MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
Nine days until the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline.
That means that Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has approximately 216 hours to decide if he wants to cash in several large trade chips. He could wait until after July 31, of course, but then he risks limiting his leverage by a considerable margin.
Amaro Jr. is not alone. There are plenty of other GMs around MLB who don’t have much longer to decide whether or not they will dump stock or add to their portfolios.
So let’s take a look at some of the bigger names that are presumably on the trade block.
For the sake of brevity, we will keep it simple. Here are three MLB trade scenarios based on actual need and published rumors from the week ending Sunday, July 13.
As a standard note, the following proposals are nothing more than postulation. The point here is to build a trade based on someone else's written or spoken word.
They are balanced deals that are fair for each team, though, and take into consideration each franchise's strengths and weaknesses.
Baltimore Orioles Acquire A.J. Burnett from the Philadelphia Phillies
Baltimore Orioles Get: SP A.J. Burnett
Philadelphia Phillies Get: SP Tim Berry, C Chance Sisco
The Baltimore Orioles are a surging franchise, and in order to keep it that way, some stability in the rotation is a must.
As of game time on Monday, the Orioles rotation ranked 11th in the American League in ERA (4.14), eighth in batting average against (.262), seventh in victories (36) and seventh in earned runs allowed (257), per splits over at ESPN.com. To be sure, those numbers aren’t bad, but they need to be better in order to make it deep into the postseason.
To be sure, there is always Kevin Gausman, who has been optioned up and down between the major leagues and Triple-A. In eight starts, he has compiled a 3-4 record with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.394 WHIP. He is indeed serviceable and has looked very good at times, but he may not be this season's answer at the back end of the rotation.
There are other choices in the minor leagues, of course, but the Orioles may want to explore veteran options. As such, Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi noted there may be a deal in the works for Philadelphia Phillies right-hander A.J Burnett:
Phillies and Orioles have had very preliminary talks on a trade that would send A.J. Burnett to Baltimore, sources tell @FOXSports1.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 19, 2014
Now the fact that a possible deal is in its infancy cannot be overlooked. There are a lot of things that would have to happen, including Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. making Burnett available, but if he did, a package that included Tim Berry and Chance Sisco could be enough.
According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, Berry has a fastball that “sits in the low-90s and he commands it effectively to both sides of the plate. He shows some feel for both his curveball and changeup, giving him two more average offerings.”
Mayo went on to add that the left-hander has “made strides” with his command and has “a chance to stick as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.” Muted praise, indeed, but Berry (5-5, 3.65 ERA, 1.270 WHIP) has a lot of upside and could start his career in the bullpen.
Sisco is a left-handed hitting catcher with “an advanced understanding of the strike zone and does a good job of using the whole field to hit,” per Mayo. He is also very effective at making the most of his opportunities, hitting 21 doubles, driving in 50 runs and scoring 42 times this season.
Why would the Orioles have to include two of their top-10 prospects, you ask? Well, Burnett has a mutual option for next season, meaning he has some control that the Phillies assuredly find valuable.
Either way, Burnett would look great at the back of the Orioles rotation, providing the ability to eat innings and playoff experience.
Detroit Tigers Acquire Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers
Detroit Tigers Get: CL Joakim Soria
Texas Rangers Get: SP Jonathon Crawford, SP Drew VerHagen
As tired as the comment is, the Detroit Tigers need some help in the bullpen, specifically in the late innings.
As Wick Terrell from MLB Daily Dish succinctly put it, the relief corps “has sputtered.” Going into action on Monday, the unit had a 4.40 ERA, 1.428 WHIP and had lost 11 games. Worse yet, they have a collective .328 batting average on balls in play against them, per splits over at Baseball-Reference.
All of that means that a whole lot of pitches are getting hit very hard.
The situation in the bullpen could make the difference between an early exit in the postseason and making it to the World Series.
And with Huston Street off the market following his trade to the Los Angeles Angels for a bounty of prospects, the choices general manager Dave Dombrowski has to fill the void are shrinking.
Names that could be available include LaTroy Hawkins, Koji Uehara and Joakim Soria. We’ll go with Soria here thanks to this bit of information from Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi:
Tigers are having ongoing discussions with the Rangers about reliever Joakim Soria, sources say. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 18, 2014
Crawford, ranked as the organization's No. 4 prospect, is a right-handed pitcher with a killer fastball and an above-average slider. And as many of us know, that is a nice combination to have at the major league level.
At Single-A this season, he is 5-2 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.209 WHIP and has 56 strikeouts in 84.1 innings pitched. The 32 walks he has issued this year attest to the fact that he will need to work on his control, but his arm is electric and the future is bright.
VerHagen made his MLB debut on Saturday, surrendering three earned runs in 5.0 innings pitched, but projects well at the back of any rotation. Now his ceiling isn’t quite as high as Crawford’s is, but he will make a fine pitcher in the big leagues.
At Triple-A this season, he is 6-7 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.287 WHIP. He has also amassed 63 strikeouts versus 25 walks in 110.1 innings pitched.
All told, this is a deal that will make the Rangers happy as a stand-alone proposal. That is to say, the Rangers won't have to include a secondary prospect the way the San Diego Padres did. The ability and ceiling of each pitcher going to Arlington in this package is more than enough to justify moving Soria.
Cleveland Indians Acquire David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Indians Get: SP David Price
Tampa Bay Rays Get: SS Francisco Lindor, SP Cody Anderson, SP Danny Salazar
The Cleveland Indians entered play on Monday 5.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and 2.0 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot.
Not bad for a team that was 8.5 back of the Tigers on July 12. And they can thank an offense that ranks toward the top of the AL in several key metrics and a bullpen that is pitching to the tune of a 3.04 ERA and a 1.253 WHIP, per splits over at Baseball-Reference.
The rotation is a different story altogether. According to those same splits, the starters have a 4.45 ERA, 1.394 WHIP, .272 batting average against and have issued 187 walks in 561.2 innings pitched.
Simply put, outside of Corey Kluber, the group has underperformed all season and an upgrade is in order.
Let’s look at what it could take for the Tribe to land the former Cy Young winner.
At the top of the list would have to be Francisco Lindor, who was just promoted to Triple-A, per Fox Sports' Joe Reedy. Yes, he is one of the highest-rated prospects in MLB, but without him, there is no deal.
At Double-A this season, Lindor has a .281/.356/.393 slash line with six home runs, 48 RBI and 12 doubles in 338 at-bats going into action on Monday. He is a plus defender with incredible speed and an arm that won’t quit.
Anderson is 4-9 with a 4.97 ERA and 65 strikeouts at Akron. True, those numbers may not inspire the most confidence, but MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo noted that he has an “easy, smooth delivery” which results in “solid command.” With a fastball that hits the mid-90s on a regular basis and a heavy curve, Anderson has a chance to make some noise.
Salazar has already found mixed results in the major leagues and could turn into a special pitcher based on the fact that he can throw three pitches well. He will need to find some consistency, but he is ready to assume a full-time role this season.
Will the Indians make such an offer, though? That is a question that may be hard to answer. A deal like this, however, would have to make Rays general manager Andrew Friedman seriously consider moving his ace.
It must be noted that this is simply an exercise in completing the rumor. That is said because it's looking less likely each day that Price will get moved. Friedman could put him on waivers and try to work out a deal after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but he'll need to be handed a proposal like this one to move his best trade chip.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate through Sunday, July 20. Transaction, injury, scouting reports, prospect rankings and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.