MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 10 News, Rumors and Speculation

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2016

MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 10 News, Rumors and Speculation

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    Javier Baez
    Javier BaezPaul Beaty/Associated Press

    If it's true that there's no crying in baseball, someone forgot to fill in one executive, who recently griped to ESPN's Buster Olney about the state of the trade market. 

    "Nobody wants to do a small trade," he complained. "They only want to talk about big trades."

    While that might keep some clubs from making additional moves this offseason, it hasn't done anything to slow the rumor mill, which continues to tease us about potential swaps involving some high-profile talent, whether it be former All-Stars or up-and-coming youngsters.

    Keep in mind these proposed deals are only ideas and pure speculation. Unless otherwise noted, there's no indication any of them has actually been discussed.

R.A. Dickey Gets Traded to the Rockies

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Colorado Gets: RHP R.A. Dickey and C Josh Thole

    Toronto Gets: RHP Justin Miller

    The Rumor

    In a series of tweets, Sportsnet's Jeff Blair reports that a scout from a National League team has told him that R.A. Dickey could be in play for the Toronto Blue Jays, adding "we want him and we've talked."

    Why It Makes Sense for the Blue Jays

    Could Toronto use R.A. Dickey's ability to eat innings in 2016? Of course. But the opportunity to shed his $12 million salary—and add an inexpensive, controllable reliever in the process—is more valuable, giving the club some much-needed payroll flexibility.

    Justin Miller put up solid numbers over 33.1 innings of relief for Colorado last season, pitching to a 4.05 ERA (2.62 FIP) and 0.97 WHIP while averaging three walks and 10 strikeouts per nine innings. With Miller's arrival, the Blue Jays can slide Jesse Chavez into Dickey's rotation spot.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Rockies

    The last time Colorado had a starting pitcher crack the 200-inning plateau was 2010, when Ubaldo Jimenez tossed 221.2 innings over 33 starts. With five consecutive 200-inning campaigns on his resume, Dickey would give the Rockies a great chance to end that miserable streak.

    While he's done a good job of keeping the ball on the ground over the course of his career, Dickey is far from a perfect fit at Coors Field, given his penchant for surrendering home runs and the uncertainty of how his knuckleball will behave in thin air.

    His ability to eat innings serves two purposes. Not only will he spare Colorado's bullpen when he takes the mound, but his arrival will let the Rockies continue to develop the likes of Tyler Anderson, Eddie Butler and Tyler Matzek in the minors.

    Entering the final year of his contract, Dickey could prove to be a semi-valuable trade chip for the Rockies to play at the July 31 trade deadline. His personal catcher, Josh Thole, gives the Rockies some additional depth behind the plate.

Jonathan Lucroy Gets Traded to the Rangers

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    Jonathan Lucroy
    Jonathan LucroyAssociated Press

    Milwaukee Gets: OF Lewis Brinson, IF/OF Ryan Cordell, RHP Luis Ortiz and RHP Dillon Tate

    Texas Gets: C Jonathan Lucroy

    The Rumor

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Milwaukee has remained engaged in ongoing trade discussions involving catcher Jonathan Lucroy, listing the Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays and Rangers as potential fits.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Brewers

    Of the four teams Rosenthal mentions, Texas can provide Milwaukee with the best package of young, controllable talent. The Brewers wind up with a trio of top-100 prospects, including one—Dillon Tate—whom MLB.com pegged as a top-50 talent (No. 46), right behind Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon.

    Tate and Luis Ortiz give the Brewers a pair of arms with a chance to become front-of-the-rotation fixtures, though neither one figures to be ready to contribute until late 2017 at the earliest.

    A dynamic outfield defender capable of sticking in center field or playing a corner, Lewis Brinson has all the talent and tools needed to become a perennial 30/30 threat in Milwaukee's outfield, which could be quite impressive with a Brett Phillips-Brinson-Ryan Braun configuration in the not-too-distant future.

    While it's possible the Brewers could get a better package if they waited until the July 31 trade deadline, they'd also be running the risk of Lucroy struggling at the plate again or getting injured, which would kill his trade value.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Rangers

    It's an admittedly high price to pay for a player who is coming off a down season and concerns about a late-season concussion, but the chance to add an All-Star-caliber catcher who is signed to one of the most team-friendly deals in baseball (Lucroy is due a total of $9.25 million through 2017) is too great to pass up.

    An outstanding defender, the 29-year-old got off to a slow start in 2015, missing more than a month with a broken toe, but he hit .282 with 29 extra-base hits and a .762 OPS from the time he returned to action on June 1 through the end of the regular season.

Jake Odorizzi Gets Traded to the Cubs

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    Jake Odorizzi
    Jake OdorizziChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Chicago Gets: LHP Jake McGee and RHP Jake Odorizzi 

    Tampa Bay Gets: IF Javier Baez, RHP Corey Black, RHP Trevor Clifton, 1B Dan Vogelbach and OF Mark Zagunis

    The Rumor

    While a guest on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio, Tampa Bay general manager Matt Silverman acknowledged that he's talked trade with the Chicago Cubs. "We had lots of conversations [with the Cubs]. We know we line up really well with them given our depth and strengths."

    Last month, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Javier Baez was the Rays' target, with the Cubs having interest in some of Tampa Bay's starters and relievers.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Cubs

    Chicago lacks any significant depth when it comes to its starting rotation, with Adam Warren and Clayton Richard registering as the team's only two real options to step in when the need for a sixth starter arises during the regular season. This deal helps to solve that problem.

    While Kyle Hendricks and Jake Odorizzi had eerily similar numbers in 2015, Hendricks has three minor league options remaining. And while he's done nothing to deserve a demotion, Odorizzi's arrival pushes Hendricks back to Triple-A to start the regular season, providing that much-needed depth.

    Come 2017, both Hendricks and Odorizzi would be fixtures at the back end of the Cubs rotation, joining Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey, while prospects such as Duane Underwood and Pierce Johnson will be better prepared to serve as depth for the group.

    One of Joe Maddon's most trusted relievers during his time with the Rays, Jake McGee has excelled in multiple bullpen roles over the course of his career. Not only does he give the Cubs a second lefty in the bullpen, but he would form a formidable late-inning trio along with Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Rays

    Tampa Bay adds a multitude of young, cost-controlled talent in this deal, most notably Javier Baez. 

    A shortstop by trade, Baez can play short, second base and third base, and he has the athleticism and power potential to stick in an outfield corner. The Rays could look to develop him into the next Ben Zobrist—a super-utility player who never comes out of the lineup. 

    He's always going to have a ton of swing and miss in his game, but his power is real, and a heart of the order with Evan Longoria, Baez and Logan Forsythe could do some serious damage for the Rays.

    Mark Zagunis is the other major piece the Rays land in this deal, a disciplined hitter with still-developing power and a knack for getting on base. Still a year away from contributing, he'd be a perfect No. 2 hitter to slot in front of that Longoria/Baez/Forsythe trifecta.

    A hard-throwing reliever with a knack for making batters swing and miss but with a lack of control, as evidenced by a 4.6 BB/9 over parts of four minor league seasons, Corey Black would benefit from Tampa Bay's ability to develop young pitching and could ultimately be a solid replacement for McGee in the bullpen.

    Trevor Clifton would also benefit from Tampa Bay's magic touch with pitchers, though at 20 years old, he's still years away from contributing.

    Dan Vogelbach has big-time power but limited range in the field, which could force him into a full-time designated hitter role. But with James Loney in the last year of his contract and Logan Morrison not a lock to be offered arbitration after the season, he gives the Rays another option at first base going forward.

Charlie Blackmon Gets Traded to the Angels

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    Charlie Blackmon
    Charlie BlackmonDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Colorado Gets: RHP Cam Bedrosian, RHP Nick Tropeano and a player to be named later

    Los Angeles Gets: OF Charlie Blackmon

    The Rumor

    Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register believes the Angels could look to trade for Colorado's Charlie Blackmon, adding that a package of Cam Bedrosian and Nick Tropeano might be enough to get a deal done.

    Per a report from MLB.com's Thomas Harding, Colorado is hot on the trail of free-agent outfielder Gerardo Parra, and his arrival would make Blackmon (or one of the Rockies other outfielders) expendable.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Angels

    Entering his first year of arbitration, Charlie Blackmon fills Los Angeles' hole in left field, its need for a left-handed bat to help balance its lineup and another leadoff option while keeping the team under the luxury tax, something owner Arte Moreno has made clear he has no interest in exceeding.

    Blackmon doesn't come without significant risk, however. While he's capable of playing all three outfield positions, he's a mediocre defender and has been far less productive away from Coors Field as a hitter.

    That said, he's still a far better option for the Angels than any of the players they have in-house to handle duties in left field.

    Why It Makes Sense for the Rockies

    Assuming Parra winds up in Colorado, moving Blackmon for a pair of arms makes sense for the always pitching-starved franchise.

    The Rockies add a MLB-ready starter in 25-year-old Nick Tropeano. He is a projected mid-rotation arm who attacks the strike zone and has had success in limited time in the big leagues, pitching to a 4.10 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 59.1 innings.

    Cam Bedrosian has struggled with his command over 52 major league innings, pitching to a 5.81 ERA and 1.79 WHIP, but the son of 1987 National League Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian has the stuff to become a reliable contributor out of a team's bullpen.

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. All contract information courtesy of Cot's Contracts (via Baseball Prospectus).

    Hit me up on Twitter to talk all things baseball: @RickWeinerBR.

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