One Realistic Trade Every MLB Team Should Make

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2018

One Realistic Trade Every MLB Team Should Make

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    The July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline is about a month-and-a-half away. Will that stop us from speculating on swaps that might go down?

    No, it will not.

    Here, then, is one trade proposal for every club, matching 15 potential buyers with 15 possible sellers. The calculus could change in the coming weeks. Not all of these deals will be consummated.

    That said, based on the current standings and each team's needs, these all make sense.

Arizona Diamondbacks Acquire RHP Jake Odorizzi from Minnesota Twins

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    With the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants all treading water in the National League West, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a chance to win the division and join the Senior Circuit elite.

    The small-market Minnesota Twins, meanwhile, are mired below .500 and in third place in the American League Central after a surprise wild-card berth in 2017.

    The Snakes could slither in and acquire right-hander Jake Odorizzi from a Minnesota rotation that is five-deep and expecting the return of Ervin Santana at some point from a finger injury.

    Odorizzi has struck out 72 in 73 innings with the Twins, is under team control through 2019 and would bolster a Diamondbacks rotation that owns a middling 4.14 ERA. 

    The D-backs system isn't loaded, but they could build a package around toolsy shortstop Jasrado Chisholm and right-hander Taylor Widener.

Atlanta Braves Acquire INF Jed Lowrie from Oakland Athletics

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    The young, hungry Atlanta Braves have blossomed ahead of schedule and are playoff contenders in the National League.

    They could use help at the hot corner, however, where Johan Camargo and his .222 average tops the depth chart.

    The Oakland Athletics aren't surefire sellers, as they've managed to stay in the AL playoff hunt. But they are a small-market team that's always looking to unload veterans and add cost-controlled talent.

    Could that combination land Jed Lowrie in Georgia? The 34-year-old infielder is hitting .280 with an .805 OPS for Oakland and played 47 games at third base as recently as 2015. 

    He's also an impending free agent, so the Braves should be able to get him without sacrificing any of the top talent from their stacked system and instead dangle a high-upside lottery ticket such as 19-year-old outfielder Cristian Pache. 

Baltimore Orioles Trade SS Manny Machado to St. Louis Cardinals

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    The St. Louis Cardinals have a winning record but are staring up at the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. A big splash would greatly increase their odds of making the postseason.

    That splash could come in the form of the winter's top potential trade target: Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado.

    Yes, Machado would be a one-year rental. Yeah, he'd likely cost the Redbirds a young MLB arm such as Jack Flaherty or Luke Weaver plus ancillary pieces. Sure, incumbent shortstop Paul DeJong is working his way back from a fractured hand.

    On the other hand, the Cards are accustomed to winning. They missed the dance last season. Machado and his .957 OPS would help them get back and might even make them title contenders.

Boston Red Sox Acquire RHP Kyle Barraclough from Miami Marlins

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    The Boston Red Sox's bullpen ranks sixth in baseball with a 2.98 ERA. Still, seeing as they're locked in an epic battle with the archrival New York Yankees for AL East supremacy, they could always gild the lily.

    One option: Miami Marlins right-hander Kyle Barraclough, who owns a 1.23 ERA and has fanned 30 in 29.1 innings for the Fish. He's also walked 15 in that span, which isn't a great look, but he's a bat-missing arm to be sure.

    A change-of-scenery trade built around former top catching prospect Blake Swihart may pique the rebuilding Marlins' interest, especially if they plan to deal current catcher J.T. Realmuto, after whom the Washington Nationals were recently sniffing, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Chicago Cubs Acquire RHP Bartolo Colon from Texas Rangers

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    Big Sexy in the Windy City?

    Think about it: The Texas Rangers aren't going anywhere in the crowded AL West. The Chicago Cubs aren't likely to decimate an already-thin farm system with a blockbuster trade but will want to add something by the deadline as they try to make a push back to the World Series.

    Why not take a flier on Bartolo Colon, who recently tallied his 2,500th career strikeout and would provide depth in the bullpen or the back of the rotation?

    The 45-year-old would be more than a novelty. He's pitched five innings or more in 10 of his 14 appearances with Texas. Yu Darvish, meanwhile, is nursing triceps tendinitis and was an expensive disappointment for the Cubs before he went on the DL.

    Colon could shore up the No. 5 spot, and he'd likely cost the Cubbies only a modest MiLB piece such as right-hander Michael Rucker.

Chicago White Sox Trade 1B Jose Abreu to Colorado Rockies

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    Picture Jose Abreu crushing baseballs at mile-high altitude. Fun, right?

    The Cuban slugger won't come cheap from a Chicago White Sox club that's committed to its youth movement and bent on stocking its farm system.

    Yet he'd be worth it for a Rockies squad that's fighting an uphill battle in the NL West and places Ian Desmond and his .197 average atop its first base depth chart.

    Top prospect Brendan Rodgers should be off the table, but third baseman Colton Welker and righty Peter Lambert ought to entice Chicago.

Cincinnati Reds Trade Billy Hamilton to San Francisco Giants

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    The San Francisco Giants have dealt with injuries to their co-aces, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto.

    Bumgarner is back and Cueto may soon follow after another elbow scare. The Giants could go shopping for a starter nonetheless.

    They could also go another route and reignite talks for Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton.

    Hamilton is flawed, no question. He's hitting .190 with a .281 on-base percentage. He's also one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and possesses prodigious speed.

    As such, he'd be a weapon for a Giants team with questions in the outfield and a last-gasp, win-now mentality.

    In center field, the Orange and Black have leaned on a hodgepodge of journeymen Austin Jackson, Gorkys Hernandez and demoted Gregor Blanco. Hamilton wouldn't necessarily eclipse any of them in the batter's box, but he'd add wheels and glitzy glove work to a questionable mix.

    San Francisco had interest in Hamilton over the winter and should have interest now, provided the cost is a lower-level prospect such as lefty Garrett Williams. 

Cleveland Indians Acquire Kelvin Herrera from Kansas City Royals

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    The Cleveland Indians need help in a bullpen that ranks 29th in baseball with a 5.60 ERA. The Kansas City Royals are in last place in the AL Central and destined for a rebuild.

    K.C. and Cleveland are division rivals, but they could still get together on a mutually beneficial swap.

    Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera boasts a 1.05 ERA with 22 strikeouts next to just two walks in 25.2 innings. Needless to say, he'd help shore up the Indians' late-inning corps.

    He's also an impending free agent, but the Tribe would still be forced to part with some young talent. Catcher Francisco Mejia and right-hander Triston Mckenzie should be off the menu, but righty Shane Bieber and a couple of complementary pieces might be enough.

Detroit Tigers Trade Shane Greene to Washington Nationals

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    In Bryce Harper's probable D.C. swan song, the Nationals want to make a run. They don't have any glaring holes but could stand to bolster their bullpen.

    The Detroit Tigers could be shopping closer Shane Greene, who has fanned 36 in 32.1 innings and is under club control through 2020.

    The 29-year-old right-hander would ding the Nats farm system, but he shouldn't cost top outfield prospects and Harper heir apparents Victor Robles and Juan Soto.

    Instead, the Nationals could dangle a high-upside, lower-level chip such as hard-throwing right-hander Wil Crowe.

Houston Astros Acquire LHP Brad Hand from San Diego Padres

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    The defending champion Houston Astros have few weaknesses. If we're picking nits, they could use some left-handed bullpen help.

    There are few options on the market more enticing than San Diego Padres southpaw Brad Hand, who boasts a 1.78 ERA with 21 saves and 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He's also signed to a reasonable deal that runs through 2021 with a team option, meaning the Friars will rightly ask a steep price.

    As long as said price doesn't include outfielder Kyle Tucker or righty Forrest Whitley, the 'Stros should be willing to pay it. A package built around slugging Cuban Yordan Alvarez could move the needle for San Diego.

Los Angeles Angels Acquire RHP Ivan Nova from Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is on the shelf with vexing elbow problems, meaning the Los Angeles Angels could use starting pitching depth.

    The Halos farm system is improved but still not top-notch, so they'd do well to target a mid-level option such as Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova.

    After a hot start, the Bucs have sunk in the NL Central standings, and could be willing to swap Nova for a controllable arm such as MLB-ready right-hander Jaime Barria.

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire RHP Pat Neshek from Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers could go to the well and acquire an ace-level arm. They did that last season when they acquired Yu Darvish from the Rangers, and with Clayton Kershaw and other members of the rotation battling injury, it seems like the prudent move.

    That said, executive Andrew Friedman has been loath to part with top prospects during his tenure in L.A. And the Dodgers have enough rotation depth to muddle through until Kershaw (fingers crossed) returns to health.

    Every club could use bullpen depth, however, and Los Angeles could make a buy-low move for Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Pat Neshek, who is dealing with injuries of his own but is on the comeback trail, per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

    The 37-year-old side-armer was an All-Star in 2017 and could be a valuable piece for the Dodgers as they try to win their first title since 1988.

    The Phillies aren't surefire sellers, but are realistically a year away from serious contention and could always use more controllable talent. They won't sniff anyone in the realm of outfielder Alex Verdugo in this deal, but they could net an intriguing youngster such as righty Dennis Santana.

Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Jacob deGrom from New York Mets

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    The Brewers have a real shot at challenging the Cubs and Cardinals for alpha-dog status in the NL Central. Acquiring an ace would boost their odds significantly.

    After a promising start, the New York Mets are in fourth place in the NL East. Naturally, speculation about their trove of starting pitchers is kicking into high gear.

    At the top of the list is right-hander Jacob deGrom, who boasts a 1.55 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 87.1 innings. 

    The Brew Crew would likely have to part with infielder and top prospect Keston Hiura plus another touted chip such as right-hander Corbin Burnes. 

    Will the Mets sell deGrom? Maybe. Would it be worth it for the Brewers to mortgage the farm if they do? Yes.

New York Yankees Acquire LHP J.A. Happ from Toronto Blue Jays

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    The Yankees look like a playoff team as is, with a potent offense, stout bullpen and...enough starting pitching?

    Jordan Montgomery is out after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Masahiro Tanaka is on the disabled list with two balky hamstrings. Sonny Gray sports a 4.98 ERA.

    The Yanks could make a move for a top-shelf arm such as DeGrom, but that would require depleting a farm system general manager Brian Cashman has methodically built up.

    Instead, New York may target a second-tier pitcher, like, say, the Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, who owns a 3.48 ERA with 94 strikeouts 82.2 frames. 

    Happ is 35 years old and in the final year of his current contract, so New York shouldn't sacrifice outfielder Clint Frazier or top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield. Hard-throwing right-hander Domingo Acevedo might be enough to intrigue a Jays team that surely sees it can't hang with the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East. 

Seattle Mariners Acquire RHP Chris Archer from Tampa Bay Rays

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    Despite losing second baseman and franchise cornerstone Robinson Cano to an 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, the Seattle Mariners sit atop the AL West.

    If they want to stay there and break their 16-year postseason dry spell, they should make a play for a starting pitcher to buttress a rotation that sports a so-so 3.95 ERA.

    Enter the Tampa Bay Rays' Chris Archer. Yes, Archer is sidelined with an abdominal strain and his 4.24 ERA doesn't pop off the stat sheet.

    He's a two-time All-Star with ace-level stuff when he's right, however, and he would instantly make the M's division favorites presuming he's healthy.

    In exchange, Seattle would probably have to sacrifice outfielder and top prospect Kyle Lewis and then some. There would be risk on both sides but also ample reward.


    All statistics current as of Thursday and courtesy of Baseball Reference.