5 MLB Trade Ideas to Create Elite Superstar Duos

Abbey MastraccoContributor IFebruary 3, 2021

5 MLB Trade Ideas to Create Elite Superstar Duos

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    When you think of baseball, dynamic duos typically don't come to mind.

    Baseball can sometimes seem like an individual sport disguised as a team sport, but when all of those individual talents come together, you get a winning product. 

    Whether it's a one-two punch at the top of the order to set the table, a double-play tandem or two aces pitching on consecutive nights, elite pairings can drive teams to success. It's a long season and all nine players won't be on every game, but when two are making big contributions, the role players can fill in the pieces. 

    We've come up with five trade proposals to create some high-end pairs, based on team needs and contracts. Some are defensive pairs, some would create cornerstones for an organization, and a few would just shake things up in an offseason that has been dominated by the financial constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Joey Gallo to the Los Angeles Angels

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Mike Trout needs to get back to the playoffs. The Texas Rangers need some young talent to rebuild around.

    That makes them natural trade partners if the Rangers are willing to part ways with Joey Gallo.

    It would be tough for the Los Angeles Angels to give up a young, high-upside player like Jo Adell. But they're under a lot of pressure to compete immediately, and Gallo and Trout would create a lot of offense. 

    Adell began last season with high expectations as one of the Angels' top prospects, but his debut did not go as planned. He slashed .161/.212/.266 and struck out 55 times across 132 plate appearances. His defense was also called into question after a particularly disastrous four-base error in August.

    However, the 21-year-old still has plenty of upside.

    The Rangers are still a few years away from being competitive again, so they could give Adell some time develop and take a chance on a younger prospect. The Angels could sweeten the pot for Gallo since they have plenty of talent at the lower levels of the minors.

    The Angels likely don't want to give Adell up after one abridged season, but if they want to win now, this might be the best way to do so. Pairing two players who have the power to hit 30-40 home runs or more could help the Angels slug their way to the postseason for the first time since 2014.  

    Trade: OF Jo Adell, RHP Robinson Pina

Trevor Story to the New York Yankees

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich may be the least popular man in Colorado at the moment.

    The Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week, clearing the path for the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers to own the NL West moving forward. It would be hard to blame shortstop Trevor Story if he decided that he wanted out, and he recently told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that he is "sad and a little frustrated."

    The Rockies' return for Arenado was relatively underwhelming. But if they're willing to trade Story for even more prospects, they could look to the New York Yankees. 

    New York could recreate a double-play tandem that was successful in Colorado, using Story at shortstop and DJ LeMahieu at second base. 

    Story has some drastic home/road splits, as many Rockies players do, with a career .994 OPS at home and a .760 OPS on the road. But LeMahieu managed to figure it out in Yankee Stadium, so Story would have that knowledge to tap into. 

    Miguel Andujar is sort of without a position right now, and he could replace Story in Colorado and be able to play right away. It's tough to part with top prospects like Andujar, but the Yankees have such a deep farm system that they can afford to make moves like this. 

    Trade: INF Miguel Andujar, RHP Luis Medina

Kevin Kiermaier to the New York Mets

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The New York Mets missed out on free-agent outfielder George Springer, and they need someone to take the place of Brandon Nimmo in center field. Nimmo is a useful outfielder, but the Mets could upgrade their outfield defense by moving him to left field and pairing Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Conforto.

    Kiermaier's all-out style in the outfield has bordered on reckless at times, but that should fit right into a clubhouse that is trying to play with a new attitude under new owner Steve Cohen. The Mets seem to be one of the few teams willing to spend money this offseason, so they might be willing to take on Kiermaier's contract, which has more than $36 million remaining over the next three seasons. 

    Given the current economic climate, it makes sense that a low-budget club like the Tampa Bay Rays would be looking to shop Kiermaier. Even though they won the American League pennant last year, they have defensive replacements for Kiermaier in center field with Manuel Margot and Brett Phillips.

    It would be tough for the Mets to part with their top catching prospect, Ali Sanchez, but they signed James McCann to a free-agent contract during the winter meetings and catching is a question mark for the Rays. 

    The one downside is that he's a left-handed bat and the Mets are a bit left-handed-heavy at the plate, but this move would give them an elite outfield.  

    Trade: C Ali Sanchez, RHP Drew Smith, RHP Tylor Megill 

Kris Bryant to the Atlanta Braves

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    The Atlanta Braves were tied to Nolan Arenado before the third baseman went to the St. Louis Cardinals in a move that shook baseball earlier this week.

    It's a big problem when teams can't afford to hang on to their stars, and it would be problematic for the Chicago Cubs to move their homegrown third baseman, but that's baseball in 2021. 

    If Bryant went to Atlanta, the Braves lineup would feature a pair of MVPs in Bryant (2016) and first baseman Freddie Freeman (2020). Putting Bryant behind Freeman in the order would provide protection and give them a formidable duo at 3-4. Atlanta would have a triple threat with Ronald Acuna Jr. in the order as well. 

    A trade like this would essentially be a salary dump for the Cubs, who would look at adding young talent in return. They could attain that with one of the Braves' top pitching prospects, Ian Anderson. They could also get major league outfield help in return with Ender Inciarte. 

    Bryant is owed $19.5 million for next season, which is a lot to take on as a rental. But it might be worthwhile for Atlanta to a create a duo that powerful in the meat of the order. 

    Trade: OF Ender Inciarte, RHP Ian Anderson, RHP Spencer Strider

Josh Hader to the Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Dodgers rarely hesitate to make a big move. They had the best bullpen in baseball last season, but they need to replace left-hander Jake McGee, who is currently a free agent.

    Bringing in Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers would not only create a staunch bullpen duo with Kenley Jansen, but Blake Treinen will also be back for the 2021 season, further solidifying the bullpen. 

    Jansen had a strong season in 2020, but he's had some shaky moments over the last few years. He isn't the pitcher he was in 2016 and 2017 when he had a sub-2.00 ERA and saved 47 and 41 games, respectively. The 33-year-old is a fan favorite who has played his entire career with the Dodgers, but he's heading into the final year of his contract, and Hader would solidify the role in the post-Jansen era. 

    Perhaps this tandem wouldn't last, but it would be fun to watch in the 2021 season. 

    DJ Peters is ready for the major leagues, but there isn't a ton of room for him in the Dodgers outfield. Los Angeles could deal utility man Chris Taylor, but the Brewers would probably want a younger player with a higher ceiling like Peters. Prospect Keibert Ruiz could shore up the catching position for the Brewers, too. 

    There's no such thing as overdoing for the Dodgers, and Hader would help them defend their World Series title.  

    Trade: OF DJ Peters, C Keibert Ruiz, RHP Gerardo Carillo