Let's think big for a moment. That is, outside the box. Far from the normal Trade Deadline stuff. For instance …How would your favorite team look with, say, Michael Fulmer in the rotation? Or Manny Machado in the middle of the order?That would be sweet, wouldn't it? That kind of
Let's think big for a moment. That is, outside the box. Far from the normal Trade Deadline stuff. For instance …
How would your favorite team look with, say, Michael Fulmer in the rotation? Or Manny Machado in the middle of the order?
That would be sweet, wouldn't it? That kind of trade would send shivers through the marketplace and perhaps jolt the races for postseason berths. Sure, everyone is looking for bargains as Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
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To me, that's a general manager who wants it both ways. He wants to keep his best prospects while giving his club an upgrade. Nothing wrong with that approach. My colleague Mike Petriello recently wrote an excellent piece on potential bargains in the trade marketplace.
For the sake of argument, let's consider a totally different approach. Rather than hunt for bargains, let's hunt for big-name players. That would be young, controllable players. The cost would be high, perhaps ridiculously high. On the other hand, if the goal is to win in 2017, why not go for it?
Yes, there's risk. On the other hand, there's a potential huge payoff for getting a player -- or players -- that could rearrange a postseason race.
Let's consider five:
1. Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles
Potential suitors: Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals, Angels
Risk: Gutting the farm system for a player who will be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Upside: Getting a 25-year-old three-time All-Star who is one of the 10-12 best players in the game, someone can play both third and shortstop at a Gold Glove level and has averaged 35 doubles, 36 home runs and an .869 OPS the last two seasons.
How would the Cubs look with third baseman Kristopher Bryant and Machado on the left side of their infield? Or the Red Sox with Machado and shortstop Xander Bogaerts? Virtually every team could play this game.
The Orioles do not want to trade Machado and have shown no inclination to do so. To get this deal done would require a significant overpayment. On the other hand, what's the value of a franchise-type player who could help you win a World Series this season and be a potential cornerstone for the foreseeable future?
2. Jacob deGrom, RHP, Mets
Potential suitors: Astros, Dodgers, Braves
Risk: Massive overpay. General manager Sandy Alderson has been reluctant to trade his young starters.
Upside: Are you kidding? deGrom is under team control for three more seasons, and his 2.86 ERA since he debuted in 2014 is the fifth lowest among all big league starters. He's striking out more batters per nine innings (10.2) than he has at any point in his career. If deGrom stays healthy, he could be an elite starter right through his 2020 walk year.
3. Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers
Potential suitors: Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, others
Risk: Another massive overpay, given that Fulmer is under team control for five more seasons. Also, Tigers GM Al Avila might include him in a deal only if the receiving club also takes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who owns a 5.81 ERA and has three years and $74 million remaining on his contract.
Upside: The Dodgers have the prospects to make this kind of deal happen and probably wouldn't blink on absorbing Zimmermann's salary. If the Dodgers get ace Clayton Kershaw back in October, what would a postseason rotation of Kershaw, Fulmer, Alex Wood and Rich Hill look like? What's a World Series worth?
4. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
Potential suitors: Cardinals, Angels, Yankees
Risk: Well, there is that 10 years and $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract. Also, he has played 150 games in a season only once.
Upside: Turn up the lights, put Stanton on a contender and there'd be no "Best Player in Baseball" conversation without him. He doesn't just win games, although he certainly does that. Stanton is as engaging and as fan friendly as any player on the planet. He would instantly become the face of almost any franchise.
5. Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays
Potential suitors: Astros, Dodgers, Yankees
Risk: If you can stomach the price in terms of prospects, there's no real risk.
Upside: Stroman is a No. 1 starter who would be under team control for three more seasons. This season, he's averaging more than six innings per start with a 2.98 ERA. Because Stroman is only 26 and has made just 76 career starts, his complete career arc has yet to be written. But his stuff ranks with any, and he's a touch ornery, which every No. 1 should be.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.