6 Realistic MLB Trade Proposals That Would Be a Win-Win for Both Teams
As we slog through the final stretch of winter and count the days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, there's still time for big trades to alter the MLB landscape.
Based on credible rumors and informed speculation, let's examine a half-dozen realistic swap scenarios that would be win-win propositions for both teams.
By win-win, we mean each side would benefit. And by realistic, we mean it actually might happen...as opposed to that Mike Trout-in-pinstripes fantasy you just concocted.
Mookie Betts to the San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres Get: OF Mookie Betts
Boston Red Sox Get: OF Manuel Margot, INF C.J. Abrams, OF Wil Myers
The Boston Red Sox are motivated to move outfielder and 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, and a deal could happen soon, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers (more on that in moment) are the front-runners, Heyman added.
If the Friars are serious about contending in 2020, they could offer a package fronted by C.J. Abrams, who's ranked as the No. 45 prospect in baseball by MLB.com but is blocked on the left side of the infield by Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.
The Padres could add outfielder Manuel Margot and take on a portion of the $68.5 million outfielder Wil Myers is owed through 2023.
That's a lot to cough up, but Betts is worth it considering his pedigree if San Diego has its sights set on October.
Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers Get: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price
Boston Red Sox Get: OF Alex Verdugo, C Keibert Ruiz
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't won a title since 1988. Acquiring Betts won't guarantee they'll break that drought, but it wouldn't hurt.
As USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported, Boston is hoping the Dodgers will pay a portion of the $96 million Price is owed over the next three seasons. L.A. can afford it, and Price could be a decent piece at the back end of the rotation.
In exchange, Los Angeles could surrender big league-ready outfielder Alex Verdugo and MiLB catcher Keibert Ruiz, who is blocked at the MLB level by burgeoning 24-year-old backstop Will Smith.
Francisco Lindor to the Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers Get: SS Francisco Lindor
Cleveland Indians Get: OF Alex Verdugo, C Keibert Ruiz, RHP Josiah Gray
If the Dodgers miss on Betts, they could pivot to Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who has been the subject of various trade rumors.
Lindor is under club control through 2021, meaning the Indians don't need to trade him now. But he told reporters Cleveland hasn't "offered me the right thing" in extension talks.
"If they don't think I can stay here because of the money situation, then I won't be here," Lindor added.
This could be the moment for the Tribe to optimize his value. The Dodgers could offer Verdugo and Ruiz as well as high-upside right-hander Josiah Gray.
It'd give the cost-conscious Indians some glitzy, controllable talent and would up the Dodgers' odds of bathing in champagne and confetti.
Kris Bryant to the New York Yankees
New York Yankees Get: 3B Kris Bryant
Chicago Cubs Get: 3B Miguel Andujar, OF Estevan Florial
The New York Yankees are all in on a quest for title No. 28 after signing ace Gerrit Cole. The next logical step could be acquiring Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who lost his service-time grievance and won't become a free agent until after the 2021 season.
As CBS Sports' Matt Snyder outlined:
"Bryant is an upgrade over Gio Urshela at third base. Bryant's addition would allow Urshela to thrive in a utility bench role. Maybe as part of the package the Cubs take Miguel Andujar and hope he's more 2018 than 2019. Regardless, the Yankees haven't done much aside from the monster [Cole] deal and maybe they don't need to do more, but it never hurts to pile on. There's a fit here."
It would probably require the Yankees to sweeten the pot with a high-end prospect such as outfielder and No. 82 overall prospect Estevan Florial (per MLB.com), but this seems like a potential fit, especially if New York absorbs the $18.6 million Bryant is set to make in 2020 and the likely greater sum he'll earn through arbitration in 2021.
Kris Bryant to the Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves Get: 3B Kris Bryant
Chicago Cubs Get: 3B Austin Riley, RHP Ian Anderson
The Atlanta Braves have won two straight division titles but haven't advanced past the division series round. They also lost third baseman Josh Donaldson to free agency.
They could fill the hole at the hot corner and improve their chances of a deep postseason run by acquiring Bryant from Chicago.
The Braves could offer third baseman Austin Riley and right-hander Ian Anderson, a pair of controllable young players who would boost the Cubbies roster as they retool after missing the playoffs in 2019. At the same time, Bryant would make Atlanta even more of a powerhouse.
Then again, so would the final player on our list.
Nolan Arenado to the Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves Get: 3B Nolan Arenado
Colorado Rockies Get: 3B Austin Riley, RHP Ian Anderson
If a Bryant swap doesn't happen for Atlanta, the Braves could pivot to the Colorado Rockies. The latest rumblings indicate the Rox will hang on to third baseman Nolan Arenado. But there's a public rift between Colorado and its star player, who has stated he's upset the team hasn't done more to improve this winter.
Arenado is signed through 2026, but he can opt out after 2021. The opportunity to go to a clear contender should interest him, and the Braves fit that profile.
The same package we suggested in a Bryant-to-Atlanta deal should entice the Rockies, who could flip a disgruntled star for a pair of affordable, high-upside chips in Riley and Anderson.