MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
There are just over 10 weeks remaining until Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline. That means we all have just over 10 weeks of rampant speculation and intrigue awaiting us at every turn.
This past week only added to the anticipation with news that several players could be available. The wheels turn quickly around MLB.
As always, the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox figured prominently into the media’s conversation. A couple of others, however, joined the maelstrom by letting it be known that they had players that could be had for a price.
Per usual, the proposals put forth here are nothing more than conjecture. They are fair deals for each team, though, that fit specific needs from both sides.
Here are five trade ideas based on actual need or published speculation from the week ending Sunday, May 18.
Boston Red Sox Get Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres
Boston Red Sox Get: 3B Chase Headley
San Diego Padres Get: SP Anthony Ranaudo, SP Allen Webster
The Boston Red Sox have a quandary on their hands at third base thanks to Will Middlebrooks. And no, that isn’t because he is currently on the 15-day disabled list. The real problem is the fact that he hasn’t played very well this year.
As a result, rumblings have started to surface that indicate the Carmines are looking to replace him. First, Jon Heyman tweeted that the support for the inured third baseman is tepid, at best. Then word came from WEEI’s Rob Bradford that a source said the club is “exploring multiple options regarding an upgrade on the left side of their infield, including calling teams regarding possible trades.”
The need for improvement—especially at the hot corner—is real. Before getting injured, Middlebrooks was hitting .197 with a .629 OPS and 23 strikeouts in 71 at-bats.
Now the Red Sox do have Garin Cecchini in the minor leagues, and he appears ready, but if general manager Ben Cherington is indeed looking to add a third baseman via trade, he could go after Chase Headley.
To be sure, Headley is struggling for the San Diego Padres, hitting a mere .189 with a .634 OPS, but he could thrive in Fenway. And while his statistics aren’t much of an improvement (if any) over Middlebrooks’, he is certainly an upgrade on the whole given his past production.
Webster is highly rated but has found limited success in the big leagues. Ranaudo has a wealth of talent, but his control issues are preventing him from taking the next step this season. That doesn’t mean, however, that both of them won’t be impact pitchers in the coming years.
In this scenario, Cecchini stays put, and while both pitchers are nice pieces, their presence won’t be missed if Headley helps the Red Sox reach the postseason.
New York Mets Get Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks
New York Mets Get: SS Didi Gregorius
Arizona Diamondbacks Get: SP Domingo Tapia, RP Jack Leathersich
Didi Gregorius’ name is suddenly making the rounds as it relates to trade rumors. Most recently, Andy Martino from the New York Daily News floated his name when discussing deals involving multiple teams, including the New York Mets.
And considering that the Arizona Diamondbacks are likely going to go through a significant organizational restructuring with the recent hiring of Tony La Russa, a return that may take a season or two to bear any fruit wouldn’t be as prohibitive as it may seem.
Let’s focus on the Mets here.
Currently, their shortstops have a combined .200/.309/.236 slash line with no home runs and only 12 RBI going into action on May 19, per splits over at Baseball-Reference. Obviously, there is room for improvement, and seeing as how there aren’t many options in the minor leagues, trading for a guy like Gregorius would be a prudent decision.
Yes, Wilmer Flores is an option for the moment, but the Mets need a true shortstop, and Gregorius is that guy. He is hitting .308 with an .865 OPS in 169 at-bats at Triple-A Reno and is a terrific shortstop with very nice range.
Leathersich has put together a solid season thus far and is a strikeout machine, averaging 15.4 of them every nine innings this year. Tapia has a monster fastball and an excellent changeup but has struggled with command as a starter, making a future in the bullpen likely.
Both have high upside, though, making this a good deal for the Diamondbacks. The Mets could sweeten the deal a bit and throw in shortstop Gavin Cecchini, but given the glut of middle infielders in the Diamondback’s system, Leathersich and Tapia should be enough.
Oakland A's Get Rickie Weeks from the Milwaukee Brewers
Oakland A’s Get: 2B Rickie Weeks
Milwaukee Brewers Get: RP Joe Savery, 1B Anthony Aliotti
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal recently posed a question as to whether or not a trade market was growing for the services of Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. Well if there is—and there should be—the first team on the phone better be the Oakland A’s.
Eric Sogard is struggling mightily to the tune of a .175/.250/.216 slash line. His partner in unproductiveness, Nick Punto, isn’t faring much better, compiling a .225/.295/.275 slash with 20 strikeouts in 80 at-bats. In other words, Weeks would make perfect sense in Oakland.
Now some would counter that Weeks is a platoon option who only plays against left-handers. That would be a mistake. He has as many hits (10) against right-handers as he does against lefties in 10 fewer plate appearances.
Overall, he has a .417/.462/.458 slash line against righties, while hitting .303 with a .907 OPS against southpaws. For what the A’s need—on-base percentage and contact—Weeks fits.
Now what A’s general manager Billy Beane sends in return for Weeks is where things get tricky. See, the Brewers really need a first baseman, but the A’s don’t necessarily have one that can help the Brew Crew this season. They do, however, have the players to make a deal work.
To that end, a package that includes reliever Joe Savery and Double-A first baseman Anthony Aliotti could do the trick. It is a move that would help both teams immediately without putting the A’s in a restrictive position financially, as Weeks’ 2015 option based on plate appearances has no chance of vesting.
New York Yankees Get Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs
New York Yankees Get: SP Jason Hammel
Chicago Cubs Get: RP/SP Chase Whitley, SP Joel De La Cruz
The New York Yankees need to add a starter, potentially two. And while the names typically associated with the banter are Cliff Lee and Jeff Samardzija, another name has recently surfaced.
Teams are going to love that kind of control. He's a big, physical presence who can fit nicely in the middle to back end of a contending team's rotation. He can fetch the Cubs a B-plus/A-minus type prospect if things keep going in the right direction. That was no sure thing when he was signed last offseason.
He's right. On the season, Hammel is 4-2 with a 3.36 FIP (fielding independent pitching), 43 strikeouts and a 0.906 WHIP in 53.0 innings pitched. As Rogers noted, he has been electric.
In return for the right-hander, the Yankees would send the Cubs starting pitchers Joel De La Cruz and Chase Whitley. De La Cruz took a while to get going, not reaching Double-A until this season, but he has a mid-90s fastball, and as former Tampa Yankees pitching coach Jeff Ware put it, a “power sinker.”
And while Whitley pitched very well in his debut with the Yankees last week, he has been a reliever for the majority of his career. That makes his staying power in the rotation unlikely. With the Cubs, however, he could be given time to stretch out into a full-time starter.
Now none of this is to say that the Yankees are going to shy away from Samardzija, but Hammel would be an excellent pickup.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Monday, May 19. Transaction, injury, scouting reports and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.