Two of the biggest names in baseball could be on the move this offseason.
With the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners both in the process of rebuilding—or at least retooling—their respective rosters, stars Madison Bumgarner and Robinson Cano have reportedly been made available on the trade market.
Let's dive a bit deeper into the rumors surrounding both marquee players:
Would the Giants really entertain the idea of trading a franchise icon in Bumgarner?
It certainly sounds like it.
Morosi went on to write the following in the article:
"Multiple sources indicated Monday that the Giants are willing to engage with other teams about the possibility of dealing their ace and three-time World Series champion. The Brewers and Phillies are among the teams that have had at least preliminary dialogue about trading for Bumgarner, sources say."
Bumgarner, 29, is entering the final year of his contract, and the Giants are headed for a transition period after a disappointing 73-89 finish.
The left-hander suffered a broken hand on a line drive during spring training and didn't make his 2018 debut until June 5 as a result, but he was the same front-line starter once he did return.
In 21 starts, he posted a 3.26 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 109 strikeouts in 129.2 innings.
His $12 million salary makes him an appealing option financially, but he's still just a rental with free agency and a major payday looming, so the Giants would be wise to temper their expectations in terms of a potential return package.
Morosi speculated that Zach Eflin could be a fit on the Phillies end, while Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff would make sense as a centerpiece from the Brewers. The Giants are clearly in need of young, controllable pitching to join 2018 breakout star Dereck Rodriguez and rising prospect Shaun Anderson.
Expect Bumgarner to be a popular name during next month's winter meetings, and from the Giants' standpoint, dealing him this offseason and bolstering the farm system seems like a no-brainer.
The Mariners are not just shopping Cano, they're making a serious effort to move him, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
"Cano will play next season at 36. He served an 80-game suspension last season for violating baseball's joint drug policy. His contract includes a full no-trade clause. And—ahem!—he is owed $120 million over the next five seasons. But as [Mariners general manager Jerry] Dipoto 'reimagines' his roster, he isn't simply mulling the idea of moving Cano. He's actively trying to do it, and the Yankees and Mets are two of the teams he has contacted about a trade, according to major-league sources."
Despite the suspension-abridged season, Cano still put together a solid 2018 campaign, hitting .303/.374/.471 with 22 doubles, 10 home runs and 50 RBI in 348 plate appearances.
He hit .317/.363/.497 in 41 games after returning from suspension, and all told, his 3.2 WAR nearly matched the 3.4 WAR he posted over 150 games in 2017.
In other words, Cano is still plenty productive.
As for a potential return to the Yankees, Rosenthal also offered up the following:
"Earlier this offseason, sources said, the Mariners and Yankees briefly discussed a contract swap involving Cano and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is owed $47.2 million over the next two years and holds a full no-trade clause.
"The Yankees wanted the Mariners to include significant cash in addition to taking Ellsbury, and the talks failed to gain traction, according to one source. Money was but one obstacle: Cano, who probably would need to be a first baseman-DH with his former team, has made just 10 career starts at first, all last season, and the Yankees do not want to tie up their DH spot."
Meanwhile, the Mets wouldn't seem to make sense after rookie second baseman Jeff McNeil posted a 140 OPS+ with 20 extra-base hits and 2.4 WAR in 63 games, and with top prospect Peter Alonso set to step into the starting first base job at some point in 2019.
That didn't stop Dan O'Dowd of MLB Network from speculating what a trade package between the Mariners and Mets might look like, though.
Far fetched? Probably, but it's an interesting debate nonetheless.
The Mets would no doubt be motivated to unload Bruce's contract, and the Mariners are not part of his five-team no-trade list, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Time will tell if other teams get involved and if a deal actually gets done. For now, the rumor mill continues to swirl.