As MLB free agents continue to get exorbitant contracts, general managers are instead looking for ways to improve through trades.
Fans already saw a shocking trade already take place Wednesday when the Detroit Tigers sent Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. The Los Angeles Angels then got into the action by acquiring David Freese from the St. Louis Cardinals, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet believes this type of bold thinking is a sign of things to come, with front offices willing to part with big-name talent to get a deal completed.
With a long time remaining until the start of next season, do not be surprised to see some more stars change cities. Here is a look at the latest trade buzz from across baseball regarding other players who could soon be moved.
Austin Jackson, CF, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are not exactly having a fire sale, but GM Dave Dombrowski is certainly willing to be aggressive this offseason. After trading away Fielder, the team is apparently fielding offers for Austin Jackson as well, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
Jackson is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, so his price is set to go up. However, he remains under team control for another two years.
Considering an alternatative option is someone like Jacoby Ellsbury, it should be clear that money is not an issue while trying to fill the position.
Still, Jackson is coming off a relatively down year after a huge 2012 season. His averages dropped from .300/.377/.479 to only .272/.337.417, and he also struggled to produce in the playoffs.
Of course, he is still only 26 years old with above-average range in center field. He has twice led the league in triples and has hit double-digit home runs in each of the last three seasons. If the Tigers are willing to part with him, there will be plenty of teams ready to make a deal.
Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
A year ago at this time, Chase Headley was celebrating what was by far the best individual season of his career. He posted a .286 batting average, hit 31 homers and led the National League with 115 RBI. This production helped him win a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and he finished fifth in the MVP voting.
Unfortunately, Headley was not nearly as impressive in 2013, hitting only .250 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI. While he missed some time due to injury, the overall effort was simply not there.
As a result, the Padres are now looking to make a trade that could possibly lead to filling more holes around the roster, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
There’s growing sentiment that Headley will be traded this offseason. There’s been talk about an extension, but the Padres, who are now willing to increase payroll under CEO Mike Dee’s leadership, are thinking that they can improve a couple of different areas long-term by dealing their third baseman.
San Diego finished with only 76 wins this past season, so it is clear the club needs to find ways to improve. Trading a big-time hitter who still has plenty of value would be a decent way to accomplish that feat.
If the Padres can find a trade partner willing to part with multiple prospects for the 29-year-old third baseman, you can imagine they will find a way to get a deal completed.
Then again, any team would have to be cautious that 2012 was more of a fluke than anything else. Looking at his wins above replacement by year, it is hard to argue against this being the case.
Still, good-hitting third basemen are not easy to find. If an organization feels Headley can once again reach his potential, it might be worth a deal.
Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Matt Kemp fits right into the list of talented players coming off of disappointing seasons. The two-time All-Star dealt with various injuries all year that limited him to only 73 games. Combined with last year's issues, he has now missed 145 games since the start of the 2012 season.
To make matters worse, Kemp was ineffective when he was on the field, hitting only .270 with six home runs. With $130 million still owed on his contract over the next six years, it makes sense for the Dodgers to see if anyone is interested in making a deal.
According to Cafardo, the Boston Red Sox are among those interested:
The Red Sox are one of several teams who have made inquiries on Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp according to a major league source.
The Dodgers, according to the source, have not been shopping Kemp, but teams have inquired. The Dodgers were reportedly recently in trade talks with the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.
Boston will likely need someone in center field if free agent Jacoby Ellsbury decides to go elsewhere. While Kemp is still owed a lot of money, he certainly is an intriguing option.
Injuries have certainly slowed down the 29-year-old player's career, but he is only two years removed from finishing second in the MVP voting and was one of the best all-around players in baseball.
If the Dodgers are willing to pay some of the remaining salary, this could be a decent risk for the defending World Series champions.
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