Winter Meetings Trade Possibilities

In arguably the most highly anticipated week for the baseball nerd, the MLB Winter Meetings are underway. This is a week of an absurd amount of rumors to get even the closeted baseball fan going crazy. Managers, GMs, and a host of other execs from all around baseball have converged on Orlando to discuss everything from Free Agent acquisitions, to managerial hires, and most importantly to talk trades.

So let’s do the same. With the rumors already swirling in the early goings of Day 1, let’s dive into some of the top players on the trading block and a few more who could see themselves there soon enough.

 

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Jackie Bradley Jr., OF – Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are desperately searching for power, they were at the bottom of the AL in that regard in the first season of the post-Papi Era. They’ve had their eyes fixated on J.D. Martinez, Carlos Santana, and Eric Hosmer in Free Agency. While that all sounds great, it appears as though they’re trying to remove some doubt by bringing aboard a piece via trade. They’re offering up JBJ, undoubtedly the low man on the Bo-Sox’s outfield totem pole. So here’s a few options whether they search for that first baseman, full-time DH, or outfield replacement:

  • Chicago Cubs
    • Red Sox get – Kyle Schwarber (OF/C/DH)
      • A lot of teams have maintained interest in Schwarber and his massive potential despite a rough 2017. The Sox would either look to play him in Left, with Andrew Benintendi slotting over to Center; or DH him and let Hanley Ramirez playing First. His big bat, controllable contract, and youth (24) fit the bill of another core piece for the Sox.
    • Cubs get – Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF)
      • Ever since the departure of Dexter Fowler for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs have been in the market for an every day Center Fielder. There has been talk of moving Javier Baez or Ian Happ out there, but they can shed that issue by bring in the versatile JBJ. His bat is solid, glove is excellent, and he doesn’t cost too much.
  • Miami Marlins
    • Red Sox get – Marcell Ozuna (OF)
      • In another case of the Marlins prematurely shedding a player they’ll have to pay later, they ship Ozuna to Boston. The Sox get a young hitter, who loses some in the defensive department to JBJ, but makes up for it with a swing tailor-made for the Green Monster.
    • Marlins get – Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF), Alex Scherff (P)
      • The Marlins add a core outfielder who might be more inclined to stay long term and is controllable for an additional season. Additionally they tack on a mid-level pitching prospect that will shoot up to the top of a very weak Minor League pitching core for the Marlins.

 

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Matt Harvey, SP – New York Mets

Wow was 2017 a rough one for the Dark Knight. Matt Harvey went from the Ace of the up-and-coming Mets rotation, to a nuisance in the eyes of the Front Office and New York media. He desperately needs a reset with a new team if he is to salvage any Free Agent value in his final year under contract, and the Mets need to get some return before he inevitably walks away from the Big Apple next winter. So what’s the market on him:

  •  Baltimore Orioles
    • Mets get – Anthony Santander (OF/1B), Alex Wells (LHP)
      • Here’s the catch-22 with Harvey: because he played poorly the Mets won’t get a huge return for him, but had he played better they wouldn’t be trading him. In Santander and Wells they get a couple of mid-range prospects who might turn into something under the strong Mets farm development system.
    • Orioles get – Matt Harvey (RHP)
      • The Orioles need pitching and they need it badly. Harvey is low risk/high reward option for sure. He’ll be desperate to redeem himself and earn a big money deal next winter, and the O’s won’t have to lose much to get him. They need a big improvement in a top heavy AL East if they want to prove to Manny Machado (don’t worry, we’ll get to him) that he shouldn’t ditch them next year.
  • Kansas City Royals
    • Mets get – Paulo Orlando (OF), Emmanuel Rivera (3B)
      • A year or two ago, this would seem outrageous as these teams had just seemingly locked up in the World Series and seemed poised to stay in contention for years to come. Now as they’ve fallen apart, that natural rivalry is long gone. Here the Mets get outfield depth and a mid-level 3B prospect to mold.
    • Royals get – Matt Harvey (RHP)
      • The Royals need a lot of things, and the holes are set to expand if they can’t return some of their top tier free agents. Harvey can come in and become a second or third starter and work as a stop gap of sorts. If he works out well and opts to stay that’s great, if he doesn’t it’s truly the least of your problems.

 

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Manny Machado, 3B – Baltimore Orioles

I truly didn’t think I’d be having to dissect Manny Machado options until 2018. Suddenly though it appears the Baltimore Orioles understand they are hardly the ideal long-term home for the 25 year old third baseman. He’s developed into something of a superstar as his prowess on both sides of the ball is nothing short of phenomenal. So if he’s to find a new home in the next week, where might the youngster end up:

  • St. Louis Cardinals
    • Orioles get – Kolten Wong (2B/OF), Alex Reyes (RHP), Jack Flaherty (RHP)
      • If you’re going to trade one of the top young players in baseball the returning package had better be elite. The O’s would add a young INF/OF commodity in the form of Wong who can slot in just about anywhere. Additionally adding the top two pitching prospects in the Cards’ system, including baseball’s 14th overall prospect (Reyes), is a great way to build towards tomorrow.
    • Cardinals get – Manny Machado (3B)
      • After getting spurned by Giancarlo Stanton, you had to know that the Cardinals were going to take it personal and look to add another big name. This might arguably be a bigger splash long term than Stanton, as this is a franchise player who is only 25. Machado would instantly become the heir to the long-empty Pujols thrown as the face of Cardinals baseball.
  • San Francisco Giants
    • Orioles get – Christian Arroyo (SS/3B), Joe Panik (2B), Tyler Breede (RHP)
      • The O’s might be more inclined to take a gander at this option here. While the Cards are offering up elite pitching prospects, the Giants can give a pair of obvious successors to the Machado-less O’s in the form of Panik and Arroyo. Both are young and bursting at the seems with potential.
    • Giants get – Manny Machado (3B)
      • You know who else got screwed by Stanton going to the Yanks? The team many (including myself) favored to land him. So why not make another huge splash in his absence? The issue with the Giants and Arroyo is that they have nowhere to put him, so offering the same Arroyo-led package that almost netted Stanton will surely earn them a top tier talent like Machado.

 

Milwaukee Brewers v Cincinnati Reds

Billy Hamilton, CF – Cincinnati Reds

For a very long time the baseball world has been clamoring about the limitless potential of Billy Hamilton. His speed is surely unmatched in the field and on the base path, his glove is very solid, but sadly his bat has never improved to match the hype surrounding his entrance to the league. he struggles as a true leadoff man because of this, and the Reds have realized they need to move him before the rest of the league catches on to what his value truly is. So where will he potentially call home next year:

  • Texas Rangers
    • Reds get – Drew Robinson (UTIL), Ronald Guzman (1B)
      • The Reds need a lot of help in a lot of places. Guzman might seem like an odd addition in terms of prospects seeing as the only sure spot in Cincy is Joey Votto at First. But the truth is Votto is a desirable asset to a lot of would-be-contenders so his days in a Reds uniform are likely numbered as well. The addition of Robinson is ideal because he can slot in just about anywhere and be a youthful upgrade over what they have.
    • Rangers get – Billy Hamilton (OF)
      • The Rangers have reportedly been very big on the idea of moving Delino DeShields over to Left and adding another athletic Center Fielder. That might make them players with JBJ and the Sox, but more likely they’re eyes are fixated on Cincinnati-speedster. Hamilton would have the benefit of a stronger lineup around him, which could potentially help him boost his stats and earn that leadoff spot.
  • Kansas City Royals
    • Reds get – Hunter Dozier (3B/OF)
      • The Reds would be smart to tack on a young prospect waiting for a big league call-up. They’ll strike out in asking for Raul Mondesi Jr., but Dozier might just be available. Again he’s a young, viable upgrade over what they currently have, and better yet he has some really big-time upside.
    • Royals get – Billy Hamilton (OF)
      • The Royals very well could be the biggest losers of this years offseason. They could lose 3 key home-grown contributors to their World Series efforts in 2015. One of those potential losses is CF and table-setter Lorenzo Cain. Hamilton is far from Cain’s level, but he’s the best option available short of JBJ.

 

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Evan Longoria, 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

The face of Tampa Bay baseball for the past 9 seasons will likely move on to a new home at long last. Longoria has been the franchise’s centerpiece for nearly a decade, and while he has kept the Rays in consistent playoff contention, a move to an already established contender could put him on track for a long-elusive World Series ring. So who is in the market for a guy like Longoria:

  • St. Louis Cardinals
    • Rays get – Randall Grichuk (OF), Kolten Wong (2B/OF)
      • The Rays would love to get their hands on Alex Reyes, but sadly Longo won’t be enough to do it. So instead they’ll look to a pair of youngsters with some MLB experience who have yet to reach their full-potential. Grichuk and Wong fit that mold to a tee.
    • Cardinals get –  Evan Longoria (3B)
      • The Cardinals are definitely in the market for a slick-fielding, stick-wielding third baseman. If the O’s don’t pursue trade options for Machado, then the focus has to turn to a guy like Longo. He’ll cost them substantially less talent wise, but he’ll give them some solid contributions for the remainder of his tenure there.
  • Cleveland Indians
    • Rays get – Giovanny Urshela (3B), Aaron Civale (RHP)
      • Urshela proved himself to be a fine defensive player at the hot corner, and still packs a bit of untapped potential at the dish. He’ll get the chance to harness it in a move that’ll make him an everyday player. Throwing in a mid-level pitching prospect like Civale is just a really nice bonus.
    • Indians get – Evan Longoria (3B)
      • The Indians found success with Jason Kipnis moving out to Center, and Jose Ramirez sliding over to Second. So if they aren’t able to retun Carlos Santana, Longoria is a logical choice to fill the open third base job. He can still pack a middle of the order punch and help some of his younger infield-mates circumnavigate the terrains of being a big leaguer with longevity.

 

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Gerrit Cole, SP – Pittsburgh Pirates

In 2017, Gerrit Cole was an early favorite to get moved at the trade deadline. The Pirates held tight to their ace however, and he finished to season in the black and yellow. Now though, it appears that the Pirates’ core is being stripped away as they inevitably look to rebuild. Cole is an ideal trading piece as his controllable contract and big-upside will have many ball clubs titillated. His top suitors could be the following:

  • New York Yankees
    • Pirates get – Miguel Andujar (3B), Domingo German (RHP), Kyle Higashioka (C)
      • The Pirates need to be aggressive in their demands for Cole. The Free Agent Market for starters features Arrieta and Darvish at the top, and then a tier just below where Cole sits. Their return from the bombers features a big-league ready talent like Andujar, and a few other potential contributors.
    • Yankees get – Gerrit Cole (RHP)
      • Oh, you thought they were done? The Bombers are far from finished in their efforts to build a World Series contender. They need to add to a rotation that currently only features 4 starters. Michael Pineda is likely done in pinstripes, and even if they manage to bring back CC Sabathia, they’ll want another top of the rotation guy to throw in the mix. With Cole, the ends justify the means as they lose one of their top infield prospects and a pair of mid-tier guys.
  • Chicago Cubs
    • Pirates get – Kyle Schwarber (OF/C)
      • The Pirates would be smart to ask for Ian Happ here, but in all likelihood the Cubs will want to hold on to him until they really know what they have there. So the Pirates would be wise to counter with the acquisition of the highly coveted Schwarber. I believe he’s better suited for the AL where he could DH, but he’s definitely a capable Outfielder and potential Catcher.
    • Cubs get – Gerrit Cole (RHP)
      • The Chicago Cubs seem increasingly unlikely to resign Jake Arrieta this offseason as the days progress. So while a mid-tier signing like Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb would be great adds, they would love another top-end talent to pair with John Lester. Enter Gerrit Cole. Cole isn’t as polished as Arrieta, but his youth and potential to reach that peak are certainly attractive to the still young and hungry Cubs.

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