MLB Rumors: Top Trade Rumors Ahead of 2019 Winter Meetings

Martin FennContributor INovember 30, 2019

Oakland Athletics' Blake Treinen works against the Texas Rangers during a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time for MLB fans to get their fill of MLB offseason activity. Things usually pick up steam once December rolls around, especially as front offices around the league get ready for the Winter Meetings, which begin on Dec. 8 in San Diego.

Although it is typical to dedicate more attention to the free-agent market at this time of year, there are a number of intriguing players potentially available for trade. One team's expendable might just be another team's difference-maker in terms of reaching October or playing deep into the month.

Here are a few of the top trade rumors ahead of the 2019 Winter Meetings:


Will the Yankees take a flier on Blake Treinen?

The Oakland Athletics have a number of potential non-tender candidates, including former All-Star closer Blake Treinen. His projected $7.8 million salary in arbitration is one that Oakland would rather avoid adding to their payroll, but general manager Billy Beane is also one of the most creative executives in baseball.

Fortunately for Beane, the A's could have some takers for Treinen. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Friday the New York Yankees have interest in the right-hander.

Treinen took a drastic step back last year. He posted a 4.91 ERA and was not on Oakland's roster for the AL Wild Card Game just one season after he posted an absurd 0.78 ERA and 531 ERA+ to go along with 38 saves.

Still, it is not a surprise to see that the Yankees have interest in Treinen. General manager Brian Cashman has prioritized the bullpen for the last two seasons. The Yankees re-signed Zack Britton before adding Adam Ottavino as a free agent, and they signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a new contract at the start of November.

Relievers are among the most volatile players on a roster. Treinen has proved he has the stuff to dominate, and given that the Yankees will lose Dellin Betances to free agency, they could use another late-inning reliever for added depth. This is especially imperative when considering the Yankees could need to deploy Chad Green as an opener throughout the 2020 season if they strike out on some of their targets in the starting pitching market.

The Yankees have every reason to consider Treinen because of the upside if the asking price is reasonable. New York has a slew of young arms that they might need to protect with Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton in walk years.


Orioles finding a good market for Dylan Bundy

The Baltimore Orioles are another team seeking a trade partner to avoid paying a sizable salary in arbitration. Starter Dylan Bundy is expected to make $5.7 million in 2020, and the Orioles are looking to clear as much payroll as possible, as evidenced by their decision not to tender Jonathan Villar.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Orioles are close to a deal to move Bundy, likely because of the sheer number of teams with a need in their rotation.

The 27-year-old went 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA last season, and his pitching woes have been defined by an inability to prevent the long ball. Still, Bundy boasts a respectable 4.67 ERA in 127 total appearances with the Orioles, and he could be due a boost by getting out of Camden Yards, which ranked as the fifth-best hitters' park in 2019, according to ESPN.com.

Bundy has posted consecutive seasons with 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings or better. He has a dominant slider and had more success with the changeup last season, recording a 32.5 percent whiff rate, according to Baseball Savant. He is an interesting project, mostly because he could be dominant if he starts to miss bats and gain more command with the four-seam fastball.

There are a number of cash-strapped teams that could look to acquire a starter via trade, such as the Toronto Blue Jays (who were initially in on Kyle Gibson before he signed with the Texas Rangers, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet), Philadelphia Phillies or even the Chicago Cubs.

The question becomes how highly the Orioles value Bundy themselves, because his age should make him a pretty attractive trade piece.


Starling Marte to the Mets?

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte should be among the most coveted position players expected to be readily available. The free-agent outfield market is fairly paltry, and a number of teams have outfield needs that could entice them into making a deal.

Meanwhile, the Pirates are in full rebuild mode after undergoing a number of significant changes in the front office and bringing in Ben Cherington to be the new general manager.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the New York Mets have interest in acquiring Marte. The Mets are in the market for a center fielder, and Marte is a versatile defender who can play multiple positions and offer an offensive upgrade in center.

New York had to give serious innings to Juan Lagares at the position last season, and Brandon Nimmo had a disappointing season while only playing 69 games.

Marte posted career-high numbers in homers (23) and OPS (.845) while also stealing 25 bases in 2019. He is not the same kind of defender in center as he is in left field, but he still has great range and a decent throwing arm.

The Mets will be hesitant to purge their farm system after trading away Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn in the deal that landed them Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz (not to mention a couple of mid-level prospects in the Marcus Stroman trade). However, they could have some negotiating power if they dangle major league-ready outfielders like Nimmo, Dominic Smith or even J.D. Davis.

New York has an elite starting staff, and both Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil proved that they could be offensive catalysts for a surprisingly productive offense. However, the Mets ranked 12th in the NL in stolen bases last season. Marte would give them a bona fide thief while still providing ample production for the likes of Alonso and McNeil in the Mets lineup.

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen has proved that he is not afraid to show a sense of urgency. The Mets might be a move or two from a serious playoff run in 2020, and it would not be surprising to see them grow increasingly active in the trade market.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and all arbitration estimates courtesy of Spotrac, unless otherwise noted