MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
Less than five weeks remain until the MLB July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
What happens during this time can turn a moribund franchise around or take a contending team from the brink of greatness and put it over the top. Now is when general managers can set their franchise back or forever cement their legacy as the architect of greatness.
Here are three MLB trade scenarios based on actual need and published rumors from the week ending Sunday, June 29.
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.
Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres
Toronto Blue Jays Get: 3B Chase Headley
San Diego Padres Get: RHP Esmil Rogers, MI Ryan Goins
San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley is off to a historically bad start—for him anyway. In 211 at-bats, the former Gold Glove winner has a .204/.293/.327 slash line with 57 strikeouts. His fall from the ranks of the game’s best at the hot corner has been rapid.
To be sure, the fact that general manager Alex Anthopoulos is exploring his options makes sense. After all, Juan Francisco has struggled since coming out of the gate hot, compiling a .176/.247/.388 slash line over his past 34 games, per splits over at Baseball-Reference. On top of Francisco’s poor performance, Brett Lawrie recently landed on the disabled list, and it appears that manager John Gibbons is intent on keeping him at second base regardless.
Needless to say, acquiring another third baseman is going to happen. So what would the Blue Jays have to send the Padres to facilitate a trade for Headley?
The closest comp to a deal like this would have to be the one between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox that sent Kevin Youkilis to the South Side for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart in 2012. In other words, a mediocre (at best) utility player and a pitcher who bounced around multiple organizations were the best players the Red Sox could get for a deteriorating former star.
Rogers (0-0, 6.97 ERA, 16 G at Triple-A) has spent parts of six seasons in the majors and has been both a starter and has come out of the bullpen. It is that flexibility that will serve the Padres well as they fill out the roster with serviceable players during what is sure to be a multiyear rebuild.
Goins, on the other hand, has minimal experience in the big leagues, but he has found success in the minors, putting up a .263/.313/.351 slash line in 601 at-bats at Triple-A. He's also versatile, playing both shortstop and second base while surely being able to cover an outfield spot if needed. In essence, the type of depth he provides would prove valuable to the Padres.
All told, adding Headley would be a mistake. The Blue Jays seem to be best served having Lawrie play third base and adding a second baseman via trade. Simply put, the quality of players available at the keystone position is better than at the hot corner.
If Anthopoulos decides that defense is more important than offense, however, this is a deal that could satisfy both sides.
Kansas City Royals Acquire Marlon Byrd from the Philadelphia Phillies
Kansas City Royals Get: RF Marlon Byrd
Philadelphia Phillies Get: RHP Jason Adam and a player to be named later
Adding a guy like Byrd makes sense, too. See, even before Nori Aoki went down with a groin injury, the production from right field was not ideal.
Overall, Aoki and company have combined for a .278/.334/.367 slash line with only two home runs and 26 RBI in 327 at-bats, per splits taken from Baseball-Reference. Sure, Lorenzo Cain is doing a fine job splitting time between right and center, but the Royals need an everyday bat, not a platoon system.
So even though Andy McCullough from The Kansas City Star noted that Aoki has already begun playing catch and is in line to come off the disabled list on July 6, general manager Dayton Moore needs to upgrade. It could be a difference-maker as they make a push for a postseason appearance.
In return for Byrd, the Phillies would receive right-hander Jason Adam, currently at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, and a player to be named later.
Adam (2-7, 5.38 ERA, 71 K) has a high ceiling and projects as either a starter or as a force at the back end of the bullpen. Considering that both spots will need to be addressed, it makes sense for Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to grab a pitcher that can fill either role.
Now MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo did note that Adam will “need to refine his command, especially with his offspeed stuff, in order to keep moving forward,” but that should come with time. Mayo also added that the Royals' No. 8 prospect “improved tremendously as the year wore on” last season and possesses “an above-average fastball” that he balances with what will be an effective slider.
Either way, it is time for Amaro Jr. to begin the process of rebuilding his franchise, and Byrd is arguably the easiest piece to move for a solid prospect.
Not only is Byrd slashing out at .268/.319/.487 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI, but he has a contract that is not exorbitant. True, his 2016 option based on plate appearances will likely vest at this rate, and while there could be a concern about his production in 2016, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
This is a trade that benefits each team. The other team that Cafardo mentions is the Boston Red Sox, but they need to address the production in center field before setting their sights on a corner outfielder.
St. Louis Cardinals Acquire Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals Get: RHP Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs Get: RHP Alexander Reyes, OF James Ramsey
While Jeff Samardzija’s name has previously been associated with the St. Louis Cardinals, the rumor gained a bit of steam over the weekend when CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman mentioned them among eight teams as a possible destination for the right-hander.
Now trading a young pitcher with one more season of control to a division rival may not be the best play for the Chicago Cubs, but there are a couple of things that lead some to believe that it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
First off, Heyman noted that one general manager said “no one’s going to extend him,” and that he will become a free agent. In other words, the chances that Samardzija signs with the Cardinals after next season are as great as they would be if he was traded elsewhere. Secondly, the Cubs aren’t going to be competitive before that time anyway, so where he lands now is less important than what Jed Hoyer gets in return.
Do the Cardinals need to add an arm like Samardzija’s, though? It wouldn’t seem so. Not now, anyway.
Yes, Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha are both on the disabled list, but it’s probable that general manager John Mozeliak gets an accurate assessment of their health before deciding how aggressive to be on the trade market.
Ranked as the Cardinals' No. 5 prospect, Reyes (5-5, 4.57 ERA, 69 K, 61.0 IP) is a talented right-hander who projects very well. Per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo:
With two future plus pitches, a promising third offering and an athletic, projectable frame, Reyes has the highest ceiling among St. Louis' starting pitching prospects. He already sits at 93-94 mph and hits 97 with his fastball, and he could push it to greater heights as he adds strength.
Reyes also can make hitters look bad with his hard curveball. He has better feel than most teenagers for a changeup, which makes it even harder for opponents to try to sit on his fastball. He does a nice job of using his size to deliver his pitches on a steep downward plane.
Reyes will need to work on his control, but he should be a fine pitcher in two or three years, which also happens to be when the Cubs should have a large number of their prospects ready for The Show.
Ramsey is lighting up Double-A to the tune of a .307/.389/.550 slash line. The organization’s No. 6 prospect also has 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 189 at-bats. And considering that the Cubs could use another top-flight prospect in the outfield, Ramsey’s addition more than fits an organizational need.
Again, a move as aggressive as this may not be necessary. The Cardinals have fallen to third place in the NL Central as of game time on Monday, however. If Mozeliak chooses to go big and add a front-line starter like Samardzija, Ramsey and Reyes should be enough to get the job done.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Monday, June 30. Transaction, injury, scouting reports, prospect rankings and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.