice. He can bat second or leadoff for the Rockies, while Taveras takes the other spot in the lineup. Tulowitzki moves down to bat seventh in the lineup with Yorvit Torrealba moving to eighth. This deepens the lineup so much, it's almost ridiculous.
     The Orioles receive a young catcher to replace Ramon Hernandez when his contract ends at the end of 2009 (or 2010 if they pick up the option, highly unlikely though). They also receive a third baseman to replace Melvin Mora when his contract ends at the end of the 2009 season. They also get a second baseman to take over the job from Roberts. Baltimore also picks up two young right-handed arms to the arsenal of future bullpen pitchers they have at Triple-A (from the Astros).
Negative: The Rockies would add Roberts, who is available for free agency at the end of the 2009 season, and would have to retain him long-term to make the deal worth it. Remember Kaz Matsui walked for more money, and the Rockies don't want that to happen again. Plus, the Rockies will probably have to take on all or a significant portion of Payton's final year (this season) worth $5 million. This deal can also have negative effects if neither player works out and the youth end up flourishing. Of course, this is the negative side to any deal involving minor league players.
     There are no negative side effects for the Orioles in this move. They move salary, and they get young players. The only possible downside is that none of the young players they received flourish like they hope they will. In retrospect though, there's only upside to dealing veterans for prospects.

Adam Dunn

     Walt Jocketty is in as the Cincinnati Reds' General Manager, and he has to address the payroll and build this team now. The St. Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves, the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners, the Minnesota Twins, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays could all be interested in dealing for Adam Dunn. All of these teams have the need for Dunn, either as a left fielder or as a designated hitter. Now, here is the short list of teams willing to make a deal for Dunn: Cardinals and Blue Jays.
     Why only these two? They're the only teams that would be willing to deal with Jocketty, take on a significant portion of Dunn's contract and have the pieces to make a deal work. So, I'll give you the Cardinals trade and their positives and negatives. Then, I'll give you the Blue Jays. After that, we'll call it a night.

Cincinnati Reds receive: RHP Brad Thompson, RHP Todd Wellemeyer, 1B/OF Chris Duncan & C Tony Cruz (Single A Palm Beach).
St. Louis Cardinals receive: 1B/OF Adam Dunn, RHP Enerio Del Rosario & RHP Adam Pointer.

Positive: The Cardinals have been in a desperate search to find a real bat to protect the most feared hitter in the Major Leagues (Albert Pujols). Dunn is that bat. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but he hits 40 home runs and walks over 100 times a year. Now that's protection. I think pitchers would think twice about walking Pujols if Dunn was penciled in behind him. The Cardinals also get two young right handers from Single A to develop.
     The Reds pick up only $4 million of Dunn's $13 million amount for this season and they get Thompson. Thompson has proven to be a great bullpen arm, as well as a good starter at the Major League level. Also, Jocketty drafted Thompson and knows him well. This makes the package that much more attractive. Todd Wellemeyer is the same way. He has proven himself to be a good back-end starter and a hard throwing guy in the bullpen. He could be versatile for the Reds, just as Thompson would. Duncan is the second key to this deal (with Thompson being the first) and with good reason. Remember, he was also drafted by Jocketty and is one of his favorite players. Sure, his dad is the pitching coach with the Cardinals, but both Duncans know that this is a business and moves have to be done to help the team. Duncan hits for a lot of power, and he can play left, right and first. He'd be very valuable to the Reds in the coming years. Cruz is a throw in for the Reds. Drafted under Jocketty, he could become something special or just be another minor league player. It's never a bad thing to take a risk on a 22 year old catcher at Single A.
Negative: The Cardinals would have to eat $9 million or more of Dunn's contract for this year, which would push them over $100 million for the season, a number never reached in St. Louis before. Also, Dunn is not signed past the 2008 season. The Cardinals would have to spend more money to keep him for several years to make this deal worth it. They would also have to bench Skip Schumaker to make room for Colby Rasmus in center. Also, the downside of any deal with dealing young players, especially in your division, is that they could become dominant players.
     The Reds have no downside whatsoever. With Jocketty in, he probably wasn't going to re-sign Dunn and they would land three good players under age 30 who can help this team in the long term.

Adam Dunn (cont.)

     Okay, now it's the Blue Jays' turn to make their case for the outfielder. The Blue Jays want Dunn for their DH role. They have Adam Lind in left and Lyle Overbay at first as there are no opening for Dunn there. Until a week ago, this move would have never gone through J.P. Ricciardi's head. Now, it's like a bad movie: you never forget it. The Blue Jays released their DH, Frank Thomas, a week ago and need a new one. Sorry, Matt Stairs is not an everyday player. If the Blue Jays would add Dunn, their pitching staff and offense could finally keep up with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Cincinnati Reds receive: RHP Brandon League, RHP Tracy Thorpe, IF Russ Adams & IF Sergio Santos.
Toronto Blue Jays receive: DH Adam Dunn, LHP Bill Bray.

Positive: The Blue Jays need an offense to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League East because they have the pitching to keep up. Dunn will give them everything they need. They do lose a good setup man who had some issues at the start of the season, but has proven to be a good pitcher. In return for League, they get Bill Bray to offset that loss. Bray has had some issues since coming over to Cincinnati in the big trade with Washington, but he could be a very good left handed pitcher, possibly a setup man.
     The Reds get a powerful shortstop in Santos, who was part of the Troy Glaus deal from Arizona. He'll probably end up being a third baseman because of his size and power, but he's talented nevertheless. They also get Adams, a very good infielder who needs a change of scenery and could flourish in Cincy. The Reds receive a setup man in League to put in front of Francisco Cordero. In all fairness, he is a good closer and League is a better setup man than Dave Weathers. They can also develop Thorpe, who could be a good right handed pitcher at the Major League level.
Negative: Ok, the negative for the Blue Jays is the same as the Cardinals. They may not resign Dunn to make it worth it. Adams, Santos and Thorpe could become great players. They are the unknowns in this deal. The Jays know what they're giving up in League. The other downside is that Dunn has only played in Cincinnati and in the National League. How will he respond to going to a division like the AL East and the AL in general?
     The Reds downside is: zero. They clear a spot for Jay Bruce to come up, they get two guys who can play shortstop, and they can finally get rid of Alex Gonzalez. They also add a setup man for Cordero and it makes their bullpen that much better.
Conclusion for Adam Dunn trades: No matter what, the Reds get a lot of help and have little to no downside at all. The Blue Jays and Cardinals are banking on it.

Well folks, there you have it. Two players, three possible deals to teams that could really use them. I hoped you enjoyed it and I look forward to getting some feedback.