MLB Rumors: Deals That Would Shake Up Division Races

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 02:   Right fielder Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a running catch on a fly ball hit by Miguel Montero of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second inning on September 2, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-4.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Several blockbuster moves have already altered the MLB's power structure heading into 2013, but don't assume that the frenzy is over.

This offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have especially changed the landscape of the American League East to surpass the New York Yankees as the team to beat. While the Kansas City Royals are not there just yet, they did improve their chances of contending this season by bolstering a depleted starting rotation.

In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers put everyone on notice by signing Zack Greinke, and they might pull off another major deal or two.

Here are some potential deals that could further rearrange Major League Baseball's landscape.

Nick Swisher to the Texas Rangers

Nothing has gone right for the Texas Rangers this offseason. 

They missed out on Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez and R.A. Dickey. Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Napoli all signed elsewhere, creating several holes in a once formidable squad that squandered a substantial American League West lead last season.

Not only did Josh Hamilton leave, but he joined forces with their rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. If the Rangers want to keep up with the Angels' super-trio of Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, they need to strike fast.

Few big-name hitters remain on the free-agent market, but Nick Swisher is a prominent power-bat who could offset some of the power Texas lost after Hamilton and Napoli left. According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, Texas is among the teams working to sign Swisher.

The 32-year-old sports a career .467 slugging percentage and has hit more than 20 homers during every one of his Major League seasons. Texas still possesses plenty of talent, so reeling in Swisher would salvage a disastrous offseason and keep them in the mix this upcoming season.


Andre Ethier to Atlanta Braves

Perhaps they're just bored after a week of inactivity, but the Dodgers might make a few more major moves before the season begins.

According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are shopping Ethier on the trading block so they can clear up right field to pursue Swisher or Michael Bourn.

Swapping Ethier with Swisher would not offer much of an upgrade, but the pieces acquired in exchange for Ethier could further stack their squad while missing none of his offense with Swisher substituting for him in right field.

Or if they sign Bourn, they obtain a substantial defensive upgrade and an upper-echelon leadoff hitter in case Carl Crawford never returns to relevancy.

As for their potential suitors, the Atlanta Braves are an interested team who has stayed on the sidelines this offseason with the exception replacing Bourn with the inferior B.J. Upton.

Ethier can give that offense a much-needed spark to bring them back in the NL East mix. After hitting .284/.351/.460 last season, Ethier would present Atlanta with solid productivity alongside inconsistent bats such as Upton and Dan Uggla.


Michael Bourn to the Dodgers

A few solid pieces remain on the free-agent market, but none display Bourn's game-changing capabilities.

According to FanGraphs, the 30-year-old posted a 6.4 WAR, mostly due to his speed and baserunning. 

Reports surfaced that the Yankees expressed interest, but ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews said there is "no chance" they even pursue him. Although the Evil Empire won't snatch him up, the new Evil Empire just might.

If the Dodgers go through with shipping Ethier and signing Bourn, they will change the entire sport, making the Yankees of old come across as frugal. This would show that money is no object and they will do everything in their power to purchase championships.

With Bourn setting the pace for Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez, they will probably succeed.