MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
The MLB July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is less than six weeks away, and the rhetoric is quickly reaching a crescendo.
The quagmire in the standings is slowing, giving way to an established set of clubs that have legitimate chances of reaching the MLB postseason. As such, the number of rumors over the past seven days grew considerably from the week prior.
Here are three MLB trade scenarios based on actual need and published rumors from the week ending Sunday, June 22.
As a standard note, the following proposals are nothing more than postulation. The point here is to build a trade based on 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.
Addressing the Situation in St. Louis
The injuries to St. Louis Cardinals starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia must be addressed.
The knee-jerk reaction to the news that they were both put on the disabled list on Monday is that general manager John Mozeliak needs to grab at least one starter. After all, the Cardinals were already mentioned by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times to be “watching the [Tampa Bay] Rays closely,” meaning they’re scouting David Price, right?
Not necessarily, and even if they were eying Price, grabbing him in reaction to the recent injuries would be a mistake. See, it’s imperative that the status of both pitchers is fully understood before deciding which path to take.
After all, they have Carlos Martinez ready to go, and Joe Kelly should be back at some point in July. Frankly, with an off day and the All-Star break coming up, the fifth spot may not even be an issue. If it is, Aaron Finkel from SB Nations’ Viva El Birdos noted that options include Nick Greenwood and Tyler Lyons.
In other words, the Cardinals seem to be all right—for the moment. That could change in no time, of course, but for now, nothing dramatic should happen.
Mozeliak doesn’t need anyone to tell him this, though.
New York Yankees Acquire David Price from Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees Get: LHP David Price
Tampa Bay Rays Get: C Gary Sanchez, RHP Luis Severino, 3B Yangervis Solarte
It is a well-documented fact that the New York Yankees need starting pitching.
See, even before the rotation was beset by injuries to CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova, they were an ineffective group. Sabathia simply isn’t the pitcher he once was, and Vidal Nuno and Hiroki Kuroda are having very poor seasons.
True, Masahiro Tanaka is lighting it up and Chase Whitley is pitching better than most expected, but the rotation likely isn’t capable of carrying the team into October.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has made it clear that he will provide GM Brian Cashman the resources he needs to make a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline, and the Yankees won't be seeing the postseason if they don't deal for another legitimate starter who doesn't have health or decline questions. The Yankees' system is loaded, and though they would decline the inclusion of Dellin Betances, the Rays' first choice, they would give up what they have to in the minor leagues to acquire Price. The Rays have a long-term need at catcher, and Gary Sanchez would be the perfect acquisition in a Price deal.
Truth be told, the Yankees don’t have enough minor leaguers that matter to make a deal happen, so they are going to have to include at least one player from the 25-man roster to make this move go down.
Would a package that includes Sanchez, Severino and Yangervis Solarte be sufficient for the Rays?
Sanchez (.259/.327/.421, 8 HR, 38 RBI) would satisfy the need at catcher for the Rays that Bowden pointed out. Severino (3-3, 2.99 ERA, 78 K) is a young righty who has put up very nice numbers over parts of three seasons. He is being groomed as a starter but could also fit in the bullpen to start his career.
Now while the prospects are nice, Solarte would be the key.
Yes, the Rays have Evan Longoria at third base, but manager Joe Maddon would certainly be able to find playing time for Solarte. It also stands to reason that at some point, Longoria is going to make the move to either first base or designated hitter. Why not have his replacement on the roster already given the struggles Richie Shaffer has had adjusting to pitching at Double-A?
The question becomes, is Cashman willing to part with such an intricate part of the offense? Probably not, but he is going to have to make a concession in that vein for Price’s services.
There are other teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners with much more pitching depth in the minor leagues that would appear to be likelier suitors.
Either way, Cashman has ownership's blessing. If he wants the Yankees to make this thing official, he needs to be willing to give up more than what he has stowed away in the minor leagues.
All of this said, I don’t see how the Yankees walk away with Price, but this trade is built around the rumor, not the reality.
Cincinnati Reds Acquire Seth Smith from the San Diego Padres
Cincinnati Reds Get: OF Seth Smith
San Diego Padres Get: OF Jesse Winker, RHP Michael Lorenzen
True, the Reds roster isn't complete, but with the recent return of Mat Latos, general manager Walt Jocketty could focus his attention on improving the play in the outfield.
In return for Smith, who has a .286/.396/.519 slash line with eight home runs and 23 RBI this season, the Padres won’t be overly selective. After all, each level of the organization needs an infusion of talent, which is part of the reason why Josh Byrnes was relieved of his duties this past weekend. True, the farm system was recently ranked No. 11 by Baseball Prospectus, but that isn’t nearly enough for them to return to competitiveness as quickly as anyone in San Diego wants.
The left-handed hitting Winker could be a star in the making, projecting out as an above-average hitter, per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. Last season at High-A, he hit 16 home runs and had 76 RBI. This year, he was slashing out at .317/.426/.580 with 13 home runs in only 205 at-bats before earning a promotion to Pensacola.
Lorenzen, also at Double-A, is an intriguing prospect who has a fantastic fastball and a “hard breaking ball that could be above-average in the future,” according to Mayo. That combination would fit in nicely in the Padres bullpen. He isn’t projected by Mayo to be ready until 2016, but an appearance in 2015 isn’t out of the question given his velocity and improving control.
One other thing to take into consideration is that Ryan Ludwick’s contract is up at the end of this season, meaning that Smith could be someone they end up hanging on to for the next few seasons.
Boston Red Sox Acquire Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers
Boston Red Sox Get: LF Matt Kemp and cash
Los Angeles Dodgers Get: RHP Anthony Ranaudo, LHP Chris Capuano or RHP Burke Badenhop
To be sure, there is a question as to whether or not Kemp is even on the market at the moment. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, for example, noted that many baseball people expect Kemp to be moved, but “most likely in the offseason.”
To counter Rosenthal’s assertion, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo opined that he “could go with a little salary assistance from the Dodgers.” It would seem Cafardo is on the right track, since moving Kemp before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline makes the most sense given the other options the Dodgers have on the 25-man roster and at Triple-A.
And make no mistake: The Red Sox have the talent the Dodgers need. A package that includes minor leaguer Anthony Ranaudo and right-hander Burke Badenhop or left-hander Chris Capuano for Kemp and cash should be enough.
Ranaudo (7-4, 2.58 ERA at Triple-A) is a fantastic pitcher who could be ready to use in the bullpen as early as this season. And when he is ready to make the roster as a starter, the Dodgers will need him due to the fact that Dan Haren and Josh Beckett are both free agents at the end of the season.
Regarding the Dodgers bullpen, which ranks 12th in the National League, per splits over at ESPN.com, an upgrade is in order. Paul Maholm, Brian Wilson and Chris Perez just aren’t getting the job done, which makes a guy like either Capuano (1-1, 3.38 ERA, 27 G) or Badenhop (0-2, 1.77 ERA, 35 G) so valuable. True, the Dodgers let Capuano walk after last season, but seeing as how poorly his replacements are performing, bringing him back would be an improvement.
It must be noted that WEEI’s Rob Bradford cited sources who said that there was nothing to the rumor. We shall see how this all plays out, but the trade presented here could be enough to make a deal happen.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Monday, June 23. Transaction, injury, scouting reports, prospect rankings and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.