MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
As the end of August approaches, clubs looking to bolster their MLB rosters in advance of a playoff run will need to pull off waiver trades in the next 11 days if they want the new addition to be eligible for postseason play.
The immediacy of the situation cannot be overstated. It also leads to a question: What types of trade ideas are possible with the information we already have at hand?
Here are three MLB trade scenarios based on actual need and published rumors through the end of Monday, Aug. 11. 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.
San Francisco Giants Acquire Daniel Nava from the Boston Red Sox
San Francisco Giants Get: OF/1B Daniel Nava
Boston Red Sox Get: RHP Erik Cordier
The San Francisco Giants have been in the hunt for an outfielder for some time.
Before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, for example, they were linked to multiple players, including Chris Denorfia, via Chris Cotillo from MLB Daily Dish. And let’s not forget that Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi tweeted on the day of the non-waiver deadline that the club was discussing a deal for Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios.
Sure, he may not be as accomplished as Rios is, but he may prove as versatile and comes with playoff experience. He is also a switch-hitter that can run the bases and plays with passion.
The cost to acquire Nava, who has a .266/.341/.344 slash line in 244 at-bats this season, wouldn't be prohibitive, either. A trade for Triple-A reliever Erik Cordier should do the trick.
A converted starter, Cordier is 3-3 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.358 WHIP this season for Fresno. He also has 65 strikeouts in 49.1 inning pitched this season and was recently named the club’s closer after Heath Hembree was dealt to the Red Sox as part of the Jake Peavy deal, via Angel Moreno of The Fresno Bee.
More important than his overall numbers this year, Cordier has improved each of the last three seasons since being moved into the bullpen. And with legitimate concern as to the composition of manager John Farrell's relief corps in 2015, the right-hander could find a spot on the 25-man roster if he performs well during spring training.
To be clear, Nava has not cleared waivers. But as The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo mentioned, “[T]he Red Sox likely will put him on later in the month to see what type of interest he’d garner.”
It must also be noted that he has three more seasons of arbitration eligibility left, meaning the Red Sox would be parting ways with a controllable asset. Given the number of outfielders on the roster vying for playing time, however, isn’t it better to shore up an area of need when presented with the chance?
Another thing to consider is that Nava may not make it all the way to the Giants if he is waived. If he does, though, this is a deal that Giants general manager Brian Sabean should jump on.
Seattle Mariners Acquire Adam Dunn from the Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners Get: DH/1B Adam Dunn
Chicago White Sox Get: LHP Lucas Luetge
Not that general manager Jack Zduriencik hasn’t tried to improve the situation, of course. He has added Austin Jackson, Chris Denorfia and Kendrys Morales in the last month alone and has tinkered with his roster all season.
That said—Zduriencik needs to make one more move. Namely, he should trade for Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn, who was listed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman earlier this month as being one of the players who should clear waivers.
Flat out, Dunn is an upgrade over Morales and will help the Mariners in the two previously mentioned metrics. And by help, of course, we mean that he will dramatically improve the lineup's productivity.
In return for the left-handed hitter, the Mariners would send reliever Lucas Luetge to Chicago.
On the season, the left-hander has appeared in 37 games at Triple-A and is pitching to a 3.56 ERA with a 1.419 WHIP and 64 strikeouts in 55.2 innings pitched. He has also pitched in four contests for the Mariners, compiling a 5.40 ERA in 3.1 innings.
Given the dearth of talented lefties in the White Sox system, Luetge's acquisition would certainly fill a need.
For the Mariners, Dunn (.229/.353/.446, 19 HR, 49 RBI) would certainly fill the void at designated hitter.
All told, the collection of designated hitters that manager Lloyd McClendon has at his disposal has put up a .190/.270/.289 slash line with 10 home runs, 40 RBI and 11 doubles this season, per splits taken from Baseball-Reference. It's been bad.
True, Dunn strikes out an awful lot, but on the M’s roster, his strengths outweigh his weaknesses.
It may not be a popular idea, given how poorly Dunn has played over the past few seasons, but Zduriencik would be wise to grab him if afforded the opportunity.
Detroit Tigers Acquire Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies
Detroit Tigers Get: CL Jonathan Papelbon
Philadelphia Phillies Get: 2B Devon Travis
The Detroit Tigers can’t seem to find any consistency from their bullpen, and time is running out to shore up a unit that ranked 13th in the American League in ERA (4.43) and last in batting average against (.275) going into action on Monday, per splits over at ESPN.com.
No doubt, the group needs to improve, and the Philadelphia Phillies may be able to help.
To that end, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo wrote that “with the need for back-end bullpen help, [Jonathan] Papelbon could still be in play for a deal before the end of the month.” Cafardo went on to add that “now the question becomes does a team such as the Tigers make one last attempt to bolster their bullpen before the playoffs?”
To be sure, just about every contending club would happily take on a player with Papelbon’s pedigree, but the franchise with the bleakest long-term picture in the bullpen is the Tigers, and they have the financial resources to assume his salary.
As such, a deal that includes Devon Travis as the focal point should be enough to satisfy Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.’s need for a prudent return. And let’s not forget that, as Amaro himself noted to various outlets, including Todd Zolecki from MLB.com, not getting a player that would make the Phillies “better” is what stood in the way of a move before the deadline—not money.
Regarding Travis, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo wrote the following:
He has an advanced approach at the plate and uses his quick, compact swing to make hard contact. He showed some surprising power as a professional, but he's more of a gap hitter than a slugger. He's a heady player, allowing his average speed to play up on the basepaths.
Travis is a solid defender at second base. His tools aren't the loudest, but he has the potential to be an everyday second baseman in the big leagues.
On the season, the right-handed hitter is slashing out at .300/.352/.457 with nine home runs and 42 RBI in 350 at-bats at Double-A. He also has 18 doubles and 14 stolen bases, highlighting his ability to find the gaps and his savvy baserunning. With Ian Kinsler on the 25-man roster, however, his path to the big leagues is blocked.
Besides the obvious talent that Travis possesses, there is another reason that grabbing him makes sense for the Phillies—their top prospect at the position is Jesmuel Valentin. Now, Valentin has a ton of tools, but he won’t be ready for at least two or three years and has been pegged “as a utility man,” per Mayo. That's not going to get the job done
What if Chase Utley's three $15 million vesting options beginning in 2016 that are based on plate appearances don't kick in? Wouldn't it be wise to have a guy like Travis already in the system to ease the transition? You bet it would.
And while this is a move that may end up hurting the Tigers from a fiscal perspective in two or three years, this season is all that matters. It is about what manager Brad Ausmus' relievers are able to do with the leads that the starting rotation hands them—right now.
Grabbing Papelbon (2-2, 1.61 ERA, 0.854 WHIP, 28 S) would go a long way toward making the bullpen situation a better one in the Motor City.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are accurate as of game time on Monday, August 18. Transaction, prospect, game and injury information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information pulled from Cot's Contracts.