Which teams are most equipped to trade prospects?

July 21st, 2017

This week on the MLBPipeline Podcast, host Tim McMaster and resident prospect gurus Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo talk about which teams have prospects to trade. The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Pipeline Podcast.
McMaster: When you look at the contenders that have some holes to fill, who is the team that's best equipped to throw some prospects the other way to get their guy?
Callis: Why don't we go with my favorite word --
McMaster: Serpentine?
Callis: Serpentine. Jonathan can go with a couple after I give you one, and I'll come back with one more. But like we discussed earlier -- I mean, the Yankees are in position with their depth to go out and make a move if they wanted to, but I'm gonna approach from teams that it would make the most sense to and are equipped to.
And to me, the team that is the best-equipped, that I think has a very good chance at the playoffs as of now, is the Brewers. The Brewers, like it seems to happen with teams with a lot of young talent coming up, they sometimes contend a year before they expect to. And while I keep waiting for the Brewers to fade, I'm not sure they're gonna fade. They may not make the playoffs in the end, but at this point I think they've played well enough long enough that they're probably gonna contend to the end.
I certainly would not mortgage my future if I were David Stearns, but if there's another team that has a ton of outfield/pitching depth, and if you can get the right player who not only can help you this year but can help you going forward, that you can retain -- maybe a guy like a -- that would make a lot of sense to me. And I think the Brewers are equipped to do that about as well as anybody. And I think it makes more sense.
I don't know what teams Jonathan is going to pick, and I won't mention these by name yet, but there are a couple of teams that have some quality prospects they can trade -- but they also have the best record in each league. I don't know how much they need to make a major move.
Mayo: He's referring to the Dodgers and the Astros, and they do come to mind. So you know what, I think I'll take a look at the Red Sox, who obviously traded away a lot to get Chris Sale, they're in first place now but only by three games, they could use maybe some third-base help potentially.
Now it's funny, because I'm working on the Fantasy Top 10 Prospects for tomorrow. I'm actually gonna put Rafael Devers on there, who just got up to Triple-A and is exceedingly young. But part of me is like, well, why not just let him play third and see how that works before you pull the trigger on anything … but they do still have some pieces if they would want to go and make something happen. It's not quite what it used to be…
Callis: That's being a little kind there, Jon.
Mayo: Yeah I know, I'm being kind. Listen, they have Devers and Groome at the very top. But I have to think there's probably some interest in a guy like , who's just about ready to help out, and then they've got some guys lower down. So if there are teams looking to fill in the lower levels of the system, that could happen.
I will not go with one of those best-record teams who have a ton of depth if they want to go out and do something. Although I agree with Jim, they don't really have to.
McMaster: The Astros are probably, I guess, the one that you could say a starting pitcher, but how many of those are really available?
Callis: That's what I was gonna circle back to. I don't think they need to, in terms of getting to the playoffs, but once they get there? It seems like I'm constantly arguing with my son, who's a huge Astros fan, about: Well, yes, things are going great for the Astros right now -- with the exception of 's injury, and he'll be back for the playoffs -- isn't the type of guy who's just gonna throw his glove out there and you have no chance to beat him in October, and Lance McCullers does not have a track record in terms of staying healthy deep into seasons.
So in terms of not necessarily making the playoffs, but making something happen when you get there, maybe the Astros can do that. They've got some very interesting young players, like a Kyle Tucker and a Forrest Whitley and a Franklin Perez. I don't know if I necessarily want to trade one of those guys, but the thing I would like to see happen -- or at least I'd love to listen in on the discussions -- the rumor is that they may just go all in. And instead of maybe going for Sonny Gray, who would be nice to have in a rotation -- but I don't know if Sonny Gray's your true No. 1 starter who's gonna shut people down in October -- why not go all in and make a run at ?
I'd love to see what those trade talks would produce. I think deGrom would be a tremendous addition to the Astros: He would make them that much stronger, more of a favorite to get to the World Series, and you could keep him for a while. But I'd also be very curious as to what they'd have to give up to get him.
McMaster: Imagine if the Mets got to August 1 and had Syndergaard on the DL long-term, Harvey on the DL and deGrom traded, what the fan base here in New York would do. I don't think it would be pretty.
Mayo: I also think, just really quickly, that if you look at the Astros and the Dodgers, they're in slightly different situations. I don't think the Astros are gonna do something that would lead to them adding a ton of contracts. Maybe for a couple of months, yes, but beyond that no. So someone like deGrom? Yeah, I could see that making sense.
The Dodgers, if they felt they needed somebody behind Kershaw in the rotation for the playoffs, would they be willing to part with some of their really deep system for a guy like ? Who's not been fantastic this year, but still has a good amount to offer. He's got at least two years left on his contract -- 2020 is a vesting option -- but that's a lot of money to take on. But the Dodgers could manage that, while the Astros probably couldn't.
Now, I don't know what the interest is for Verlander, in Los Angeles or elsewhere. But he's the one guy that comes to mind, with the Tigers realizing they're out of it and maybe trying to reboot a little bit, perhaps they would be willing to part with him. Especially if they could get a good amount of prospects in return. And the Dodgers have a good amount of prospects, if they wanted to offer them.