These teams should go for it at Trade Deadline
Sometimes, there’s a reason a team should go for it. That is, to do something completely out of your comfort zone and something that might blow up in your face.
Fans and reporters almost always applaud these deals, and then two years later when their favorite team is six games out of first place and dealing from a depleted farm system, they wonder why their general manager can’t swing another big one.
Billy Beane slid all his cards on the table in 2014 when he acquired Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija to upgrade the A’s rotation. Oakland lost a wild, wild AL Wild Card Game to the Royals, but here’s guessing every A’s fan appreciated that their guy was willing to take a chance.
Astros president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow later admitted he was out of his comfort zone in 2017 when he acquired Justin Verlander from the Tigers minutes before the now defunct August 31 deadline. There’s a World Series trophy in the lobby of Minute Maid Park testifying to how that trade worked out.
As Wednesday’s Trade Deadline approaches, advice is free. Here are five teams that should throw caution to the wind and go for it:
Sometimes things just line up a certain way. The Dodgers are on their way to a seventh straight division title, in part, because they’ve been obsessive about making some of their top prospects untouchable. This being 31 years since they won a World Series and Dodger Stadium being packed every night, how about we go for it?
Who they could land: Pirates lefty reliever Felipe Vazquez and Blue Jays righty reliever Ken Giles. How’s that for thinking big?
Who they’d have to trade away: Catcher Keibert Ruiz -- No. 36 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 -- would have to be included in a deal for Vazquez, who is signed to a reasonable deal through 2021 with team options for 2022 and 2023. The Blue Jays will want a top prospect for Giles, who will be in demand. As painful as this trade would be, it would transform a potential October weakness into a strength.
The Astros are positioned to win 100 games for the third straight season, and with right-hander Gerrit Cole headed for free agency, the window could close a bit after this season. Luhnow built a deep farm system for opportunities like this one.
Who they could land: Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
Who they’d have to trade away: Outfielder Kyle Tucker, the club’s top prospect, has been untouchable, but this deal can’t get done without him. The Mets may also ask about first baseman Seth Beer, which the Astros will resist. But Syndergaard is under control for two more seasons after this one, so the price will be high. And worth it.
No team faces more pressure to deal than this one because a season that has had the feel of something magical is threatening to come undone unless the starting pitching gets better. General manager Brian Cashman is thinking big because adding one starter might not be enough.
Who they could land: D-backs lefty starter Robbie Ray or Rangers lefty starter Mike Minor.
Who they’d have to trade away: Cashman’s top two prospects -- right-hander Deivi Garcia and outfielder Estevan Florial -- would land him almost anyone. Outfielder Clint Frazier would also get either trade done. If Cashman pulls these two deals off, the Yankees would be World Series favorites in the eyes of many.
How sweet would it be for the Nationals to win a World Series the season after Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies? The Nationals are good enough to do just that with a couple of bullpen additions. But the cost would be high. General manager Mike Rizzo must think big.
Who they could land: Giants righty reliever Sam Dyson and Tigers righty reliever Shane Greene.
Who they’d have to trade away: Rizzo should begin discussions with both teams by taking shortstop Carter Kieboom off the table and working from there. Since Dyson and Greene are under control for another season after this one, the price for both could be steep.
The Braves badly need pitching as they attempt to win the National League East for a second straight season. That’s badly as at least one reliever, preferably two, and a starting pitcher. They’ve got enough highly regarded prospects to land almost anyone on the market, but how much of their future do they sacrifice for the present?
Who they could land: Rockies righty closer Wade Davis, and in a perfect world, right-handed setup man Scott Oberg as well.
Who they’d have to trade away: The Braves have the young, controllable starting pitching the Rockies are seeking. Would they deal right-handers Kyle Wright or Bryse Wilson, their Nos. 4 and 6 prospects, respectively? That’s probably the price of this deal.