The MLB Trade Deadline is fast approaching, with a number of buyers and sellers looking to bolster their roster for a deep playoff run or sell off expiring assets and get some return while they still can. Looking back in history, most trade deadline deals are for short term rentals, not long term ‘face of the franchise’ type of players, minus the ’97 McGwire from the A’s to the Cardinals trade. So, who gets moved where? Let’s dive in.
Sonny Gray to the Chicago Cubs
The reigning World Series Champs are in trouble, big trouble. While writing this, the Cubs are a game under .500, and 5.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central Division lead. A big reason for the Cubs’ demise this year has been their starting pitching. Jake Arrieta seems to have taken a big step backwards from his previous three seasons in Chicago. Jon Lester has been just as subpar, and aside from those two, the Cubs have gone through a rotating door of fringe starters like Liam Hendriks and Eddie Butler, who actually has the best stats of the bunch, with half the starts might I add.
Sonny Gray to a struggling Cubs team makes too much sense. With the acquisition of Jose Quintana last week, and Gray currently available at a low price, the time is now for the Cubs to pounce on the 27-year-old chucker. Also in his contract year, it’s highly doubtful the Athletics will hold onto Gray through unrestricted free agency with an opportunity for a big pay raise, so expect the A’s to be shopping Gray avidly over the next two weeks, even if the Cubs aren’t the eventual landing destination. For a team that has just seemed to be stuck in neutral all season, Sonny Gray could kickstart the Cubs back into World Series discussion and another memorable postseason run.
Dee Gordon to the Tampa Bay Rays
It’s been a fantastic year for the Tampa Bay Rays, who currently find themselves chasing down the Boston Red Sox for 1st place in the AL East, a major turn-around from years past. Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison and Alex Colome have been vital in the Rays turnaround year. A big gap in the Rays’ starting line-up has been at second base. Brad Miller and Daniel Robertson are both batting under .230, and the line-up in general could use a great leadoff hitter with elite speed. Enter Dee Gordon. The Marlins are reportedly gearing up for a huge fire sale, with owner Jeffrey Loria looking to sell the team all together. It’s an ugly, ugly situation in Miami, but Dee Gordon gets a one-way ticket out of Florida and steps right into a pennant race. For the Rays, they take on a bit of a hefty contract, with Gordon signed through 2020 with an average annual salary of $10 million. The great thing about speed is that it never slumps, and if they are going to make the investment, it’s a good one.
Raisel Iglesias to the Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals lead the NL East by a wide margin and are almost a lock for the postseason. The Nationals are that one team that dominates the regular season and just can’t put the pieces together in the playoffs. It’s already clear that the Nationals need help in the bullpen, especially in the closer role, with a handful of relievers failing to hold onto the role for the team and Koda Glover’s whole shower-slipping situation. The Nationals haven’t had a true closer since Drew Storen a few years ago, and we all know how that story ended. The Cincinnati Reds find themselves in dead last in the NL Central, and this season is all but over. While Iglesias is on a steal of a contract ($4 million a season through 2020,) if the Reds can add some solid young talent for the star closer, this might be the time to do it. With an aging Joey Votto, and no real help in sight, it’s time for the Reds to go in full rebuild mode, and moving Iglesias to the Nationals is the first step.
David Robertson to the Arizona Diamondbacks
Somehow, someway, the Arizona Diamondbacks have managed to play incredible baseball in 2017, trailing only the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and currently holding onto a wild card spot. If history speaks any volumes, the D-Backs should not trust Fernando Rodney as we enter the home stretch of the regular season. He’s had an incredible year for what his expectations were, but it’s time to make the upgrade if you’re making a legitimate playoff run. For Robertson, he’s also having an exceptional year, but with the Jose Quintana departure, it’s pretty clear the White Sox have thrown in the towel on this season. Robertson still has another year on his contract after this season, so it’s not a complete rental deal for Arizona, but much like the Reds in the move above, it doesn’t appear the White Sox are going anywhere any time soon.
Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros
for Pittsburgh Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, it’s simply time for a reboot. Coming into 2017 as the Pirates’ ace of the rotation, it’s been a rocky season for Cole, who sports an ERA of 4.43 to date. Since he’s only got just over 3 years of MLB service time, Cole isn’t a true free agent until 2020, but his contract is up after this year and he’ll probably go to arbitration if he sticks with the Pirates. It’s a risk the Pirates don’t want to take at this point, and for the Astros, who are having statistically one of the best seasons in the modern era, picking up a former all-star who is at an all-time low price makes perfect sense, especially for an Astros rotation who could use some tweaking. Even with Andrew McCutchen’s resurface, the Pirates are well outside a playoff spot, and if they can pick up some valuable assets for the future, trading Cole at the deadline makes sense.
Justin Bour to the Boston Red Sox
As noted previously, it’s going to be a firesale for the Miami Marlins, and they’ll be looking to move one of their hottest hitters in Justin Bour. Bour, who has a salary of just over $550k this season, and arbitration on the way this offseason, is a perfect pick-up for the Red Sox, who have lots of money tied up elsewhere this season. The real struggle with this deal will be prospects the Red Sox can give the Marlins for this deal to happen. As you probably know, the Red Sox cleaned house when they acquired Chris Sale from the White Sox in the offseason, so this move could be a little tricky in that regard, but if the teams can find a fit, Bour joins a Red Sox team who leads the AL East and is poised for another big postseason run.
Trevor Cahill to the Milwaukee Brewers
One of the lower-end deals on this list, the Milwaukee Brewers are another one of those teams that completely threw everyone off guard this year, thanks to Eric Thames’ incredible season, Chase Anderson’s breakout year and a lot more contributing factors. While there’s still much to be desired from Jonathan Villar this year, the Brew Crew are looking to upgrade on the mound, but reportedly don’t want to give up much in prospects or cash. The San Diego Padres seem to be in an endless rebuild, and it seems like it’s once again time to go back to the drawing board. There have been lots of rumours that Cahill has been on the block, but it’s not likely the Padres will get a huge return for him. For the Brewers, who are currently sitting in 1st place in the NL Central, having a bit more stability in the rotation could help the Brewers stay ahead of the Cubs in the division as we enter the home stretch.
To those of you who scrolled through this list looking for Giancarlo Stanton, sorry. Simply put, he’s immovable in Miami. His contract for one, and two, it would take a ridiculous offer for the Marlins to part with the face of their franchise, even if the team is in ruins behind the curtain. There have been rumours of the St. Louis Cardinals inquiring about Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson, but again, it would take a sizeable offer for Jays GM Mark Shapiro to bite at this point, where the Blue Jays organization still believes this core group can contend for a championship.
Is there a trade you see happening before the MLB Trade Deadline on July 31st? Let us know in the comments below.