It is hot stove season and rumors of what players may be going where will start to abound. While there are some interesting free agents to monitor, generally, the most interesting and promising players that could and in some cases should be available, are those who are currently the property of other teams. Here are some trades or moves that should happen this winter.
Tampa Rays trading David Price. Yes I know I did not come up with this idea. However, this is obvious. He is due a a nice raise and can walk in a couple years. As the cost of retaining him would be prohibitive for the Rays and his trade value excellent, he is a prime candidate to be dealt. That being said, which teams make the most sense for a deal?
I wish I could say the Yankees because I would love for them to get Price but they do not have the pieces.
One great option is the Texas Rangers. The Rays need and crave young, inexpensive, top talent and you cannot do any better than Jurickson Profar to start any deal. While Texas would most likely want to move Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus, their contracts are too prohibitive which makes Profar the odd man out absent someone switching to an unnatural position. A deal headline by Profar and maybe Jorge Alfaro (top catching prospect) would make a lot of sense for the Rays. Meanwhile, the Rangers get a top starter in the deal, making the trade of Profar maximized in return.
Some people will think of Seattle but pitching is a strength for them so this type of deal does not make as much sense for them as building team that needs its depth.
The Phillies would love to have Price but they do not have the pieces.
The Nationals are another team that makes a lot of sense because they seem intent on getting another ace on their staff. Furthermore, they also could give a strong return to the Rays with a package of something like Wilson Ramos, Anthony Rendon, Lucas Giolito and/or AJ Cole, which is the exact type of trade that the Rays like -- a pool of talent to fill a lot of needs. Another team's name who I have heard crop up is St. Louis. However, I do not see it.
The Cardinals number one need is shortstop and their best use of their pieces is to get someone who can fill that need. A better fit for a trade would be the Pirates. The Pirates made the playoffs for the first time in eons. A front line starter to put ahead of Gerrit Cole is needed. Meanwhile, they have some nice pieces like Gregory Polanco, Alan Henson, Luis Heredia and James Taillon that would likely make the Rays very happy.
Another team that makes sense is the Diamondbacks. Since the DBacks appear to be looking for a top end starter and have a deep farm to get one, none make more sense than David Price. In Price, they get the most consistent ace likely available this offseason while the Rays could get a return that looks something like Chris Owings, Matt Davidson, Tyler Skaggs and maybe AJ Pollack.
Finally, you cannot discount the Dodgers. They are the new Yankees with their spending ways but unlike the Yankees, they have some talent to deal that is close to major league ready. A deal of Joc Pederson, Cory Seager, Stephen Fife and Corey Seager would likely entice the Rays.
White Sox Trading Whoever They Can. The White Sox are terrible team from top to bottom, including a terrible farm system. Because of the same, the few nice players they do have are insufficient to make the team competitive. While trading guys like Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez (who are under team control for a couple more years), should bring some kind of value back, the best pieces they could trade would be Chris Sale and Alejandro De Aza. Sale is a top young ace while De Aza is the most valuable the positional players the White Sox have. Sale would likely be desired by all the teams mentioned above who would want David Price and the haul for Sale should be similar to that for Price especially since Sale is not close to free agency and is much cheaper to own right now. De Aza should also bring a few nice prospects, though nowhere near of the same value as Sale. In total, these four pieces should, if smartly executed, yield the White Sox some nice talent that they sorely need.
Indians Entertaining Trades for Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson The Indians had the first playoff caliber season in a while. That said, the Indians will need reinforcements if they want this to be a trend and not an aberration. I mention Carlos Santana because his trade value is at a peak, not because they should want to trade him. There are so many teams with the need for a great catcher that the Indians might be able to get a great haul for him since he is young, an all star and under team control for a few years. The return should be high or forget it. Cabrera and Masterson have one more year left before free agency. Because of the same neither is at peak value ordinarily but the problem is, both of their values could go down in 2014. Cabrera's stats seem to be in decline. Masterson seems to alternate good years and bad years which means that 2014 is due to be a bad one. For said reasons, waiting to deal either player mid-season or for them to become free agents might hurt more than help the Indians. Anyone remember when people were talking about the Yankees making a qualifying offer to Phil Hughes come this off season so they can recoup a pick? Look how that worked out. If Masterson regresses to the mean and/or Cabrera just continues to regress, and all of sudden, no return for these guys. For said reasons, if a trade could be had that lands something of value for either guy, the Indians need to consider it.
Angels Trade Mark Trumbo for a Starter. Between losing Zack Greinke after a brief dalliance, losing Ervin Santana and losing Dan Haren, the Angels rotation went from a strength to a weakness. Meanwhile, the Angels made the mistake of investing in to over 30 players who had decline written all over them. While they would probably like to undo those deals, no one is likely to help them in that department. Because of the same, one of the issues the Angels have is too many outfielders, which is a good problem for a bad reason. Of all the outfielders who make the most sense to trade, it is Trumbo. He is a poor hitter and fielder but with awesome power, something some team will bite on because of the general power outage that seems to have pervaded the supposedly post-steroid era.
One such team that could make this kind of deal is the Red Sox. With Jacoby Ellsbury a free agent who is likely to price himself out of Boston, the need for an outfielder will exist. Fenway is a park suited to Trumbo's power while the Sox have some pieces they might be able to spare that make sense for the Angels, e.g., Felix Doubront and maybe Will Middlebrooks. If need be, the Angels can add CJ Cron, who has no positional spot on the team to make this deal or other deals happen.
Another interesting possibility could be the Rays. A cheap power hitting outfielder or first baseman would be a nice get for them and maybe a deal involving Jake Odorozzi plus would make sense for both teams
As stated, the Indians should consider moving Masterson. I would personally stay away from him but if the Angels disagree, a Trumbo for Masterson type deal could make sense.
One more team that would make sense are the Tigers. They are not sold on Andy Dirks and Rick Porcello has some trade value. He has yet to have a great season but he could be worth a gamble on. It makes a lot more sense to trade Porcello than to trade Max Scherzer. The Tigers have plenty of money to re-up Scherzer.
In the National League, the Reds make sense as possible destination. With Shin Soo Choo likely to leave the team for more dollars, the need for an outfielder is there. Meanwhile, the Reds have excess at a few infield positions as well as pitching that could make a deal like this worthwhile.
Finally, the Brewers make a lot of sense. Between being able to play 1st and 3rd, the Brewers could definitely use Trumbo's power while they could consider dealing someone like Tyler Thornsburg to get him.
The A's Trading Yoennis Cespedes and/or Coco Crisp. The A's, for the first time in a while, have a less than stellar farm system. As team that lives on a low payroll and has a number of outfield options, trading Cespedes and/ro Crisp makes a lot of sense. The A's have two more years of Cespedes under their control and one for Crisp. Cespedes season was not as good as the previous one, the same of which is likely because of injuries. However, with him being under 30 and showing the array of skills he has, the return for him could be pretty significant. Meanwhile, Crisp, from a performance standpoint, is at the highest value he has ever been. Crisp has never hit 20 home runs before and is not known for being healthy. He just came off only his 2nd 500 at bat season in the last six years and one in which he was a 20-20 player. To expect a repeat performance is asking a lot. While one year left before free agency does not provide great value, it could be worth more than the 8-10 home run oft injured player he tends to be, which would not be good enough for a qualifying offer and therefore no draft pick in return for his departure. A lot of the same teams I mentioned for Trumbo could be interested in Cespedes though the yield should be much greater. Other teams like the Mets, Phillies, Yankees, etc., would also be in play.
The Mariners Trade Infield Help for Outfield Help. The Mariners have multiple high quality infielders in the majors and upper minor league levels but need someone to replace the oft injured Franklin Gutierrez. If they are unsuccessful in their attempts to get someone like Ellsbury, a trade for an outfielder using someone like Dustin Ackley, et al., makes a lot of sense for them.
The Rangers Trade Jurickson Profar. As stated earlier, the Rangers likely would rather trade any of their other infielders. However, Profar is the only one with any real trade value. That being said, the Rangers could use a top outfielder or another ace. As there are number of teams that would drool over having this high end, young infielder, there are number of possible trades that make sense.
One great option is the Rays. As discussed, a trade surrounding Profar for David Price makes a lot of sense for both teams so long as the Rangers extend or believe they can retain, the same of which would be true for anyone trading as much as it would take to get Price.
Another great option is Cardinals. The Cardinals do not need much but shortstop is a weakness. A trade involving Allen Craig and maybe Carlos Martinez or Shelby Miller might even be better for the Rangers than the Price deal as it would yield them two needed pieces.
An interesting trade partner even though it is in the same division is the A's. Cespedes could be a nice replacement for Nelson Cruz. Meanwhile, a future infield pairing of Profar and Addison Russell would be nice for the A's.
Another possibility is the Marlins. The Marlins could use a young, inexpensive stud to join Giancarlo Stanton, et al., on the team. While the Rangers would love Stanton in return, I for now have to buy the story that Stanton is not going anywhere. Nevertheless, the Marlins have a bevy of players they could trade to get Profar.
The Pirates would also be an interesting option. Profar would be a nice addition for them at shortstop while pieces like Polanco, Heredia, Taillon, and Henson could all make sense.
Finally, again we have the Dodgers. Having Profar would allow them to move Hanley Ramirez to third and/or let him go in free agency. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have outfielders to spare plus someone like Zach Lee to sweeten the pot.
The Nationals Trade for an Ace. The Nationals seem intent on strengthening an already excellent rotation. They have a lot of pieces they can offer as stated. Between the Rays, White Sox, Tigers (if they do decide to trade Scherzer) etc., there a some nice options that could be had while keeping its core of young MLB players largely intact.
The Pirates Trade for a Starting Outfielder and/or Starting Pitcher. The Pirates are a contender. I know, I barely believe it myself. They also have a good farm system which is, in large part, how they finally became good again. That being said, an upgrade in right field and the front of the rotation would help keep them a contender. Between Taillon, Polanco, Heredia, Henson, etc., the Pirates have the pieces to make that happen.
The Cardinals Trade for a Shortstop. The Cardinals, thanks mostly to their strong farm system, have talent at every position but one, shortstop. Meanwhile, they have depth to trade with the emergence of Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter and the soon expected promotion of Oscar Tavares. Allen Craig and one of their seven MLB starting options should be able to land them a nice shortstop. Three possible shortstops come to mind: Profar (as mentioned); Troy Tulowitzki, who makes too much money for a non-contender needing a lot; Owings, because the Dbacks have multiple shortstop options. Meanwhile, each of these teams could use some combination of the assets the Cardinals have.
The Rockies Trade Troy Tulowitzki. Personally, I would not want to trade Tulo. He is now the biggest gate draw on this team, though no offense to Cargo. However, the Rockies need a lot and are nowhere near a contender. Any collection of high end prospects could be a big benefit to the Rockies.
The Dodgers Trade an Outfielder. Between the major league roster and the upper minors, the Dodgers have five starting outfielders. Unfortunately for them, three of those players earn exorbitant salaries over the course of many years yet to be fulfilled. The only two players without bloated salaries are Yasel Puig and Joc Pederson. Puig has taken LA by storm and though he can be aggravating, his talent, exuberance and price make him someone the Dodgers would be hardpressed to trade absent other options. Joc Pederson could make sense in a trade for a top shortstop or starting pitching option. However, what seems to make the most sense is a trade of Matt Kemp. Of the three overpriced outfielders, the one with the most upside and thus trade value is Kemp. He will still be under 30 at the start of the 2014 season and still has all the tools that made him an MVP candidate. Unfortunately, injuries has derailed him the past two years. Nonetheless, his age and potential make for great value to the right team. In that regard, here comes my one Yankees trade that I thought would be interesting --- CC Sabathia for Matt Kemp. In both instances both teams trade a risk for a risk to fill needs that each other have. Both players at the top of their game are studs but both cannot be trusted moving forward. The Yankees badly need a strong outfield bat and pitching but could fill the latter slot of CC either via free agency or maybe a trade for someone like Hector Santiago to pair with other free agents added. While there are other teams that could be interested in Kemp, this deal seems to make sense more than any other for both teams.