Deal or No Deal: MLB Trade Predictions 1 Week From the Winter Meetings

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2018

Deal or No Deal: MLB Trade Predictions 1 Week From the Winter Meetings

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The MLB winter meetings kick off Sunday in Las Vegas. The hot stove is about to start crackling.

    While we wait, let's play a round of "deal or no deal" with eight potential impact trade chips. In each case, we'll use the latest rumors and a dollop of gut feeling to predict whether or not the players in question will change uniforms this offseason.

    One note: As of this writing, the trade that will reportedly send second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets in exchange for a package of prospects and salary-offsetting veterans is on the verge of completion, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Thus, we aren't including it, since that would be a "prediction" in name only.

No Deal: Cleveland Indians Trade Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco

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    Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Indians have been a hot topic this offseason based on word they're willing to trade from the top of their enviable starting rotation.

    That includes ace Corey Kluber and right-hander Carlos Carrasco. Either pitcher would instantly enhance any contender's rotation.

    Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner who's controllable through 2021 with a pair of team options. With ace-level free agents such as Dallas Keuchel on the market, it's tough to imagine any team emptying its farm system for the Klubot, which is what the Tribe would rightly demand.

    At the same time, the Indians are discussing an extension with Carrasco, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, a sign they intend to keep him around for the long haul.

    Kluber and Carrasco are destined to stay in Cleveland, but that doesn't mean an Indians pitcher won't be on the move...

Deal: Cleveland Indians Trade Trevor Bauer

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    Jim Cowsert/Associated Press

    Right-hander Trevor Bauer was an All-Star and top-10 American League Cy Young Award finisher in 2018 after posting a 2.21 ERA and averaging 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

    He's also never eclipsed 200 frames in a season and never put up a sub-4.00 ERA prior to 2018.

    Bauer is controllable through 2020 but is going to get more expensive in arbitration. According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Indians "are much more inclined to trade" him as opposed to Kluber or Carrasco.

    The New York Yankees are one possible landing spot. They need starting pitching and proved their willingness to go the trade route when they acquired James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners.

    Bauer should draw widespread interest and help the retooling Indians add depth in areas of need, including the outfield.

No Deal: Chicago White Sox Trade Jose Abreu

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    The Chicago White Sox lost 100 games in 2018 and are in the midst of a rebuild. It makes sense that first baseman Jose Abreu's name would churn through the rumor mill.

    Abreu was an All-Star in 2018 and is entering his age-32 season. He'll be a free agent after the 2019 campaign.

    The ChiSox could flip him to gain more prospects. But they might be looking to contend in the near-term, as suggested by their possible pursuit of top free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, per MLB Network's Jon Morosi.

    "Everybody knows that 2019 is going to be the last season of my current contract, but I try not to think about that because I'm part of the White Sox and believe I'm going to be part of this organization for a very long time," Abreu said, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

    Those are only words. But at this point there's little indication the White Sox are planning to part with Abreu at least until the 2019 non-waiver trade deadline.

Deal: New York Yankees Trade Sonny Gray

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    The Sonny Gray experiment has not gone as planned in the Bronx. The right-hander has yielded mixed results in pinstripes, to put it gently, and posted a 4.90 ERA in 2018.

    The Yanks have put him on the block this offseason and appear motivated to move him. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post listed the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics as potential suitors.

    "I've had a lot of interesting dialogue, whether it's for prospects, whether it's for major league, our need for their need," general manager Brian Cashman said, per Davidoff.

    Gray was an All-Star who finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting for the A's in 2015. As much as New York may want to be rid of him, a contender such as Oakland could be equally eager to bet on a rebound by the 29-year-old.

No Deal: San Francisco Giants Trade Madison Bumgarner

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    The San Francisco Giants are in a state of flux after a second straight losing season. Their run of even-year championship magic is seemingly finished.

    That said, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi inherited a roster that's low on tradeable veteran assets. The one notable exception: left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

    Bumgarner was limited by injuries in 2018, most significantly a fractured left pinkie suffered during spring training. He's also one of the greatest postseason pitchers in history and is signed for an eminently affordable $12 million in 2019. There would be takers.

    The Giants, however, are unlikely to move their franchise southpaw this winter. "Don't see him going anywhere," a source told Heyman.

    San Francisco may try to contend initially behind a core that includes the likes of catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford. If it's out of the race by July, it could dangle Bumgarner at a time when contenders are often willing to overpay, especially for a playoff legend.

Deal: Arizona Diamondbacks Trade Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Arizona Diamondbacks made the playoffs in 2017 and spent 125 days in first place in 2018. And so now they're going to...blow it up?

    Yes, possibly. The D-backs have been actively shopping first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and right-hander Zack Greinke this offseason, according to multiple reports.

    Goldschmidt is in his contract year and ranks seventh in WAR from 2015 to 2018, according to FanGraphs' calculation. Greinke is owed $104.5 million through 2021 but remains a productive pitcher.

    It's possible Arizona will keep either or both at least until the non-waiver deadline. Greinke has a limited no-trade clause that includes the Reds, Yankees, A's, Padres, Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies, per's Steve Gilbert.

    That leaves multiple suitors, however, including the Braves, Brewers and Houston Astros. And Greinke could waive his no-trade rights to join Goldschmidt in a place like St. Louis, as's David Schoenfield suggested.

    This one's a toss-up, but we're betting on both players leaving the desert before spring training.

No Deal: Miami Marlins Trade J.T. Realmuto

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The Miami Marlins blew up their roster last offseason. Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon...buh-bye.

    It stands to reason, then, that the rebuilding Fish would move catcher J.T. Realmuto this offseason.

    Realmuto posted an .825 OPS in 2018 and emerged as arguably the best backstop in baseball. He's 27 years old and controllable through 2020.

    The Marlins, however, are reportedly asking for the moon, stars and a few stray celestial bodies.

    According to Rosenthal, Miami wanted burgeoning star second baseman Ozzie Albies plus more from the Braves. And, per Heyman, a straight-up swap for Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez wasn't enough.

    Yes, Sanchez is coming off a down year. But at 26, he's younger than Realmuto, loaded with talent and under club control through 2022.

    The Marlins might find a team willing to meet their astronomical demands this winter. More likely, they'll hang on to Realmuto until the summer and see if a catcher-hungry contender will pay up.

Deal: New York Mets Trade Noah Syndergaard

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    With the Cano-Diaz deal pending, the Mets are obviously trying to win now. That makes the persistent rumors surrounding right-hander Noah Syndergaard odd to say the least.

    Sure, Thor has had injuries in recent years. He's also one of the most electric pitchers in the game. Why would a club with designs on contending consider trading him?

    Well, these are the Mets. Since winning the National League pennant in 2015, they have held on to their pitching assets with little to show for it.

    Syndergaard is 26 years old and under team control through 2021. He could bring back a gaudy package of prospects and MLB-ready talent from teams like the Padres or Braves. The Pads, in particular, are interested, per Rosenthal.

    As an unnamed source told Andy Martino of SNY there will be "more aggressive moves to come. This would only be step one."

    "This" is the Cano-Diaz acquisition. The next steps under general manager Brodie Van Wagenen figure to be headline-grabbing—up to and including Syndergaard's departure from Queens.


    All statistics and contract information courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.