MLB Trade Ideas Based on the Latest News, Rumors and Speculation
Another week of the MLB season has passed, and along with it, a new set of potential trade opportunities has emerged.
In the past seven days, there have been key injuries on contending teams, rumors of relief pitchers being made available and the constant din of a starter leaving the city of Chicago.
And as time passes, the needs of a few teams are coming sharply into focus. Individual roles, for example, are becoming more defined, which means that certain players are now available and could fill an area of weakness for another club.
To be sure, it is highly unlikely that anything mentioned here is on the verge of actually happening. It is simply too early, but now is when conversations between general managers become more intense.
Here are five trade ideas based on actual need or published speculation from the week ending Sunday, May 11.
5. Baltimore Orioles Acquire Nick Hundley from the San Diego Padres
Baltimore Orioles Get: C Nick Hundley
San Diego Padres Get: IF Jemile Weeks
Now how much Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters ends up missing after landing on the disabled list is unknown at this point, but it wouldn’t hurt the O’s chances to have a better option than Steve Clevenger behind him, even when he is healthy.
There is legitimacy to the idea that the Orioles would go out and add another catcher to the 25-man roster. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted:
Have heard repeatedly in recent days that #Orioles are aggressively looking for backup catcher.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 10, 2014
Now, the player that makes sense for the O’s to acquire Nick Hundley. Not only has he been available for some time, per Dennis Lin over at the San Diego Union-Tribune, but he is capable enough to serve as the everyday catcher in Wieters’ absence and would be a fantastic backup once he returns.
In return for Hundley, the San Diego Padres would end up with Jemile Weeks, who was recently optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. And Lin noted that the Padres were looking for a utility infielder, so the move makes sense from both sides.
This deal could be a win-win for the O’s as they try to stay on top of the AL East.
4. The Tigers Get Troy Patton from the Baltimore Orioles
Detroit Tigers Get: RP Troy Patton
Baltimore Orioles Get: OF Tyler Collins and cash
The Baltimore Orioles aren’t just looking to add a catcher, as it appears general manager Dan Duquette is willing to trade reliever Troy Patton.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted:
Now, disregard the part where Nightengale mentions the catcher position for just a moment and note that Patton is available and the Detroit Tigers are in dire need of a left-handed reliever. Just consider that Phil Coke has an 8.31 ERA and a 1.962 WHIP while allowing 14 hits in only 8.2 innings pitched.
The simple fact is that the Tigers could be one lefty away from having a team ready to make another appearance in the World Series.
For the Orioles, they need another outfielder in the worst way since David Lough (.167/.214/.227) hasn’t proved capable of finding any consistency, and while Delmon Young has been alright with his bat, he is not the answer.
Tyler Collins (.247/.299/.407, 3 HR, 11 RBI at Triple-A) would fit in nicely with the Orioles and has already played for the Tigers this season. Granted, he didn’t light up the stat sheet, but all he may need is a little playing time.
3. New York Yankees Acquire Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs
New York Yankees Get: SP Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs Get: C Gary Sanchez, SP Chase Whitley, SP Ty Hensley
With Michael Pineda on the disabled list and Ivan Nova lost for the season following Tommy John surgery, the New York Yankees needed to add a pitcher. The situation was further complicated when CC Sabathia was placed on the DL with a knee injury
Now, adding Sabathia to the injury mix didn’t create the need for rotation depth, but it does make acquiring said depth more urgent. And the pitcher that is frequently mentioned as a target for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs.
Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter, for example, put together a targeted proposal last week, but his is not the only way a deal between the two teams can be struck.
Of course, the focal point in any deal is going to be catcher Gary Sanchez (.254/.331/.424, 4 HR, 23 RBI), who is the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect. After that, though, this iteration leans predominantly towards starting pitching with the Cubs receiving Ty Hensley (recovering from hip surgery) and Chase Whitley (3-2, 2.49 ERA, 1.066 WHIP) in addition to Sanchez.
It must be noted here that Whitley was pulled from his last start at Triple-A after one inning, which leads Pinstripe Alley’s Tanya Bondurant to believe that he may end up starting in place of Sabathia on Thursday. Regardless, two pitchers and a top-flight catcher should be enough to pry Samardzija away from the Cubs.
2. Atlanta Braves Get Emilio Bonifacio from the Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves Get: 2B/OF Emilio Bonifacio
Chicago Cubs Get: SP Aaron Northcraft or RP Shea Simmons
The Chicago Sun Times’ Seth Gruen recently wrote that “Emilio Bonifacio has looked every bit the part of a bona fide leadoff hitter. If he keeps it up, the Cubs could benefit come the trade deadline.”
Well, Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren should already be placing calls to his counterpart in Chicago, Jed Hoyer. It’s a matter of production at the top of the order.
According to splits over at Baseball-Reference, the leadoff hitters in the Braves lineup have a .208/.299/.319 slash line, and the second spot in the order isn’t much better, producing a .224/.306/.343 slash. Bonifacio (.293/.343/.353) would be an upgrade in either slot.
Bonifacio’s versatility adds even more value for manager Fredi Gonzalez. Consider that second baseman Dan Uggla (.184/.248/.272), B.J. Upton (.202/.281/.315) and Jayson Heyward (.209/.302/.324) are all underperforming and Bonifacio has played all three of their positions this season.
And as B/R’s Rick Weiner noted last week, the Cubs need to build a pitching staff capable of matching what is sure to be a potent offense in 2015 and beyond. To that end, a straight-up trade for either Aaron Notrthcraft (3-2, 3.29 ERA, 1.134 WHIP) or reliever Shae Simmons (1.12 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 21 K, 16.0 IP), could do the trick. Both pitchers are at Double-A Mississippi.
1. Oakland A's Acquire Kyle Kendrick from the Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies Get: C John Jaso, SP Dylan Covey and cash considerations
Oakland A’s Get: SP Kyle Kendrick
Susan Slusser from the San Francisco Chronicle noted last week that “given the issues with the back end of the rotation, there is little doubt that Oakland, a definite contender, will look to trade for another starter and might be willing to move a player off the big-league roster to do so.”
Kendrick, who is 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA, 1.372 WHIP and 27 strikeouts, is a workhorse that will throw as many innings as A's manager Bob Melvin needs him to. And make no mistake, other than a couple of bad outings, Kendrick is pitching better than his record indicates.
Now, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t one to throw in the towel, but he already has options in the minor leagues to replace Kendrick such as Jesse Biddle (3-4, 3.63 ERA, 1.254 WHIP, 10.3 K/9). The left-hander is ready to take the next step and has thrown at least 133.0 innings each of the past three seasons. In essence, trading Kendrick is by no means a sign of submissions.
Jaso, who has two more years of team control and has played first base in addition to catching, would provide considerable offensive depth on the bench. True, he's certainly not, going to supplant Carlos Ruiz, but he is an upgrade over 36-year-old Wil Nieves who is a free agent at the end of the season.
Covey is going to need another year or two, but he has a powerful fastball and a well-graded curveball. He also grades out as the No. 13 prospect in the A's system.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are accurate as of Sunday, May 11. All game, transaction, prospect rankings and injury information is courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information is courtesy of Cot’s Contracts.