MLB Trade Ideas Based on Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
With the MLB winter meetings starting recently, the number of rumors around the game has skyrocketed. It is all quite consuming, actually.
From the trade of Brandon Moss from the Oakland A’s to the Cleveland Indians (first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan) to the rumors regarding Jeff Samardzija (we’ll get to that in a second), the baseball world is flush with speculation.
Here are three MLB trade scenarios based on actual need and published rumors from the last week.
The following proposals are nothing more than speculation. 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, taking into consideration each franchise's strengths and weaknesses. They are also independent of one another. Each trade presented is a singular move and does not take into account any of the other proposals put forward.
San Diego Padres Acquire Matt Kemp
San Diego Padres Get: OF Matt Kemp
Los Angeles Dodgers Get: C Yasmani Grandal and RHP Joe Ross
According to the USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the San Diego Padres are “the most likely destination” for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal noted the rhetoric is “hot and cold” between the two teams, but he cited a rival executive who said that San Diego "seems focused on Kemp.”
This is a deal that would certainly help the Padres. Noting that there are legitimate concerns about long-term viability, Jeff Sanders of U-T San Diego is on board with bringing Kemp over:
He’s a face to market. His bat can transform the Padres’ lineup. With an opening day payroll projected at around $75 million as it stands now, he’s even financially feasible regardless of how much cash the Dodgers would kick in to hand off the $21 million Kemp’s owed annually.
Kemp’s power potential is worth the price.
Sanders makes good points. But what will it take to acquire the slugger?
Yasmani Grandal’s name has already been mentioned by Rosenthal, but there would figure to be at least one more player (likely a prospect) involved. How about Grandal and minor league right-hander Joe Ross?
Ross posted a 3.92 ERA with a 1.258 WHIP and put together a 3.66 strikeout-to walk-ratio between High-A and Double-A this past season.
More impressive, he has a 65 fastball (on a traditional 20-80 scale) and a 60 slider, per MLB.com. That makes him an ideal candidate for immediate work in the bullpen before transitioning into the starting rotation.
Currently ranked as the Padres’ No. 8 prospect, Ross “has the potential to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter in time,” according to MLB.com. He serves a need now and in the future.
To be sure, other clubs are still eyeing Kemp, but if the Padres want to add him, Grandal and Ross could do the trick.
Texas Rangers Acquire Andrew Cashner from San Diego Padres
Texas Rangers Get: RHP Andrew Cashner
San Diego Padres Get: SS Elvis Andrus, cash and players to be named later
It is no secret the Texas Rangers need to add starting pitching. It is also no secret that the Padres have a wealth of talent in two areas—catching and pitching—making a deal between the two clubs a reasonable thing to consider.
And while Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross could be targets, Evan Grant from The Dallas Morning News recently posited that Andrew Cashner will be the guy the Rangers focus on if they are looking to make a deal with the Padres:
The Rangers will focus on adding a controllable starting pitcher via trade and Texan-born, TCU-educated Andrew Cashner of San Diego remains the top target. Cashner has two years remaining before free agency and is likely to earn between $3-4 million in 2015, which would still give the Rangers financial flexibility to take on a bigger salary in a trade during the spring or at the trading deadline.
In return for the right-hander, the Rangers could put together a package including any number of prospects.
After all, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was the director of international and professional scouting for the Rangers before being hired by San Diego. That means he has an intimate knowledge of each player’s ability and fit.
True, Andrus is owed $118 million over the next eight seasons (assuming he doesn’t opt out after 2018 or 2019), but he's a fine defender, possesses tremendous speed and would take advantage of the spacious gaps at Petco Park.
There will have to be salary relief for the Padres included in the deal, of course. But with Cashner projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to earn $4.3 million in arbitration next season, and depending on the type of prospects included, there is a way for that problem to be overcome.
Chicago White Sox Acquire Jeff Samardzija from Oakland A's
Chicago White Sox Get: RHP Jeff Samardzija
Oakland A’s Get: IF Marcus Semien, C Josh Phegley and 1B Rangel Ravelo
Chicago White Sox fans on Twitter had to reach for the smelling salts Monday night.
Just over an hour later, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman let it be known that the right-hander was “on the verge of being traded,” and the South Side was the “likely landing spot.”
Finally, as if to push anxious White Sox fans over the edge, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal cited a source when he reported that a deal was “close.”
Now while Passan, Heyman and Rosenthal have indicated that a deal between the two clubs is in the works, nothing has been confirmed by either club. To that effect, by 11 p.m. ET Monday evening, both Susan Slusser from the San Francisco Chronicle and Daryl Van Schouwen from the Chicago Sun-Times indicated that nothing was expected to be announced before the end of the night.
With that said, let's move on to the trade proposal.
Semien has major league experience at third base, shortstop and second. A lifetime .240 hitter, he has the ability to run the bases well and hits the ball with authority.
He’s also proven capable in the clutch, delivering a .329/.435/.571 slash with 13 walks in 85 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, per Baseball-Reference. A full-time shot could be just what Semien needs.
Phegley, who has a .207/.221/.332 slash over parts of two major league seasons, doesn’t have a spot in the big leagues with the A’s at the moment. After all, John Jaso, Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt are more than any one team needs to begin with, but Phegley provides depth in the minor leagues.
Ravelo has a wealth of talent, compiling a .309/.386/.743 slash with 11 home runs and 37 doubles at Double-A. He hasn’t cracked the White Sox top-prospect rankings, though, which is surprising given the lack of depth in the organization.
Not too long ago, general manager Rick Hahn said “our eyes are on long-term fits,” per the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan. “If the right situation on a shorter term basis arrives,” Hahn continued, “we would make that move.”
Adding Samardzija dramatically changes the dynamic of not only the rotation but the entire 25-man roster. In other words, it's "the right situation."
Susan Slusser from the San Francisco Chronicle has the A’s receiving Semien, right-hander Chris Bassitt and an unknown third player. Again, nothing official has been announced. We shall see what the final version looks like.
Unless otherwise noted, all traditional, team and advanced statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com. Contract information pulled from Cot's Contracts. Transaction, injury and game information are courtesy of MLB.com.