B/R MLB Community: Grading Fan Trade Proposals 1 Month from 2021 Deadline
The 2021 MLB trade deadline is fast approaching as the calendar flips to July, and trade buzz should start to escalate in the coming weeks.
A month ago, we asked B/R readers to submit their best deadline trade proposals, and the best and worst of the bunch were analyzed and graded.
It's time for Round 2.
Ahead, we've once again selected a sampling of the best and worst trade ideas to highlight with further analysis.
Each trade proposal received a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F based on how balanced the two sides of the deal are and how realistic it is for both teams.
Max Scherzer to the Los Angeles Dodgers
To LAD: SP Max Scherzer
To WAS: C Keibert Ruiz, SP Tony Gonsolin
First and foremost, it's doubtful the Washington Nationals are going to sell.
The NL East is wide-open, and they have gone 13-3 in their last 16 games to climb from fifth to second in the division standings and above .500 on the year.
They're more likely to add an arm next month than subtract their ace and future Hall of Famer.
There's also the matter of Scherzer's 10-and-5 no-trade rights. There has been some indication that he would only approve a trade if it were accompanied by an extension as he plays out the final season of a seven-year deal.
Does a Dodgers team with a lot of money on the books and fast-approaching extension needs for Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger and others really want to commit to the 36-year-old beyond this year?
Keibert Ruiz has become a valuable spare part with the emergence of Will Smith, but trading Tony Gonsolin also feels like a mistake. The 27-year-old is controllable through the 2026 season, and he has a 2.62 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 99.2 career innings in the big leagues.
Is the upgrade from Gonsolin to Scherzer really worth giving up those five years of control?
This feels like a trade for the sake of making a trade for the Dodgers.
Adam Frazier to the New York Mets
To NYM: 2B Adam Frazier
To PIT: 3B J.D. Davis, OF Khalil Lee, OF Alex Ramirez
Adam Frazier has been one of baseball's biggest surprises.
The 29-year-old is hitting .326/.395/.465 and ranks among the top 10 in the National League in OPS+ (139, ninth), hits (98, second), runs scored (49, seventh) and doubles (24, second).
With a team-friendly $4.3 million salary and one more year of arbitration control, he is a valuable trade chip for a rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates team. His defensive versatility gives him broad appeal to a number of contenders, and the Mets could shift Jeff McNeil to third base and use Frazier as their starting second baseman for the playoff push.
Despite the fact that he's been banged up this year, J.D. Davis has a 133 OPS+ in 730 plate appearances since the start of the 2019 season. His club control through the 2024 season should appeal to a cost-conscious Pirates organization.
Khalil Lee went 1-for-18 with 13 strikeouts in his first taste of MLB action earlier this year. That said, he's still just 23 years old with some intriguing physical tools, and his mix of power, speed and defense is worth a flier. The real prize here could be Alex Ramirez, who signed for $2.05 million during the 2019 international signing period. The 18-year-old has a 50-hit/50-power offensive profile with five-tool potential.
This is a logical deal for both sides. The only question is whether the Pirates will prioritize prospects in a return package over an MLB piece like Davis.
Starling Marte for Ian Happ Blockbuster
To CHC: OF Starling Marte
To MIA: OF Ian Happ
Generally speaking, we don't see many one-for-one trades of MLB players, especially at the trade deadline. Teams that are selling are generally rebuilding, which means they are looking for high-ceiling prospect talent rather than equivalent MLB value.
However, this proposal is interesting.
The Marlins are a team on the rise, but contention might not be in the cards in 2022. Starling Marte is a free agent at season's end, so it would make sense to try to squeeze some value out of him before he departs.
On the other hand, the Cubs have a rapidly closing contention window with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez all ticketed for free agency. Marte is the type of short-term asset they might be looking to target for one last October push.
Ian Happ is hitting just .186/.300/.348 with 15 extra-base hits in 239 plate appearances, but he's just a year removed from posting a 134 OPS+ with 11 doubles and 12 home runs in 231 trips to the plate. The 26-year-old finished 18th in NL MVP voting last year, and buying low on him could pay major dividends for the Marlins.
The Cubs would be hard-pressed to give up Happ, who is controllable through 2023, for a two-month rental. But there is some potential for a larger deal that also sends a controllable arm to the Cubs and some prospects to Miami.
Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays
To TOR: SP Jose Berrios
To MIN: SP Simeon Woods Richardson, SS Orelvis Martinez, SP Patrick Murphy
The Toronto Blue Jays have gotten better-than-expected production out of Robbie Ray (15 GS, 3.43 ERA), Steven Matz (13 GS, 4.26 ERA), Ross Stripling (12 GS, 4.27 ERA) and rookie Alek Manoah (6 GS, 3.34 ERA), but that won't stop them from searching for potential upgrades.
Ray and Matz are both free agents at the end of the year, so landing a controllable arm would bolster their staff for the stretch run and 2022.
Jose Berrios has not taken the step forward many expected when he earned his first All-Star nod at the age of 24, but he has settled in as a reliable No. 2/3-starter type for the Minnesota Twins. The 27-year-old has a 3.41 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 89.2 innings, and he currently boasts career bests in hit rate (7.4 per nine innings) and walk rate (2.3 per nine innings).
With club control through 2022, he carries a similar profile to Marcus Stroman when he was traded to the New York Mets at the 2019 deadline. He brought back two top-tier prospects in Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay.
This proposal has Woods Richardson going the other way, along with shortstop Orelvis Martinez. Both of those players will likely find their way onto leaguewide top-100 lists before the 2021 season is over, and they would slot into the top five prospects in the Minnesota system.
It's a steep price to pay, but also a solid estimation of what it's going to take to land Berrios.
As Always, Thanks for the Laughs, Yankees Fans
No one pumps out a higher volume of lopsided trade proposals than Yankees fans, so we've rounded up some of the highlights here on one slide.
ARI trades CF Ketel Marte for OF Clint Frazier, OF Miguel Andujar (@ryanthegoatbda)
Their trade value is...say it with me, Yankees fans...nonexistent.
TEX trades RF Joey Gallo for OF Clint Frazier, OF Miguel Andujar, a top-10 prospect (@ossoto0790)
Sweetening the pot with an unnamed "top-10 prospect" still doesn't come close to getting Joey Gallo, who has a 137 OPS+ and 18 home runs in the midst of a 2.4-WAR season. Spare parts do not add up to an impact player.
MIN trades SP Jose Berrios for SP Clarke Schmidt, OF Estevan Florial, OF Brandon Lockridge (@colestarck)
The previous slide gave a good approximation of what a Jose Berrios return package might look like. This gives you the polar opposite.
Estevan Florial is hitting .222 in 178 plate appearances in the minors and is years removed from being a top prospect at this point. Clarke Schmidt is on the shelf with an elbow strain. Brandon Lockridge is a 24-year-old utility infielder hitting .236/.296/.371 against younger competition at High-A.
COL trades SS Trevor Story for OF Miguel Andujar, RP Albert Abreu (@KMerch7)
At least they mixed it up and went with 25-year-old reliever Albert Abreu alongside Andujar instead of Frazier. That's something. This package gets the Yankees at least 5 percent of the way there in terms of necessary return value.
Maybe in 'MLB The Show'
MLB The Show is a fantastic game that has opened the door to a new segment of the fan population. However, it also provides an extremely unrealistic view of how MLB trades work. I'll go out on a limb and say these two users are both MLB The Show players.
PHI trades SP Aaron Nola to COL for SS Trevor Story (@jevonstoltz06)
Aaron Nola is signed through the 2022 season. Trevor Story is a free agent this winter. That alone is reason enough to toss this proposal into the "never going to happen" pile. The Phillies are not going to trade a key piece of their present and future roster for a two-month rental.
If the Phillies are buyers, bullpen help will be their No. 1 priority, not a shortstop with Didi Gregorius on the mend from an elbow injury.
CIN trades SP Luis Castillo to NYY for SS Gleyber Torres (@NYCSports321)
With a .242/.324/.313 line and just 12 extra-base hits in 285 plate appearances, Gleyber Torres is a shell of the player who looked like a budding superstar as recently as 2019.
The Cincinnati Reds need a shortstop, but not badly enough to trade a frontline pitcher for a player who is struggling offensively and provides no value defensively.
And make no mistake, Luis Castillo is a frontline pitcher.
The 28-year-old got off to a rocky start, but he had a 1.71 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 31.2 innings over five starts in June.
Trevor Story to the Oakland Athletics
To OAK: SS Trevor Story, RP Daniel Bard, cash
To COL: SS Nick Allen, SP Daulton Jefferies, C Kyle McCann
Never going to happen.
Not because this is an unfair trade proposal—quite the contrary. That's a great estimation of what it's going to cost to acquire Trevor Story this summer.
The 28-year-old has a modest 105 OPS+ in 2021, but he's been one of baseball's most dynamic offensive players for years. The prior three seasons, he had a 128 OPS+ and 15.8 WAR while averaging 38 home runs and 30 steals per 162 games.
But the Oakland Athletics will never trade three quality prospects for a two-month rental. It's just not how they operate. Those young, cost-controlled players are the lifeblood of their tight-pursed organization.
Nick Allen slipped out of the first round of the 2017 draft because of questions about the offensive upside in his undersized 5'8" frame. He's now hitting .336/.386/.483 with 12 extra-base hits in 36 games at Double-A while continuing to display the elite defensive skills that put him in the first-round conversation.
He's not a trade chip for an all-in push in 2021.
He's the shortstop of the future in 2022 and beyond.
Daulton Jefferies is an MLB-ready arm, and Kyle McCann might have the best raw power in the system. And while that's a fair return price for a dynamic player like Story, it's one the Athletics are simply not going to be willing to pay.
Pablo Lopez, Yimi Garcia to the Toronto Blue Jays
To TOR: SP Pablo Lopez, RP Yimi Garcia
To MIA: SS Jordan Groshans, SP Adam Kloffenstein, OF Tanner Kirwer, IF Addison Barger, SP Naswell Paulino
The Toronto Blue Jays have a deep farm system, and using it to acquire a controllable starting pitcher this summer would make a ton of sense.
Pablo Lopez has quietly been one of the best starters in the National League, posting a 2.87 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 94 strikeouts in 91 innings. The 25-year-old is controllable through the 2024 season and won't be arbitration-eligible for the first time until this coming winter.
The Marlins might be in last place in the NL East standings, but they were a playoff team a year ago. They're a lot closer to legitimate contention than they are to rebuilding, and if they're going to trade a player like Lopez, they'll need to be blown away.
Jordan Groshans is a great place to start, and Adam Kloffenstein has an extremely high ceiling despite ugly numbers at High-A Vancouver to start the year. However, it will likely take another top-tier prospect to keep the Marlins on the phone—that's how valuable Lopez is with all his remaining control.
Replacing one of the other three prospects—who all rank outside the top 30 in the Toronto organization—with someone like Orelvis Martinez or Simeon Woods Richardson would make this a more realistic proposal. That's without discussing the value Yimi Garcia adds as a late-inning relief arm with a team-friendly $1.9 million salary.
Targeting a Lopez/Garcia package makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays, but it's going to cost more than the above proposal.
To SEA: SP John Means (BAL), CF Kevin Kiermaier (TB)
To TB: RF Mitch Haniger (SEA)
To BAL: SP Nick Bitsko (TB), IF Xavier Edwards (TB), LHP Brandon Williamson (SEA), SP Matt Brash (SEA)
The surface-level logic of giving the Seattle Mariners a controllable arm to anchor their rotation and the Tampa Bay Rays a power bat to bolster the lineup is sound, but the scales are uneven.
The Rays are giving up way too much for a year-and-a-half of Mitch Haniger. The home runs are nice, but he has a .302 on-base percentage and salary that is likely to climb north of $6 million next year. He's essentially Hunter Renfroe, a player the Rays cut loose rather than pay roughly $3.5 million in arbitration last year.
There's logic to unloading Kevin Kiermaier, who is owed $12.2 million next year and has a $2.5 million buyout on a $13 million club option in 2023, but Nick Bitsko and Xavier Edwards are both top-100-caliber prospects, and Haniger and some financial flexibility just aren't worth parting with that level of young talent.
On the flip side, the Mariners are not giving up enough to acquire John Means.
The 28-year-old is controllable through 2024 and pitching like a Cy Young candidate with a 2.28 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in 71 innings. It will take more than Haniger and a couple of mid-level organizational prospects to bring him to Seattle.
An All-In Move for the Yankees
To NYY: CF Ketel Marte, SP Zac Gallen
To ARI: OF Jasson Dominguez, SS Oswald Peraza, SP Luis Gil, RP Jonathan Loaisiga
I would fear for the safety of Brian Cashman if he traded Jasson Dominguez this summer given all the hype surrounding the 18-year-old phenom.
There is absolutely no chance he is anything but untouchable.
Even if he weren't, this would be an extremely short-sighted, all-in move for a Yankees team that is sitting fourth in the AL East standings and just a few games above .500.
Would acquiring Ketel Marte and Zac Gallen make this team a clear World Series contender?
The answer is no.
Not every season is worth mortgaging the future. Sometimes, the right move is to stand pat, hope the in-house talent improves and position yourself for future success.
That's to say nothing of the fact that Marte is on the injured list with a strained hamstring and Gallen has already made two trips to the injured list himself this year.
If this trade happens, an entire front office deserves to be fired.