MLB Waiver Trade Ideas Based on Week 20 News, Rumors and Speculation
Monday saw Major League Baseball's first trades of the waiver period, with former top-100 infield prospect Luis Sardinas traded from Seattle to San Diego in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, per the Mariners, while Atlanta catcher Michael McKenry to Milwaukee for what figures to be a similar return, per the Brewers.
Such is life during the waiver trade window, with the bulk of the deals made involving teams trading expendable pieces in exchange for nothing of significant value. For a refresher on how the whole process works, click here.
With more teams falling out of contention by the day and untimely injuries stretching the rosters of teams still in the playoff hunt, we can expect things to pick up over the next two weeks. What follows are trade ideas based on the latest chatter from the rumor mill.
Keep in mind that these proposed deals are pure speculation. Unless otherwise noted, there's no indication that any of them have actually been discussed.
Kurt Suzuki Gets Traded to the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Gets: C Kurt Suzuki
Minnesota Gets: A player to be named later
Minnesota placed veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki on trade waivers this past Saturday, sources tell Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.
Why It Makes Sense for Cleveland
A combined .509 OPS between Chris Gimenez, Roberto Perez and the currently injured Yan Gomes proves that the only thing less productive in Cleveland than Indians catchers are Browns quarterbacks.
Whether you agree with the Tribe's decision to not guarantee Jonathan Lucroy the full-time catching job in 2017 or not—the primary reason Lucroy vetoed a deal between the Indians and Milwaukee Brewers, as he explained to ESPN.com's Robert Sanchez—the fact remains that an upgrade is still needed.
Suzuki isn't Lucroy, but his .283 batting average and .758 OPS would represent a massive offensive upgrade for the Indians behind the plate. That he's a free agent after the season removes any potential issues with Gomes reclaiming his starting job next season.
Perez, who still has minor league options remaining, can be sent back to Triple-A until rosters expand on Sept. 1, leaving Gimenez to serve as Suzuki's primary backup for the next few weeks.
Why It Makes Sense for Minnesota
Suzuki isn't a part of Minnesota's long-term future. Juan Centeno, John Ryan Murphy and Mitch Garver could be, and with the Twins playing for nothing but pride the rest of the way, now is as good a time as any to find out whether or not they are.
If the Twins aren't satisfied with that trio of young backstops at the end of the season, they can always look to re-sign Suzuki as a free agent or add another veteran to take over behind the plate. In what is shaping up to be a weak free-agent class, there are a surprising number of catchers available.
Boone Logan Gets Traded to Baltimore
Baltimore Gets: LHP Boone Logan
Colorado Gets: A player to be named later
Baltimore continues to search for a left-handed reliever, reports Jon Heyman for Today's Knuckleball.
Why It Makes Sense for Baltimore
Only the bullpens in Oakland and Minnesota have carried a heavier workload this season than Baltimore's, and with the Orioles in a tight battle for their playoff lives, every game counts. Waiting for Darren O'Day to return from the strained rotator cuff that landed him on the 15-day disabled list isn't an option.
The Orioles need another experienced, reliable left-handed reliever now, and Boone Logan might be the best one available. Not only has Logan been terrific in Colorado this season (2.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings), but he's got both AL East and postseason experience, having spent four years with the New York Yankees (2010-2013).
Why It Makes Sense for Colorado
The Rockies were hoping to remain in contention at the non-waiver trade deadline but they've continued to fade from the playoff picture, having lost eight of their last 10 games. Hanging onto a pending free agent like Logan no longer makes any sense.
The veteran reliever isn't going to fetch anything of significant value in a trade, but adding organizational depth is better than letting him walk as a free agent after the season.
Carlos Gomez Gets Traded to the Miami Marlins
Houston Gets: RHP Dylan Axelrod
Miami Gets: OF Carlos Gomez
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets that acquiring Houston's Carlos Gomez is among the options Miami is exploring in an attempt to replace Giancarlo Stanton, who is likely out for the season due to a groin injury.
Why It Makes Sense for Houston
The Astros have until Thursday to deal Gomez, who they designated for assignment nearly a week ago, or he'll become a free agent. It makes far more sense for Houston to get something of value rather than let the former All-Star walk away for nothing.
With Houston sure to be looking to limit the workloads of Joe Musgrove and the currently injured Lance McCullers Jr., who are both expected to be major pieces of the team's future rotation, Dylan Axelrod would provide the Astros with another experienced arm to pick up some of those innings.
That'll be especially important if September rolls around and the Astros are still struggling to make up ground in the playoff hunt.
If that's the situation Houston finds itself in, running the 31-year-old out to the mound every fifth day makes more sense than continuing to add innings to one of its young arms, even with Axelrod's unimpressive 5.27 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over parts of five major league seasons.
Why It Makes Sense for Miami
After hitting .221 with nine home runs and a .619 OPS since arriving in Houston at least year's trade deadline, Gomez, primarily a center fielder, seems an odd choice to replace Stanton, a right fielder and one of the game's premier sluggers.
But Gomez found his greatest success in the National League, where he spent the bulk of his career, and a return to the Senior Circuit might be all he needs to put together a strong finish to the season.
At the very least, Gomez can provide solid defense, speed and a younger, right-handed platoon partner for 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki in right field.
Jeff Francoeur Gets Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Gets: A player to be named later
St. Louis Gets: OF Jeff Francoeur
Jeff Francoeur has passed through revocable waivers unclaimed, reports Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball, meaning that Atlanta can trade him anywhere.
Why It Makes Sense for Atlanta
Francoeur, who had been logging fairly regular playing time in Atlanta for much of the season, has made only 12 plate appearances in August. That reduced playing time is largely due to the team's acquisition of Matt Kemp, and it's made the 32-year-old even more expendable than he already was.
Adding another young piece to the farm system, albeit one with a limited ceiling, makes more sense for a rebuilding club like the Braves than keeping Francoeur around. It's not like Atlanta is without fourth outfielder options to call upon, with Tyler Moore, Mel Rojas Jr. and Matt Tuiasosopo all a phone call away at Triple-A Gwinnett.
Why It Makes Sense for St. Louis
With Matt Holliday out of action due to a fractured thumb, the Cardinals have once again had to shuffle their starting lineup. Brandon Moss moves from first base to left field, Matt Carpenter from second base to first and Greg Garcia from the bench to the keystone.
It'd be much simpler—and more beneficial for the Cardinals—to keep Garcia as a reserve and both Carpenter and Moss at their previous positions. Adding Francoeur, who could split time with Jeremy Hazelbaker or Tommy Pham in left field would allow the team to do just that.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs and are current through games of Aug. 15. All contract information courtesy of Cot's Contracts (via Baseball Prospectus).
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