Analyzing Best (and Worst) MLB Trade Proposals from Fans Ahead of 2020 Deadline

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2020

Analyzing Best (and Worst) MLB Trade Proposals from Fans Ahead of 2020 Deadline

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    On Tuesday afternoon, we asked Bleacher Report app users to offer up their MLB trade ideas ahead of the fast-approaching trade deadline. They delivered in a big way, with more than 300 comments worth of blockbuster proposals.

    Tasked with sifting through that comment section, we've unearthed the best and worst of those fan proposals.

    The worst are laid out in two "dishonorable mention" slides, with a look at the trade proposals and some quick reaction to them.

    The best earned a deeper dive, with a closer look at how the proposal would impact both teams, along with any potential tweaks that could be made to further level the scales.

    Each trade idea was also given a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F based on how well-balanced the two sides of the proposal were and how realistic the deal was for both teams.

    Let the fun begin!

Dishonorable Mentions, San Francisco Giants Fans Division

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    Jeff Samardzija
    Jeff SamardzijaMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    San Francisco Giants trade OF Mike Yastrzemski, 3B Evan Longoria to the St. Louis Cardinals for OF Dylan Carlson, LHP Matthew Liberatore, 3B Jordan Walker

    The Cardinals are not going to trade Carlson for Yastrzemski straight up, so that means Longoria needs to provide enough surplus value to warrant the inclusion of the Cardinals' top pitching prospect (Liberatore) and the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 draft (Walker). He does not. Not even close. If anything, he subtracts from Yaz's value due to the $36.3 million he is still owed by the Giants.

    Trade Proposal Grade: F


    San Francisco Giants trade IF Donovan Solano, RHP Johnny Cueto to the New York Yankees for RHP Clarke Schmidt, OF Alexander Vizcaino

    The Giants may well decide to sell high on Solano. With that said, his .458 batting average is backed by a wholly unsustainable .520 BABIP, and teams will see through that mirage. The return will be nothing remotely resembling Clarke Schmidt.

    Trade Proposal Grade: F


    San Francisco Giants trade RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Tyler Rogers, IF Will Wilson to the Oakland Athletics for RHP Frankie Montas, IF Nick Allen

    I'm not going out of my way to pick on Giants fans, but come on. Montas is pitching like an ace, and he's controllable through 2023. Samardzija was pitching batting practice before landing on the IL, and he's a free agent at the end of the season.

    Trade Proposal Grade: F

Dishonorable Mentions, Non-San Francisco Giants Fans Division

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    Blake Snell
    Blake SnellChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Tampa Bay Rays trade LHP Blake Snell to the Houston Astros for RHP Forrest Whitley, OF Josh Reddick, C Garrett Stubbs

    An overpriced veteran outfielder, a defensive-minded backup catcher and a prospect whose value has bottomed out after a poor 2019 season in exchange for the 2018 AL Cy Young winner. Even if the Rays were rebuilding, which they aren't, Snell is worth significantly more.

    Trade Proposal Grade: F


    New York Mets trade RHP Jacob deGrom to the Oakland Athletics for LHP A.J. Puk, SS Logan Davidson, C Tyler Soderstrom, C Jonah Heim

    Jesus Luzardo would almost certainly have to be the starting point in this unlikely blockbuster.

    Trade Proposal Grade: D


    Boston Red Sox trade RHP Nathan Eovaldi, cash to the Atlanta Braves for 3B Austin Riley, LHP Kyle Muller

    The Braves don't need pitching help this desperately. The Red Sox are stuck with that four-year, $68 million deal they gave Eovaldi, for better or worse.

    Trade Proposal Grade: D


    3-TEAM TRADETo LAD: SS Francisco Lindor; To CLE: OF Nick Markakis, UT Enrique Hernandez, Edwin Rios; To ATL: 3B Justin Turner, RHP Tony Gonsolin, OF Oscar Mercado

    There's a lot to unpack here. I can't move past the fact that since both Nick Markakis and Enrique Hernandez are free agents this offseason, all the Indians would have to show for trading Francisco Lindor beyond this season is Edwin Rios. Oh, and they also have to give up Oscar Mercado. Incredible.

    Trade Proposal Grade: F

An Outside-the-Box Swap?

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    Joe Jimenez
    Joe JimenezPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    Proposal: Tampa Bay Rays acquire RHP Joe Jimenez and LHP Tyler Alexander from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for SS Willy Adames

    User: @4hzglory

    This was the most outside-the-box trade proposal I came across, and I like it a lot for both teams.

    Willy Adames slugged 20 home runs and played quality defense in a 4.2 WAR season last year, and he's still only 24 years old with club control through the 2024 season.

    So, why trade him?

    The Rays have an abundance of middle infield talent, led by Wander Franco (No. 1), Vidal Brujan (No. 65) and Xavier Edwards (No. 72), all of whom appeared on B/R's most recent top-100 prospect list. In the short-term, Joey Wendle is capable of stepping into the starting shortstop job, and Taylor Walls is also an option on the 60-man roster pool.

    In return, the Rays get a prototypical, late-inning arm in Joe Jimenez, who is under control through 2023, and a multi-inning swingman in Tyler Alexander, who made headlines earlier this year with nine straight strikeouts in relief and can be controlled through 2025.

    The Tigers get their shortstop of the future, shoring up a position without a clear long-term answer.

    The Rays get a pair of cost-effective arms to help maintain their organizational approach of anchoring the roster with a deep and talented pitching staff.

    Trade Proposal Grade: A

Mychal Givens to the Los Angeles Dodgers?

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Proposal: Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RHP Mychal Givens from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for IF Zach McKinstry, RHP Gerardo Carrillo

    User: @brettj

    As a quality reliever on a non-contending Baltimore Orioles team, Mychal Givens has been included in countless trade proposals over the past few seasons. He has one year of club control remaining after this season, so a deal may finally come to fruition ahead of this year's deadline.

    With ample late-inning experience, he would be a welcome addition to the Dodgers' relief corps. The 30-year-old has averaged 66 appearances over the past four seasons, posting a 3.56 ERA and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings while pitching in a variety of roles. He's tallied six strikeouts over four scoreless innings so far this year.

    The proposed return here isn't earth-shattering, but it's realistic.

    McKinstry, 25, turned heads when he hit .414 with six extra-base hits in 31 plate appearances during spring training, and that came on the heels of a .300/.366/.516 line with 24 doubles and 19 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. A 33rd-round pick in 2016, he has a chance to be a valuable super-utility player in the Enrique Hernandez mold.

    Carrillo, 21, has a big arm with a fastball that touches 100 mph, and he had a 2.22 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 24.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League. His spotty command and undersized 5'10" frame gives him a reliever profile long-term, but he has late-inning stuff.

    Another user (@KveeshEchad) proposed Givens to Philadelphia in exchange for outfielder Simon Muzziotti and shortstop Casey Martin. That isn't bad, but I think it's more than the Phillies would be willing to give up.

    Trade Proposal Grade: B

Marco Gonzales to the New York Yankees?

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Proposal: New York Yankees acquire LHP Marco Gonzales, RHP Dan Altavilla from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for OF Clint Frazier, SP Luis Gil, SS Oswald Peraza, C Anthony Seigler

    User: @slewisd7

    This is one of the few realistic trade proposals I saw that included Clint Frazier and/or Miguel Andujar. A lot of New York Yankees fans seem to think those two have sky-high trade value even though they can't crack the starting lineup.

    Marco Gonzales would bring welcome stability to the Yankees' rotation after posting a 3.95 ERA and 107 ERA+ since the start of the 2018 season, including a 2019 season where he tossed a career-high 203 innings.

    However, the Mariners signed him to a four-year, $30 million extension in February that includes a club option for 2025. They would likely have to be blown away to trade him.

    Frazier doesn't move the needle a ton, especially since Dan Vogelbach is already occupying the DH role. He would need to occupy a spot in the outfield, where he has struggled mightily.

    Luis Gil (No. 4) and Oswald Peraza (No. 6) both ranked among the top 10 prospects in the Yankees system in B/R's latest farm system update, and Seigler was a first-round pick in 2018, so there's plenty of value changing hands.

    But with a farm system on the rise and a postseason drought that stretches back to 2001, the Mariners may view Gonzales more as an important piece of their next contender rather than a trade chip.

    Trade Proposal Grade: B

Mike Minor to the New York Mets?

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    Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

    Proposal: New York Mets acquire LHP Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers in exchange for 3B Mark Vientos, RHP Josh Wolf

    User: @beanjr3

    In terms of value changing hands, this looks like a fair deal. Mark Vientos is a fringe top-100 prospect with significant offensive upside, and Josh Wolf was given an above-slot $2.15 million bonus as a projectable high school arm selected in the second round of the 2019 draft.

    My biggest question: Are the Mets going to be buyers?

    They are currently 7-10 with an ugly minus-22 run differential and playing in a loaded NL East against a loaded AL East in interleague play. Trading for Mike Minor as a rental would mean the Mets view themselves as legitimate contenders here in 2020.

    The 32-year-old Minor also has to prove he's right after struggling to a 6.89 ERA in his first three starts.

    "Mike might be a little behind as far as his arm conditioning," Rangers pitching coach Julio Rangel told reporters. "It's hard when you are at home and trying to stay in shape. He was able to throw live BP early on, and then there was a period where they shut down where he was."

    At some point, the Mets have to stop gutting their farm system and be willing to accept when it isn't their year. The ill-advised Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade and ill-fated Marcus Stroman blockbuster are already going to have long-lasting ramifications on the organization.

    Trade Proposal Grade: C

Whit Merrifield to the Chicago Cubs?

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    Whit Merrifield
    Whit MerrifieldCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Proposal: Chicago Cubs acquire 2B/OF Whit Merrifield, RHP Trevor Rosenthal from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Brailyn Marquez, OF Brennen Davis, OF Albert Almora

    User: @brady1209

    Death, taxes and Whit Merrifield to the Chicago Cubs rumors.

    For a Cubs team that has been lacking a true leadoff hitter since Dexter Fowler left town, it's easy to see the appeal of plugging a hitter who has batted .303 with a .358 on-base percentage while averaging 199 hits and 32 steals over the past two seasons into the No. 1 spot in the lineup.

    However, the Royals have given no indication in the past that they're willing to move the current face of the franchise. The 31-year-old has three years and $16.6 million left on his current deal if his 2023 club option is exercised, which is one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball.

    On the other ends of things, trading Brailyn Marquez and Brennen Davis would be a mistake by the Cubs.

    Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber will all be free agents following the 2021 season, as will Jon Lester. They're going to need cost-controlled, homegrown talent to plug into the MLB roster if they want to sustain contention.

    Marquez has an 80-grade fastball that has touched 102 mph and improving off-speed stuff. Davis has five-tool upside and 30-30 potential if everything clicks.

    Those guys represent the future core of the team. Mortgaging them now for Merrifield would be a shortsighted mistake.

    Trade Proposal Grade: C

Lance Lynn to the Atlanta Braves?

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    Proposal: Atlanta Braves acquire RHP Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers in exchange for SS Braden Shewmake, SP Bryse Wilson

    User: @Hperk99

    Unless Max Fried is going to start the final 42 games of the season, the Atlanta Braves have some decisions to make in their starting rotation.

    Mike Soroka is out for the year with a torn Achilles. Cole Hamels has yet to make his Braves debut while battling triceps tendinitis. Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb have both been demoted. Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint both have an ERA north of 6.00.

    The team still has top prospects Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, Bryse Wilson and Tucker Davidson working out at the alternate site, but doubling down on the inexperience approach is risky.

    Enter Lance Lynn.

    The 33-year-old had a career year with the Texas Rangers last season, posting a 3.67 ERA with 246 strikeouts in 208.1 innings to finish fifth in AL Cy Young voting, and he's off to an excellent start this year.

    He's owed $9.3 million next season in the final year of his contract in 2021, giving him further trade value. But that may also give the Rangers reason to pause with fellow veteran Mike Minor headed for free agency.

    Shortstop Braden Shewmake and MLB-ready right-hander Bryse Wilson would be a solid return, and the Braves and Rangers have a lengthy trade history. It might take more to convince the Rangers to sell their ace, especially with that extra year of control and hopes of short-term contention in a new stadium.

    Trade Proposal Grade: B

Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Proposal: St. Louis Cardinals acquire 3B Nolan Arenado, IF/OF Garrett Hampson from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for 3B Nolan Gorman, SP Matthew Liberatore, C Andrew Knizner, PTBNL, cash

    User: @BDP28

    If the Rockies are going to trade Arenado, this is the type of return package it's going to take.

    Left-hander Matthew Liberatore (No. 40) and third baseman Nolan Gorman (No. 58) both appeared on B/R's most recent top-100 prospect list, and they began the season as the No. 2 and No. 3 prospects in the St. Louis farm system behind outfielder Dylan Carlson. Andrew Knizner checked in at No. 6 in the organizational rankings, and he would immediately become the catcher of the future in Colorado.

    However, the ship may have already sailed on an Arenado trade.

    The Rockies are 11-5 with an impressive plus-27 run differential on the year, and with the pitching staff off to a strong start, they look like legitimate contenders. They can always revisit a potential Arenado trade during the offseason, ahead of what could be the final year of his contract if he decides to exercise his opt-out after the 2021 campaign.

    His value won't drop any between now and then, so there's no rush to trade him now.

    Two years ago, this Rockies team appeared to be well-positioned for long-term success, which is likely why Arenado was willing to sign a long-term deal. The 2019 season looked like a reversal of fortunes, but maybe it was just a bump in the road.

    Trade Proposal Grade: C

Francisco Lindor to the Cincinnati Reds?

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Proposal: Cincinnati Reds acquire SS Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for IF/OF Nick Senzel, OF Jesse Winker

    User: @Huncho_Flo24

    I've predicted the Cincinnati Reds as the ultimate landing spot for Francisco Lindor in the past.

    This is a comparable package to the Alex Verdugo-Jeter Downs combination that the Boston Red Sox acquired in exchange for Mookie Betts during the offseason. The biggest difference is that Betts was headed into his final year of team control, while Lindor is controllable through 2021.

    If the Indians are selling and the Reds are buying, it may take one more significant piece to get this deal done, along with a few other auxiliary pieces. Let's say something like Senzel, Winker, MLB-ready starter Tyler Mahle, outfield prospect Michael Siani, and hard-throwing right-hander Joel Kuhnel.

    That's likely closer to the type of offer it would take to get the Indians interested.

    However, the most likely outcome is that the Indians hold Lindor until next summer before trading him to a contender for something similar to what the Orioles acquired for Manny Machado. The Reds would then make a run at him in free agency after the 2021 season.

    Trade Proposal Grade: C


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