MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
Outside of the MLB postseason, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is the most exciting time to follow the game. The rumors come fast, and they come furious.
Now, last week was the first time this season when the names being mentioned broke away from guys like Jeff Samardzija and David Price, who are commonly discussed. There were some outside-the-box suggestions that could make sense given the right circumstances.
Here are four MLB trade proposals based on actual need and published rumors from the week ending Sunday, June 15.
As a standard note, the following trade proposals are nothing more than postulation. The point here is to build a trade based someone else's written or spoken word.
They are balanced deals that are fair for each team, though, and take into consideration each franchise's strengths and weaknesses.
Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers Get: 2B Ben Zobrist
Tampa Bay Rays Get: RHP Zach Lee, LHP Tom Windle
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has a dilemma on his hands.
He has a first-place roster that is in second place in the NL West. The team can't seem to put everything together for an extended stretch of solid baseball. As such, it appears that a change is in order.
Some people (myself included) think that Colletti should jettison Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier and bring back some relief help. Moving either one of them would rid the club of a player who is clearly unhappy and improve the bullpen, which has been problematic all season.
Peter Gammons has a different idea. He thinks the Dodgers should look for a universal upgrade in the form of Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist. In fact, in a recent article on his website, he called Zobrist “the perfect acquisition” for manager Don Mattingly’s club.
The fact that Zobrist is drawing attention shouldn’t come as a surprise. Per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
Rival GM says #Rays’ Zobrist will draw trade interest from more teams than Price due to difference in $$$. Versatility appealing, esp in NL…— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 12, 2014
He can play at least three positions—likely five or six if needed—and has been through almost every playoff scenario imaginable. Flat out, he makes any team better.
Lee is currently at Triple-A Albuquerque and is 5-7 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.434 WHIP. The right-hander projects as a front-end starter with a plus slider and above-average fastball. He is also likely ready for the major leagues.
Windle (5-4, 3.93 ERA at High-A) is a talented left-hander with a wealth of potential, but he's likely at least a year or two away from being ready. That said, the Rays need depth at every level in the minor leagues, and Windle would provide that.
It goes without saying that the Dodgers already have a couple of middle infielders in Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon who are quite good at what they do. That shouldn't stop Colletti from making the move, though.
Simply stated, Zobrist would make the Dodgers better across the board. Another thing to consider is that given his versatility in the field, Mattingly can certainly find ample playing time for him.
Gammons also mentioned the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers in his article, so there is competition for Zobrist should the Rays make him available. The Dodgers have the pieces, though.
Will this trade happen? No one knows for sure, but if it did, the Dodgers would be set this year and next. Don’t forget that Zobrist has a reasonable team option for next season.
Detroit Tigers Acquire Steve Cishek from the Miami Marlins
Detroit Tigers Get: CL Steve Cishek
Miami Marlins Get: 2B Devon Travis, RHP Jonathan Crawford
The Detroit Tigers need help in the back end of their bullpen. It is an area general manager Dave Dombrowski has tried to solidify in almost every way imaginable the past few seasons.
Well, Peter Gammons has an idea that could end up being the answer. For various reasons, he suggested closer Steve Cishek from the Miami Marlins as a trade target should manager Mike Redmond’s crew fall out of contention.
Cishek is having a great season, too. Not only is he 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 15 saves heading into action on Monday, but he has a 1.90 FIP, a 1.047 WHIP and strikes out 11.6 batters every nine innings. He's been a beast all year.
Frankly, he would provide legitimacy to the Tigers bullpen immediately and ease the minds of all interested parties.
Headlining the package is Travis, if only because he is closer to making the leap to the major leagues. A career .330 hitter in the minors, Travis has a .213 ISO and is slugging .492 this season at Double-A Erie.
Crawford is pitching very well at Class-A West Michigan. In 11 starts, the right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA, 48 strikeouts and has a 1.096 WHIP over 59.1 innings pitched.
The former outfielder has a mid-90s fastball and a slider that is very effective “when he stays on top of” it, per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. While Crawford is starting at the moment, he could end up breaking into the big leagues as a reliever.
To be sure, the Marlins are very much in the playoff picture. And we’re not just talking about the wild-card race. They have a real chance of taking the NL East, which is something very few people believed to be possible when the season began.
They have to deal with the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, of course, but they haven’t wilted under the pressure yet. If they do falter, though, the Tigers would be a willing participant in any trade involving Cishek.
San Francisco Giants Acquire Jeff Samardzija from Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants Get: RHP Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs Get: RHP Kyle Crick, LHP Edwin Escobar, LHP Ty Blach
The San Francisco Giants are the best team in the National League. No offense to the Milwaukee Brewers, of course, but Bruce Bochy’s squad has a better pitching staff and a lineup that is capable of doing more on a nightly basis.
That doesn’t mean the Giants don’t have room to improve the roster. The production at second base, for example, leaves much to be desired. Adding a starter, however, would seem to be near the bottom of general manager Brian Sabean’s to-do list.
Then again, maybe not. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has the details:
Very quickly, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman tried to quash the conversation:
I've heard the exact opposite than Nightengale about Samardzija, that barring injury #sfgiants have no plans to adjust rotation.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 15, 2014
From an outside perspective, Schulman’s assessment seems to make the most sense. Leveraging the farm system for Jeff Samardzija (2-6, 2.77 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 82 K) doesn’t seem to be in the Giants’ best interests, but we’ll build a trade out anyway.
At the top of any package the Giants put together for Samardzija would be Kyle Crick. The right-hander ranks as the No. 1 prospect in their system and projects very well.
At Double-A this season, Crick is 4-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 11 starts. He is having control problems, having walked 29 batters in 44.0 innings, but he has a stellar fastball and the off-speed repertoire to match.
After Crick, Edwin Escobar would be the next prospect the Giants would have to include. He is a talented left-hander who throws an effortless fastball and “improved the bite on his low-80s slider,” per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.
To be sure, Escobar is struggling this season, posting a 5.26 ERA with a 1.553 WHIP in 75.1 innings pitched. That shouldn’t lessen his star, however, as the stuff is certainly there.
Left-handed starter Ty Blach would likely be the preferred third piece. After all, Mayo projects him to be as good overall as Adalberto Mejia, but he has better control. On the season, Blach is 4-3 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.085 WHIP.
Given Samardzija’s remaining arbitration year and phenomenal production this season, the Chicago Cubs have an incredible amount of leverage. What they ask for in return for his services will no doubt be exorbitant—and they’ll get it.
Again, the chances of the Giants trading for Samardzija are slim. Sabean doesn’t need to make an acquisition of this magnitude to find a starter that's an improvement over Tim Lincecum.
Seattle Mariners Acquire David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners Get: SP David Price
Tampa Bay Rays Get: 3B J.D. Peterson, RHP Edwin Diaz and a player to be named later
Each week it seems like another member of the media comes out in favor of the Tampa Bay Rays trading left-hander David Price.
This time, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince made a case around the premise that the Rays should unload the former Cy Young Award winner now—as in, there isn’t a moment to waste:
But out of the overwhelming obviousness of the Rays' fate is born an opportunity to restock a system in need of assistance. With the First-Year Player Draft in the rearview mirror and the club's status in the standings as clear as can be, now is the time for Tampa Bay to look into selling, because the trade market, at present, is loaded with buyers looking to break away from the .500 traffic jam.
Naturally, then, this leads to a discussion of David Price.
Make no mistake, the argument Castrovince presents makes sense. There are so many buyers at the moment that general manager Andrew Friedman has more options now than he will once the standings become less muddled.
To be clear, the Mariners starting rotation is top-notch, boasting a staff 3.69 ERA and a .242 batting average against entering play on Monday, per splits taken from ESPN.com. That said, Price could be enough to make up for any offensive deficiencies as the M’s make a run at a wild-card spot.
Now, the Mariners don’t have a lot of talent at Double-A or Triple-A they are willing to part with, but the lower levels are rife with prospects. If general manager Jack Zduriencik put together a package that include D.J. Peterson and Edwin Diaz as centerpieces, Friedman could be swayed to make a deal.
Peterson is going to be sensational once he develops. Currently slashing out at .315/.366/.575 for High-A High Dessert, the third baseman has already slugged 15 home runs and has 64 RBI. He could end up being Evan Longoria’s replacement in the coming seasons.
Regarding Diaz, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo thinks that “with his stuff and willingness to be a student of the game,” he “might have as much upside as anyone in the system.” Strong words considering Taijuan Walker and James Paxton are included in that group.
It would be a bold move for the Mariners. After all, the biggest holes on their roster are on offense, but there is no question that with Felix Hernandez and Price at the top of the rotation, their chances of making it to the postseason improve greatly.
The Rays, on the other hand, would receive a needed infusion of talent into their farm system. This deal makes sense from both sides.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Monday, June 16. Transaction, injury, scouting reports, prospect rankings and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.
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