As much as we all love watching baseball, sometimes talking about it is even better. That’s particularly true when it comes to blockbuster trades.
Admit it, as baseball fans we lost our minds when the Boston Red Sox traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February. It was nearly as shocking when the Cleveland Indians traded Corey Kluber (you know, just a two-time Cy Young winner) to the Texas Rangers, especially after dealing Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds the previous summer.
The next best thing to reacting to blockbuster trades is creating your own hot stove by thinking about possible trades that would make total sense, as long as you don’t take them too seriously. While we wait for real baseball to be played in 2020, let’s take a look at 10 trades we’d love to see happen this year.
Blue Jays Trades Ken Giles to the Dodgers
Despite a wealth of young talent, the Toronto Blue Jays probably aren’t going anywhere in 2020. With Giles coming off a spectacular season — in which he posted a 1.87 ERA — and set for free agency next winter, it makes all the sense in the world for the Blue Jays to ship him to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers would be the perfect trade partner since Los Angeles has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes to win a championship despite falling short in recent years. Kenley Jansen is still the closer in Los Angeles, but it’s becoming obvious that he’s not the same pitcher he was a few years ago. If the Dodgers want to boost their World Series hopes, they need another big arm in their bullpen.
Giles would be a perfect option and the Dodgers have more than enough talent in their farm system to entice the Blue Jays to trade away their closer.
The Cardinals Ship Carlos Martinez to the Padres
Martinez pitched well out of the bullpen last year, but we all know that he should be a starter. But, barring injuries, there doesn’t appear to be enough room for him in the Cardinals' rotation. That makes him trade bait for a team like the Padres.
San Diego has a lineup that can win games, along with an above-average bullpen. However, the San Diego rotation still leaves something to be desired and the Padres could use a proven starter like Martinez, especially one who’s under team control through 2023.
Adding Garrett Richards and Zack Davies over the winter helped, but Martinez would provide even more depth and stability to the rotation and help the Padres remain a contender in the NL West for years to come.
The Cubs Deals Kris Bryant to Braves
There’s no chance that Bryant re-signs with the Cubs once he hits free agency after the 2021 season. Chicago has kicked the tires on trading him and the Cubs would be foolish not to get something for him before he hits the open market.
Meanwhile, the Braves failed to find a third baseman to replace Josh Donaldson, who was massively important for them in 2019. With all due respect, Johan Camargo and Austin Riley are just not suitable replacements.
With Bryant, they’d get at least two seasons of pairing him with Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. in the middle of the lineup, giving the Braves a three-headed monster that would frighten any pitcher.
The Rockies Send Nolan Arenado to the Cubs
After trading away Bryant, it’s only natural that the Cubs call Colorado and work out a deal for Arenado. The Rockies and Arenado had a rift over the winter because the club simply can’t afford to pay him $35 million per year while simultaneously spending enough on other parts of the roster to make Colorado competitive.
Arenado — and his contract — need to go to a big-market club like the Cubs. Arenado, arguably the best third baseman in the league, would probably be an upgrade over Bryant, keeping the Cubs' championship window open another year.
The Royals Trade Danny Duffy to Red Sox
We know the Red Sox needed to trim their payroll, but do they actually believe they can remain competitive after trading away Mookie Betts and David Price? Boston’s rotation is a mess with Chris Sale undergoing Tommy John surgery. Nathan Eovaldi isn’t exactly the most reliable guy health-wise, either.
However, trading for a pitcher like Duffy could help stabilize the starting rotation. Duffy is under contract through 2021, so he’d be helpful over the next two campaigns with Sale likely out until at least the midway point of 2021.
On the flip side, the Royals aren’t likely to be competitive until after Duffy hits the free-agent market two winters from now. There’s no reason to give him an extension at this point, which is why the Royals would be best served to trade Duffy sooner rather than later.
The Dodgers Land Francisco Lindor
Did you think trading for Mookie Betts and David Price was enough? Not if you’re the Dodgers. Los Angeles will do whatever it takes to win a World Series, and that means finding a way to land Lindor from the Indians.
Cleveland wants to hold onto Lindor, but the fact is they won’t be able to hang onto him when he hits free agency following the 2021 campaign. Perhaps more importantly, Cleveland’s championship window is just about closed after failing to make the postseason in 2019.
The Dodgers don’t necessarily need Lindor, but if they can get him, they’ll figure out a way to reconfigure their infield to make room for him. He’s undoubtedly one of the premier shortstops in the game, both offensively and defensively, and if the Dodgers think he’ll put them over the top, they won’t hesitate to make it happen.
The Angels Acquire Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling From the Dodgers
Pederson and Stripling were supposed to go to the Angels in February before things got complicated with the Dodgers and Red Sox. But wouldn’t it be great to see the deal come alive again?
With Betts, the Dodgers can’t possibly find enough at-bats for Pederson in the outfield. Even with the solid but unspectacular Brian Goodwin and top-prospect Jo Adell in the minors, the Halos would love to have him hitting behind Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Shohei Ohtani.
Stripling would also be a great addition to the Angels and would probably have a better chance to start with the Angels than he would with the Dodgers.
Mariners Move Mitch Haniger to Cardinals
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto loves making trades, and right now, Haniger is the best trade chip he has. Even after undergoing surgery in March, Haniger is a desirable commodity, especially since he’s under control through the 2022 season.
At the same time, the Cardinals need help on offense. St. Louis is hopeful that young outfielders like Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill can have breakout seasons in 2020 to help out an impressive pitching staff. But when he’s healthy, Haniger is a sure thing to produce, helping to replace Marcell Ozuna’s production from 2019.
The Mariners are more or less starting from scratch, so there’s no reason to keep Haniger. Although few teams need an impact bat more than the Cardinals, making this a perfect fit.
Brewers Deal Josh Hader to Yankees
The Brewers have been too reliant on Hader in recent years, which is part of the reason why they should trade him. The lefty has been overused and is bound to flameout sooner or later. Of course, the Yankees don’t care about that; if Hader can help them win a World Series in 2020 or 2021, they’ll take him.
The Yanks aren't hurting for bullpen help, but they would love to make their pen as deep as possible. With Hader being under team control through the 2023 season, he won’t come cheap in a trade. But the Yankees would likely pay the price and the Brewers would be foolish not to dangle Hader on the trade market.
Ultimately, the haul they can get for him right now will be more helpful than having him close games for a team that looks average at best heading into the 2020 season.
Angels Send Mike Trout to the Mets
Let’s close with a trade that is never going to happen, at least as long as the Wilpons own the Mets. That being said, wouldn’t it be perfect to see the highest-paid star in the game playing in the biggest market?
Between Trout, Pete Alonso and New York’s rotation, the Mets would become instant contenders in the National League. It’s not like the Angels have been able to win with Trout, and his salary doesn’t make it any easier for them.
If the Mets had owners that were willing to spend like a big-market club, they could take on Trout’s contract and still bring in other stars around him, which would be a win-win for everybody outside of the other four teams in the NL East.
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