MLB Trade Scenarios: 25 Deals Teams Should Push To Make This Offseason
As the countdown timer begins for pitchers and catchers to report, baseball's annual metamorphosis begins. After learning their respective flaws in 2011, each MLB team will spend the offseason trying to acquire the pieces needed to achieve their goals.
For some teams, that might mean trading away prospects to get a big-name player. For others, it might mean exchanging one veteran for another. And for some, it might involve a mega-blockbuster involving superstars.
No matter what, the trading that will occur this offseason will be almost as exciting as an extremely-hyped free agent period.
Just to speculate, here are 25 trades that should happen this winter.
Pirates Trade Ross Ohlendorf
One of baseball's smartest men had an awful year in 2011, and his value to Pittsburgh appears to be limited at this point. While the Pirates won't get much for a pitcher coming off a 1-11 season, it is clear that a change is needed for Ohlendorf. At the very least, it could net the Pirates some prospects.
Rays and Marlins Swap Stars
It would be a very intriguing straight-up trade, but the benefits of the Rays shipping ace James Shields to Florida for outfielder Logan Morrison are perhaps too great to ignore.
For one, the Marlins would instantly have one of the game's top one-two punches with Shields and Josh Johnson. Secondly, the Rays would be able to sell Shields and his $7 million salary high, coming off a career year. Acquiring Morrison would allow the Rays to move B.J. Upton and shift Desmond Jennings to center field.
Cincinnati Reds Trade Joey Votto
A lot of people believe that this trade will never happen, and perhaps it won't. But from the Reds' perspective, the return for Votto might be worth the loss of the team's superstar. With Yonder Alonso coming up at first base, the Reds would have to move one of the two sooner or later.
Trading Votto now would likely bring back the Reds an abundance of young, talented pitchers, something the team would definitely benefit from.
Red Sox Acquire Wandy Rodriguez
With the Astros organization in disarray, pretty much any player can be had if the price is right. The Red Sox would love a good replacement for John Lackey, who will miss 2012 because of Tommy John surgery.
Acquiring Rodriguez, a talented lefty who has long been rumored to be headed to Boston or New York, would help bolster the Sox pitching rotation. The cost would not be too steep—perhaps outfielder Josh Reddick.
Yankees Trade Jesus Montero for a Quality Starter
This trade has been destined to happen for months now, and it seems to be a matter of time before Montero is shipped off in return for a front-of-the-rotation starter. The Yankees would love to get someone in the league of Felix Hernandez or Jered Weaver, but that is pure fantasy.
A more likely return would be Oakland lefty Gio Gonzalez (pictured) or San Francisco's Matt Cain.
Kansas City Royals Acquire a Veteran Starter
When the Braves shipped Derek Lowe to Cleveland earlier this week, signs pointed to a youth movement in Atlanta. That being said, there are some young teams around the league who would love to have a veteran, proven starter in their rotation. A great match in this case seems to be the Braves and the Kansas City Royals.
If the Braves would be willing to part ways with Tim Hudson, for example, the Royals would gladly ship a few offensive prospects to Atlanta.
Dodgers Trade Andre Ethier
Though the Dodgers will not admit it, trading an unhappy Andre Ethier would probably be nothing but beneficial for the organization. This team is clearly a few years away from serious contention, and letting Ethier stagnate in the middle of the lineup is a waste for both the player and the team.
If Los Angeles felt compelled, they could ship Ethier to Boston, Texas or any number of other suitors in return for a plethora of prospects.
New York Mets Trade David Wright
It's time, Mets fans. Following yet another losing season, the Mets have shown signs that they are ready to go into full rebuild mode.
The chances are slim that the team will keep shortstop Jose Reyes, and perhaps just as slim that they keep stud third baseman David Wright. There will be plenty of takers for Wright, and the Mets could easily acquire a very good pitcher and a few good prospects for him.
Toronto Acquires a Big Bat
The Blue Jays are inching closer to relevance in the AL East, and GM Alex Anthopoulos has shown that he is willing to pull the trigger on big-time trades. His next trade might be his biggest, as it could net the Blue Jays a top-tier hitter along the lines of David Wright or Joey Votto.
The price would be very steep, but it appears that the Blue Jays plan to contend sooner rather than later. The team should actively be scouring the trade landscape to find a suitor.
Red Sox Trade Away a Shortstop
The Red Sox have an abundance of shortstop depth, and new GM Ben Cherington has indicated that the team's depth at that position could be a nice trade chip. Trading Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie or prospect Jose Iglesias could be a good move.
The Sox would like to add a quality bullpen arm, and using one of these shortstops as bait could help solve that problem.
Brewers Acquire a Reliever
With Francisco Rodriguez likely gone as a free agent, the Brewers are left without a viable setup man. They have some good relievers, including Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins and Kameron Loe, but the Brew Crew would probably love to add a dominant 8th-inning guy to set up John Axford.
They could move a bench player or a prospect package to get a very good setup man.
Cubs Unload Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano has something that many teams covet—legitimate power at the top of the lineup. However, he has a hefty price tag, questionable defense and a declining ability to get on base. The Cubs would love to move Soriano to free up space for outfield prospect Brett Jackson, but also to give them flexibility to make a play on a big free agent.
The price for Soriano would be low for other teams, perhaps a mid-tier starter or some depth pieces.
Astros Load Up on Prospects
I think it's pretty safe to say that any player with more than two or three years of MLB experience on the Astros is fair game to be traded. The team is in total rebuild mode, and probably will wait until some prospects start making an impact on the MLB level before they make plays on any major free agents or trade targets.
That said, players like Carlos Lee or Wandy Rodriguez should be dealt in order to provide the 'Stros with as many prospects as possible so that, maybe in as few as three years, the team could start becoming relevant again.
Braves Land Another Bat
Following a mildly disappointing (read: tragic) collapse at the end of 2011, the Braves will be looking to retool and challenge the Phillies for the NL East crown next season. Part of the process will be acquiring another bat. While they don't necessarily need a middle of the order masher, the Braves would love to have depth pieces.
Looking at Detroit's Ryan Raburn, Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion or Texas' David Murphy might be a good idea.
Rangers Trade Michael Young
After a second stinging World Series defeat in a row, something needs to change for the Texas Rangers. The team has an absolutely stacked lineup, a solid bullpen, and an above-average rotation. Moving a batter for a starting pitcher is a logical move here.
If the Rangers felt the urge to move Michael Young, they could do so easily, while likely bringing in a middle-of-the-rotation starter. Young is aging but still very productive, but not exactly needed by Texas.
Angels Deal Peter Bourjos
With Mike Trout ready to take over Los Angeles, the odd man out for the Angels may be Peter Bourjos. But, just because his playing time is in line to be reduced doesn't mean he isn't a valuable trade chip. Bourjos is a speedy, rangy player that would provide a lot of value to anyone interested.
In return, the Angels could seek a bullpen arm to complement Jordan Walden and Scott Downs.
Mariners Move Jason Vargas
Though it may not seem that way now, Seattle's pitching rotation is going to be very, very good. With Felix Hernandez and Michael Piñeda already showing their stuff, adding arms such as Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen to the rotation will make a pitcher such as Jason Vargas expendable.
Vargas was arguably Seattle's third-best starter this year, and his strong lefty arm would be a great addition to many teams. Seattle, in need of offense, could move him for a good bat.
Nationals Acquire B.J. Upton for Prospects
The Nationals have expressed interest for a few months now in acquiring the Rays' outfielder, and this offseason is probably as good a time as any to do so.
The Rays will accept two good prospects for Upton, and a combination of a catcher and a shortstop would be extremely beneficial to Tampa Bay. Washington could dangle catching prospect Derek Norris and shortstop Ian Desmond, a deal the Rays would not pass up.
Phillies Trade Domonic Brown
With Domonic Brown, the Phillies are faced with the same dilemma the Rays had with Desmond Jennings. It's taken so long for Brown to burst onto the scene that many other teams may wonder if the Phillies have soured on him or believe he is not as talented as originally thought.
Still, Brown's trade value is sky-high. If the Phillies could move him, they could fill any number of holes, including a top bullpen arm, a starter to replace Roy Oswalt (assuming he leaves) or another infielder.
Diamondbacks Acquire Allen Craig
The World Series Game 7 hero is more beloved in St. Louis now than ever, but the Cardinals might be wise to sell high on Craig, especially if the team resigns Albert Pujols. Craig would be a logical replacement if Pujols leaves, but that scenario is extremely unlikely.
A team like the Diamondbacks would love to have Craig, a versatile player who provides value with his bat as well as his glove. The Cardinals would take a bullpen arm or a package of prospects in return.
Rockies Trade Ian Stewart
One thing the Rockies need more than anything is pitching. With the offense pretty rock solid, the team might want to look at trading one of its hitters. Ian Stewart, who had an awful year in 2011 but solid ones before, is someone that could be traded.
If the Rockies trade Stewart, they would probably be able to land a decent bullpen arm who could make an impact immediately.
Mariners Trade Chone Figgins
Anyone willing to take on an inconsistent utilityman could score big by landing Chone Figgins, who has stunk up the joint as a member of the Seattle Mariners. The M's probably are happier without him, and there are several teams that might take a risk on Figgins.
For example, the Chicago Cubs might want to pick up Figgins, especially at a low cost, and see how he can fit in to what will certainly be a new-look ballclub next year.
Brewers Acquire Adam LaRoche
With Prince Fielder likely departed from Milwaukee, the Brewers have a huge hole to fill at first base. With Michael Morse bursting onto the scene at first base for the Nationals, Washington might look to trade first baseman Adam LaRoche.
The Brewers would certainly be downgrading, but if LaRoche can get back to his 25 home run, 100 RBI ways, he could be a real steal in exchange for prospects or a pitcher.
Phillies Acquire Huston Street
While Huston Street for Dom Brown won't happen, the Phillies would be wise to look to the Rockies to find a replacement for either Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson or both, depending on who leaves. The cost would likely be a prospect or two along with a bench player, definitely affordable for the Phillies.
If Street can be revitalized in Philadelphia, then the Phils may get themselves a steal.
Giants Trade Jonathan Sanchez
Sanchez is the fourth-best starter in San Francisco, but he could easily be a No. 2 or No. 3 on some other teams. In order to free up some money, the Giants could consider moving Sanchez for a good prospect or two. That way, they have the flexibility to make a move on someone like Jose Reyes.
Many teams would be interested in Sanchez's talented lefty arm, so the Giants would likely have little problem moving him.