Trades!I was going to come up with a more intricate or artful way to begin this piece, but at this time of year, that single word is enticing, distracting and titillating enough to get the job done, don't you think? The non-waiver Trade Deadline is a mere 17 days away,
I was going to come up with a more intricate or artful way to begin this piece, but at this time of year, that single word is enticing, distracting and titillating enough to get the job done, don't you think? The non-waiver Trade Deadline is a mere 17 days away, so it's time to get serious about this swapping season, which has already included Fernando Rodney going to Miami and Drew Pomeranz and Brad Ziegler going to Boston, among other moves.
Here are five fake proposals that just might actually make a lick of sense.
Yankees send Andrew Miller to the Cubs for Kyle Schwarber
The Yankees might not be sellers, and the Cubs have no intention of moving Schwarber for Miller or anybody else. But the theme of this piece is "trades that make sense." And the reason this trade gets bandied about so frequently is it really does make perfect sense for both sides.
Schwarber demonstrated his substantial offensive ability last season. Yet several aspects of his situation can't be ignored. Schwarber will be coming off major knee surgery, he's yet to face the inevitable sophomore adjustments and he might not be an ideal defensive fit for the Cubs long-term. Willson Contreras, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, looks like a long-term lock behind the plate, and even if Schwarber's defense does improve in left, the Cubs have even more outfield reinforcements in their pipeline (Did you see Eloy Jimenez's homer in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game?). Schwarber might be the perfect player for the American League and for Yankee Stadium, in particular. I know the Yanks' ownership is still not inclined to sell this summer, but this would be a trade you can't turn down.
And Miller is, unquestionably, the kind of ace lefty reliever this Cubs team sorely needs to patch up its leaky 'pen. Yes, the Cubs could get cute with low-profile adds, and maybe that would work. But expectations in Chicago are well beyond the National League Central. This is a team trying to end a 108-year-old drought, and it has the rotation and lineup pieces to do so this year. Miller's personality would fit in perfectly in that Cubs clubhouse, he'd be Cubs property through 2018, and he'd give the Cubs exactly what they need to ascend through October.
Reds send Jay Bruce to the Nationals for Michael A. Taylor and A.J. Cole
Bruce returned to the All-Star stage this week after a resurgent first half in which he banged out 18 homers and drove in 63 runs. After two down offensive years and near-trades to the Mets last summer and the Blue Jays at the start of Spring Training, Bruce has done his part to improve his stock, though his value is still sullied somewhat by the deep outfield market.
Still, this trade proposal sends Cincinnati an intriguing young outfielder in Taylor, who has so far struggled with extended exposure to the bigs (.227/.279/.362 slash through 760 big league plate appearances over three seasons). Taylor needs to seriously cut down on his strikeouts, but he's capable of providing excellent defense in the outfield. And he's only 25. Additionally, the Reds would net a pitching prospect with back-end rotation potential, though it's possible that Cole, who has a 1.455 WHIP in Triple-A this year, shifts to a relief role. Maybe another player could be involved, but ultimately the package Cincinnati gets back might be dependent on whether any cash is involved in the transaction (Bruce has roughly another $6 million owed to him this year, with a $13 million team option for 2017).
As for the Nationals, what they'd be getting back is obvious: a power left-handed bat who can augment their outfield or, perhaps, usurp some of the struggling Ryan Zimmerman's first-base at-bats. The Nats could certainly stand to boost their protection for Bryce Harper as they try to nail down the NL East and attempt to advance out of the first round of October for the first time in franchise history.
A's send Rich Hill to the Orioles for Jomar Reyes and Trey Mancini
Baltimore is desperate for starting help behind Chris Tillman in its efforts to maintain its place atop the AL East. The Orioles' farm system is really thin right now, and the danger of this going down as an overpay is especially steep. But there is danger, too, in sticking with the starting status quo on a club that definitely has the offense and the bullpen to be an October weapon. The O's need Tillman and Hill, man.
To get it done, the A's would likely ask about No. 3 Orioles prospect Chance Sisco, the high-OBP Double-A catcher who just homered in the Futures Game (and came to the plate to Sisqo's "Thong Song," which is pretty awesome), and the Orioles, not knowing how much longer they'll have Matt Wieters, would likely say no. Doubtful the O's would sell low on pitching prospect Hunter Harvey (No. 1), and Dylan Bundy is probably not going anywhere, either.
But I'm proposing a package involving Reyes, a 19-year-old third baseman with big power potential as he develops into his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, and Mancini, a 24-year-old first baseman with power who is blocked by Chris Davis. I don't rule out the need to throw in another Minor Leaguer. That's possibly an overpay for a half-season of Hill, which, in this market, might actually be about right.
Yankees send Aroldis Chapman to the Indians for Mike Clevinger and Shawn Morimando
In case you can't tell, yes, I firmly believe the Yankees should be sellers this year, whether they agree or not.
And yes, the Indians need to be big buyers, too. This is their shot. They have easily the best rotation in the AL and arguably the best in the game. And as we've seen with what's going on with the Mets this year, rotation strength can turn into a question mark almost overnight. The Tribe needs to maximize this moment, and that means digging into a solid system to pull out an impact arm for a 'pen short on left-handed help and in need of a late-inning force to pair with Cody Allen.
Enter Chapman. You might remember he was traded mere months ago -- before his domestic-violence situation was settled and his season-opening 30-game suspension was served -- for a package (Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda and Caleb Cotham) that many in the industry felt was underwhelming at the time. And with his free agency mere months away, Chapman has a very limited number of innings to offer if he's moved again. So the Indians could probably make this move without depleting their Major League roster or parting with outfielders Bradley Zimmer or Clint Frazier, their two top prospects. But they would have to exceed the value of the Draft pick the Yanks could reap should Chapman sign elsewhere this offseason.
Tommy John alum Brady Aiken (No. 4 prospect) would be an interesting name here, and the Indians have plenty other pitching in their system. In this deal, I'm sending the Yankees two controllable arms on the cusp, which is good value for a Chapman rental. And while they're at it, the Yanks and Tribe can talk about Carlos Beltrán …
A's send Josh Reddick to the Dodgers for Josh Sborz and Ralston Cash
The hope and expectation is that Clayton Kershaw comes back from this herniated disc issue and still makes a meaningful number of starts for the Dodgers down the stretch. Which means the biggest issue in L.A. is an offense with the NL's fifth-lowest runs-per-game mark (4.20) and OPS (.708).
Reddick, having recovered from a thumb injury, is a pending free agent and enticing trade candidate -- especially for a Dodgers team in need of some more outfield thump. While there is hope Andre Ethier can return in time to make an impact in August and September, that's a difficult thing to actively plan on -- especially for a club with a 6 1/2-game deficit in its division. Right now, the Dodgers' primary left fielder is Howie Kendrick, which is not something we expected to say when Kendrick re-signed with this club.
Kendrick has also been filling in for Chase Utley at second base vs. left-handers. This makes sense given that Kendrick has a .784 OPS vs. lefties to Utley's .501. The problem is that Kendrick is not a great lineup fit vs. righties, against whom he has a .232/.288/.342 line. But Reddick is raking in those matchups, producing a .338/.410/.514 line. So while there are moving parts associated with any scenario in which the Dodgers add a bat, the bottom line is that they need one, and there is a statistical argument to be made that Reddick can fit their profile well.
Because of the free agency involved, the key here -- if Reddick and the A's can't reach an extension -- is exceeding the value of the compensation pick. In this trade, Oakland gets a 22-year-old right-hander putting up good numbers at Class A Advanced and, more importantly, proving he has a deep enough repertoire to avoid a shift to the bullpen. I'm sweetening the pot with some Cash, a 24-year-old reliever in Double-A. Look, I don't claim to know who or what the A's would target in such a swap, but there is a chance the value of Reddick and other outfielders is hindered slightly by the depth of potential trade options at that position.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.