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Morning Lineup Podcast: Let's play GM!

December 22, 2017

This year's Hot Stove season has already seen a number of blockbuster moves, and with teams still checking items off their shopping list, there may still be more to come. Speculation is swirling around a number of marquee names, and the Morning Lineup Podcast crew got in on the fun

This year's Hot Stove season has already seen a number of blockbuster moves, and with teams still checking items off their shopping list, there may still be more to come. Speculation is swirling around a number of marquee names, and the Morning Lineup Podcast crew got in on the fun with a trade proposal game.
Former Mets general manager and current columnist Jim Duquette joined Alyson Footer and Richard Justice on the latest edition of the podcast. Below is a sampling of two of the hypothetical trade scenarios they discussed involving Pirates ace Gerrit Cole to the Yankees, and Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson to the Cardinals.
Listen to the Morning Lineup Podcast
Gerrit Cole to Yankees
Justice: "I'm going to be Neal Huntington, and you're Brian Cashman, and you're going to call me and ask for my ace pitcher. How are you going to approach that?"
Duquette: "Well, I'm curious on your position on Gerrit Cole and whether you guys are looking to move him. I know for you guys, he's a No. 1 starter. For us, we look at him more like a No. 3-type starter. His strikeouts per nine have gone down, he only has two years [of team control] left. We value him as a No. 3. So, what do you think?"
Justice: "I'm Neal Huntington. I'm going to say, 'Two more years, Gerrit Cole, we think he might be more than a No. 3 in your rotation. We'll take -- I'm just going to make it easy for you, we'll just go ahead and get this done right now: I'll take Gleyber Torres and Justus Sheffield and we'll call it a day. We'll go out and have a beer when I see you next. What do you think?'"

Duquette: "So then I'd say, 'Well Neal, listen: I've got other guys I can sign that are out there on the free-agent market right now. Like I love Jacob Arrieta. I like Arrieta better than Cole. I like Yu Darvish better than Cole. I like Chris Archer better than Cole. I don't have to give up any prospects for Arrieta or Darvish, so I'm trying to balance what the right price is for your guy, versus what I'd pay out there on the market. I'm not willing to move Torres, but I'd be willing to move Justus Sheffield and maybe somebody else.'"
Justice: "Well how about Justus Sheffield and your young third baseman, Miguel Andujar?"
Duquette: "Well, Andujar is a guy that we really like. I would say that if you want Andujar, I wouldn't be able to add Justus Sheffield in there. Is there another pitcher in our system to go with Andujar?"
Justice: "Yeah, how about Chance Adams and Miguel Andujar."
Duquette: "Well Chance Adams we really like, but I think we're getting a lot closer to this type of deal. How about if we could use a third baseman, how about we take David Freese as well? You can free up some salary, David Freese isn't going to play that much for you, and we can use him in a platoon situation. We could do those two prospects for your two guys."
Justice: "I'm going to have to talk to my top assistant. Footer, step in here."
Duquette: "The back-and-forth is the fun part of this type of conversation. Because a lot of times you might not just do it all in one call. You'd say, 'Listen, I don't know if I would do that. Let me get back to you on that.' Or you might text it, which is the way the modern guys do it, which I still don't like that much because it takes out the relationship."
Footer: "I have a question here. That was one of my questions: Why does anyone go to the Winter Meetings anymore, and do they really even have face-to-face conversations anymore? The other thing I wanted to say that the goal of this podcast is to not have Jim Duquette laugh at me with any of my proposals. And the first thing I did was laugh at you, Richard. So I apologize."
Justice: "Well the three of us all know a certain general manager who was sort of famous for proposing a deal and then rejecting the deal he proposed, and acting offended about it. So if I propose something and you accept it, I may think you're trying to fleece me here. I may have to go back to my top assistant here and try to work this deal over. Because I love Chris Archer, too."
Duquette: "A Chris Archer deal for the Yankees, for example, they've been kicking the tires on Archer. They're going to have to overpay for a Chris Archer-type trade within the division. So that would require maybe not a Gleyber Torres, but certainly a Justus Sheffield and a Chance Adams and another top prospect for the Rays to even consider that. That's the type of deal where if you're the Rays, you're trying to look at maximizing the best possible deal for Archer. Sometimes the best one is right in your own division. And I think that would be something the Yankees would absolutely have to consider doing."
Josh Donaldson to Cardinals
Footer: "OK, I'm going to throw something out here. Josh Donaldson to the Cardinals. So Josh Donaldson is going to be a free agent after 2018. Toronto is going to want quite a bit back for him. They're looking for a third baseman, a pitcher and some prospects. So what do you think about Harrison Bader, who is close to Major League ready, hit 20 home runs in 2017; Jack Flaherty, a pitcher; and a Major League player, Randal Grichuk. What say you, Mr. Duquette?"
Duquette: "I like that idea. Flaherty, obviously, is really highly thought of. They've been reluctant to put him in any deal at all because they need to step it up in starting pitching. So the Cardinals might try to throw Luke Weaver in instead. But the makings of it I like from the Toronto side of things. You know, that would fill a number of different needs, they'd get young pitching, a couple young pitchers. Grichuk is still a good Major League player, I like him if you make some adjustments, so that would be again, a working offer, but I think that would be a pretty good little proposal that I would have to give consideration to."

Justice: "Do you think the Blue Jays are motivated to move Josh Donaldson?"
Duquette: "I don't think they're going to, no. I think they keep him. I talked to Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro. They think their window is still this year. They're going to give it one more run. If it doesn't work out, they'll trade him at the Deadline. But I think they're less likely to move him. There's so many other options out there, that I don't think you can get, like what the Orioles are having with Manny [Machado], I think they're not getting the asking price that they're looking for so I think it's more beneficial to hold."
Justice: "And let me ask you this, the Cardinals seem to be, and I could be wrong on this, but they seem to focused on Donaldson with much less interest in [Mike] Moustakas and [Todd] Frazier. Why wouldn't they go full speed ahead on one of those two guys?"
Duquette: "I think Moustakas, just because the price tag is high right now, they're backing off of him, but I do think there's going to be an opportunity for him to come back to the pack because there aren't a lot of teams that need third basemen. So keep an eye on the Cardinals and Moustakas, I think that's a really good fit. I just think with Frazier, you know, if he's going to sign a lesser deal because he's coming off a down year, it's more likely he would sign right in New York with the Yankees or even the Mets, potentially they could go down that road, too, than a one- or two-year deal with him in St. Louis. I could see that happening as a fit."