Let's make a deal!: Kicking around trade targets, ideas, laments

We’ve posited some free agent ideas, but ever since our legendary offseason plan last year to trade Hector Santiago for Lucas Duda, which would have totally killed, I’ve thought us overdue to concoct some fun trade packages for some of the guys available on the market.

Since inevitably someone is going to be a snot and say “I don’t even like that guy,” let’s do multiple players.

Evan Gattis

James: The Braves are rumored to be interested in moving the 28-year-old catcher/outfielder/lumberjack as he continues to lack a true position and is kinda-sorta blocking a revered catching prospect. Gattis is reminiscent of Dayan Viciedo in that he golfs at everything, never walks and runs like he’s wearing galoshes, but unlike Viciedo, has been consistent in his ability to hit balls far. He owns a .253/.304/.487 career line playing mostly in pitcher-friendly Turner Field, which is good for a 117 wRC+.

He has four years of service time left.

Braves fans on MLBTR would appreciate if the Sox sent Chris Sale back, and cash.

Matt: Nope, don’t like him. He’s one of the guys that I’m always waiting for severe regression or cliff falling.

James: He improved last year! Albeit not really by doing anything different.

Matt: He’s not a guy that I would get upset over acquiring but I’d rather not. He’d be a DH rather quickly, so I guess he fills that role anyway, which is needed. I guess a good question would be, what would it cost to get him? I mean, if Hahn isn’t willing to send Sale south.

James: The Braves probably wants bats? What are the Braves bad at? Grit? Grind? We can give them Dewayne Wise.

Matt: They want bats but I’ve also seen rumblings that they’re willing to get rid of Justin Upton and/or Jason Heyward.

James: I...um….what?! Looking at their roster, they got brutal offensive years from 2B (maybe the Sox can help), SS (they don’t want help), 3B (Sox can’t help), CF (Sox can’t help them disappear B.J. Upton)

Matt: I agree it would be odd. It was even Rosenthal or something too, not just Twitter boobs yapping. I can’t even really let the Heyward thing sit in my head for very long lest I get a custom jersey made ahead of time.

James: Maybe they want an arm? Don’t really have that either. How do you trade from zero depth? How many fringy middle IF prospects can you shop?

Matt: They claimed White Sox slop arms just today. Wang and Veal both got Spring Training invites.

James: Donnie’s gone!?

Matt: Way to go, Donnie.

James: Do they want a left-handed singles-hitting third baseman? Because the Sox could put stuff around Conor, then would HAVE to sign Headley or Han-Ram.

Matt: I get the feeling they just want to go in a new direction if they seem willing to trade anything not Andrelton or Freddie Freeman. So maybe Conor is right up their alley. I don’t know.

Actually I think they’re trying to reset themselves a couple years younger so they can have a big up and coming team when they open their new park. So punting the next season or two is probably fine by them. If that’s the case, selling on one of our wonderful 2B prospects would be great.

James: Wonderful? Yes, wonderful!

This was like the pilot episode of this feature.

Nick: I think the reason they “want” to trade Heyward and/or Justin Upton is because they each only have one year left and they don’t think they can keep both of them. Those guys would be expensive rentals talent-wise, unless you want to throw them someone who is a few years away. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

Jeremy Hellickson

James: Can I interest the Rays in a pre-owned Josh Phegley?

Matt: If it’s anything more than Phegley I’m saying no. Do people generally believe he’s due for a bounceback? Seems like he’s been nothing special for the last couple years, even though he missed a bunch of last season.

James: He was a prospect. He had skill of some sort. He needs an outpi--/’COOP’LL TEACH ‘EM A CUTTER’ SIREN STARTS BLARING

Matt: That’s a reggae horn, right?

James: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss7SRjiOCCs

This is not our best episode of this show, either.

Matt: 2-man roundtable devolves into Robot Chicken.

Nick: I have never, ever liked Hellickson.

James: I know. I put this here to upset you. We did watch, like, a 100 Hector Noesi starts last season. Let’s try to keep things in perspective.


A Dodgers Outfielder Not Named Yasiel Puig

Matt: how about Yasiel Puig?

James: I have heard he’s not available. Also, what would they trade him for? Rodon?

Matt: Realistically yes it would have to be something like that. I’ve heard that teams can basically have their choice of Ethier, Crawford, or Kemp which is odd.

James: DID YOU KNOW: Andre Ethier is not only alive, but has been for years.

Matt: I can’t imagine that stays true forever.

James: Kemp is the obvious desire piece, Carl Crawford value is being an all-around guy, so his decline phase is not that interesting, but Ethier should mash right-handed pitching, provided we figure out whatever the hell was wrong with him last year. He could be really good at the one thing he was always GREAT at, provided you weren’t paying him to be a stud.

And ideally, you won’t be, since you’ll be getting the Dodgers to do it.

Matt: So we are expecting the goods and also some cash, so what is it that we’re expecting to see go the other way? Where are they looking for help?

James: You always have to find the snag in things.

Matt: Not that they don’t need any help, but they’re dealing from a serious surplus issue. Since nothing is desperately pressing, they’re just gonna take the best damn deal they can get. Which probably means a bundle of kids. The White Sox don’t have any bundles of kids. I’m not sure if they even have any bundles.

James: They’ve got ropes. How long do they want to play Juanathon at 3B?

Matt: Are you building a third baseman out of ropes or suggesting Matt Davidson+?

James: Maybe Davidson and Flowers? Then the Sox would need to find a catcher and Donny Lucy ain’t leaving the avocado farm just on a whim.

Matt: Quality fats are important, I don’t blame him. If we had a catcher of some sort, I’d be game.

James: Maybe this is why the Sox are going for free agency. Phil Rogers said Danks puts the Sox in play for Kemp, so Danks for Ethier means the Dodgers eat both contracts….by transitivity.

Let’s go deep into the void of affordability, then. Deep.

Nick: I’m loathe to deal Davidson, not necessarily because I think he’s going to be that great, but because it feels like selling low.


Daniel Nava

James: Yeah, now this is a minor move!

Nava will be 32 by Opening Day, has a career line of .293/.385/.428 against right-handed pitching and is the size of a small ottoman, making for easy storage on team flights

Matt: He’ll be 32?! I’ve got no formed opinion of Daniel Nava. Well, now I do: older than I thought. /end of report.

James: Feels too old to be something the Red Sox are clinging to. Then again, they probably don’t want Dayan, either. Nick is here, he’ll fix this madness.

Matt: They’re already upset with one Cuban. They’ll never make that mistake again.

Nick: I’m sort of jumping around, but the persistent rumor is rather that the Red Sox are shopping Cespedes. I feel like he could hold up under every day play more than Nava, but again, only one year of control. How hard are they pushing for 2015? If he has a big bounceback year, maybe you can scoop a draft pick with a QO?

There’s some sort of logjam there. Allen Craig?

James: Notice I mentioned Nava’s platoon splits, not his full-time numbers.

Were Craig’s feet just junk this year or something? The power has been a problem for him, but now he’s whiffing.


The Entirety of the Philadelphia Phillies

James: Reports are that they’re selling. Make your Dom Brown offer.

Nick: Viciedo for Brown might be a little too on the nose in terms of “change of scenery” trades. I also wonder what sort of moves to expect from them - how much say, Gillick may be reasserting himself behind the scenes. I am for it, though. Any of the 2014 draftees would have to be PTBNL-ed in this trade.

James: What does “too on the nose” mean?

Nick: I feel like it’s rare for a swap like this - two guys at the same position who are still under team control who are both disappointments. Like, “Take our busted top outfield prospect for yours” sort of thing. Trying to think of when else that has happened.

How far up the prospect list do you go to take a flyer on Brown putting it back together again? Jacob May? Cleuluis Rondon? Feels a little light. Chris Beck feels a little steep / too much of an organizational league.

James: Beck is steep? What are the chances Beck can makes starts?


Jason Castro

Nick: The Astros just acquired Hank Conger and there are rumblings about Jason Castro being available. I know we are all okay with Flowers continuing to putter along and do his playable thing, but Castro has been a legit all star as recently as 2013.

Definitely a “buy low” situation. Maybe we should go through all of these guys saying, “What would you be willing to give up for him?” And the answer for every single one can’t be “Dayan Viciedo.” Someone like Castro is probably worth a real prospect or two. Like, a lower ceiling close to the majors guy like Carlos Sanchez or something + a project like, say, Michalczewski? I suppose it depends on where between 2013 and 2014 you think Castro’s future performance will be.

James: Castro shakes out to a league-average bat, which is what he was in 2012. Possibly instructive?

Nick: This may shock you, but I haven’t watched a ton of Astros games. I just know that Castro has a reputation as a good defender as well. Man, draft day 2008 I don’t think people would have expected him to be the best pick out of the run of Gordon Beckham - Aaron Crow - Jason Castro - Justin Smoak - Jemile Weeks, but here we are.

James: He strikes out a metric ton and doesn’t have a tremendous eye. He needs to clock dingers to thrive. Definitely give him a chance here if the mood is right.

Nick: I feel like worst case between he and Flowers you’re betting one of the two of them doesn’t crater, and Castro is a better glove.

James: They’re both 27. Maybe if they split time, neither one will have their knees explode because their backup is a Double-A player.

Nick: Uh, Phegley annihilated AAA in 2013, thank you very much.


Jedd Gyorko + Cascade Effect:

Nick: What if you try to pry Gyorko away from the new Padres regime, as you suggested previously, James. What that would do is give you more liberty to trade someone like Semien or Sanchez (or both) to address other needs as well.

James: I do not covet trying to root for a guy named “Jedd Gyorko,” but sure, what do the Padres want?

Nick: I don’t know as much about their organizational depth chart as I might. I suppose it’s a weird fit because our surplus is also at 2B. I feel like they have a few tweener hulking corner guys already. I wonder if you can sell them on Jacob May + something?

James: This guy is marked as their cornerstone. Feel like it will take someone worth a damn above High-A.

Nick: Tyler Danish?

That’s the thing about being unable to really test the market via phone calls around execs etc. in the position we are in. Gyorko, on the one hand, was recently highly regarded/productive, and it got him one of those pre-arb extensions. On the other hand, now he’s pretty expensive and you can’t cut bait on him if he sucks in his arb years, and he sucked last year.

And I mean, he wasn’t THAT great in 2013. At least I can buy the PetCo Park Adjustments as more than just an extreme narrative pushed to cover a front office’s failures…

While we’re talking Padres, according to Rotoworld, they have blocked CORY SPANGENBERG with YANGERVIS SOLARTE.

James: Are you saying words right now?

Nick: No, James, this is just text.

Now ask me who’s on first.

James: Getting back to Gyorko. Most of this has been me considering the Sox resources and realizing all they have is cash. Maybe that comes to play here. If the new management sees Gyorko as bad money, Sox appeal is that they can eat all of it.

Nick: Yeah, that’s a fair point. I’m probably assessing trade targets by an older paradigm, which is “how do we shuffle our surpluses just to buy low on failed prospects.” Which, y’know, is still a good plan if the right opportunity presents itself - but perhaps they are more in the phase of, “We are able to eat some dead money and we find this guy under contract more attractive than the free agents available.”

I don’t suppose the Mets would be willing to deal Niese until he gets into the back end of that contract, and even then he’s great value.

James: Little told story of the Obama Presidency is that the next season after Cash for Clunkers, he won 97 games and the division title.

Nick: Ironically, both nouns in that title apply to Kevin Cash.

Collin: Can’t Gyorko play 3B, too, or did I make that up?

James: It’s stands to reason that he could.

Adrian Beltre

Nick: I mean...we can talk about it, right? Two years left on his deal.

James: Are they really trying to get out of that?

Nick: There were rumors about it last year when they were in free fall. I assume they, realistically, believe they’re competing next year when they get all their dudes back healthy.

I mean, I know they’re trying to get out from under Andrus because seriously why wouldn’t you.

James: Because UZR is real?

I don’t know, that felt mean. He’s definitely a defensive whiz, but he was always a slap hitter. What did they think was going to happen?

Nick: But so is Brendan Ryan.

I don’t know if you realize how bad it is: http://i.imgur.com/gYkCrjd.png

The guy doesn’t even steal bases well anymore. Also I just read a Blue Jays fan suggesting that they trade Buehrle + Lawrie for Alexei + Quintana. Because y’know, teams are really into trading two of their best assets for two significantly worse assets.

James: Oh boy Buehrle! Heeeeeey waaaaait


C.J. Cron???

Nick: Low OBP, low defensive spectrum masher type with a name like a Ninja Turtles villain. Thoughts?

James: Whoa, you weren’t kidding about low OBP. He’s supposed to be strong as an ox.

Nick: Mark Trumbo types are actually pretty okay when they’re pre-arb and you don’t have to play them in the OF or trade better players for them.

James: Also it was his rookie year, he’s a big dude, and his play was scattershot. Room to grow? We need to do more discussing whay the Sox would actually give up rather than just listing players we like.

Nick: I tried doing that but got no traction. I blame my co-authors.

Also, I think Cron works as this year’s Duda. Just don’t know that they have a Santiago type sitting around anymore.

James: Throwing money at Arte Moreno’s face probably doesn’t work as well as it does with others.

Collin: I’m mostly against acquiring guys who offer zero defensive value. I know there’s DH to fill, but having Dunn/Konerko around for so long has mostly soured me on having a roster spot taken up by a guy who can’t field. For the right price? Sure, I suppose, but I feel like they could find someone with the offensive upside of Cron who offers more than zero on defense.

James: In some respects, they already have a DH and he’s playing first base. Abreu isn’t bad, and might be more comfortable when he’s engaged on defense, but I see more health risk than benefit with him playing 140 games in the field. Let’s lower that number by 40 if the opportunity presents itself.


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