One YOLO Risk That Could Skyrocket or Destroy Each MLB Contender's Future

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2018

One YOLO Risk That Could Skyrocket or Destroy Each MLB Contender's Future

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    Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

    YOLO: You only live once.

    It's not a rallying cry for those looking to minimize risk, and it's generally not a mindset that MLB front office types can afford to have when it comes to the allocation of tens of millions of dollars and the building of competitive rosters.

    Luckily, we're not front office types.

    Ahead we've cooked up one YOLO risk that each MLB contender should consider taking this offseason. It could skyrocket their postseason hopes, or it could have sweeping negative ramifications.

    Let's get started.

Boston Red Sox

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    Marcus Stroman
    Marcus StromanThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade for SP Marcus Stroman and C Russell Martin

    The Boston Red Sox appear to have four spots in the 2019 starting rotation locked inChris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez.

    While that's a potentially strong group, both Sale and Porcello are a year away from free agency, and Rodriguez has never topped 140 innings in a season, so adding another quality starter figures to be a priority.

    A trade for Marcus Stroman could bring a huge return on investment.

    Stroman, 27, struggled to a 5.54 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 102.1 innings last season, but shoulder issues are at least partially to blame.

    Below the surface, his 3.91 FIP gives plenty of reason for future optimism. After all, we are talking about a pitcher who finished eighth in American League Cy Young Award voting just a year ago, when he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA while tossing 200-plus innings for a second straight season.

    Taking on Russell Martin's $20 million salary would lower the acquisition cost for a team that's lacking top-tier prospect talent. From there, a package built around a high-ceiling pitching prospect like Bryan Mata and slugging third baseman Bobby Dalbec could be enough to get a deal done.

New York Yankees

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    Paul Goldschmidt
    Paul GoldschmidtNorm Hall/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade for 1B Paul Goldschmidt

    Upgrading the starting rotation will be the top priority for the New York Yankees this offseason.

    It doesn't have to be the only impact move they make, though.

    Adding another power bat might seem redundant for a team that just broke the single-season record with 267 home runs, but you can never have too much offense in today's game.

    First base is the obvious spot for an upgrade after the position produced a .234/.309/.453 line. Trade pickup Luke Voit (148 PA, 1.095 OPS, 14 HR, 33 RBI) was a revelation, but his .380 BABIP and completely unsustainable 41.2 home run-to-fly ball ratio raise some rather large red flags of impending regression.

    So if they can shore up the starting rotation through free agency, rather than with a trade for someone like Carlos Carrasco or James Paxton, using some of their prospect capital to acquire Paul Goldschmidt could be an easier pill to swallow.

    And as good as he is, Goldschmidt is only going to cost so much a year removed from free agency. Would a package of Jonathan Loaisiga, Everson Pereira and Deivi Garcia get a deal done?

    There's a ton of upside there, and it could turn out to be a huge win for the Arizona Diamondbacks. At the same time, it wouldn't gut the Yankees system or cost them Justus Sheffield or Estevan Florial.

    Sound too light? Don't underestimate the value of Pereira. He could easily overtake Florial as the top position-player prospect in the system.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Nelson Cruz
    Nelson CruzJayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign DH Nelson Cruz and OF Andrew McCutchen

    It's time for the Tampa Bay Rays to spend some money.

    Despite an offense that ranked 16th in the majors in runs (716) and 27th in home runs (150), they still managed to win 90 games.

    There are two clear spots to fill in the starting lineup: right field and designated hitter.

    C.J. Cron and Ji-Man Choi are in-house candidates to fill the DH spot. With a $5.2 million projected arbitration salary, per MLB Trade Rumors, Cron is an obvious non-tender candidate. Austin Meadows is the top option to man right field.

    However, an aggressive free-agency push to sign both Nelson Cruz and Andrew McCutchen could transform the offense without bogging down the team financially. Both players could have a tough time finding anyone willing to offer more than a three-year deal, and even that might be a stretch in the case of the 38-year-old Cruz.

    So it would be a short-term push to contend now with a young core and dynamic pitching staff already in place.

Cleveland Indians

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    Carlos Carrasco
    Carlos CarrascoJason Miller/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade SP Carlos Carrasco

    If any team can afford to trade a top-tier starting pitcher while still contending for a title, it's the Cleveland Indians. After all, they became the first team in MLB history to have four different pitchers reach the 200-strikeout mark:

    • Corey Kluber: 20-7, 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 222 K, 215.0 IP
    • Carlos Carasco: 17-10, 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 231 K, 192.0 IP
    • Mike Clevinger: 13-8, 3.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 207 K, 200.0 IP
    • Trevor Bauer: 12-6, 2.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 221 K, 175.1 IP

    Add to that rookie Shane Bieber (11-5, 4.55 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 118 K, 114.2 IP) and rising prospect Triston McKenzie (No. 38 overall, per, and the starting pitching situation is in great shape.

    Now, as a result of "market constraints," the Indians are willing to listen to offers on Kluber and Carrasco—among others veterans—this offseason, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

    Replacing a perennial Cy Young Award candidate such as Kluber atop the rotation would be tough, but breakout seasons by Bauer and Clevinger make it easier to envision flipping Carrasco.

    With a $9.8 million salary for 2019 and a $9.5 million club option for 2020, he's an extremely valuable chip in a thin market for impact starters.

    The Indians' farm system ranked 25th in our final update, and this is Cleveland's chance to add more controllable impact talent to an organization that relies on cheap contributions.

Minnesota Twins

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    Zack Greinke
    Zack GreinkeMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade for SP Zack Greinke

    It might seem like a stretch to call the Minnesota Twins contenders on the heels of a 78-84 season.

    However, they're just a year removed from earning a spot in the AL Wild Card Game, and they could be major players this offseason with upward of $70 million to spend, according to Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN Twin Cities.

    There are several areas of the roster that need to be addressed, and none is more pressing than a starting rotation that ranked 22nd in the majors with a 4.54 ERA.

    Jose Berrios is a budding ace and Kyle Gibson enjoyed the best season of his career in 2018, but if this team is going to contend, those two need some help.

    While a run at someone like Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel is a possibility, the team might prefer the shorter commitment that would come with a trade for Zack Greinke.

    Greinke is owed $104.5 million over the next three seasons. That's a huge number, but the Twins can afford it, and taking on the bulk of that money would almost certainly lower the acquisition cost considerably.

    If the Twins take on even $90 million, they might be able to get a deal done with a couple of second-tier prospects like Lewis Thorpe and Brent Rooker as the centerpieces.

    The D-backs' desire to begin rebuilding is something the Twins can take full advantage of with their financial flexibility, and a Greinke-Berrios-Gibson trio would be enough for other AL contenders to take notice.

Houston Astros

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    Josh James
    Josh JamesBob Levey/Getty Images

    The Risk: Fill out the rotation in-house

    The biggest question surrounding the Houston Astros this offseason is what they'll do to address a starting rotation that has lost Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton to free agency and Lance McCullers Jr. to Tommy John surgery.

    What if the answer is nothing?

    If the Astros aren't overly enthused with free-agent options and can't find a suitable partner on the trade market, they have the arms to stand pat. Consider the following potential rotation:

    • Justin Verlander: 34 GS, 16-9, 2.52 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 290 K, 214.0 IP
    • Gerrit Cole: 32 GS, 15-5, 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 276 K, 200.1 IP
    • Collin McHugh: 58 G, 6-2, 12 HLD, 1.99 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 94 K, 72.1 IP
    • Josh James: 6 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 2.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 29 K, 23.0 IP
    • Framber Valdez: 8 G, 5 GS, 4-1, 2.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 34 K, 37.0 IP

    McHugh worked exclusively as a starter from 2014 to 2017, making 102 starts during that span, before thriving in a bullpen role last season. James and Valdez impressed in limited big league action.

    Another starter-turned-reliever, Brad Peacock is also an option to return to the rotation, and top prospect Forrest Whitley is expected to be ready to contribute at some point in 2019.

    With a hole to fill at the catcher position and room to add a power bat at the DH spot as well, the Astros could roll the dice with their pitching options and focus on the offense.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutVictor Decolongon/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade CF Mike Trout

    What would it take this offseason for the Los Angeles Angels to be serious contenders in 2019?

    Even if they went on another ill-advised spending spree and added Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel to the starting rotation and a proven closer to the back of the bullpen, the pitching staff would still have a number of holes.

    They could go all-in on Manny Machado to pair him with Mike Trout in the middle of the lineup, but that would probably mean ignoring the pitching staff entirely or at the very least settling for smaller fish to fill out the rotation.

    This team just isn't built to win now.

    With a farm system on the rise and a number of movable assets at the big league level, the Angels are a prime candidate for a full-scale rebuild. The only sticking point is the presence of Trout and his rapidly approaching departure date.

    The game's best player is signed for two more seasons before he reaches free agency for the first time. Say what you will about loyalty and comfort, but Trout has only played in one postseason series in his eight-year career. He'll likely want the next chapter to take place somewhere he has a chance to win.

    From a purely objective standpoint, trading Trout now looks like it would be a win-win for team and player.

    The Angels would get a franchise-altering return that sets them up for sustainable success in the future, while Trout would avoid wasting two more of his prime seasons on a team whose ceiling is a .500 record.

Oakland Athletics

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    Michael Brantley
    Michael BrantleyJason Miller/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign LF Michael Brantley

    The Oakland Athletics have never given out a contract larger than the six-year, $66 million extension Eric Chavez signed prior to the 2004 season.

    So while signing Michael Brantley wouldn't seem like a major risk for most teams, it qualifies when talking about one of the most fiscally conscious teams in baseball.

    What will it cost them to sign Brantley this offseason?

    Jon Heyman of Fancred predicted a three-year, $42 million deal. The MLB Trade Rumors team was in the same ballpark with a guess of three years and $45 million.

    That's big money for a team that played the 2018 season with a payroll just north of $80 million. In fact, slugger Khris Davis ($10.5 million) was the only player on the roster who earned more than $7 million.

    That said, Brantley would be a huge addition.

    The 31-year-old hit .309/.364/.468 with 55 extra-base hits last season and proved healthy enough to play 143 games after missing significant time the previous two seasons.

    With Stephen Piscotty entrenched in right field and rookie standout Ramon Laureano making a strong case for the center field job, signing Brantley to play left would solidify the outfield and provide the offense with an excellent on-base threat ahead of its big boppers.

Seattle Mariners

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    Nathan Eovaldi
    Nathan EovaldiElsa/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign SPs Yusei Kikuchi and Nathan Eovaldi

    The Seattle Mariners have already made headlines this offseason.

    After a rumor surfaced that the team was considering a "full-fledged teardown," general manager Jerry Dipoto clarified the team's mindset with Greg Johns and Maria Guardado of "Clearly over-dramatized is the best way to put that. We're open-minded to different ways we can get better, but what we're hoping to achieve is to reimagine our roster to look at it in terms of what is our quickest path to a championship club."

    If the team is still serious about contending in 2019, starting pitching needs to be the focus of its offseason, and adding perhaps the two biggest boom-or-bust candidates on the free-agent market would be a bold strategy.

    Nathan Eovaldi returned strong from Tommy John surgery during the regular season and gave his free-agent stock a shot in the arm with a brilliant postseason that included a 1.61 ERA over 22.1 innings. He could get a five-year deal despite a limited track record of success and myriad injury issues.

    Yusei Kikuchi is the latest Japan Pacific League standout getting ready to make his way stateside. "Multiple MLB scouts believe Kikuchi's ceiling is as a No. 2 starter in the major leagues," Jon Paul Morosi of wrote in August. Still, there's no telling how that transition will go and how his stuff will fare.

    It's a bold approach, but with a playoff drought that stretches back to 2001 and a thin farm system that will limit Seattle's options on the trade market, it's one that could pay dividends all the way to October.

Atlanta Braves

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    J.T. Realmuto
    J.T. RealmutoKAZUHIRO NOGI/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade for C J.T. Realmuto

    The Atlanta Braves have the prospect talent to swing a trade for anyone who might be made available this offseason.

    A package built around outfielder Cristian Pache and one of their top-tier pitching prospects—Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Mike Soroka and Ian Anderson—will stack up to any trade package around in terms of headliners, and there's enough intriguing lower-level talent to pad out a blockbuster deal.

    The question then is: Who would be worth paying such a steep price?

    One clear answer is Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.

    With Kurt Suzuki hitting free agency and 32-year-old Tyler Flowers potentially headed there after the 2019 season, the up-and-coming Braves are without a long-term answer behind the plate.

    Stability at the catcher position will be especially important for a team that will be ushering a number of young pitchers to the majors in the years to come, and Realmuto is just the kind of player who can serve as a franchise cornerstone.

    All signs point to the 2018 All-Star being traded before Opening Day. The Braves have to do everything in their power to make sure they're the landing spot.

New York Mets

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    Jacob deGrom
    Jacob deGromScott Taetsch/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade SP Jacob deGrom and SP Zack Wheeler

    The New York Mets have given no indication that they intend to sell off any key pieces this offseason.

    That's a mistake.

    Even with better health, the current roster is clearly not as good as the Braves', and the same might be true of the Phillies once they finish what's expected to be a busy and impactful offseason.

    In likely NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, the Mets hold a trade chip who could turn the offseason on its head—and one who would bring a massive return. If the Mets are set on contending in the near future, trading deGrom wouldn't preclude them from that. They could simply make it a point to target prospects on the cusp of being MLB-ready. Think of last year's Gerrit Cole trade but with a significantly greater return.

    Flipping one excellent player could bring back two or three young, controllable long-term pieces for a team with far too many aging, high-priced veterans who have consistently underperformed.

    And if they did opt to deal deGrom, there would be no reason to balk at the idea of also moving Zack Wheeler, who will be a free agent after 2019. The 28-year-old finally stayed healthy and turned in a brilliant second half, and now is the time to cash in on his rebuilt stock.

    Trading those two pitchers would mean a step back in 2019, but it wouldn't mean a full-scale rebuild. If anything, it might expedite the team's hopes of legitimately contending in the near future.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Patrick Corbin
    Patrick CorbinDenis Poroy/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign SPs Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel

    The Philadelphia Phillies have been identified as one team that could conceivably sign both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports.

    What if they went in another direction entirely and targeted the top two pitchers on the market instead?

    With Cy Young finalist Aaron Nola, last year's free-agent prize Jake Arrieta and under-the-radar breakout candidate Nick Pivetta already forming a solid trio, the Phillies could turn their attention to building a super rotation:

    • Aaron Nola: 33 GS, 17-6, 2.37 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 224 K, 212.1 IP
    • Patrick Corbin: 33 GS, 11-7, 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 246 K, 200.0 IP
    • Jake Arrieta: 31 GS, 10-11, 3.96 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 138 K, 172.2 IP
    • Dallas Keuchel: 34 GS, 12-11, 3.74 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 153 K, 204.2 IP
    • Nick Pivetta: 32 GS, 7-14, 4.77 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 188 K, 164.0 IP

    Vincent Velasquez and Zach Eflin could bolster the relief corps in multi-inning relief roles, and the team would still hypothetically have money leftover—assuming what it would cost to sign both Harper and Machado—to make a run at a high-upside free agent like Josh Donaldson or A.J. Pollock.

    It wouldn't be the offseason many Phillies fans are dreaming about, but it might work out even better in the long run.

Washington Nationals

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign 3B Manny Machado

    The door has not shut on a possible reunion between Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals.

    According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, the Nationals offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million extension near the end of the season, which makes it abundantly clear they're willing to spend some money to retain their homegrown superstar.

    However, it's the market's other marquee name who looks like a better fit from a roster standpoint. Consider the following potential lineup:

    • C: Spencer Kieboom
    • 1B: Ryan Zimmerman
    • 2B: Anthony Rendon
    • SS: Trea Turner
    • 3B: Manny Machado
    • LF: Juan Soto
    • CF: Victor Robles
    • RF: Adam Eaton

    That still leaves Michael Taylor and prospect Carter Kieboom as trade chips to try to improve the catcher position, or they could make a run at signing old friend Wilson Ramos.

    Just something to consider, if they were willing to pony up $300 million to Harper.

Chicago Cubs

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    Whit Merrifield
    Whit MerrifieldKiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign 3B Josh Donaldson, trade for 2B Whit Merrifield

    So the Chicago Cubs are looking for an offensive overhaul this winter?

    Well, here you go.

    These moves would leave the lineup looking like this:

    • C: Willson Contreras
    • 1B: Anthony Rizzo
    • 2B: Whit Merrifield
    • SS: Javier Baez
    • 3B: Josh Donaldson
    • LF: Kris Bryant
    • CF: Albert Almora Jr.
    • RF: Jason Heyward

    A package of Kyle Schwarber and prospects for Merrifled and controllable lefty reliever Tim Hill sounds like a reasonable move for both sides.

    Or, if Donaldson is just looking for a one-year deal to rebuild his stock, they could build the trade package around Ian Happ and use Schwarber in a part-time role until 2020, when Donaldson presumably walks for a long-term contract.

    On a basic level, the Cubs need guys who can consistently get on base. Donaldson (.367 career OBP) and Merrifield (.342 career OBP, .367 OBP in 2018) do that at an elite level.

    It's a bold approach, but it has its merits.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Brandon Woodruff
    Brandon WoodruffPool/Getty Images

    The Risk: Commit to Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes as openers

    Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell took bullpen use to another level during the team's playoff run, and that could well carry over to the 2019 season—specifically with his usage of young fireballers Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. 

    Plenty of people will be calling for the Brewers to sign a top-tier free-agent starter to help eat innings and bring some stability to the rotation, and there's certainly something to that idea.

    However, they might also benefit from taking a page out of the Tampa Bay Rays' book and fully committing to the opener approach.

    Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson and a healthy Jimmy Nelson will presumably fill three spots in the rotation, which leaves the likes of Zach Davies, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta and Brent Suter to round out the staff.

    Using Woodruff and Burnes as openers ahead of those guys might be the best way to maximize the talents of everyone involved. Otherwise, if one of those guys steps forward as a fourth reliable option, the manager could also piggyback Woodruff and Burnes every fifth day to fill one spot.

    Counsell has a lot of options, especially with the three-headed monster of Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress shortening games at the back of the bullpen.

    Fully committing to the approach that was employed during the postseason would be bold, to say the least.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Yasmani Grandal
    Yasmani GrandalEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign C Yasmani Grandal

    The Pittsburgh Pirates made it clear they're eyeing contention in 2019 when they traded for Chris Archer and Keone Kela this past summer, despite slim odds of reaching the postseason.

    With that in mind, a splashy free-agent signing is not out of the question. At least, splashy by their small-market standards.

    The front office has shown in recent years that one place they're willing to spend is at the catcher position.

    Russell Martin signed a two-year, $17 million deal in 2012 and helped lead the team to back-to-back playoff appearances. Francisco Cervelli is entering the final season of a three-year, $31 million extension, and he was the highest-paid player on the team last year with a $10.5 million salary.

    Is Yasmani Grandal next?

    Despite his postseason struggles, Grandal has consistently been an excellent source of power, one of the game's best pitch-framers and a solid handler of the staff. The 30-year-old might be a more likely candidate to be signed by the Pirates after his stock took a hit in October, as they're always looking for a bargain.

    Grandal and Cervelli could platoon in 2019, which would give Grandal time to get acclimated to the new staff, and then a catching tandem of Grandal and Elias Diaz could handle things going forward.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Craig Kimbrel
    Craig KimbrelSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign RPs Craig Kimbrel and Adam Ottavino

    Time and again, the St. Louis Cardinals have looked for creative ways to address the bullpen. This time around, they should bite the bullet and spend some money.

    After using a handful of different closers and finishing 20th in bullpen ERA (4.38) while tallying 21 blown saves in 2018, the bullpen is once again in need of an overhaul.

    Flame-throwing rookie Jordan Hicks has a bright future, but his 5.2 walks per nine innings make him a risky option in high-leverage situations.

    Dakota Hudson and John Brebbia both showed flashes as rookies, while high-priced veterans Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson will be given every chance to earn their paychecks.

    Adding Craig Kimbrel and Adam Ottavino to that group would take it from a question mark to a major strength.

    Kimbrel is the best closer on the market and the active saves leader. He'll go down as one of the most dominant relievers the game has ever seen, and at 30 years old, he still has plenty left in the tank.

    Ottavino, 32, was originally drafted by the Cardinals in 2006 before the Colorado Rockies selected him off waivers in 2012. After posting a 2.43 ERA and 13.0 K/9 with 34 holds in 75 games, he's established himself as one of the game's elite setup options and one who could consistently bridge the gap to Kimbrel.

    Rumors of a run at Bryce Harper or Manny Machado are fun, but in terms of bang for their buck, spending big to bolster the relief corps looks like the Cardinals' best approach to the offseason.

Colorado Rockies

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    Nolan Arenado
    Nolan ArenadoDylan Buell/Getty Images

    The Risk: Trade 3B Nolan Arenado

    Do the Colorado Rockies think they have a realistic shot of re-signing Nolan Arenado?

    That's the question here, and if the answer is no, it's time to be proactive for the good of the franchise, even if it comes at the cost of a small step backward in 2019.

    Fresh off a 91-win season and with a young starting staff on the rise, the Rockies appear to be in a position of sustainable contention for the first time in franchise history.

    However, it's unclear whether Arenado will be a part of that bright future.

    The 27-year-old has posted a 129 OPS+ while averaging 40 doubles, 40 home runs and 126 RBI over the past four seasons. And after earning a projected $26.1 million in arbitration next year, he'll hit the open market for what promises to be a massive payday.

    If the Rockies flip him now, they could add significant talent to an already deep farm system, and the long-term replacement for Arenado might already be in the organization.

    Colton Welker, who is the No. 2 prospect in the Colorado system per, hit .333/.383/.489 with 32 doubles, 13 home runs and 82 RBI in a full season at High-A last year. He's just 21 years old and could be manning third base in the majors by 2020.

    If the Rockies sell high on Arenado now, pick up a quality arm in the process and sign a stop-gap option to man the hot corner, there's no reason to think they can't still contend in 2019 while also improving their long-term outlook.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    The Risk: Sign RF Bryce Harper

    Is there really any risk in signing free agents when you have the seemingly endless payroll of the Los Angeles Dodgers?

    There is when we're talking about a potential 10-year, $350 million-plus contract.

    In truth, Harper looks like a great fit for the Dodgers.

    He's the power-hitting corner outfielder the lineup is missing, and he'd be the face of the franchise in a major market.

    Then again, the Dodgers could just as easily go with an outfield of Alex Verdugo, Chris Taylor/Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig, and they'd still potentially have one of the most productive units in the majors.

    The Dodgers will need to decide if Harper is a big enough upgrade over their current situation to warrant the massive paycheck it will take to bring him aboard.

    This potential match is easily one of the most compelling storylines of the offseason.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.