MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 9 News, Rumors and Speculation
Having spent lavishly, both in cash and prospects, to bolster their pitching staffs, teams are finally beginning to turn their attention to the bats that remain available this offseason.
While free-agent outfielders such as Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Gerardo Parra have been the subject of increased chatter on the rumor mill, teams are also looking to the trade market as a way to bolster their respective lineups, with an eye on potentially available outfielders as well.
With a handful of teams either already deep into the rebuilding process or just getting things underway, there could be some bargains to be had via trade, especially when you consider the draft pick compensation and high salaries the top available free agents will cost an interested club.
Keep in mind these proposed deals are only ideas and pure speculation. Unless otherwise noted, there's no indication any of them have actually been discussed.
Khris Davis Gets Traded to the Angels
Los Angeles Gets: LF Khris Davis
Milwaukee Gets: 3B Kaleb Cowart, LHP Nate Smith and RHP Nick Tropeano
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi wrote Milwaukee will look to trade left fielder Khris Davis at or before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, while MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez believes the Angels will trade a starting pitcher to fill their void in left field due to the luxury tax.
Why It Makes Sense for the Angels
Adding another right-handed bat to a lineup in desperate need of a lefty isn't ideal, but with Gonzalez reporting the Angels are within $4 million of the luxury tax—a threshold owner Arte Moreno doesn't want to cross—Los Angeles has to take the best inexpensive player available.
That's Khris Davis, who isn't yet arbitration-eligible and is under team control through 2019. He's never going to win a batting title or a Gold Glove Award, but the 28-year-old is good for 20 to 25 home runs a year and provides enough defensively to not be considered a major liability in the field.
Why It Makes Sense for the Brewers
Milwaukee could opt for a more major league-tested arm such as Hector Santiago or Matt Shoemaker in this deal, but for a rebuilding club like the Brewers, landing three potentially useful pieces is better than a more reliable option that comes with a significantly higher salary.
Kaleb Cowart hasn't lived up to expectations since the Angels drafted him 18th overall in 2010, but the 23-year-old has always maintained a steady glove while seemingly finding his way at the plate last season after two years of unproductive at-bats. He could still become a fixture at the hot corner.
Neither Nate Smith nor Nick Tropeano is a front-of-the-rotation arm, but both could become reliable options in Milwaukee's rotation.
Smith, 24, is a strike-throwing finesse lefty, lacking the stuff to overpower hitters but more than capable of keeping the opposition off-balance. Tropeano, 25, has pitched to a 4.10 ERA (2.86 FIP) over 59.1 major league innings and does a good job of limiting home runs, which is always a plus at Miller Park.
Ivan Nova Gets Traded to the Marlins
Miami Gets: RHP Ivan Nova
New York Gets: RHP Kendry Flores
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Miami's interest in New York's Ivan Nova, interest that likely remains even as the Marlins, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, are close to reaching an agreement with free agent Edwin Jackson. Per MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, inking Jackson won't stop the team from continuing to add more pitching.
Why It Makes Sense for the Marlins
While wearing down late in the season after a June return from Tommy John surgery, allowing at least four earned runs in four of his final seven starts, Nova has delivered strong seasons in the past and could provide quality innings for the Marlins in 2016.
The folks at MLB Trade Rumors project a $4.4 million salary for Nova as he enters his final year of arbitration, a more-than-reasonable price. At his best, Nova keeps the ball on the ground and uses his low-90s fastball to set batters up for a strikeout with his secondary offerings.
Why It Makes Sense for the Yankees
With Bryan Mitchell capable of filling the role of spot starter/long reliever at a fraction of the price Nova will command, unloading the soon-to-be free agent makes sense for the Yankees, especially when they can land an intriguing young arm in return.
Flores might never be more than a useful back-of-the-rotation arm, as he lacks a true plus offering, relying more on command than pure stuff. But there's value in that, and the 24-year-old, who made his MLB debut last season, is the kind of controllable arm the Yankees have been looking for.
Jay Bruce Gets Traded to the Royals
Cincinnati Gets: OF Jorge Bonifacio and 2B/SS Ramon Torres
Kansas City Gets: RF Jay Bruce
With Cincinnati beginning to rebuild and a number of teams still in need of outfield help, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon recently speculated about potential landing spots for Jay Bruce, who can block trades to eight teams.
Why It Makes Sense for the Reds
Cincinnati got middling returns for Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier, so expecting the Reds to land a significant return for Bruce is unrealistic. But they would walk away with a pair of quality prospects who are just about ready to contribute in the big leagues.
Jorge Bonifacio isn't nearly as versatile a player as his older brother, Emilio, is, but the 22-year-old outfielder may ultimately be the better player. Still developing at the plate, where he has the bat speed to be more than a low-average slugger, Bonifacio has a strong, accurate throwing arm Cincinnati can stick in right field.
The former consensus top-100 prospect could be Cincinnati's long-term replacement for Bruce.
A switch-hitter who makes consistent contact, 22-year-old Ramon Torres is more like Bonifacio's older brother, flashing the ability to play multiple positions. While he offers little in the way of power, Torres is an excellent defender at second base with the arm strength to play shortstop or third base.
Why It Makes Sense for the Royals
At some point, the Royals will have to move on from their pursuit of re-signing Alex Gordon, and Bruce is a fine consolation prize. Due $12.5 million in 2016 and with a $13 million team option for 2017, Bruce is a reasonably priced short-term solution for Kansas City in right field.
Sure, he strikes out more often than you'd like and hasn't delivered an All-Star-caliber performance since 2013.
But heading into his age-29 season and now two years removed from injuries to both knees, there's reason to believe Bruce could return to his prior form, which saw him average 30 home runs, 94 RBI and a .826 OPS from 2010 to 2013.
Nick Swisher Gets Traded to the Orioles
Atlanta Gets: RHP Parker Bridwell
Baltimore Gets: 1B/OF Nick Swisher and $5 million
Atlanta is trying to trade either Michael Bourn or Nick Swisher, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, who notes the Braves are willing to eat a significant portion of salary to facilitate a deal.
Why It Makes Sense for the Braves
This is little more than a salary dump for Atlanta, which gets out from under Swisher's $15 million salary while adding another intriguing young arm to its growing stable of pitchers.
Parker Bridwell's lack of a third plus offering could ultimately shift him into a late-inning relief role, where his fastball-changeup combination could be devastating, but the Braves could continue to try to bring him along as a starter, a role in which the 24-year-old has pitched to a 4.83 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over parts of six seasons in the minors.
Why It Makes Sense for the Orioles
A tremendous clubhouse presence, Swisher would provide the Orioles with a switch-hitter capable of putting up decent numbers in a part-time role, so long as his surgically repaired knees hold up. His ability to play first base and a corner outfield spot would give manager Buck Showalter additional options in constructing a lineup.
While he's no longer the player he once was, Swisher does have a track record of success at Camden Yards, having posted a .914 OPS over 59 games with 29 extra-base hits, including 18 home runs. While he's due $15 million in 2016, he would only cost the Orioles $5 million, with Atlanta and Cleveland picking up the rest.
Considering how little $5 million gets a team these days, Swisher is worth taking a flier on, especially when you consider the negligible price the Orioles would pay to obtain him.
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