MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 11 News, Rumors and Speculation

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2016

MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 11 News, Rumors and Speculation

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    With Chris Davis re-signing with the Baltimore Orioles and Justin Upton taking his talents to the Detroit Tigers, we can cross two more teams off the list as potential landing spots for the biggest names believed to be available on the trade market.

    That doesn't mean there are no deals to be made, however. From young, up-and-coming stars to established talents who seem to fly under the radar, a handful of impact players could still find themselves on new teams before spring training begins.

    Keep in mind these proposed deals are only ideas and pure speculation. Unless otherwise noted, there's no indication any of them has actually been discussed.

Jake McGee Gets Traded to the Dodgers

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    Jake McGee
    Jake McGeeChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Dodgers Get: LHP Jake McGee

    Tampa Bay Rays Get: C/UTIL Austin Barnes, 2B/OF Willie Calhoun and RHP Jharel Cotton

     

    The Rumor

    ESPN.com's Jim Bowden recently proposed a deal that would send Barnes and pitching prospect Zach Lee to Tampa Bay in exchange for Brad Boxberger, a player Los Angeles has had interest in (along with Jake McGee) dating back to a November report by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Dodgers

    McGee is no Aroldis Chapman, whom the Dodgers opted not to trade for last month, but the 29-year-old southpaw would be a perfect addition to the back end of Los Angeles' bullpen.

    Owner of a career 2.77 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, he's thrived as both a setup man and closer, baffling batters from both sides of the plate along the way, holding the opposition to a combined .202/.260/.306 slash line while averaging more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings of work.

    Under team control through 2017, McGee gives new Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts another experienced, reliable arm to lean on. 

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Rays

    Trading McGee makes Tampa Bay weaker in 2016, but the chance to add a trio of quality prospects—including a pair that Baseball America ranks among the 10 best in Los Angeles' system—is too great to pass up.

    A tremendous defensive catcher who makes consistent contact and has a knack for getting on base, Austin Barnes could be Tampa Bay's long-term answer behind the plate—or the next coming of Ben Zobrist, as he's athletic enough to play multiple positions.

    Willie Calhoun packs a ton of left-handed power into his 5'8" frame, with 11 homers in 73 games to go along with a .316/.390/.519 slash line, reaching High-A in his first full professional season last year. While he played second base, Calhoun figures to slide to left field as he moves through the minors.

    Jharel Cotton profiles more as a reliever than a starter due to his heavy reliance on a fastball/changeup combination, but the 24-year-old finished the 2015 season as a starter. The Rays could continue to develop him as such, though he'd make an earlier impact in the majors if he sticks in the bullpen.

A Blockbuster Between the Astros, Braves and Cubs

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    Ender Inciarte
    Ender InciarteRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Atlanta Braves Get: SS Alex Bregman and OF Jorge Soler

    Chicago Cubs Get: CF Carlos Gomez and RHP Joe Musgrove

    Houston Astros Get: OF Ender Inciarte

     

    The Rumor

    ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that Houston had expressed interest in Atlanta's Ender Inciarte, a player who Chicago had looked into acquiring from the Braves back in December, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Astros

    An elite defender who's just entering his prime, Inciarte not only improves Houston's outfield defense, but also gives the club a left-handed bat that brings some balance to the top half of the lineup, which is all right-handed as presently constituted.

    While he lacks Carlos Gomez's power, Inciarte has proven to be a productive hitter, posting a .292/.329/.386 slash line over parts of two seasons in the majors. Under team control through 2020, his ability to provide plus defense at all three outfield positions gives the Astros options moving forward.

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Braves

    Inciarte is young enough to factor into the team's rebuilding process, but the Braves can't pass up the chance to flip him for two potential cornerstone position players in Alex Bregman and Jorge Soler.

    Bregman, 21, has drawn comparisons to the Boston Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia, which is fitting since many believe he'll ultimately break into the majors at second base, not shortstop. He'd fill a long-term need at either position for the Braves, hitting for average as he sprays line drives around the field.

    Soler, 23, is still raw but gives the Braves their right fielder of the present (and future), with the prototypical arm strength and power teams look for at the position. Due roughly $18 million through 2020, he won't be a major drain on the team's payroll—and could prove to be a major bargain.

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Cubs

    While the Cubs are convinced that Jason Heyward can handle himself in center field, there's really no reason to move him out of right field, where he's firmly established himself as baseball's premier defender.

    Chicago gets a motivated Gomez, coming off a down year and looking to re-establish his value before hitting free agency, to handle things in center field and a pitching prospect who's just about ready to contribute in 23-year-old Joe Musgrove, adding much-needed rotation depth.

Corey Dickerson Gets Traded to the Angels

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    Corey Dickerson
    Corey DickersonDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Colorado Rockies Get: LHP Greg Mahle and RHP Nick Tropeano

    Los Angeles Angels Get: OF Corey Dickerson

     

    The Rumor

    Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich told Carlos Gonzalez not to pay attention to trade rumors, according to the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders, increasing speculation that either Charlie Blackmon or Corey Dickerson will be traded in the wake of the team's addition of Gerardo Parra.

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Angels

    While there are questions about Dickerson's ability to produce away from Coors Field, as there are with nearly every player who calls Colorado home, the 26-year-old fits the Angels in multiple ways.

    His left-handed bat would bring some balance to a lineup that's heavy on righties, at the very least providing the Angels with a better platoon partner for Craig Gentry than Todd Cunningham, who is currently slotted to split time with Gentry in left field for the Angels.

    Perhaps just as important, Dickerson is not yet arbitration-eligible, meaning his arrival won't push the Angels over the $189 million luxury-tax threshold that owner Arte Moreno has been reluctant to surpass. Under team control through 2019, Dickerson would spend his prime in an Angels uniform.

     

    Why It Makes Sense for the Rockies

    A projected mid-rotation arm who attacks the strike zone and has had success in limited time in the big leagues, pitching to a 4.10 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 59.1 innings, 25-year-old Nick Tropeano is ready to take the ball every five days for Rockies manager Walt Weiss.

    Greg Mahle has moved quickly through the Angels farm system, as many college relievers are apt to do, reaching Double-A in his first full professional season. More of a middle reliever or setup man than closer, Mahle uses his four-pitch arsenal effectively, fanning 116 batters over 95.1 minor league innings.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. All contract information courtesy of Cot's Contracts (via Baseball Prospectus).

    Hit me up on Twitter to talk all things baseball: @RickWeinerBR.