MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 13 News, Rumors and Speculation

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2017

MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 13 News, Rumors and Speculation

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    The offseason's last big trade was completed Monday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent prized pitching prospect Jose De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for the versatile Logan Forsythe, who will fill the team's hole at second base.

    With that, MLB's rumor mill has officially drifted into a deep sleep for a few weeks, occasionally waking to deliver some speculation until spring training begins. Once camp opens, injuries and surprise performances—good and bad—will help a well-rested rumor mill spring back to life.

    That said, there are still a few teams with holes left to fill. Here's a look at some deals that make sense for all parties involved to get done before the exhibition season gets underway.

St. Louis Trades Matt Adams to Oakland

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    Oakland Gets: 1B Matt Adams

    St. Louis Gets: LHP Dillon Overton

     

    Rumor/Speculation

    The St. Louis Cardinals had been discussing a potential deal involving Matt Adams with the Kansas City Royals earlier this month, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

     

    Why It Makes Sense For Oakland

    Sure, the Oakland Athletics could try and sign Chris Carter, Brandon Moss or Mike Napoli to add a bit more pop to their lineup. But none of those players are going to sign for anything close to Matt Adams' 2017 salary ($2.8 million)—and none of them have a chance at being part of Oakland's long-term plans.

    Entering his age-28 season, Adams does.

    His numbers against right-handed pitching (.284/.331/.480) would represent an upgrade over Yonder Alonso, the team's current left-handed option at first base, where Adams has been a solid defender, per FanGraphs' advanced defensive metrics.

    With a year of arbitration eligibility left, Adams would be more than a short-term rental.

    As for the cost, Dillon Overton still has upside, but he has dropped on the organizational depth chart and become an expendable piece for the A's.

     

    Why It Makes Sense For St. Louis

    While the Cardinals added to their organizational depth in the Jaime Garcia trade, acquiring Chris Ellis and John Gant from Atlanta, a team can never have too much pitching.

    Overton got rocked in his first trip to the big leagues last year, allowing 31 earned runs, 48 hits and 12 home runs over 48.1 innings of work. But the 25-year-old has put up quality numbers over parts of three minor league seasons, and during last year, he wasn't yet fully recovered from a 2013 Tommy John surgery.

    “It’s better than last year,” Overton recently told Baseball America's Casey Tefertiller, regarding his arm strength and fastball. “Last year it was 86-90. So it’s gone up a tick. If it goes up another tick, that could make a difference.”

    A's pitching coordinator Gil Patterson agreed with that sentiment. “If he can pitch at 90, he can be a very effective major league pitcher.” 

    Overton is never going to be a front-of-the-rotation arm, but his upside makes him worth a look.

Cleveland Trades Jesus Aguilar to Miami

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    Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    Cleveland Gets: OF Sean Reynolds

    Miami Gets: 1B Jesus Aguilar

     

    Rumor/Speculation

    Rumors continue to swirl that the Miami Marlins want to add a right-handed bat with some pop who can play first base, but as MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes, the team is up against its payroll limits. A trade seems like the only way the Marlins can add the type of player they seek.

     

    Why It Makes Sense For Cleveland

    Blocked by Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana, Jesus Aguilar is never going to get a real shot in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians. He's as expendable as a former prospect can be.

    So why not flip him for a raw-but-intriguing talent like Sean Reynolds? The 18-year-old has tremendous raw power but is a mess at the plate, hitting just .155 with a .458 OPS in his first taste of pro ball. What makes him so intriguing isn't just his power, but that he's got a fastball that sits in the low-90s.

    Should he fail to develop as a hitter, he could be brought along as a pitcher, one who could perhaps become a late-inning force out of the bullpen.

     

    Why It Makes Sense For Miami

    Miami wants to give Justin Bour more opportunities to hit against left-handed pitching, but the 28-year-old's slash line against southpaws (.223/.273/.291) offers no reason to believe that he's suddenly going to figure things out.

    Aguilar hasn't done anything over parts of three seasons in the majors, boasting a .172 batting average and .424 OPS in 64 plate appearances. But he does have a lengthy track record of success in the minors, where he owns a career .271/.348/.454 slash line with 140 home runs and 650 RBI.

    Only 26, he's worth a shot in spring training to see if he could be one-half of a productive first-base platoon with Bour.

Oakland Trades Sean Doolittle to Washington

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Oakland Gets: C Raudy Read and OF Andrew Stevenson

    Washington Gets: LHP Sean Doolittle

     

    Rumor/Speculation

    The Washington Nationals have been "looking at available relievers for weeks," according to MASNSports.com's Mark Zuckerman

    Back in November, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that while Oakland wasn't shopping its best players, but officials "recognize that the team is unlikely to compete for the AL West title in 2017, leaving them open-minded to trade proposals for their top players."

     

    Why It Makes Sense For Oakland

    With John Axford, Santiago Casilla, Doolittle and Ryan Madson under contract, Oakland's bullpen is overflowing with veteran relievers. That seems excessive for a team that doesn't believe it's a contender, much less one that needs to develop younger relievers like it did with Ryan Dull last season.

    Trading one of those veterans for younger, controllable assets—pitchers or position players—makes sense as the team continues its rebuilding efforts. In this deal, the A's get a pair of players who could potentially be their catcher and center fielder of the future.

    Named the Carolina League's "Best Defensive Catcher" by Baseball America, Raudy Read has a cannon for a throwing arm and a polished approach at the plate. He still hasn't figured out how to tap into his plus raw power, but the 23-year-old has time to figure that out.

    Andrew Stevenson, who led the Arizona Fall League in hits, reached Double-A in his first full professional season. The 22-year-old's speed gives him the ability to steal bases and cover a lot of ground in center field, but he offers little in the way of power.

     

    Why It Makes Sense For Washington

    The Nationals are built to win now and already took a huge chunk out of their farm system to acquire Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox. Trading a few more prospects isn't going to change the team's long-term outlook, as long as one of those prospects isn't outfielder Victor Robles.

    Sean Doolittle doesn't come without risk—he's dealt with shoulder issues in each of the past two years. But Oakland's former closer can fill the ninth-inning void in Washington's bullpen for a while, as he's due just $7 million through 2018 and has a pair of $6 million team options.

     

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