MLB Trade Ideas Based on Week 12 News, Rumors and Speculation
In the first week of June, James Shields was traded from the San Diego Padres to the Chicago White Sox. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent former top pitching prospect Zach Lee to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Chris Taylor.
While it wasn't a major swap, it offers further proof that teams are willing to wheel and deal well before the trade deadline.
While most teams have yet to decide whether they're buying or selling, trade winds continue to swirl around nearly every franchise—more fiercely in some ballparks than others. Those winds are what power this week's look at five potential trades that make sense for both teams involved.
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.
Jake Odorizzi Gets Traded to the Miami Marlins
Miami Marlins Get: RHP Jake Odorizzi
Tampa Bay Rays Get: RHP Kendry Flores, RHP Jordan Holloway, RHP Chris Paddack and C Tomas Telis
Miami has had "preliminary contact" with Tampa Bay about starter Jake Odorizzi, a source told Fox Sports' Jon Morosi.
Why It Makes Sense for Miami
The Marlins desperately need a reliable third starter to slot behind Jose Fernandez and Wei-Yin Chen. Jake Odorizzi fits that description.
The 26-year-old has entrenched himself in the upper echelon of mid-rotation starters in the majors, giving his team a chance to win every fifth day while limiting his walks and posting excellent strikeout numbers.
Under team control through 2020, Odorizzi will be due a sizable raise through arbitration after the season.
Why It Makes Sense for Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay has always been deep in pitching, and with Alex Cobb nearing a return from Tommy John surgery, the Rays will soon be adding to that depth.
Not getting back one of Miami's two best prospects—RHP Tyler Kolek or 1B Josh Naylor—might make this seem like a less-than-ideal return for the Rays. But Tampa Bay adds three young pitchers—and a catcher they badly need—in exchange for a mid-rotation starter.
Kendrys Flores has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter but could prove even more effective as a power arm out of the bullpen. He's already made his big league debut and could help the Rays immediately. The same goes for Tomas Telis, a solid defender whose offense has improved and could be an upgrade behind the plate.
But the key for Tampa Bay is a pair of 6'4", 20-year-old pitchers, Jordan Holloway and Chris Paddack. With pitching prospects Jacob Faria and Taylor Guerrieri expected to contribute in 2017, the Rays add another two young arms to their seemingly never-ending pitching pipeline.
Paddack is ahead of Holloway development-wise, but both have significant upside. Considering that few teams are as good as the Rays when it comes to developing young pitching, they'll have a terrific chance of maximizing their potential.
Yunel Escobar Gets Traded to the New York Mets
Los Angeles Angels Get: OF Wuilmer Becerra, IF Dilson Herrera and RHP Rafael Montero
New York Mets Get: 3B Yunel Escobar and RHP Joe Smith
The New York Post's Ken Davidoff named Los Angeles third baseman Yunel Escobar as a likely trade target for the Mets as a replacement for David Wright. Wright, who has battled spinal stenosis since last year, underwent surgery last week to repair a herniated disk in his neck.
Why It Makes Sense for Los Angeles
As Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter reaffirmed last week, the Angels have baseball's worst farm system. While only one of the three players they're getting will show on the team's top prospect list—outfielder Wuilmer Becerra—that's only because Dilson Herrera and Rafael Montero no longer qualify as prospects.
When last they did, both were regarded as top-100 prospects by Baseball America (Herrera was No. 46 heading into 2015; Montero was No. 68 heading into 2014). In a lost season for the Angels, both could contribute down the stretch.
Herrera, 22, was rushed to the big leagues by the Mets but can hit for average and power, the latter a bit surprising given his 5'10", 150-pound frame. Montero, 25, missed most of 2015 with a shoulder injury and has struggled with his command since returning. But his issues appear mechanical, not physical.
He hasn't lost his ability to make batters swing-and-miss and still has upside as a mid-rotation starter or a power arm out of the bullpen. Becerra, 21, has big-power potential and profiles as a corner outfielder in the majors, but he's still a few years away.
Why It Makes Sense for the Mets
While panic usually leads to poor decisions, getting swept by Atlanta—and nearly no-hit by Julio Teheran—should serve as a sign for the Mets that something needs to change. The arrival of Escobar and Joe Smith can be that change.
Not only would he be a legitimate replacement for Wright at the hot corner, but he represents a huge upgrade over Curtis Granderson as the team's leadoff hitter. The 32-year-old's ability to reach base and serve as a table-setter could be just what the team's lineup needs to get going.
Smith isn't having a great year by any means, but he's an experienced reliever who would give manager Terry Collins another option. With both Antonio Bastardo and Jim Henderson scuffling, Collins could use more of those. Smith would be returning to the team that he broke into the majors with back in 2007.
Fernando Rodney Gets Traded to the Texas Rangers
San Diego Padres Get: LHP Yohander Mendez and SS/3B Josh Morgan
Texas Rangers Get: RHP Fernando Rodney
Hall of Fame scribe Peter Gammons reported that contenders have taken notice of Fernando Rodney's season in San Diego. Not only is Texas a contender, but it's looking to bolster its bullpen, as general manager Jon Daniels told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan last week.
Why It Makes Sense for San Diego
The Padres aren't going anywhere and need to continue restocking their farm system. They do just that by adding a pair of solid prospects in 21-year-old Yohander Mendez and 20-year-old Josh Morgan.
Mendez may ultimately wind up in the bullpen, where his ability to pound the strike zone with low-90s heat might play up in short stints. Morgan has the defensive chops to handle shortstop or third base and a bat that could produce decent power as he gets stronger.
Why It Makes Sense for Texas
The Rangers add an experienced late-inning reliever, a two-time All-Star with a penchant for inducing ground balls for far less than the top relief options expected to be available (Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller) are going to cost.
Rodney's arrival gives Rangers manager Jeff Banister more options, which is never a bad thing. He could replace Sam Dyson as the closer, share closing duties with him or slide into a setup role alongside Matt Bush and/or Jake Diekman.
No matter how the Rangers decide to utilize him, their bullpen would become better—and deeper.
Matt Kemp Gets Traded to San Francisco
San Diego Padres Get: RHP Sam Coonrod and SS Lucius Fox
San Francisco Giants Get: OF Matt Kemp and $40 million
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that San Francisco has been linked to San Diego's Matt Kemp as it continues to search for a replacement for Hunter Pence, who is out through at least early August after undergoing hamstring surgery.
Why It Makes Sense for San Diego
The Padres shed $25 million from their future payroll while adding a pair of potential long-term contributors in Sam Coonrod and Lucius Fox.
Coonrod, 23, has the stuff to develop into a mid-rotation starter and could contribute as early as next season. That said, San Diego could opt to shift his fastball-slider combination into relief, where he could become a terrific late-inning option.
Fox, a speedy, switch-hitting 18-year-old, has all the makings of a future table-setter atop a team's lineup. He's an up-the-middle defender, though whether he ultimately winds up at shortstop, second base or in center field largely depends on how the Padres' other middle-infield prospects develop.
Why It Makes Sense for San Francisco
He's not the MVP candidate he once was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Matt Kemp is still a solid source of offense from an outfield corner. Given Pence's absence and a lack of production from those who have tried to replace him, Kemp's bat would be a welcome addition to the middle of San Francisco's lineup.
With the Padres picking up a huge chunk of the money he's due, the Giants essentially get Kemp on a three-year, $25 million pact. With a healthy Pence back in right field next season, Kemp can slide over to left field, replacing Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco, both of whom are expected to depart as free agents after the season.
Ervin Santana Gets Traded to the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox Get: RHP Ervin Santana
Minnesota Twins Get: RHP Marc Brakeman and RHP Chandler Shepherd
The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman reported that Boston's search for rotation help continues, naming more than a dozen potential trade targets. As you'd expect, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are off-limits in trade talks, just as they were over the winter in discussions for Oakland's Sonny Gray, New York's Matt Harvey and Chicago's Chris Sale.
Why It Makes Sense for Boston
Santana hasn't been very good in Minnesota and comes with two years and $27 million left on his deal. But the 33-year-old has proved to be a durable innings-eater over his nine-year career, does a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground and has solid career numbers over nine starts at Fenway Park.
His mediocre performance as a Twin and remaining salary helps to keep Minnesota's asking price down, allowing the Red Sox to add him without surrendering significant prospects.
Why It Makes Sense for Minnesota
Not only do the Twins free up some payroll, but they add a pair of young pitchers whose impact could be felt at Target Field sooner than later.
Marc Brakeman, 22, has the stuff to stick as a starting pitcher but could move quickly through the minors as a reliever. Chandler Shepherd, 23, has already made the switch from starter to reliever, a role in which his low-90s fastball and secondary offerings play up in short stints. He's nearly ready to contribute.
Given the sad state of Minnesota's pitching staff, fresh arms with some upside like Brakeman and Shepherd are much-needed additions.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs and are current through games of June 20. All contract information courtesy of Cot's Contracts (via Baseball Prospectus).
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