Analyzing Best (and Worst) MLB Trade Proposals from Fans Before Deadline Part 2
Earlier this month, we asked Bleacher Report app users to offer up their MLB trade ideas, and we analyzed and graded the likelihood of those deals actually coming to fruition.
That was Part 1. Now it's time for Part 2.
After sifting through Tuesday's crowdsourcing comment section, we've once again unearthed the best and worst 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 Mention, New York Yankees Fans Division
In an effort to save space and time, I decided to start by condensing all of the ridiculous trade proposals made by New York Yankees fans who wildly overvalued their own trade chips into one easy-to-read list. Buckle up.
To Cleveland for SS Francisco Lindor:
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Clint Frazier, IF Tyler Wade, cash
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Deivi Garcia, OF Estevan Florial, IF Thairo Estrada
To Cleveland for RHP Mike Clevinger:
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Clint Frazier (x2)
- OF Clint Frazier, RHP Deivi Garcia (x2)
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Deivi Garcia
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Luis Gil, C Anthony Seigler
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Deivi Garcia, RHP Michael King
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Deivi Garcia, RHP Brooks Kriske
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Michael King, PTBNL
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Mike Tauchman, RHP Jonathan Holder, RHP Albert Abreu
To Cleveland for Lindor and Clevinger:
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Clint Frazier, RHP Deivi Garcia, OF Estevan Florial
To Cincinnati for RHP Trevor Bauer
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, RHP Deivi Garcia, OF Estevan Florial
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Brett Gardner
To Milwaukee for LHP Josh Hader:
- OF Clint Frazier, RHP Deivi Garcia, PTBNL
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Clint Frazier
To Philadelphia for C J.T. Realmuto:
- C Gary Sanchez, IF/OF Miguel Andujar
To Texas for RHP Lance Lynn:
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Estevan Florial, RHP Deivi Garcia
- IF/OF Miguel Andujar, OF Clint Frazier, PTBNL; (Danny Santana also to NYY)
Miguel Andujar (1.4 WAR, 174 games) and Clint Frazier (0.4 WAR, 131 games) have combined for 1.8 WAR in 305 career games. That's less than 1.0 WAR per 162 games. Combined. That's bench-level production. They are spare parts on the Yankees, and they would be spare parts on most contenders. They are not going to be the centerpieces of a blockbuster trade.
Meanwhile, not a single mention of Clarke Schmidt. He would likely be the first prospect other teams ask about, especially in exchange for a superstar like Lindor. You have to give up value to get value.
A resounding "F" grade across the board on all of these proposals.
Dishonorable Mention, Non-New York Yankees Fan Division
San Francisco Giants trade RHP Johnny Cueto, OF Alex Dickerson, OF Jaylin Davis to the Chicago Cubs for LHP Brailyn Marquez, RHP Ryan Jensen
The Cubs need relief pitching help and they're operating on a budget, so they trade for veteran starter Johnny Cueto, who is owed $21.8 million next year, and a pair of outfielders? Oh, and it costs them the best pitching prospect they've had in a decade and their 2019 first-round pick. Yikes.
Trade Proposal Grade: F
Toronto Blue Jays acquire RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Ty Buttrey from the Los Angeles Angels for 1B Rowdy Tellez, RHP Thomas Hatch
Ignoring the fact that other teams will almost certainly be willing to pay far more if the Angels make Bundy available, what in the world would the Angels want with Rowdy Tellez? He's essentially the left-handed hitting version of present-day Albert Pujols with the same amount of defensive versatility. The inclusion of Buttrey takes it one step further. With his four remaining years of control and closer upside, he's more valuable than a Tellez/Hatch package on his own.
Trade Proposal Grade: F
Proposal A: Chicago Cubs acquire RHP Mychal Givens from the Baltimore Orioles for OF Jason Heyward, cash
Proposal B: Chicago Cubs acquire RHP Mychal Givens from the Baltimore Orioles for LHP Brailyn Marquez
The side-by-side comparison of these two proposals is something else. I think Mychal Givens' trade value falls comfortably between absorbing the $65 million (minus "cash") still owed to Jason Heyward and a top 100 pitching prospect with frontline starter upside.
Trade Proposal Grades: F
Mychal Givens to the Minnesota Twins?
Proposal: Minnesota Twins acquire RHP Mychal Givens from the Baltimore Orioles for RHP Sean Poppen, IF Nick Gordon
How many times has Mychal Givens been hypothetically traded?
The 30-year-old has a year of club control remaining, and his salary will likely climb north of $5 million after he was slated to earn $3.23 million this season. That doesn't sound like much, but remember, the O's opted to cut ties with Jonathan Villar on the heels of a 3.9-WAR season rather than pay him a projected $10.4 million in arbitration.
Moving him now might be the team's preference, and with a 0.77 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 11.2 innings this season, contenders will be lining up. The Twins rank seventh in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.44), so upgrading the relief corps is not necessarily a pressing need, but it never hurts.
Poppen, 26, posted a 3.38 ERA and 9.0 K/9 in 409.2 innings in the minors, and he's currently pitching out of the MLB bullpen. He has a high floor as a middle reliever but limited upside.
Gordon, 24, has failed to live up to the hype that came with going No. 5 overall in the 2014 draft. A change of scenery could prove beneficial, but he looks like a utility player long term given his limited offensive impact.
I like the idea of trading Givens now, and I like the fit in Minnesota. However, I think multiple teams will be willing to beat this offer by a decent amount.
Trade Proposal Grade: C
Trevor Williams, Chris Stratton to the Toronto Blue Jays?
Proposal: Toronto Blue Jays acquire RHP Trevor Williams, RHP Chris Stratton from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Griffin Conine, RHP Kendall Williams, 1B Rowdy Tellez
A recent six-game winning streak has the Toronto Blue Jays over .500 and squarely in the postseason hunt given this year's expanded playoff format.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is pitching like an ace, and Tanner Roark is eating up innings, but with Nate Pearson, Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thornton all on the injured list, the team could use some rotation help.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Monday the Blue Jays are eyeing Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl of the Pittsburgh Pirates in potential trade talks, so there's some basis for this proposal.
Williams, 28, has a 3.70 ERA and 4.20 FIP in 24.1 innings this season, and he comes with two remaining years of club control. Stratton, 30, has pitched well out of the bullpen since coming to Pittsburgh last year, and he is capable of filling multiple roles on the staff. Despite his age, he comes with three more years of control himself.
In return, the Pirates land a high-ceiling pitching prospect in 20-year-old Kendall Williams and a power-hitting outfielder who is close to MLB-ready in Griffin Conine. Both players ranked just outside the team's top 10 prospects in B/R's most recent farm system rankings update following the 2020 draft. Tellez is a throw-in.
If they're serious about rebuilding, Williams is one of the Pirates' most attractive trade chips, and getting anything in return for Stratton after he was plucked from the scrapheap last year would be a win. This makes a lot of sense for both sides.
Trade Proposal Grade: A
Taijuan Walker to the New York Yankees?
Proposal: New York Yankees acquire RHP Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners for RHP Albert Abreu, two low-ranked prospects
This is what a realistic trade proposal looks like, Yankees fans.
After pitching a grand total of 14 innings the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Taijuan Walker was an unknown on the free-agent market, eventually signing a one-year, $2 million contract with the Seattle Mariners.
The 28-year-old has pitched well through five starts, posting a 4.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 25 strikeouts in 27 innings and recording three quality starts.
He's a prime candidate to be moved given his expiring contract and the Mariners' status as non-contenders, and he should come at a reasonable price.
Abreu, 24, has seen his prospect status slide in recent years since coming over from Houston in the Brian McCann trade. He still has electric stuff with a fastball that touches 101 mph and a nasty curveball, but the results haven't been there in a starting role.
A change of scenery and a move to the bullpen might put him on the fast track to the majors, and padding out the package with a few low-level fliers could be enough to get a deal done.
My hunch is the Yankees will aim a bit higher in their pursuit of rotation help, but if nothing comes together, Walker would be a nice fallback plan.
Trade Proposal Grade: A
Josh Bell to the Texas Rangers?
Proposal: Texas Rangers acquire 1B Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates for C Sam Huff, 1B Ronald Guzman
The Texas Rangers were among the finalists to sign Nicholas Castellanos during the offseason, and they also made a push for Anthony Rendon before ultimately setting on Todd Frazier to fill the middle-of-the-lineup void.
They are currently tied for 28th in the majors with 24 home runs, ahead of only the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, who both endured COVID-19 layoffs. Taking it one step further, the first base position has produced a .248/.300/.455 line for a .755 OPS that ranks 18th in the majors.
Josh Bell would be a clear upgrade. The 28-year-old has two more years of team control, and he's coming off a breakout 2019 season where he hit .277/.367/.569 for a 142 OPS+ with 37 doubles, 37 home runs and 116 RBI. He's off to a slow start this season, but he has a strong track record.
In return, the Pirates finally get their catcher of the future in Sam Huff, who ranked No. 94 on B/R's most recent top 100 prospect list. The 22-year-old posted an .845 OPS with 28 home runs and 72 RBI between Single-A and High-A last year and should have no problem sticking behind the plate.
Guzman, 25, gives the Pirates an immediate replacement for Bell at first base. He has failed to live up to his top prospect status to this point, but he could benefit from a change of scenery.
My biggest hesitation with this deal is the fact that the Rangers are also lacking a long-term answer behind the plate and may be hesitant to part with Huff.
Trade Proposal Grade: B
Lance Lynn to the Atlanta Braves?
Proposal: Atlanta Braves acquire RHP Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers for LHP Tucker Davidson, 1B Bryce Ball
The most common trade proposals, aside from all the Yankees nonsense, centered around finding starting pitching help for the Atlanta Braves.
Despite their 16-12 record and first-place standing in the NL East, the Braves rotation is a huge question mark right now with Mike Soroka out for the season, Cole Hamels still sidelined, and both Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb struggling to the point of demotion. Max Fried is in the midst of a breakout season, but the team is in serious need of some stability behind him.
Lance Lynn would certainly provide that with his 1.59 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in an AL-leading 45.1 innings of work this season. He has picked up right where he left off in 2019 when he finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting in his first season in Texas.
The 33-year-old is owed $9.3 million next season in the final year of his contract, so he's more than just a rental, and that team-friendly price makes him extremely valuable. That said, there's a lot to like about this return package if you're the Rangers.
Davidson, 24, posted a 2.15 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 134 strikeouts in 129.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season. With a durable 6'2", 215-pound frame and a 60-grade fastball that touches 97 mph, he has a high ceiling as a starter and a high floor given his reliever upside.
Ball, 22, hit .329/.395/.628 with 18 doubles, 17 home runs and 52 RBI in 62 games after he was selected in the 24th round of the 2019 draft.
It really boils down to whether the Rangers are willing to throw in the towel on the 2021 season, which is what a trade of Lynn would symbolize.
Trade Proposal Grade: B
Kyle Seager and Marco Gonzales to the Atlanta Braves?
Proposal: Atlanta Braves acquire 3B Kyle Seager, LHP Marco Gonzales from the Seattle Mariners for SS Braden Shewmake, RHP Jasseel De La Cruz, OF Michael Harris, OF Ender Inciarte, PTBNL
Marco Gonzales might not be the sexiest name on the trade market, but a team-friendly contract and his workhorse profile make him extremely valuable.
The 28-year-old worked a career-high 203 innings last season and posted a 108 ERA+, and he's off to a nice start this season with a 3.34 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 29.2 innings. The Mariners extended him in February, and he's owed just $30 million over the next four years with a $15 million club option for 2025.
Kyle Seager is hitting .291/.377/.515 for what would be a career-high 149 OPS+, tallying eight doubles, five home runs and 23 RBI in 122 plate appearances. Atlanta third basemen are hitting a paltry .194/.275/.357 on the year, so he would be a clear upgrade. His $18.5 million salary for 2021 could be a sticking point, though.
In return, the Braves give up Braden Shewmake (No. 10 prospect), Jasseel De La Cruz (Next 5) and Michael Harris (Next 5), who were all mentioned among the team's top 15 prospects in B/R's latest farm system update. A vastly improved Seattle system would get even better.
Including outfielder Ender Inciarte helps balance the 2021 money a bit, as he's owed $8.7 million in the final year of his deal.
It's a fairly balanced trade proposal, but I'm not convinced Gonzales is available. That extension signals the franchise views him as a key piece of its next contender, and that could be sooner than later.
Trade Proposal Grade: C
Mike Clevinger to the Atlanta Braves?
Proposal: Atlanta Braves acquire RHP Mike Clevinger from the Cleveland Indians for OF Drew Waters, RHP Kyle Wright, SS Braden Shewmake, PTBNL
The Cleveland Indians announced Tuesday that Mike Clevinger will be returning to the active roster and starting Wednesday. Does that mean he's off the market?
Not necessarily, but mending fences in the clubhouse would go a long way toward securing his long-term place on the team.
The 29-year-old remains one of baseball's best pitchers, having posted a 3.20 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 578 strikeouts in 517.1 innings over parts of five MLB seasons.
Even with a raise from his $4.1 million salary this year, he will still be making below his market value, and that makes him a valuable asset to a cost-conscious franchise.
With all of that being said, this is the type of offer it would take to pry him loose, and even it might not be enough depending on how much Kyle Wright has hurt his trade value by getting shelled in the majors (8.05 ERA in 34.2 innings) the past two years.
Drew Waters would give the Indians an outfielder to build around, and Braden Shewmake could push Tyler Freeman for the long-term shortstop job or join him up the middle by shifting to second base.
I think for this to work, either Wright has to be Ian Anderson or the PTBNL has to be a legitimate prospect within the top 20 in the system. Still, this is the best Clevinger proposal I saw.
Trade Proposal Grade: B
Xander Bogaerts to the St. Louis Cardinals?
Proposal: St. Louis Cardinals acquire SS Xander Bogaerts for 2B Kolten Wong, OF Harrison Bader, 3B Nolan Gorman
Allow me to preface this by saying that I don't think the Boston Red Sox are going to trade Xander Bogaerts. The most likely outcome of their trade deadline is they sell off a few more relievers and perhaps move Kevin Pillar. No one is going to take Jackie Bradley Jr. off their hands.
With that out of the way, this is a pretty fun proposal.
Kolten Wong has a $12.5 million club option for next season before he reaches free agency, so he's not exactly a long-term addition, though an extension post-trade would not be out of the question, and second base is a clear area of need.
Harrison Bader on the other hand is controlled through 2023, is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder who could replace Bradley, and he's finally starting to produce at the plate with a 142 OPS+ on the year.
My two big questions are where Nolan Gorman fits long term and where Bogaerts plays in St. Louis.
With Rafael Devers entrenched at third base and top prospects Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec both limited to corner infield spots themselves, things are already a bit crowded. Then again, this is the sort of situation where you stockpile talent and figure that out when the time comes.
In St. Louis, Paul DeJong is a standout defensive shortstop who is signed to a long-term deal through 2025, so Bogaerts would need to be open to the idea of moving to third base. Tommy Edman could then shift to second base to replace Wong.
I don't hate it. I don't think there's any chance of it happening, but I don't hate it.
Trade Proposal Grade: C