MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
With each passing week of the MLB season, the trade rumblings grow louder. That’s the way it is every year, though, as the annual frenzy that is the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
This week has been no different.
There are the mainstay rumors involving Jeff Samardzija and the ever-present New York Yankees, of course. Over the last seven days, however, a couple of other names have surfaced on the list of MLB players who are either needed or could be available.
It must be noted that nothing here will go down tomorrow. These are trades that benefit each side and add a little to the national conversation.
Here are four MLB trade proposals based on actual need or published rumors from the week ending Sunday, May 25.
Boston Red Sox Get Alex Rios from the Texas Rangers
Boston Red Sox Get: RF Alex Rios
Texas Rangers Get: SP Anthony Ranaudo, 3B Will Middlebrooks and a player to be named later
The idea that the Texas Rangers should begin selling pieces isn’t unrealistic.
As ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote (subscription required to read full article):
This organization, which has been in win-now mode for the past six seasons, twice made it to the World Series and came within one strike of winning a championship, could use this time to have a makeover, to gain more payroll flexibility, to add some young talent. The Rangers can find an opportunity in their misfortune, because they're in a position to send out a mass email to the other major league teams and inform them that they are open for trade offers.
One of the players Olney mentioned is Alex Rios, who would be a fine fit with the Boston Red Sox.
And make no mistake, manager John Farrell’s squad needs the type of stability Rios will provide in right field. Shane Victorino, who just went on the 15-day disabled list, is serviceable when healthy, but the Carmines need legitimacy and bats if they hope to make it to the postseason.
Rios is on a tear this season, too. In 50 games going into action on Memorial Day, he had a .316/.346/.469 slash line with 11 doubles, five triples, 22 runs scored and 29 RBI. Simply put, he's raking it and would give a big lift to a stagnant offense in Boston.
In return for Rios, the Rangers would get Triple-A starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, Will Middlebrooks and a player to be named later.
Middlebrooks is on the outside looking in after being given every chance at third base. Perhaps a change of scenery will allow him to grow into the franchise third baseman many hoped he would be as he advanced through the minor leagues. And with the uncertain future of Adrian Beltre, he could prove to be a great pickup.
As far as Ranaudo is concerned, he has some control issues, but he also has the ability to turn into “a No. 2 or 3 starter,” according to the scouting report from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.
Adding the Red Sox’s No. 8 prospect would give the Rangers a starting rotation that included Yu Darvish, Martin Perez (assuming he is completely recovered from Tommy John surgery), Nick Martinez and Ranaudo next year. In other words, manager Ron Washington would have a rotation fully capable of complementing the offense.
One last thing to consider here is that Rios has a $13.5 million team option for next season. That means he wouldn’t necessarily be a rental and may have long-term value for the Red Sox.
Seattle Mariners Acquire Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals
Seattle Mariners Get: 3B Mike Moustakas
Kansas City Royals Get: SP Brandon Maurer
Mike Moustakas is having a rough season.
After compiling a .152/.223/.320 slash line with four home runs and 17 RBI for the Kansas City Royals, he was optioned to Triple-A Omaha this past week.
Then word came from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman that “three teams” have already been in touch with general manager Dayton Moore regarding the underperforming third baseman. Might the Seattle Mariners be one of those teams?
Sure, they have Kyle Seager playing fairly well at the hot corner right now, but they don’t have a whole lot of depth behind him. The Mariners don’t have a whole lot of depth at first base, either, and while Moustakas hasn’t played the position in the past, he is certainly athletic enough to provide Justin Smoak with a night off.
And the Mariners wouldn’t have to break the bank to land Moustakas. Sending the Royals Brandon Maurer could be enough.
Now Maurer hasn’t had the best season, either, but his presence will provide some security in case the elbow pain Yordano Ventura felt on Memorial Day is anything serious.
As Sherman noted, Moustakas “might be a change-of-scenery guy.” The same can likely be said for Maurer.
To be sure, this is a smaller move, but adding depth at third base will help the Mariners as they fight to stay relevant in the wild-card race, and Maurer could help the Royals in the same manner.
Atlanta Braves Acquire Marlon Byrd from the Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves Get: RF Marlon Byrd
Philadelphia Phillies Get: SP Cody Martin
While CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury doesn’t think the Philadelphia Phillies are going to trade Chase Utley, he posits that almost everyone else could be made available. And considering that, as Salisbury noted, it’s “difficult” to envision the Phillies “being a long-term factor in the NL East,” it would be wise for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to explore all options.
Outside of Justin Upton’s 13 HR and 30 RBI, the outfield is a mess in Atlanta. B.J. Upton has a .211/.290/.343 slash line, and Jason Heyward isn’t much better, compiling a .238/.324/.324 slash when play began on Monday, May 26. That makes Byrd’s .289 batting average, .826 OPS, 16 doubles and 29 RBI quite attractive.
In return for Byrd—who has another year and a vesting option remaining on the two-year, $16 million contract he signed this past offseason—the Braves would send the Phillies starting pitcher Cody Martin.
Martin has been pitching quite well this season at Triple-A Gwinnett. In 10 appearances (nine starts), he has a 2.89 ERA, 53 strikeouts and a 1.113 WHIP. His control has also improved this season, and after walking 3.8 batters every nine innings last year, that was a concern.
For the Phillies, moving Byrd accomplishes two things.
First, it frees up payroll. True, they aren’t exactly strapped for cash, but pulling Byrd's contract off the books next season will give Amaro Jr. some added flexibility this offseason. And second, trading the right fielder nets a major league-ready starter.
Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs
Toronto Blue Jays Get: SP Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs Get: SP Sean Nolin, SP Daniel Norris
What would a week be without a good old-fashioned Jeff Samardzija rumination? That is what happens, though. After all, almost every contending team needs a starter, and he is the best of the bunch.
Among those watching [Samardzija] are the Blue Jays, who are more convinced than ever they can win the AL East if they obtain a top starter. While they struck out on Samardzija before, one major league scout said they haven’t given up trying to repackage but are still insistent on not giving up Drew Hutchison. Whether it be Samardzija or someone else, the Jays have all hands on deck, including special adviser Fred McGriff.
Now the “someone else” Cafardo referred to could be any number of pitchers, including Kyle Kendrick, Jason Hammel or David Price. But let’s stick with Samardzija and remove Hutchison from the equation.
In return for the right-hander, the Chicago Cubs would get left-handers Sean Nolin and Daniel Norris. Nolin (2-2, 2.70 ERA, 1.275 WHIP) is currently on the disabled list with a groin injury, but he has been very good this season at Triple-A. And Norris (3-0, 0.80 ERA, 1.000 WHIP) is only at High-A, but complements his fastball nicely with an above-average changeup.
Now the counter to the trade talks between the Cubs and the Blue Jays comes from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. He recently noted that the Jays would rather have a “rental” that didn’t require the type of talent it would take to grab Samardzija.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos hinted that may not be the case, though. During an interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio’s Front Office this past Sunday Morning, he said that he’s not against orchestrating “a painful trade because we have a chance to make this team a lot better,” via ChicagoCubsOnline.com.
No doubt, giving up Nolin and Norris for Samardzija would be painful. But it could be the deal that puts the Blue Jays over the top in the AL East.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Monday, May 26. Transaction, injury, scouting reports and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.