MLB Trade Ideas Based on Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
Sometimes, baseball's rumor mill spins furiously, spitting out juicy tidbits with the speed of an Aroldis Chapman fastball and leaving us with more potential trade scenarios to dissect and speculate about than we know what to do with.
Other times, the rumor mill resembles David Ortiz rounding the bases, taking a slower, plodding approach that forces us to dig deep in finding worthwhile trade scenarios to banter about. For a weekly series such as this, it's those other times that prove to be the most difficult.
As luck would have it, this week finds us in the midst of a lull.
That doesn't mean that there's nothing to talk about and debate, however, and we present to you five trade scenarios that potentially make sense for all parties involved. Keep in mind that these deals are pure speculation—there's no indication that any of them have actually been discussed.
Dillon Gee Gets Traded...Somewhere
Controllable, cheap (relatively speaking) and yet to celebrate his 30th birthday, Dillon Gee has become the hottest name on the rumor mill.
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, a trio of National League West clubs—the Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants—have emerged as the teams most interested in trading for the 28-year-old. While he doesn't miss bats (career 6.5 K/9) and is prone to the long ball, his career peripherals (3.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) are solid.
The Amazins have already turned down one offer for Gee, with ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reporting that the club declined the Minnesota Twins' offer of infielder Eduardo Escobar last month. While shortstop is one of the team's areas of need, it's not the only one that they could look to fill by trading Gee.
Rather than arbitrarily picking one team to concoct a deal with, let's take a look at what a Gee trade could look like for each of the three teams in pursuit.
Gee Gets Traded to Colorado
Mets Get: LHP Rex Brothers
Rockies Get: RHP Dillon Gee
The harder I try to come up with a deal that doesn't involve Rex Brothers, the more apparent it becomes that a Brothers-for-Gee swap is the only thing that really works for both clubs.
Colorado isn't in a rush to deal away the hard-throwing, 27-year-old southpaw, but multiple reports dating back to early December, including one from MLB.com's Thomas Harding, indicate that for the Rockies to land Gee, they'll have to part with Brothers. There's no reason to believe that's changed.
Brothers lost his way (and his command) in 2014, pitching to a 5.59 ERA and 1.86 WHIP while walking more than six batters per nine innings of work, but his ability to make batters swing-and-miss (career 10.6 K/9) could make him the answer to New York's need for a southpaw in the bullpen.
Gee isn't a terrific fit for the Rockies given his penchant for allowing the opposition to go deep, but he's proven to be a serviceable starter over the course of his career, something Colorado's rotation is short on. Former starter Christian Friedrich would be next in line to fill Brothers' spot in the Rockies pen.
Gee Gets Traded to San Diego
Mets Get: LHP Chris Rearick and a player to be named later
Padres Get: RHP Dillon Gee
San Diego's interest in Gee may be a bit overstated, as he's not necessarily an upgrade over San Diego's internal candidates to fill back-of-the-rotation spots—and the Padres don't really match up with the Mets on a deal.
The Padres aren't going to give up shortstop prospects like Franchy Cordero or Jose Rondon—or Alex Torres, their lone left-hander in the bullpen—to add Gee to the rotation mix.
But general manager A.J. Preller knows that a pitching surplus can quickly turn into a shortage, as he recently explained to U-T San Diego's Dennis Lin: "Right now, we have numbers and depth. But you can never have enough."
But he owns a 2.60 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over parts of five minor league seasons, earning more than a strikeout per inning while keeping the ball in the park, allowing only 12 home runs over 273 innings pitched. His lack of major league experience makes him a risk to rely upon, but Rearick could be just what the Mets need.
Gee Gets Traded to San Francisco
Mets Get: LHP Steven Okert
Giants Get: RHP Dillon Gee
Like San Diego, San Francisco doesn't need Gee, who would serve, at best, as the team's fifth starter in place of Tim Lincecum. But even that scenario seems like a stretch, which makes a deal between the two clubs highly unlikely.
Yet the Giants are in pursuit of Gee, so here we are.
With no need for an additional southpaw in the bullpen with veterans Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez among manager Bruce Bochy's most trusted relievers, Steven Okert finds himself blocked.
A fourth-round pick in the 2012 first-year player draft, the 23-year-old reached Double-A in only his second full professional season and owns solid numbers across parts of three minor league seasons (2.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 10.2 K/9).
He may need a bit more seasoning in the minor leagues, but Okert could just as easily break camp with the Mets as their primary left-hander out of the bullpen.
Arizona Trades Ender Inciarte to New York
Diamondbacks Get: C J.R. Murphy
Yankees Get: OF Ender Inciarte
Arizona's catching situation remains a mess, and sources tell Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi that the Diamondbacks would rather trade for a young backstop than sign a veteran free agent to provide a temporary solution.
Few teams have as much young talent behind the plate to deal as the New York Yankees, even after trading 28-year-old Francisco Cervelli to Pittsburgh earlier this offseason. Former prospect Austin Romine and prospects John Ryan Murphy, Gary Sanchez and Luis Torrens remain in the system.
Neither Sanchez nor Torrens is major league-ready, and both would be too costly for the Diamondbacks to acquire. While Romine is arguably a better defender than Murphy, the 23-year-old Murphy is the more complete package, capable of contributing with the bat as well.
To obtain Murphy, Arizona would deal from its outfield surplus. Capable of playing all three outfield spots, Inciarte would give the Yankees a young, athletic, speedy outfielder to add to the mix.
While he'd be blocked by veteran Chris Young as the team's fourth outfielder, Inciarte could conceivably beat out the veteran for the spot in spring training, serving not only as the team's primary outfield reserve, but as the only left-handed bat on the bench.
Should Young win the competition, Inciarte has minor league options remaining, allowing the Yankees to stash him at Triple-A until he's needed (or Young plays himself out of a job).
Philadelphia Trades Cole Hamels to San Diego
Padres Get: LHP Cole Hamels
Phillies Get: 2B Taylor Lindsey, OF Hunter Renfroe and RHP Matt Wisler
Just when you were starting to believe San Diego GM A.J. Preller, who told Lin last week that the Padres were probably done making substantial moves this winter, comes news from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that the club remains in pursuit of Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels.
While noting that no deal is believed to be close, sources tell Heyman that talks between the two sides continue and do not include outfielder Wil Myers, who Lin reported last month the Phillies had asked for as part of a package from the Padres, only to be rebuffed by Preller.
For all of the moves that the Padres have made this winter, the club has retained the bulk of its highest-rated prospects, depth that will allow it to make a move for an ace like Hamels.
Matt Wisler, rated as the team's top pitching prospect by Baseball Prospectus (No. 3 overall), is ready to contribute to a major league rotation in 2015 and, along with Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 2014 first-year player draft, Aaron Nola, could form the front end of the team's rotation for years to come.
San Diego's top outfield prospect, Hunter Renfroe (No. 2 overall), isn't ready for prime time just yet, but the 22-year-old looks the part of a future All-Star in right field. His tremendous raw power would play well in Philadelphia, while his strong, accurate throwing arm and ability to cover a lot of ground in right field gives the Phillies the foundation upon which to build their future outfield configuration.
Taylor Lindsey, the team's top infield prospect (No. 9 overall), also needs a bit more time in the minors but is close to being major league-ready. A contact hitter with some pop in his bat, he's got enough chops defensively to hold down the keystone and serve as the heir apparent to Chase Utley in Philadelphia.
As for Hamels, we know what he brings to the table. As Heyman notes, San Diego is one of the few clubs to which he cannot block a trade, so the Padres could acquire him without having to add extra incentives (like guaranteeing his 2019 team option) to facilitate a deal.
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