Trading places: Clubs with prospects to deal
At Winter Meetings, teams with big league needs could move high-upside youngsters
The Winter Meetings are right around the corner, and if last year was any indication, the baseball world is in for a busy time in Nashville, Tenn.
As teams try to prepare to compete for the 2016 season, they will be exploring many trade options. Some, like the Red Sox in dealing for Craig Kimbrel, have already pulled the trigger. More often than not, trades that involve big leaguers going in one direction include prospects going the other way.
Not every team is well-positioned to pull from its farm system and make trades. Below is a list of teams that do have needs at the big league level, with hopes of competing in the postseason, along with some prospect depth that makes a deal more feasible. This is in no way a prognostication of what will happen -- many teams will fill holes via free agency, for example -- but rather a primer of possibilities, with the best prospects each team might be willing to part with listed.
Cardinals: Sure, St. Louis does a tremendous job of filling holes from within, but it could be looking for some lineup help, especially if Jason Heyward doesn't come back. Still equipped with pitching depth, perhaps lefty Marco Gonzales, the Cards' No. 3 prospect, could be available.
Cubs: The Jake Arrieta-Jon Lester duo is fantastic, but the Cubs might want to bring in some more starting pitching to make another run in 2016. With the logjam in the infield, would they be willing to make shortstop Gleyber Torres, their top prospect, available? How about third baseman Jeimer Candelario, fresh off his very strong showing in the Arizona Fall League?
Giants: If San Francisco wants to get back to the top of the National League West, it will at least need to upgrade the rotation and perhaps the outfield. No. 2 prospect Christian Arroyo epitomizes the kind of stuck prospect who could intrigue other teams. Blocked by Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik, Arroyo is coming off an outstanding Arizona Fall League season that surely opened some eyes.
Indians: The Tribe could use some help in the outfield or perhaps at first base, and many see Cleveland using its starting-pitching depth at the big league level to help out there. Down on the farm, dealing Bradley Zimmer or Clint Frazier, the Indians' top two prospects, seems unlikely, but maybe an outfielder like Tyler Naquin, who is close to the big leagues, could be available.
Mariners: There's work for new general manager Jerry Dipoto to do, and there's not a ton of high-end talent in the system right now. Former first-round pick D.J. Peterson has scuffled of late, but Seattle's No. 3 prospect isn't that far removed from being considered the best college bat in his Draft class. No. 4 prospect Edwin Diaz could interest teams looking for pitching depth.
Orioles: If Chris Davis doesn't return, Baltimore could be looking for some bats, and some starting pitching would help as well. No. 4 prospect Jomar Reyes has the most upside in the system, is far away and is currently blocked by Manny Machado. D.J. Stewart (No. 3) might also be of interest, a reminder that members of the previous Draft class are now allowed to be dealt (courtesy of the Trea Turner rule).
Red Sox: Sure, they already traded four prospects to the Padres for Kimbrel, and they've reportedly brought in David Price via free agency, but that doesn't mean they don't have more pieces to offer up if needed. A pitching prospect like Brian Johnson, who is ready for a full-time shot at a rotation, could be available. So could shortstop Deven Marrero, a defensive whiz blocked by Xander Bogaerts.
Royals: The World Series champions have some holes to fill, particularly in the outfield corners. It's easy to imagine teams being interested in No. 4 prospect Miguel Almonte's right arm, one still with considerable upside despite a so-so 2015 season.
Tigers: Detroit has filled a starting-pitching void with Jordan Zimmermann and added outfield depth (Cameron Maybin) via free agency, but if it wants to go all-in, it does have Steven Moya's power potential to dangle, unless it sees its No. 2 prospect as ready to step in and help out himself.
White Sox: Chicago has some offensive needs to fill, even if top prospect Tim Anderson is ready at shortstop. Frankie Montas has a great arm, but if the White Sox think he's going to be a reliever, perhaps now is the time to include him in a deal for a bat.
Yankees: Perhaps no prospect improved his stock more during the AFL than catcher Gary Sanchez, the No. 5 prospect on the Yanks' Top 30. He not only led the league in home runs, but also looked better behind the plate than he has in the past. With Brian McCann signed through 2018 at least, a team needing a catcher ready to step in might come calling.