MLB Trade Ideas: Jose Reyes to the Giants and 10 Potential Difference Makers

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2011

MLB Trade Ideas: Jose Reyes to the Giants and 10 Potential Difference Makers

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    The season is only a few weeks old, but already teams have began to separate themselves from the pack, while others have shown once again that they still do not have what it takes to compete for a playoff spot.

    Injuries and under performing players will inevitably create a need for some contenders to make a move to bring in a player to shore up their lineup as they make a push towards the playoffs, with the Chase Utley injury in Philadelphia a perfect example of that.

    So here are 10 trades that could be potential difference makers down the line that could push a team over the top and into the playoffs.

Aaron Hill to Twins

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    Hill is coming off a terrible season in 2010, as he batted just .205 BA, 26 HR, 68 RBI after enjoying a breakout season the year before with a line of .286 BA, 36 HR, 108 RBI. The Jays already declined his options for the 2012-2014 seasons, which could be a sign of things to come.

    The team dealt starter Shaum Marcum to the Brewers this past offseason for top prospect Brett Lawrie who is a natural second baseman, so Hill could become expendable. The Twins, meanwhile, are dealing with the injury of second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka who broke his leg last week, and Hill could be the answer moving forward for the Twins at second base.

Paul Maholm to Rangers

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    The Rangers took a hit this offseason when they were unable to re-sign ace Cliff Lee, who played a huge role in getting them to their first World Series in franchise history during his time with the team.

    Their farm system is not as deep as some other teams, but the Rangers could look to acquire a second-tier starter to shore up their rotation, and the Pirates would certainly entertain offers for Maholm, who has a $9.75 million team option with a $750,000 buyout for next season, so he will certainly be gone next season.

Kelly Johnson to Phillies

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    One of the biggest stories coming out of spring training was the injury to Chase Utley and the uncertainty as to when he will return to the Phillies lineup. As of now, he is on the 15-day disabled list, but his progress has been slow, and it could be until midseason at least when he returns to the Philadelphia lineup.

    While Wilson Valdez has performed admirably in his absence, he is best served as a utility infielder, and does not provide anywhere near the offensive pop that Utley does, in fact few second baseman do. One who does, however, is Johnson, who is a free agent at season's end, and figures to be on his way out of Arizona as he looks for a team where he can win.

Edwin Jackson to Yankees

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    The season is young, but already Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia have been far from spectacular at the bottom of the Yankees rotation, and even though AJ Burnett has shown signs of his old self, the Yankees will still need to fortify their rotation before the trade deadline, as they look ahead to an October run.

    The White Sox boast something that few teams can, as they have an abundance of starting pitching. With top prospect Chris Sale currently pitching out of the bullpen, the Sox could look to move one of their starters to get him into the rotation. Jackson, a Scott Boras client, is a free agent at season’s end, and would be the most likely to move if the Sox decide to trade someone, and the Yankees would no doubt be interested.

Carlos Beltran to Braves

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    Any other season, the Braves would have been the favorites to win the NL East and make a run at the title with the roster they have this season, but because the Phillies are so stacked, they may need to make a serious move if they hope to make the playoffs.

    The biggest weakness in the lineup right now looks to be center fielder Nate McLouth, who has been disappointing since coming over in a trade from Pittsburgh following an All-Star season. Beltran, who is a free agent at season’s end, could be the perfect rent-a-player to help the Braves make a run this season without making a long term commitment.

Fausto Carmona to Angels

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    The Angels pitching staff is strong at the top with Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana but with the struggles of Scott Kazmir and the injury to Joel Pinero, the Angels are now inexperienced at the bottom of the rotation, and if they hope to compete in the AL West with the Rangers, they may need to add an arm.

    The Indians are off to a hot start this season, and if that continues they will no doubt hold on to Carmona, but if they fall out of contention, Carmona will once again find himself as one of the top arms on the trading block, after spending much of last season at the center of trade talks.

Heath Bell to Cardinals

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    So far, like most seasons, the NL Central has looked as wide open as any division in baseball, and the Cardinals are winning games despite injuries to Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday, as well as a career-worst start from Albert Pujols.

    Assuming he turns things around, the Cardinals should find themselves in contention once again, but the bullpen is clearly a weak spot. As if moving top setup man Kyle McClellan to the rotation was not enough of a blow, closer Ryan Franklin has struggled mightily to open the season, and Bell could be the answer, even if it is just for half a season before he enters free agency.

Grady Sizemore to Rangers

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    The Rangers already had a fairly weak outfield, as starting center fielder Julio Borbon provides speed but little else, and Daniel Murphy is best served in a backup role. However, things got worse recently when Josh Hamilton broke his wrist, and while he is expected back in six to eight weeks, wrist injuries tend to be something that lingers.

    Sizemore himself is injured right now, and working his way back with some rehab work right now, but if he can make a comeback to anywhere near the player he was, when he was a 30-30 threat and one of the game's most exciting players, there is a good chance he will be dealt and he could be a huge addition for the Rangers.

Brett Myers to Yankees

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    Even if the Yankees are able to land a big arm to shore up the end of their rotation, they may still look to add a second starter, as there is really no one that can be counted on for a consistent start other than C.C. Sabathia, and there are a number of guys the Yankees could consider.

    One option could be Myers, who is pitching for a team going nowhere in the Astros, and even though they re-signed him to a two-year, $23 million extension this offseason. His stock could continue to rise, as he is off to a great start this year, with a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 innings. The Astros are continuing to rebuild, and the right package of young talent could pry Myers away from the Astros.

Jose Reyes to Giants

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    The Giants are the defending NL Champs, but much like last season, their biggest question mark right now is their offense, and while they have the pitching staff to make another playoff run, they may need to acquire a bat if they want to make it to October.

    There are a number of hitters who will most likely find themselves on the trade block at some point this season, but the bulk of them are outfielders and corner infielders, two positions in which the Giants are strong. Reyes on the other hand would represent a marked improvement over current shortstop Miguel Tejada, and would give the Giants the table setter they desperately need.