MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
With most of the quality free agents already inked to fresh money, general managers around MLB are formulating trade ideas that will help improve the product on the field.
And while it would be fantastic to have a lens into the mind of the executives in charge of such decisions, all we have are the rumors and speculation floating around various media outlets. It’s time to see what the old MLB trade machine can conjure up.
Here are two 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.
Seattle Mariners Acquire Seth Smith from San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners Get: OF Seth Smith
San Diego Padres Get: RHP Carson Smith
An interesting byproduct of the acquisitions of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers is that the San Diego Padres have too many outfielders for too few spots.
As a result, someone has to go, and Seth Smith is the logical choice.
True, parting ways with Carlos Quentin would be preferred. Unfortunately, Quentin is an injury-prone liability whose one strength—power—has waned in recent years, making it difficult to move him.
Smith, on the other hand, is an ideal target because of his experience in platoon systems and his ability to play multiple outfield positions and hit with authority.
With that in mind, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick cited “rival executives” when he noted that the Seattle Mariners are “likely to deal for” Smith to form the second half of a platoon with newly acquired right fielder Justin Ruggiano.
And if we consider that Ruggiano’s lifetime .266/.329/.508 slash line against left-handed pitching pairs quite well with Smith’s career .277/.358/.481 slash against righties, this could be a smart play for Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik.
What would Smith, who has two years and $13 million left on an extension he signed this past July, cost to acquire, though?
How about a straight-up deal involving right-hander Carson Smith.
Smith appeared in nine games last season for the Mariners, posting a 0.00 ERA with a fine 0.600 WHIP. He did walk five over his 8.1 innings of work, but he is a dominating figure on the mound. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has more:
Smith isn't just a guy who throws from a low three-quarters angle. From that slot, he can crank his fastball up into the mid 90s, sitting in the 91-93 mph range. Smith's heater has plus sink to generate a ton of ground-ball outs. He has one of the best breaking balls in the system, a sweeping slider with early break. Smith is especially tough on right-handed hitters, and he went more than a month at the end of 2013 without giving up a run. Because of his arm angle and especially that slider, he reminds some of former reliever Jeff Nelson.
This move satisfies both parties. The M’s get a platoon partner with power in right field, and the Padres fill out the middle of the bullpen with a guy who can grow into the club’s closer.
To be sure, there are some who think Seth Smith isn’t going anywhere, including USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Given the influx of right-handed power, Nightengale argues, the Padres “may have to hang onto” him strictly to serve as a “left-handed presence” in the lineup.
What Nightengale says makes sense, but Padres GM A.J. Preller may not have a choice if he wants a player who can contribute in return.
San Diego Padres Acquire Cole Hamels from Philadelphia Phillies
San Diego Padres Get: LHP Cole Hamels
Philadelphia Phillies Get: OF Wil Myers, RHP Matt Wisler
What was once nothing more than fantasy has suddenly become a realistic proposition. That’s right, Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels could actually be dealt—to the San Diego Padres, no less.
Philly.com’s Ryan Lawrence is but one scribe who cited sources that said “the Padres have had discussions about trading for the left-handed ace, who happens to be a San Diego native, with newly acquired outfielder Wil Myers as potential bait.”
With that as a launching point, how about a deal involving Myers and right-hander Matt Wisler in exchange for Hamels?
Most of us know the book on Myers. He is a former American League Rookie of the Year with five tools and a wealth of upside. True, his season was cut short last year due to a wrist injury, but he has all of the abilities needed to take center stage in Philadelphia for years to come.
In Wisler, the Phillies would be getting a top-of-the-rotation arm who has three pitches grading out at 60 on a traditional 20-80 scale, per Jonathan Mayo from MLB.com. He also has fine movement on his fastball, nice control and has earned “praise for his poise and work ethic.”
Now Wisler struggled at Triple-A last season, pitching to a 5.01 ERA and a 1.431 WHIP over 116.2 innings. He is only 22 years old and struck out 101 in his time at El Paso, however, meaning that he is well-positioned to improve.
For the Padres, Hamels (9-9, 2.46 ERA, 3.07 FIP, 1.148 WHIP) gives manager Bud Black an established ace at the top of the rotation. No offense to Ian Kennedy, of course, but Hamels is one of the best pitchers in the National League.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Padres don’t have any of their best pitchers signed to long-term deals. True, Tyson Ross isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until after the 2017 campaign, but Kennedy is a free agent at the end of next season, and Andrew Cashner hits the open market the following year.
While this proposal is enough to get the job done, Dennis Lin from U-T San Diego noted that word “from sources within the organization” indicate Padres general manager A.J. Preller intends on keeping Myers for the time being. Lin did add that given the recent activity, however, anything is possible.
As far as the Phillies are concerned, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has a choice to make. He can build around Hamels for years to come or trade him now. As Amaro said, he is in a “sweet spot,” per Lawrence.
We shall see how this one plays out.