MLB Trade Ideas Based on Offseason Week 13 News, Rumors and Speculation
Only a few weeks away from the start of spring training, you'd think that MLB clubs were done looking to make trades—at least until an unfortunate injury during the exhibition season forced their hand.
But the rumor mill tells a different story, with some notable names—not All-Stars, mind you, but notable names all the same—the subject of trade chatter and speculation. Whether it be a position player or a pitcher, there seems to be something still available for just about every possible need a team could have.
Keep in mind these proposed deals are only ideas and pure speculation. Unless otherwise noted, there's no indication any of them have actually been discussed.
Desmond Jennings Gets Traded to the Angels
Los Angeles Angels Get: OF Desmond Jennings
Tampa Bay Rays Get: RHPs Cam Bedrosian and Fernando Salas
The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin suggests that the Rays could look to trade one of their extra hitters—either at first base or in the outfield—for a setup man to replace the recently traded Jake McGee.
Why It Makes Sense for the Angels
Surgeries to repair his injured left knee and deal with an infected tooth limited Jennings to only 28 games for Tampa Bay in 2015, and he's not the left-handed bat Los Angeles could use to bring some balance to its lineup.
But the 29-year-old is a plus defender in left field, and despite never living up to the hype that followed him to the big leagues as a top prospect, he has been a slightly above-average hitter over his six-year career, posting a career wRC+ of 106 (league average is 100).
Compared to the 62 wRC+ the Angels got out of left field in 2015, Jennings represents a significant upgrade. Financially, Jennings is a fit as well, as the Angels are only taking on an additional $900,000 in this deal—the difference between the 2016 salaries for Jennings ($3.3 million) and Fernando Salas ($2.4 million).
For a team that, as of mid-December, was believed to be within $4 million of reaching the $189 million luxury-tax threshold, per a report from the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin, that's a big deal.
Why It Makes Sense for the Rays
Tampa Bay doesn't get a reliever quite as good as McGee in this deal, but Salas is capable of stepping into the vacant setup role in the Rays bullpen.
While the 30-year-old doesn't overpower hitters, he finds a way to keep them guessing, posting a career-best 10.5 K/9 ratio in 2015, a season in which he was far more effective than his 4.24 ERA would indicate, pitching to a 3.15 FIP and 1.15 WHIP.
Cam Bedrosian needs some more fine-tuning in the minors after pitching to a 5.81 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over parts of the past two seasons, but the 24-year-old has a Cy Young Award-winning bloodline and the stuff to develop into a quality late-inning option for the Rays in the not-so-distant future.
Bryan Holaday Gets Traded to the Nationals
Detroit Tigers Get: LHP Sammy Solis
Washington Nationals Get: C Bryan Holaday
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News believes that Detroit will shop Bryan Holaday before Opening Day, as he's out of minor league options and is unlikely to pass through waivers unclaimed.
Why It Makes Sense for the Nationals
Bryan Holaday isn't going to supplant incumbent Wilson Ramos, who set a new career high by appearing in 128 games last season, as the starting catcher in Washington. However, given Ramos' lengthy injury history, Holaday would provide a livelier bat as a replacement than the team's current backup, Jose Lobaton.
After signing Oliver Perez, Sammy Solis doesn't have a spot in Washington's bullpen, and could find himself behind Matt Grace and Nick Lee on the organizational depth chart if and when the Nationals need another left-handed reliever. The once highly touted prospect has become expendable.
Why It Makes Sense for the Tigers
With no roster spot for Holaday, the Tigers have little choice but to trade him. Sammy Solis isn't a lock to break camp with Detroit, as Blaine Hardy and Justin Wilson figure to serve as the team's primary left-handed relievers, but he'd add much-needed depth to the organization.
Solis, 27, was effective in his major league debut last season, pitching to a 3.38 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 21.1 innings of work, walking four while striking out 17. He'd be the first southpaw summoned from the minors if a need in the big league bullpen were to arise.
Andrew Cashner Gets Traded to the Orioles
Baltimore Orioles Get: RHP Andrew Cashner
San Diego Padres Get: RHP Parker Bridwell and LHP Chris Lee
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com writes that Baltimore has interest in San Diego's Andrew Cashner, who was aggressively shopped at the winter meetings, according to a report from Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Why It Makes Sense for the Orioles
Andrew Cashner's shaky injury history and mediocre numbers in 2015 (6-16, 4.34 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) make him a questionable replacement for Wei-Yin Chen in Baltimore's rotation, but the 29-year-old wasn't all bad last year, setting new career bests in innings pitched (184.2) and strikeouts (165).
The 29-year-old has had success in the big leagues before, pitching to a combined 2.87 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over nearly 300 innings of work from 2013 to 2014, and there's reason to believe that he could bounce back in 2016—so long as he can stay healthy.
A free agent after the season, there's no long-term commitment to Cashner required on Baltimore's part, and his arrival allows the Orioles to maintain what little rotation depth they have, with Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright waiting in the wings at Triple-A.
Why It Makes Sense for the Padres
While San Diego would be selling low on Cashner after a down year, his value isn't likely to increase during the regular season, as FanGraphs' Dave Cameron points out, noting that one injury would completely destroy whatever chance the Padres have of getting a halfway decent return for him.
For a rebuilding club like the Padres, the chance to add two potentially useful arms is an opportunity they can't pass up.
Parker Bridwell, 24, pitched to a 3.99 ERA and 1.38 WHIP over 18 starts in his first taste of Double-A, fanning 93 in 97 innings of work, while Chris Lee, 23, posted a 3.29 ERA and 1.40 WHIP across three minor league levels last year. Neither one is an ace, but both could become quality mid-rotation starters.
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