If you’re a fan of a good MLB team, it’s easy to look at a player on a bad team and think, “We need to get that guy.”
Conversely, if you’re a fan of a bad team, it’s easy to look at the good prospects on other teams and think about how they might look in your uniform.
The hard part is finding the right balance and coming to a fair agreement. Just what should the New York Mets expect in return for Jacob deGrom? The Houston Astros need to solidify the closer’s role. Obviously, though, they can’t do it for free.
And while the Washington Nationals have generally been buyers in recent years, we’re not sure that they should be this year.
Of course, it’s possible that come Tuesday, none of these deal will have happened. But even if they don’t come to fruition, they do make sense.
We know the teams facing the most pressure at the deadline. But as we move towards Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline, these are the specific deals that buyers and sellers should come together on to make happen.
Milwaukee Brewers trade Corbin Burnes, Lucas Erceg, Freddy Peralta, and Domingo Santana to New York Mets for Asdrubal Cabrera and Jacob deGrom
The Brewers have two notable downfalls. One, they don’t have an ace. That’s never good in the playoffs, especially if you’re relegated to the Wild Card game. Two, Milwaukee has struggled to get production at second base. So, let’s kill two birds with one stone.
With a 1.71 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 10.9 K/9 rate, deGrom takes a backseat to nobody. Cabrera is hitting .273/.324/.473 with 17 home runs, which is solid offensive production from the keystone.
Cabrera is a pending free agent. So, it only makes sense for the Mets to move him. Moving deGrom, with two years remaining before free agency, would be tough. But when seriously looking at the roster, New York’s front office has to see that this is an old team that relies too much on injury prone, veteran players. A retooling of the farm system is needed. This would accomplish that.
Seattle Mariners trade Josh Stowers and Wyatt Mills to Miami Marlins for Dan Straily
James Paxton is hurt and Felix Hernandez looks done. While the rest of the Seattle starters have done reasonably well, this team needs to upgrade the starting rotation.
Straily has a 4.02 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. If he holds serve with those numbers for the rest of the year, he’ll be an upgrade to the middle of the rotation. But over his last five outings, Straily has posted a 2.78 ERA and a 1.05 ERA. That kind of production would have Straily in one of the top-two rotation spots.
Straily isn’t deGrom. That said, he is controllable for two more years. So, the Marlins can expect a decent haul of prospects in return. Stowers and Mills definitely have potential to help the rebuild in Miami.
Los Angeles Dodgers trade Edwin Rios and Dustin May to Kansas City Royals for Whit Merrifield
Admittedly, with a .463 slugging percentage the Dodgers have gotten a good deal of power from the top of the order. The problem is that with a .248 average and .325 OBP, Los Angeles lead-off hitters haven’t done a good job setting the table. Dodgers’ second basemen, meanwhile, have also struggled, hitting .215/.314/.321.
Merrifield has not struggled. He’s hitting .300/.369/.426 and has added 19 steals. The Los Angeles offense is strong. But it can be a little reliant on home runs and too many of those home runs are solo shots. Merrifield would instantly help change that.
With another year of team control and three arbitration years remaining, Merrfield may not seem like an ideal trade chip for the Royals. But at 29, he doesn’t fit in great with a Kansas City team entering a long rebuild. For a win-now Los Angeles team, he’d make a lot more sense.
Cleveland Indians trade Sam Hentges and Luis Oviedo to San Francisco Giants for Andrew McCutchen
Hitting .269/.332/.384 with only six home runs, Cleveland’s right fielders has been something of a weakness in 2018. McCutchen, who is hitting .257/.348/.411 with nine home runs, and who tends to get better later in the season, would be an upgrade.
This deal works well for both teams. The Indians would solidify a potential weakness as they head into the playoffs. The Giants, who are in a weird state of limbo between buyer and seller, would get to clear McCutchen’s remaining 2018 salary. That would perhaps give them more flexibility to make another trade without going over the Competitive Balance Tax.
The prospects Cleveland would give up are good, but not great. So, it’s not likely the Indians will have to watch two guys thrive in San Francisco for a decade just to land a rental. But even if they bust, McCutchen is a pending free agent. So, it wouldn’t be too costly for the Giants, even if Cutch excels in Cleveland. This one makes a lot of sense.
Oakland Athletics trade James Kaprielian and Sheldon Neuse to New York Mets for Zach Wheeler
These two teams have already come together on one deal this trade season, why not try to lock up for another?
The A’s are red hot. But as we head into the Dog Days, the flaws of the pitching staff are still hard to overlook. With a 4.33 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, Wheeler might not seem like the guy to fox that. But over his last 10 outings, he’s been at a 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. For a player who’s dealt with injuries in recent years, we like the improvement.
Again, the Mets are in a position to rebuild. Adding two top-10 prospects from a fairly well-regarded farm system is a good step in the right direction.
Colorado Rockies trade Sam Hilliard and Tyler Nevin to Detroit Tigers for Mike Fiers and Alex Wilson
We liked the idea of Colorado pursuing Zach Britton. A late-inning bullpen of Britton, Adam Ottavino, and Wade Davis could have masked a lot of things. Obviously, Britton is no longer an option. Now, rather than taking one big swing to significantly improve one aspect of the pitching staff, the Rockies should shift their attention to improving both the starting rotation and the bullpen.
Fiers has a solid 3.49 ERA and 1.24 WHIP on the season. In his last 10 outings, he’s posted a 2.47 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. With a 3.32 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, Wilson would certainly be an upgrade in the Colorado bullpen.
For Detroit, moving these guys only makes sense. Fiers is a pending free agent, while Wilson will be after 2019. Realistically, the Tigers aren’t going to be winning by then. So, why not add some key pieces to help the rebuild?
Boston Red Sox trade C.J. Chatham and Travis Lakins to Minnesota Twins for Brian Dozier
This certainly hasn’t been a great year for Dozier. He’s hitting .225/.306/.412 with 16 home runs. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he’d still be an upgrade for the Red Sox. Boston second basemen are hitting .249/.292/.343 with five home runs on the season.
If Dozier can’t turn it around, it’s not the end of the world for the Red Sox. They have a good enough offense to overcome it. He’s also a pending free agent, so Boston wouldn’t be stuck with a big financial commitment.
From Minnesota’s point of view, why not make a deal? This is not a playoff team or anything close in 2018. There’s no point in not trying to get something for Dozier. The Twins can’t expect much, but these high-upside prospects would be a worthy haul.
San Francisco Giants trade Shaun Anderson and Jacob Gonzalez to Miami Marlins for Derek Dietrich
While dealing McCutchen would be more of a selling move for the Giants, this would be more of a buyer’s move. The difference is that while Cutch is a pending free agent, Dietrich won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season. So, even if the Giants fizzle out in 2018, he’s valuable to them.
Left field has long been an offensive drain in San Francisco. Dietrich has only 13 home runs, so he’s not going to remind anyone of Barry Bonds. But at .287/.352/.461, he’s a solid hitter.
Anderson would be Miami’s big haul back. With a 3.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 99 strikeouts in 99 innings in the minors this year, there’s definitely a lot to like about him from the Marlins’ perspective.
Houston Astros trade Cionel Perez and Josh James to Cincinnati Reds for Raisel Iglesias
The Astros aren’t a team with many glaring holes. But, as we look towards the American League Playoffs and the teams that Houston will have to face, the closer position is a glaring issue. Against some of baseball’s best lineups, the Astros could have a hard time protecting close, late-game leads. Iglesias can fix that.
He has a 2.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and a 9.4 K/9 rate. Those are solid numbers from the closer’s role. Over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he had a 2.51 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and a 10.9 K/9 rate. So, what’s happening in 2018 isn’t exactly a fluke.
The offense gives a reason for the Reds to be optimistic about 2019. The pitching is another story. Adding two solid prospects who are each close to MLB ready can change that. For all parties involved, we’d like to see it happen.
Arizona Diamondbacks trade Taijuan Walker, Taylor Widener, and Drew Ellis to Washington Nationals for Bryce Harper
Realistically, this trade will probably not happen. We concede that. But logically, it should.
The D-Backs can certainly use a bat like Harper. Arizona right fielders are hitting .198/.278/.309 with seven home runs on the year. Harper has a .216 average, which leaves a lot to be desired. Even still, that would be a small upgrade for Arizona. The big upgrade would come with the .363 OBP, .475 slugging percentage, and 25 home runs. Also, we’re guessing his average would go up quite a bit if the Diamondbacks batted him in front of Paul Goldschmidt.
From the Washington perspective, trading Harper would not be easy. But he is a free agent next year. And while the Nats aren’t out of the race, they have a losing record, are seven back in the NL East, and are even 5.5 out of second place. And unlike the other free agents who might get traded, Harper would still fetch a big haul. Pulling the trigger might not be easy. But it’s the right move.