MLB Trade Ideas Based on Latest Week 9 News, Rumors and Speculation
If you were concerned that baseball's rumor mill hadn't been spitting out much in regard to some of the biggest names in the game recently, what's transpired in recent days should be enough to put your mind at ease.
Take, for example, a report from WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that Philadelphia is willing to pick up a more substantial portion of the money remaining on ace Cole Hamels' contract to facilitate a deal. You won't find a hypothetical Hamels package on the pages that follow, however, for the Phillies' asking price remains too high, elite talent or not.
What you will find, however, are potential trades involving current and former All-Stars, big-time sluggers and some of the most talented youngsters in the game.
It's important to remember that the teams we'd classify as buyers won't be the only clubs in the running to acquire a given player's services, so the packages proposed are not only geared toward giving the selling team a fair return, but to ensure that the seller takes their offer over the competition's.
Additionally, keep in mind that these proposed deals are only ideas and pure speculation. Unless otherwise noted, there's no indication that any of them have actually been discussed.
Aaron Harang Gets Traded to the Royals
Kansas City Gets: RHP Aaron Harang
Philadelphia Gets: OF Brett Eibner
Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore originally inquires about Cole Hamels, but after Philadelphia asks for three of the team's five best prospects in exchange, the conversation quickly shifts to a potential deal involving veteran hurler Aaron Harang.
Harang, 37, has been tremendous over the first two months of the regular season, ranking among the National League leaders in ERA (2.02, sixth), WHIP (1.00, eighth) and innings pitched (71.1, fourth). Due the balance of his $5 million salary, he easily fits into Kansas City's payroll for the rest of the season.
He's not a front-line starter by any stretch of the imagination, but Harang gives the Royals additional depth in the rotation and a reliable innings-eater who can give the team's stellar bullpen a bit of a break.
In exchange, the Royals send 26-year-old outfielder Brett Eibner to the Phillies. Eibner, who opened eyes with an excellent showing in spring training when he hit .500 with six home runs, has continued to swing a hot bat at Triple-A, hitting .294 with seven home runs and a .968 OPS over 22 games.
Primarily a center fielder, Eibner could slide over to left field for the Phillies should the team decide to continue rolling with converted infielder Odubel Herrera in the middle of the outfield.
Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist Get Traded to the Cubs
Chicago Gets: RHP Tyler Clippard, IF/OF Ben Zobrist
Oakland Gets: OF Albert Almora and RHP Corey Black
As first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer, the Cubs are going to try to swing a trade that brings them Ben Zobrist, who spent the first nine years of his 10-year career playing for Chicago skipper Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay.
That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, as Zobrist would not only give Maddon a versatile weapon to use where he sees fit on a daily basis, but add a trusted veteran presence to the team's incredibly talented but relatively young and inexperienced clubhouse.
But Zobrist isn't going to help strengthen Chicago's bullpen, which is in need of a boost, especially in the late innings where setup men Jason Motte and Pedro Strop, along with closer Hector Rondon, have been a bit shaky.
The A's have someone who can help remedy that in Tyler Clippard who, like Zobrist, is a two-time All-Star and a free agent after the season. With experience as both a setup man and closer, Maddon could utilize Clippard in whichever role he felt needed the most stability.
In exchange, the Cubs send Oakland a pair of quality prospects in Albert Almora and Corey Black.
Almora has become something of an afterthought with the Cubs and has struggled at Double-A Tennessee, hitting .248 with a .620 OPS, while former A's center field prospect Billy McKinney has found more success alongside him in right field (.298 BA, .754 OPS).
He'd immediately become Oakland's top outfield prospect and could make the switch to left field should the A's decide that Billy Burns is indeed their center fielder of the future.
Black, acquired from the Yankees in the trade that sent Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx in 2013, was recently moved from Tennessee's rotation to the bullpen, joining former starter C.J. Edwards as a potential power reliever.
Oakland would have little trouble shifting him back into a starter's role, but he could easily factor into the team's late-season bullpen mix and become a fixture in the late innings as early as next season.
Garrett Jones Gets Traded to the Cardinals
New York Gets: A player to be named later
St. Louis Gets: 1B/OF Garrett Jones
Garrett Jones is probably more valuable to the Yankees as an insurance policy than as a trade chip, as the New York Post's Joel Sherman suggests, but there's a case to be made for a trade out of New York for the eight-year veteran, who has been relatively unproductive in limited playing time.
Owner of a career .808 OPS against right-handed pitching, the 32-year-old would make a lot of sense for St. Louis, which could use a left-handed bat to platoon with Mark Reynolds in an attempt to replace the injured Matt Adams at first base.
Adding the balance of his $3 million salary is something the Cardinals can easily absorb into their payroll, and Jones comes without any long-term commitment required.
In exchange, the Yankees should be able to pry a B-level prospect out of St. Louis, but more importantly open up a roster spot for someone like prospect Rob Refsnyder, who deserves a shot at the second base job now that the Stephen Drew experiment is officially an epic failure.
Yasiel Puig Gets Traded to the Mets
Los Angeles Gets: RHP Noah Syndergaard and LHP Brad Wieck
New York Gets: OF Yasiel Puig
After seeing Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal's video report where he remarks that the Los Angeles Dodgers would listen to offers for anyone—including Yasiel Puig—there was only one team I felt was in a perfect position to make a deal actually happen—the New York Mets.
Of course, Puig would have to prove that he's past the hamstring issue that has kept him sidelined for more than a month, and the odds of this swap being completed are only slightly higher than the odds that I'll be a first-round pick in the upcoming MLB draft.
But if we're being honest, this is a deal that makes sense for both teams.
The Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders and need rotation help, both in 2015 and beyond. That's a situation that only figures to become more desperate this winter after Zack Greinke opts out of his deal. While prospects like Chris Anderson and Julio Urias might be ready to contribute in 2016, there's a chance they're not.
Syndergaard, 22, has been terrific for the Mets thus far (2.55 ERA, 2.57 FIP) and is controllable for the foreseeable future at a bargain price. He'd be a perfect complement to Kershaw atop the rotation and, perhaps, allow the Dodgers to take their time with (and pressure off) Anderson and Urias.
While he's not one of the team's top prospects, 23-year-old southpaw Brad Wieck is an intriguing talent given his size (6'9", 255 pounds) and ability to miss bats. In eight starts for Single-A Savannah, he's fanned 58 over 43.2 innings while pitching to a 3.08 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.
Before you freak out about the Mets moving an elite talent like Syndergaard, remember that the club still has the highly touted Steven Matz waiting in the wings at Triple-A and will eventually get the injured Rafael Montero and Zach Wheeler back, the latter not until 2016.
In Puig, the Mets get the dangerous, impact bat that the club desperately needs. Like Syndergaard, Puig is under team control for years and is relatively inexpensive, due roughly $25 million through 2018 with a year of arbitration remaining.
Now here's where we have to get a bit creative.
In order to fit Puig's bat in the everyday lineup, someone that's currently in New York's outfield has to go. It won't be center fielder Juan Lagares, he of the Golden Glove, nor will it be Curtis Granderson, who can't play anywhere but the outfield.
The same can't be said for Michael Cuddyer, who has spent time at both first base and third base as recently as 2014. The Mets just so happen to have a gaping hole at the hot corner, so that's where Cuddyer goes—at least until David Wright returns from spinal stenosis, which is anything but assured.
Cuddyer won't like the move, but it's where the team needs him. After Wright returns, Cuddyer would become part of the most expensive left field platoon in baseball with Granderson, getting the start against left-handed starters and serving as the team's primary pinch hitter.
But this is a move that makes too much sense for the Mets not to deal with whatever short-term issues it may create. For long after Cuddyer is gone and Granderson has become even less productive than he currently is, Puig will be hitting the prime of his career.
Mark Trumbo Gets Traded to Minnesota
Arizona Gets: RHP Michael Cederoth and 1B/OF Amaurys Minier
Minnesota Gets: 1B/OF Mark Trumbo
There may not be a bigger fan of Mark Trumbo than Arizona GM Dave Stewart, who admitted to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that it would take a hefty return to convince him that a trade of the 29-year-old was worth his while:
With all of our players, if you overwhelm me with something, I’ve got to listen. I guess most people would say the trade deadline is where we’ll find the best value. But at this moment, Mark Trumbo is my guy. He gives us something in our lineup that none of our other guys do other than Goldschmidt – a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. (David) Peralta does when he plays. But right now, our main home run threats are Goldschmidt and Trumbo.
But the D-Backs are about to be faced with a roster crunch, as third baseman Jake Lamb will soon be activated from the disabled list, knocking Yasmany Tomas off the hot corner. While Tomas has gone deep only once this year, his power was one of the reasons the D-Backs signed him to a six-year, $68.5 million deal over the winter.
Presumably, he's heading for a corner outfield spot, most likely right field, the patch of grass that Trumbo currently calls home.
The package of relative unknown talent that the D-Backs would receive in this deal may seem underwhelming, but they land two of Minnesota's 30 best prospects in the exchange.
Minier, whom we looked at last week, has big-time power potential and could be a factor in Arizona by this time next season, likely serving as one of the team's primary reserve outfielders and pinch hitters. But the key to this deal is Michael Cederoth, a starter in Minnesota's farm system since being drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft.
Originally drafted out of high school by the D-Backs in 2011, the 22-year-old is a power arm that has the stuff needed to stick in the rotation, but might have the most potential—and reach the majors faster—as a closer, a role he served in during his junior year at San Diego State University.
While he might see some outfield time in Minnesota, Trumbo would serve as the Twins' primary designated hitter, adding some pop to a spot in the lineup that has produced only nine extra-base hits (two home runs) for the first-place club. He'd also serve as insurance for Joe Mauer at first base.
Due the balance of his $6.9 million salary in 2015 and with one year of arbitration remaining, Trumbo wouldn't be too costly an addition for the Twins to fit into their budget.
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