Blockbuster MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Biggest Pre-Deadline Rumors
The rumors are coming fast and furious in the final stretch before Major League Baseball's July 31 trade deadline. Some offer teases of big deals to come.
Take these rumors and crossbreed them with a little imagination, and fun ideas are born.
In the interest of what-the-heckery, what follows are eight trade ideas based on the big rumors out there. Some of these are more solid than others. Others require some speculation to connect the dots.
Regardless, the goal is to take educated guesses at trade terms that teams could agree on. Going in no particular order, let's get to it.
A's Trade Sonny Gray and Yonder Alonso to the Yankees for 4 Prospects
Source: Mark Feinsand of MLB.com
Let's begin with a doozy from Feinsand which claims the New York Yankees are "making progress" on a deal for ace right-hander Sonny Gray and first baseman Yonder Alonso.
For Gray alone, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports the Oakland A's could be "looking for even more" than the four-prospect package the Chicago White Sox got for Jose Quintana. That included two blue-chip prospects (Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease) and two throw-ins (Matt Rose and Bryant Flete).
Conveniently for the Yankees, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports the A's want a young center fielder and are interested in 19-year-old Estevan Florial, who's jumped to No. 71 in Baseball America's top 100.
The Yankees would need to add another legit prospect. With Gleyber Torres and Dustin Fowler injured and Clint Frazier likely untouchable, the eeny-meeny-miny-moe finger points to Chance Adams. He's a red-hot righty who checks in at No. 56 for Baseball America.
These two plus a couple of throw-ins might be good enough for Gray. But to also get Alonso, who's a fine solution to a serious problem at first base, the Yankees would need to further add on.
A couple of prospects with upside should do the trick. Especially if said prospects are speedy outfielder Jorge Mateo and flamethrowing right-hander Jorge Guzman.
The Trade: RHP Sonny Gray and 1B Yonder Alonso for RHP Chance Adams, OF Estevan Florial, INF/OF Jorge Mateo and RHP Jorge Guzman
A's Trade Sonny Gray to the Mariners for 4 Prospects
Source: Mark Feinsand of MLB.com
Or, the A's could pull a shocker and trade Gray to the Seattle Mariners instead.
Feinsand is the source for this rumor as well. And while the Mariners do seem like an unlikely suitor for Gray, general manager Jerry Dipoto is indeed a crafty one.
"He is going for it these next two years," a source said of Dipoto to Feinsand. "If he is going for it, he might as well go completely in."
Gray is indeed under club control through 2019, so that fits.
The bigger hangup is what's in Seattle's farm system. Or rather, what's not in it. B/R's Joel Reuter ranked it as the No. 22 system in MLB coming out of last month's draft, and it landed only two players in Baseball America's top 100.
Any trade discussions about Gray would have to begin with those two prospects. One is outfielder Kyle Lewis, a 22-year-old dynamo who ranks at No. 62. The other is right-hander Nick Neidert, a crafty 20-year-old who ranks at No. 84.
Seattle could then add well-regarded righty Andrew Moore, who's already made it to the majors, and corner infielder D.J. Peterson. The latter is a reclamation project, but the A's have never shied away from those.
The Trade: RHP Sonny Gray for OF Kyle Lewis, RHP Nick Neidert, RHP Andrew Moore, 1B/3B D.J. Peterson
Padres Trade Brad Hand to the Astros for 3 Prospects
Gray going to New York or Seattle would nix the rumors about him going to the Houston Astros. But that's OK. Their gaze has shifted elsewhere anyway.
"If anything, we’re going to have to put guys in the bullpen," said Astros GM Jeff Luhnow.
Brad Hand enters this conversation via blatant speculation. The Astros have eyes on a World Series title. Hand is the best relief pitcher on the market. So, why not?
What is for sure is that the San Diego Padres have set a high asking price. According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, they're seeking "top, top prospects" for Hand.
Because Hand is both great and controlled for two more seasons, San Diego can point to the Andrew Miller trade as precedent. That netted the Yankees a four-prospect package headlined by Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield.
Hand isn't quite as good as Miller, so the Astros shouldn't give up their very best prospects. Outfielder Derek Fisher and right-hander Forrest Whitley, however, would be fair game. They rank at No. 54 and No. 58, respectively, in Baseball America's top 100. Not elite, but quite good.
At least one more solid prospect would have to be involved for the Hand deal to resemble the Miller deal. Hector Perez, a right-hander with a big arm but wild control, fits the bill.
The Trade: LHP Brad Hand for OF Derek Fisher, RHP Forrest Whitley and RHP Hector Perez
Rangers Trade Yu Darvish to the Dodgers for 2 Prospects
Source: Jon Morosi of MLB.com
Staying out West, Morosi reports the Los Angeles Dodgers had "strong interest" in Yu Darvish even before Clayton Kershaw was felled by a back injury.
However, making a deal won't be easy. The Texas Rangers may be mired in a rocky season, and Darvish may be an impending free agent, but ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports he'll only be moved in the "right deal."
Recent trades of Zack Greinke (2012) and David Price (2015) indicate the "right deal" for a rental ace can be centered around one blue-chip prospect. But with good starting pitching in short supply this season, the Rangers can up the ante.
Morosi's sources tell him the Rangers want "at least" two of the Dodgers' four best prospects: right-hander Walker Buehler, center fielder Alex Verdugo, second baseman Willie Calhoun and right-hander Yadier Alvarez.
Verdugo and Alvarez, on the other hand, would make for a fine package.
Verdugo, ranked No. 35 by Baseball America, is a sweet-swinging 21-year-old who's ready for The Show. Alvarez, who's also 21, needs to further develop his electric arm. But at No. 60 in the rankings, he would immediately become the best pitcher in Texas' farm system.
The Trade: RHP Yu Darvish for OF Alex Verdugo and RHP Yadier Alvarez
Tigers Trade Justin Verlander (and Cash) to the Dodgers for 1 Prospect
If the Dodgers don't land Darvish, they could turn their attention to Justin Verlander.
Feinsand reports the Detroit Tigers are "aggressively" shopping the veteran ace, while Morosi notes the Dodgers were also interested in him before Kershaw's injury.
Verlander, 34, is making $28 million this year and $56 million over the next two years, with a $22 million vesting option for 2020. In the meantime, he has a 4.50 ERA through 21 starts.
That's a pitcher with questionable value beyond what he's being paid. As such, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press hears the Tigers are willing to eat the roughly $12 million Verlander is still owed this year.
That should be good enough to get the Kershaw-less Dodgers talking, but the bluest of their blue chips should remain out of reach. At the least, that includes Buehler and Verdugo.
Calhoun, however, stands out as a reasonable trade chip.
His glove is a question mark, but his bat is the main reason he ranks at No. 74 for Baseball America. That should be A-OK for the Tigers, who have plenty of arms but few impact bats in their farm system.
So if Detroit can get Calhoun, neither eating some cash nor waving goodbye to an icon would hurt too bad.
The Trade: RHP Justin Verlander and Cash for 2B Willie Calhoun
Tigers Trade Justin Verlander and Alex Avila to Cubs for 2 Prospects
Source: Jon Morosi of MLB.com
If not the Dodgers, the Tigers could deal Verlander to the Chicago Cubs.
Morosi reports they have interest in both Verlander and battery mate Alex Avila. With an .887 OPS from the left side, the latter could combine with Willson Contreras to give the Cubs some serious thump behind the plate. Verlander, meanwhile, would fill out a starting rotation that could use another impact arm.
One complication is that the Cubs gave up their only blue-chip prospects to get Quintana. But as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes, their luxury-tax number for 2018 is remarkably low. Perhaps they could sell the Tigers on a deal involving lesser prospects but more salary relief.
The Cubs would still have to give the Tigers something real for Verlander, though. Victor Caratini can be the guy. He rates as one of MLB.com's top 10 catchers and could fill Avila's shoes right away.
Speaking of Avila, Bob Nightengale of USA Today speculates he's worth at least a mid-level prospect. The Cubs have plenty of those and could sell the Tigers on a much-needed young bat.
Isaac Paredes, an 18-year-old shortstop who's showing a solid hit tool and decent pop at Single-A, is just the guy.
The Trade: RHP Justin Verlander and C Alex Avila for C Victor Caratini and SS Isaac Paredes
Tigers Trade Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Rockies for 2 Prospects
Source: Thomas Harding of MLB.com
Or, the Tigers could deal Avila to the Colorado Rockies instead.
Harding's report actually leads with the Rockies' interest in Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. But what stands out more is their interest in Avila and Justin Wilson, Detroit's lefty relief ace.
More so than Lucroy, Avila would be an upgrade at a position where the Rockies have gotten league-worst offense. With a 2.75 ERA in 41 appearances, Wilson could freshen a bullpen that's hit the skids over the last 30 days.
Wilson also has an extra year of control, so the Tigers can look to last summer's trade of Zach Duke that netted the White Sox one of the St. Louis Cardinals' top prospects. Tack on Avila's price tag, and a package deal of him and Wilson would have to net the Tigers a good return.
A good starting point would be Garrett Hampson, who checks in as Colorado's No. 10 prospect at Baseball America. He's a 22-year-old infielder who's known for his athleticism. That makes him a good fit for the Tigers. In addition to needing young bats, they also want to get more athletic.
Along those same lines, the Rockies can also include Pedro Gonzalez. He doesn't yet loom large on the prospect radar. But as a 19-year-old with lots of tools and a .778 OPS in Rookie ball, that shouldn't last.
The Trade: C Alex Avila and LHP Justin Wilson for INF Garrett Hampson and OF Pedro Gonzalez
Tigers Trade Ian Kinsler and Justin Wilson to the Brewers for 3 Prospects
Sources: Jon Morosi of MLB.com
The Tigers could always trade just Avila to the Rockies and move Wilson elsewhere. Perhaps in a package with veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Morosi claims such a trade isn't imminent, but it's certainly possible.
Prying those two from Detroit would boost Milwaukee's sinking postseason odds. Kinsler would solidify second base and free up Eric Sogard to fill a utility role. Wilson would solidify an up-and-down bullpen.
Of course, it would cost the Brewers. Wilson's price was established earlier. Although he's not having a great year, Kinsler's track record and $12 million option for 2018 make him a pricey item as well.
Fortunately for the Brewers, they also have a farm system with bats that could appeal to Detroit.
Included within are second baseman Isan Diaz and shortstop Mauricio Dubon. Although neither is a top-100 prospect, the 21-year-old Diaz checks in as one of MLB.com's top second-base prospects. Dubon, 23, is a near-MLB-ready prospect who could be a capable everyday shortstop.
The trade would just need a deal-sweetener. Trent Clark works. The outfielder's stock has faded since he was picked in the first round in 2015, but he remains a well-rounded talent and is only 20 years old.
The Trade: 2B Ian Kinsler and LHP Justin Wilson for 2B Isan Diaz, SS Mauricio Dubon and OF Trent Clark
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.