MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
Just over two days remain until the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline.
In other words, information and innuendo are going to start flying at a rapid rate across various information channels. And at this time of year, MLB fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
So let’s take a look at some of the bigger names that are presumably on the trade block.
For the sake of brevity, we will keep it simple. Here are three MLB trade scenarios based on actual need and published rumors through the end of Monday, July 28.
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.
Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire A.J. Burnett from the Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates Get: SP A.J. Burnett
Philadelphia Phillies Get: SS Alen Hanson, OF Willy Garcia
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, for example, cited an escalating player option for next season when he argued that while the Phillies “wouldn’t mind working out a deal,” the potential money involved “would be a budget buster for Pittsburgh.” It is a valid concern.
Former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden has a different take. According to a report over at CBS Pittsburgh, he said in an interview with Sirius XM’s Bob Pompeani that the two general managers “continue to work on a deal that will bring Burnett back to Pittsburgh" that he believes will happen in the near future.
If Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. wants to make a deal happen, he can find a way to mitigate any potential obstacle. As such, we will build a deal around the idea that money will not prevent the two teams from coming to an accord.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo had this to say about Hanson:
Hanson has fast hands, helping him square up balls consistently from both sides of the plate. He has more power than his frame would suggest, and he can drive balls to all fields. Hanson has above-average speed and aggressively uses his speed on the basepaths, but he is still learning how to be a basestealer.
While the tools are there, the progress Hanson has made is what’s most impressive. In 137 at-bats in Double-A last year, for example, he slashed out at .255/.299/.380 and only hit one home run while driving in a meager 10 runs. This season, his slash line sits at .283/.323/.441, and he has 10 home runs, 54 RBI and 19 doubles in 399 at-bats.
Garcia has quite a few things going for him, not least of which is the ability to mash a baseball. Mayo noted that Garcia “will be able to tap into that power more if he can refine his approach and learn not to try to do too much at the plate.”
That is not to say that his results this season are a disappointment. On the year, he has a .271/.303/.497 slash line with 14 home runs, 49 RBI, 22 doubles and five triples in 328 at-bats. Mayo noted that he “projects well as a future right fielder.”
All told, this deal is enough to satisfy both teams, assuming that they can make the money work. True, the Phillies will have to fill the void created by Burnett’s departure, but the club has a couple of options in the minor leagues, and there are several pitchers that could be targeted in free agency.
Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire Jon Lester from the Boston Red sox
Los Angeles Dodgers Get: SP Jon Lester
Boston Red Sox Get: OF Matt Kemp, OF Scott Schebler and contract considerations
He has had two debilitating ankle and shoulder injuries that have limited his play the last two seasons, is still owed roughly $118 million on a contract that runs through 2019, and has a mixed reputation as a clubhouse presence, but the Red Sox are considering making a move for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, according to a club source.
With the Sox in need of more offensive production in the outfield, the right-handed-hitting Kemp could be the major piece in a trade for Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, especially with the Dodgers reluctant to part with top outfield prospect Joc Pederson.
While the idea didn’t meet glowing praise from Edes, adding Kemp’s .277/.343/.432 slash line to the roster is an interesting notion. The trade wouldn’t be a two-player affair, of course.
In exchange for Lester, who is 10-7 this season with a 2.52 ERA, the Dodgers would send Double-A outfielder Scott Schebler in addition to Kemp. Outside of the players involved, the biggest piece of this proposal is that the Dodgers would cover 70 percent of the remaining dollars on Kemp’s deal.
To put that number into perspective, the Chicago Cubs retained responsibility for just over 72 percent of the rest of the money owed to Alfonso Soriano when they traded him to the New York Yankees last year. Agreed, 70 percent of $118 million is an entirely different dollar amount, but it’s better to pay that much than all of it, especially since Kemp is blocking Pederson’s ascension to the 25-man roster.
Schebler is a left-handed hitter with intriguing tools at the plate. This season, for example, he has 18 home runs, 53 RBI, 20 doubles and an impressive 12 triples. All told, he is slashing out at .268/.352/.532 and has all the earmarks of a major league hitter.
To that effect, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo noted that Schebler has “raw power” and “should be able to hit for a decent average.” To be sure, Schebler’s defense needs a bit of work, but he would fit in well in left field at Fenway Park. He could be ready to contribute as early as next season.
It is a steep price to pay for the Dodgers to get a pitcher for only the remainder of the season. If they want to have a rotation that would easily be the best in MLB, however, it is a deal they have to make.
That is unless they pulled off a trade for Cole Hamels, who was recently made available by the Philadelphia Phillies, per Fox Sports 1's Jon Morosi. In order for that to happen, though, the Dodgers had better be willing to part with at least two prospects in a group that includes Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Pederson.
New York Yankees Acquire John Danks from the Chicago White Sox
New York Yankees Get: SP John Danks
Chicago White Sox Get: OF Tyler Austin, SP Zach Nuding
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks is rumored to be the target of New York Yankees as general manager Brian Cashman looks to fill out his rotation in advance of a run at the postseason, per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Make no mistake: The Yankees need another lefty in the rotation to join Chris Capuano. Capuano, who was relegated to the bullpen with the Boston Red Sox before his release on July 1 and had made a few starts in the minor leagues for the Colorado Rockies before being traded to the Yankees, can’t shoulder the load of balancing the rotation on his own.
And Danks would certainly help. On the season he has a 4.40 ERA but is averaging over six innings per outing and has 14 quality starts.
Austin has seen his stock fall over the past two seasons thanks to a sprained right thumb, but given his tools and the lack of depth the White Sox have at the position in the minor leagues, he is worth taking a chance on. On the season he has a .270/.327/.396 slash line with six home runs and 37 RBI in 318 at-bats.
Nuding is a dominating presence on the mound and brings with him a fastball that hits the high 90s. And he is absolutely ferocious against right-handed hitters, according to a scouting report from CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa when he wrote for River Ave. Blues.
It must be noted that Nuding was demoted from Triple-A after eight starts earlier this season. He responded well, however, posting a 2.81 ERA in 11 starts while at Trenton. He could crack the majors as a reliever for the White Sox before ultimately settling in the rotation.
Sure, the return is uncertain, but there are three years and roughly $34 million left on Danks’ contract, per a Sports Illustrated wire. In essence, the White Sox are opening up payroll and adding to the farm system as they continue to overhaul the roster. Meanwhile, the Yankees would have a starter for the next few seasons who, in theory, eats a lot of innings and stabilizes the back end of the rotation.
New York Yankees Acquire Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees Get: LF Josh Willingham
Minnesota Twins Get: SP Manny Banuelos and a player to be named later
Keeping with the Yankees theme, the club is also looking to acquire some offensive support in the form of Minnesota Twins left fielder Josh Willingham. To that end, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman recently wrote:
The Yankees may actually prefer Willingham to Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios, perhaps partly because of Willingham's reasonable $7 million salary and status as a free agent after the season, though Byrd and Rios haven't been ruled out. Rios makes $12 million, with a $2 million buyout of a $14 million team option, and Byrd has an $8 million salary next year. Byrd's deal does not seem overly high considering his solid production the past two years, but there may be some concern about his fit in the Bronx.
True, Willingham is only hitting .219 going into action on Monday, but he had a fine .361 on-base percentage and was slugging a robust .421 thanks to 16 extra-base hits in only 183 at-bats. Any way it’s looked at, he'd be an upgrade in the outfield for the Yankees.
Seeing as how the Twins could use some pitching depth, a deal that includes Manny Banuelos and a player to be named later would be in order.
Banuelos is 0-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A. He has more promise than those numbers indicate, however. His fastball, curveball and changeup are all above average, and while his control needs some work, he does a nice job of keeping hitters off-balance by mixing speeds.
The player to be named later could be any number of minor league starting pitchers, including High-A left-hander Miguel Sulbaran.
Interestingly, Sulbaran (2-1, 2.76 ERA, 14 GS) was the player the Twins sent to the Yankees in exchange for Eduardo Nunez this past April. Never highly rated, he is an interesting prospect and is pitching very well at Tampa.
If Cashman can pull off this trade and the deal for John Danks, the Yankees will be in much better shape as they drive for a division title or a wild-card spot.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate through Monday, July 28. Transaction, injury information, scouting reports and prospect rankings are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.