5 big trades that won't happen (but should)

July 31st, 2022

Tuesday's Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and while we already got the season's first blockbuster on Friday with the Mariners landing Luis Castillo in exchange for four prospects, there still figures to be plenty of movement over the next few days.

While some deals are more likely to happen than others, the five proposed deals below -- compiled by MLB.com reporters -- are all trades that probably won't happen -- but definitely should.

Each of the below deals attempts to strike a fair balance, though for one reason or another, would likely be rejected by one of the clubs involved -- but that's not going to stop us from dreaming.

So without further ado, here's a look at five longshot trades that we'd like to see play out in the coming days.

Seager puts on the pinstripes after all

Yankees get: SS Corey Seager, LHP Matt Moore
Rangers get: SS Anthony Volpe (MLB No. 7 prospect), OF Joey Gallo

Why it should happen: The Yankees should have signed Seager in the offseason. They didn't. Oh well. Now, they should trade for him. Yes, it feels weird to have them trade their top prospect for a player they could have had for only money, but that missed opportunity shouldn't dictate what they do now. And right now, this Bronx Bombers team is a powerhouse that could be an even bigger powerhouse with a star shortstop.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the shortstop they did get, just hasn't been very good (87 OPS+) -- not even on defense, which was supposed to be his specialty (11 errors, -2 Outs Above Average). Seager is a true top-tier hitter, the type of tough out the Yankees already targeted on the trade market by getting Andrew Benintendi -- but an even better version. Seager would make their lineup extremely deep. And you know Seager can hit in the playoffs, since he was the NLCS and World Series MVP on the Dodgers' 2020 championship run. As for Moore, the veteran left-hander who's been a great surprise for Texas this season after signing a Minor League deal (1.70 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings) could help the Yankees replace Michael King in the bullpen.

So why would the Rangers give up Seager in the first year of his brand new 10-year, $325 million deal? Because they'd be getting a true top-tier shortstop prospect in Volpe, who's seven years younger than Seager at 21, and would be coming up at the same time as current Rangers top prospects like Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker and Josh Jung, creating a huge wave of talent hitting the big leagues all at once that would open up a long window of contention for Texas. You'd also get to bring back Gallo -- who needs a change of scenery from the Bronx -- to the place where he first became a star slugger.

Why it won’t: Well … because the Yankees would be trading their top prospect for a player they could have had for only money. That doesn't look too good (Yankee fans who are excited about Volpe might really not like it). And because the Rangers just made a huge commitment to Seager to be the face of the franchise for the next decade. Giving up on that halfway through the first season is too much to expect from them -- even if a Leiter/Rocker/Jung/Volpe-led wave would be extremely fun to watch in Texas.

-- David Adler

Sho Shifts to San Diego

Padres get: DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani
Angels get: C Luis Campusano (MLB No. 53), SS/2B C.J. Abrams, OF Esteury Ruiz (SD No. 28), LHP MacKenzie Gore, LHP Blake Snell

Why it should happen: With the Padres badly needing more thump in their lineup, the popular name being floated around has been Juan Soto – but what about Ohtani? The reigning AL MVP would certainly help a San Diego offense that ranks 27th in slugging percentage and 25th in home runs (81), but Ohtani would also help elevate an already strong starting rotation into one of the best in the Majors.

As for the Angels, they get a Major League-ready catcher in Campusano – who is currently being blocked in San Diego – as well as a pair of highly touted rookies Abrams and Gore who were top-ranked prospects before losing the prospect designation in recent weeks. Toss in Ruiz, who made his MLB debut on July 12 after swiping 60 bases in 77 Minor League games this season, and Snell (4.75 ERA in 11 starts this season), and that’s a pretty solid haul of players immediately ready to contribute.

But let’s be honest, the real reason this should happen is who doesn’t want to see Ohtani pitching and batting leadoff in Game 1 of a postseason series come October?

Why it won’t: First and foremost, whether the Angels are actually willing to move Ohtani remains a bit unclear – and who can blame them? It’s tough to even formulate a fair return for Ohtani since the Halos would essentially be trading an ace-caliber pitcher and MVP-caliber hitter. It’s rare to see any team package two players like that together, though the Nationals did send Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers in return for a substantial package that included, among others, top pitching prospect Josiah Gray and top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz last season. This particular trade offer also took a hit earlier this week when Gore landed on the IL due to a sore left elbow.

-- Paul Casella

Make a big Soto trade even bigger

Giants get: OF Juan Soto, LHP Patrick Corbin
Mariners get: LHP Carlos Rodón, INF Wilmer Flores
Nationals get: SS Marco Luciano (SF No. 1), LHP Kyle Harrison (SF No. 2), RHP RJ Dabovich (SF No. 16), RHP Matt Brash (SEA), OF Jarred Kelenic (SEA)

Note: This trade was proposed before the Mariners acquired Luis Castillo on Friday night, which certainly makes it even less likely to happen. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

Why it should happen: Every time you come up with a potential Juan Soto trade idea, you realize it’s not enough. There’s no package one team can come up with that would be both A) satisfactory enough to extract one of the greatest young hitters we’ve ever seen from Washington and B) not so extravagant that it won’t just cripple the team acquiring him.

If that’s true, then there’s only one solution to that problem. If one team’s prospects won’t be enough for the Nationals, then what about ... two teams? Let’s say there’s a team that’s an absolutely perfect fit for Soto, like, say, the Giants, a deep-pocketed club just desperately in need of a superstar bat they can build around, even if 2022’s playoff odds don’t look strong. They have a decent farm system, middle-of-the-pack, not good enough on its own to outbid other clubs.

But what they might have, if they choose, is the best available starting pitcher in a weak market in Rodón, who can (and almost certainly will) opt out at the end of the season. He won’t fit in Washington, but he’d be a great add for Seattle, a club desperate to break a two-decade playoff drought and currently relying on a pair of young starters (Logan Gilbert, George Kirby) who will soon be pushed into territory beyond where they’ve been before. Imagine, if you will, they claim a Wild Card spot. They need to set their rotation. Robbie Ray, Castillo, Rodón, and Gilbert would sure look good against almost anyone. Besides, imagine a complicated three-team deal that didn’t involve Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto?

The Giants get their star, plus we all get to see if their pitching machine can do something to turn Corbin back into the useful starter he was once. The Mariners fortify their rotation for a playoff run and add a useful infielder in Flores (114 OPS+ in three years as a Giant) to platoon with and/or replace the struggling Adam Frazier at second base. The Nationals get to pluck talent from the prospect lists of two organizations, plus a post-hype lottery ticket in Kelenic -- who, it should be pointed out, is still just 23 years old and is back in Triple-A absolutely mashing (11 home runs, .924 OPS).

It’s nuts. Just nuts enough to work.

Why it won’t: Like a mere two-team trade involving Juan Soto isn’t already complicated enough.

-- Mike Petriello

Everyone gets what they need in this three-team trade

Cardinals get: RHP Pablo López
Marlins get: CF Bryan Reynolds
Pirates get: LHP Matthew Liberatore (STL No. 2), OF Joshua Baez (STL No. 6), SS Jordan McCants (MIA No. 16)

Why it should happen: The Marlins have long been in search of a long-term answer in center field; it’s the main reason they’re dangling López in the first place. The Cardinals are searching for starting pitching and have been linked to López, but they don’t have a center fielder to offer Miami after Harrison Bader suffered a setback with his plantar fasciitis injury.

So, we’ll loop in the Pirates. It will be difficult for the Bucs to part with Reynolds, but he might be pushing 30 and nearing free agency by the time they’re ready to seriously contend. This trade gives Pittsburgh MLB’s No. 44 prospect in Liberatore, as well as two prospects who are earlier in their development in the 19-year-old Baez and the 20-year-old McCants.

Why it won’t: The Pirates have set a high asking price for Reynolds, so this might not be enough to get him. The Cardinals, meanwhile, did not make a serious pursuit for the Reds’ Luis Castillo because they were said to be reluctant to send top prospects to a division rival. Pittsburgh resides in the NL Central, too, so the same might apply here.

-- Thomas Harrigan

Brewers solve third base

Brewers get: 3B Rafael Devers
Red Sox get: OF Joey Wiemer (MLB No. 60), LHP Russell Smith (MIL No. 16), RHP Taylor Floyd (MIL No. 23), INF Luis Urías

Why it should happen: The Brewers are in the bottom half of the Majors in a number of categories in production from their third basemen -- including slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+. Devers has 22 homers, he's slugging .602 and he has a 165 OPS+. He’s also hitting .324. It’s not hard to see the fit here, giving the Brewers a strong and reliable bat to lead them into -- and through -- October. This is a team that hit .192 and slugged .264 as a group in the NLDS last year, losing in four games to the eventual World Series champion Braves. The team is already better offensively this year, but adding Devers would pretty much ensure that this offense would not go cold.

For the Red Sox, the team has fallen out of contention in recent weeks, and names like J.D. Martinez and Christian Vázquez have come up in the rumor mill. But a young star like Devers would fetch an even higher price and help set the team up for the future. Urías fills Devers’ role in the immediate future. Wiemer, meanwhile, is a Top 100 prospect, while Smith and Floyd help beef up Boston’s pitching with an eye toward the future.

Why it won’t: It’s hard to see the Red Sox trading Devers, a young star who is still under team control through the end of next season. At the very least, there might be a chance to extend him and keep him with the club. If his status remains the same by next summer, perhaps he’d be available -- though the return would then be considerably smaller.

-- Sarah Langs