B/R MLB Community: Grading Fan Trade Proposals 1 Week from 2021 Deadline
The 2021 MLB trade deadline is right around the corner, and the rumor mill is heating up as the league's contenders get ready to battle for reinforcements.
In early June, we asked B/R readers to submit their best deadline trade proposals, and the best and worst of the bunch were analyzed and graded.
Then we revisited that idea on July 1 for Round 2.
With the trade landscape taking shape and the line between buyer and seller becoming clearer, it's time for Round 3.
Ahead, we've once again selected a sampling of the best and worst user-submitted 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.
Off we go!
A Jose Ramirez-to-Atlanta Blockbuster
To ATL: 3B Jose Ramirez, RP James Karinchak
To CLE: 3B Austin Riley, OF Drew Waters, C William Contreras, LHP Jared Shuster, OF Trey Harris
That's a ton of young, controllable talent that the Atlanta Braves are parting with in this trade proposal, and it's still not even close.
Jose Ramirez is a bona fide superstar who has finished in the top three in AL MVP voting three times in the past four years. With an $11 million club option in 2022 and a $13 million club option in 2023, he has one of the most team friendly contracts in baseball.
I'm not totally convinced a package of Austin Riley, Drew Waters and one of the three remaining players in the proposal would be enough to get a deal done, but it would probably get them close.
That leaves two of the second-tier prospects as the acquisition cost for James Karinchak, and that's where this deal goes off the rails.
The 25-year-old has quickly developed into one of the most overpowering late-inning arms in baseball, and he has club control through the 2025 season. He's not just a throw-in. He's the type of player who would demand a blockbuster return by himself.
It would almost certainly take adding Cristian Pache or Kyle Muller to the mix for Cleveland to even consider a packaged deal.
A Three-Team Deal...Sorta
To SD: RF Joey Gallo, RP Craig Kimbrel
To TEX: OF Robert Hassell, OF Joshua Mears
To CHC: C Luis Campusano
My immediate thought is that there is no reason to make this a three-team trade. With nothing changing hands between the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers in this deal, it's just two separate standard trades mashed into one. But let's dig into the two different swaps anyway.
A team can never have too many good relief arms, but Craig Kimbrel is more of a luxury than a necessity for a San Diego Padres bullpen that leads the majors with a 2.93 ERA. It would make no sense for them to trade away their catcher of the future to upgrade an area that is already a clear strength.
The Joey Gallo portion is much more logical.
Robert Hassell is a top-100 prospect with tremendous upside who could be the center fielder of the future in Texas. Joshua Mears is a boom-or-bust prospect, but he has some of the best raw power in the minors and would be well worth the gamble. Sweeten the pot with a couple of intriguing low-level prospects, and you might have a deal.
The Gallo proposal saves this proposal from an "F" grade, but the unnecessary three-team structure and ill-conceived Craig Kimbrel deal still have to be taken into account.
To BOS: 1B/2B Jonathan Schoop
To DET: SS Brainer Bonaci, RHP Eduard Bazardo
Schoop is having a great season, hitting .288/.329/.475 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI while splitting his time between first base and second base. There will be enough contenders interested that it will likely take a quality prospect like Bonaci to get a deal done, so this one seems about right.
To NYM: IF Eduardo Escobar
To ARI: OF Khalil Lee, SS Shervyen Newton
Shervyen Newton doesn't add anything to this package as a 22-year-old hitting .190 with a 40.8 percent strikeout rate at Single-A. If the D-backs value MLB readiness, Khalil Lee would be a solid pickup, but I'd expect them to target low-level guys with upside as they embark on what could be a multiyear rebuild.
To NYM: RHP Michael Pineda
To MIN: RHP Jose Butto, RHP Michael Otanez
Both of the pitchers going to Minnesota in this trade are likely destined for the bullpen long-term, so there's not a ton of upside in this return package. As long as he doesn't struggle mightily leading up to the deadline, Pineda should bring back a bit more.
A Joey Gallo Trade and a Wil Myers Salary Dump
To SD: RF Joey Gallo
To TEX: 1B/OF Wil Myers, SS CJ Abrams
The first question we have to ask: Would the Padres trade CJ Abrams straight up for Joey Gallo?
I'm not convinced they would, even with the speedy infielder sidelined for the remainder of the season with a left leg injury. The 20-year-old is the No. 6 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, and he's a .343/.398/.529 hitter with 40 extra-base hits and 28 steals in 76 career minor league games.
Gallo would provide a major boost to the middle of the lineup, but does he make a big enough difference and provide enough value with one year of control remaining to justify trading away a potential future superstar and all his remaining control?
The idea of also offloading the $22.5 million owed to Wil Myers in 2022 is an interesting way to balance the scales. A rebuilding Rangers team no doubt has the financial flexibility, and it would make the Padres significant players for another major free-agent signing this winter.
I still think Abrams will be off the table and it would be a bigger package of prospects if the Rangers and Padres get together on a deal, but this is a solid outside-the-box idea.
A Kris Bryant/Kyle Hendricks Packaged Deal
To TOR: IF/OF Kris Bryant, RHP Kyle Hendricks
To CHC: 3B Cavan Biggio, SS Orelvis Martinez, RHP Adam Kloffenstein, IF Kevin Smith, RHP Sem Robberse
There were a handful of different trade proposals sending Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks to the Toronto Blue Jays. The inclusion of Cavan Biggio in this one piqued my interest.
The 26-year-old tallied 5.0 WAR in 159 games over his first two MLB seasons, and while he's hitting a middling .226/.331/.378 for a 94 OPS+ with 18 extra-base hits and 0.4 WAR this year, he still offers significant upside and control through 2025.
Packaging him alongside 19-year-old Orelvis Martinez, who is hitting .286/.372/.568 with 36 extra-base hits in 275 plate appearances at Single-A, makes this an extremely attractive trade package.
While Kris Bryant is just a two-month rental, he's still capable of bringing back a top-100 prospect and some smaller pieces, and Kyle Hendricks has even more trade value. The rock-steady right-hander is owed a team friendly $28 million over the next two seasons, and he has a $16 million club option in 2024.
A high-ceiling arm like Adam Kloffenstein would be of interest to a Cubs team thin on controllable pitching, while Kevin Smith has a .975 OPS with 16 home runs and 50 RBI in 61 games at Triple-A and profiles as an offensive-minded utility player.
This would likely come down to how high the Cubs are on Martinez, and whether they believe Kloffenstein will rebound from a rocky start at High-A. Otherwise, replacing him in the package with Simeon Woods Richardson could also be an option.
All things considered, this proposal makes a lot of sense for both sides.
To SD: LHP Danny Duffy
To KC: RHP Dinelson Lamet, IF Tucupita Marcano
Seriously? Dinelson Lamet has dealt with injuries this season, but he's a year removed from finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting and has club control through 2023. Danny Duffy is a two-month rental who has not made it out of the fifth inning since May and just landed on the injured list for the second time this season. The 32-year-old is not even bringing back Tucupita Marcano straight up.
To NYY: 1B Anthony Rizzo, SS Javier Baez
To CHC: SS Gleyber Torres, 3B Gio Urshela, 1B Luke Voit "and either Frazier or Andujar"
You didn't think we were going to make it through this entire article without a mention of Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar, did you? Torres, Voit and Urshela have a combined eight years of club control remaining. Trading them for a pair of two-month rentals to go all-in on a mediocre 2021 Yankees team is the type of move that would get an entire front office fired and laughed out of the industry.
To OAK: SS Javier Baez, cash
To CHC: LHP Jesus Luzardo, C Tyler Soderstrom, SS Robert Puason
Never in a billion years would the Oakland Athletics give up even one of these players for two months of Javier Baez, let alone all three. Unless "cash" means $100 million, this might be the most lopsided trade proposal I've seen this year.
The Starting Pitching Market
To SEA: RHP Zac Gallen
To ARI: OF Taylor Trammell, RHP Emerson Hancock, 3B Austin Shenton, RHP Matt Brash
Between a forearm stress fracture, an elbow strain and a hamstring strain, Gallen has only managed to pitch 46.2 innings this season. The 25-year-old is a terrific young pitcher with club control through the 2025 season, but I wonder if teams will be hesitant to pay such a steep price in the midst of this injury-plagued campaign. The Mariners need a controllable ace, but I'm high enough on Emerson Hancock to think twice about this one.
To LAD: RHP Kyle Gibson
To TEX: RHP Clayton Beeter, OF Jake Vogel
I love Clayton Beeter. The No. 66 overall pick in the 2020 draft was a closer in college and could be a force out of the bullpen, but with three plus pitches and a strong 6'2" frame he also has serious upside as a starter. I don't think Jake Vogel moves the needle enough as a secondary piece, though. It would either take a few more flier prospects or a better second piece.
To SD: LHP John Means
To BAL: LHP MacKenzie Gore, RHP Justin Lange, OF Joshua Mears
Yes, MacKenzie Gore is struggling at Triple-A. Still, I can't fathom the Padres throwing in the towel on a 22-year-old who was the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball a year ago. Justin Lange and Joshua Mears are also top-10 prospects in the San Diego system. The fact that John Means struggled on Tuesday in his first start back after more than a month on the injured list also doesn't help. It's an overpay by San Diego, and a risky one.
Adam Frazier Trade Ideas
To CWS: 2B Adam Frazier
To PIT: RHP Matthew Thompson, RHP Andrew Dalquist, OF Micker Adolfo
With Matthew Thompson (31.1 IP, 8.62 ERA, 6.3 BB/9) and Andrew Dalquist (41.2 IP, 6.26 ERA, 6.0 BB/9) both off to brutal starts in the White Sox system, there are going to be better offers on the table for the Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star second baseman.
To ATL: 2B Adam Frazier, LHP Chasen Shreve
To PIT: RHP Kyle Wright, OF Justin Dean
Right-hander Kyle Wright showed what he's capable of last postseason when he threw six shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 3 of the NLDS. However, he struggled to a 9.95 ERA in two starts in the majors this year and has logged a less-than-dominant 4.31 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 54.1 innings at Triple-A. At 25 years old, he needs to take a step forward soon, but he's a good buy-low target for a rebuilding Pittsburgh team.
To SEA: 2B Adam Frazier
To PIT: OF Mitch Haniger
Mitch Haniger is a free agent after the 2022 season and the Pirates will be nowhere near ready to contend next year, so this deal doesn't make any sense for Pittsburgh.
More Kris Bryant Trade Ideas
To SF: IF/OF Kris Bryant
To CHC: LHP Seth Corry, IF Will Wilson, 3B Luis Toribio
This was the best of the bunch as far as Bryant proposals go. Seth Corry has walked 54 batters in 54.2 innings at High-A, but he also has 85 strikeouts and was lights out in 2019. It's a roll of the dice worth taking for the Cubs. Will Wilson is a high-floor player who should at least be an MLB utility player, and Luis Toribio offers significant upside as a 20-year-old with a 55-hit/50-power profile. The Giants are not selling the farm, but they're giving up some quality pieces. The Cubs are not getting an elite-level prospect, but there's a ton of upside in this package. This is what a Bryant trade is going to look like.
To NYM: IF/OF Kris Bryant
To CHC: SS Ronny Mauricio, 3B Mark Vientos, RHP J.T. Ginn
Bryant is hitting .172/.252/.303 with four home runs in 135 plate appearances since June 1. He's a valuable player capable of providing defensive versatility and offensive impact, but as a two-month rental who's not hitting particularly well right now, this is an incredibly steep price to pay. There's a good chance all three of those Mets players will be top-100 prospects by season's end.
To LAA: IF/OF Kris Bryant
To CHC: OF Jo Adell
Giving up five-plus years of Jo Adell for two months of Bryant is laughable. This also doesn't do anything to address the Angels' biggest issue, which is the pitching staff.
To ATL: IF/OF Kris Bryant
To CHC: CF Cristian Pache, RHP Bryse Wilson, RHP Charlie Morton
I like Bryse Wilson as a potential centerpiece in a Bryant deal, but this is once again a massive overpay. Two months of Bryant is not going to bring back Cristian Pache. I also don't understand the inclusion of Charlie Morton at all. If the Cubs are selling, they don't need him. If the Braves are buying, they desperately need him.
More Joey Gallo Trade Ideas
To NYY: RF Joey Gallo
To TEX: SS Oswald Peraza, RHP Luis Gil, OF Kevin Alcantara, OF Miguel Andujar
Oswald Peraza will be part of our updated Top 100 prospect list set to drop later this week, and Luis Gil just missed the cut, so this is an impressive package of young talent. The 6'6", 188-pound Kevin Alcantara also has considerable offensive upside and is a great athlete for his size. This is in the ballpark of what it would take to acquire Gallo, but I'm just not sure it's a smart move for a good-not-great Yankees team that could wind up missing the playoffs anyway.
To ATL: RF Joey Gallo, RHP Ian Kennedy
To TEX: OF Michael Harris, OF Jesse Franklin, RHP Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP Kyle Wright
Stacking this package up side-by-side with the above Yankees proposal, the Yankees deal is clearly superior. Michael Harris is a prospect on the rise, but he's not a top-100 guy yet. Kyle Wright and Jasseel De La Cruz both have upside, but they're also both getting knocked around at Triple-A, while Jesse Franklin is a decent second-tier outfield prospect. Atlanta would have to part with more.
To CWS: RF Joey Gallo
To TEX: RHP Jared Kelley, OF Micker Adolfo, 3B Jake Burger, RHP Reynaldo Lopez
This package offers a nice mix of MLB readiness in Jake Burger, future upside in Jared Kelly and a high-risk/high-reward reclamation project in Reynaldo Lopez. Outfielder Micker Adolfo has also rebounded with a strong start to the 2021 season, making this a package of four potential MLB contributors.
However, a brutal pro debut so far for Kelly (10.2 IP, 10.13 ERA, 14 BB) cuts into his value as the centerpiece and likely pushes this proposal behind what others will be willing to offer.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.