In a player’s mind the most comfortable bed that they possess is the one at home.
Road trips to opposite coasts, chilly days in February somewhere in the swamps of Florida or the dry expansive deserts of Arizona – they get a crick in their necks from a lump mattress at the Holiday Inn Express…
They wish that they were home. For many players this winter, whether prospect, eternal minor leaguers, valuable veterans or down on their luck screw-ups, many may find themselves at the mercy of their resident GMs. Trades will be amok this winter as A.J. Preller knows all too well.
Every team has holes and sometimes they cannot be address through prospect promotion or free agency. Value is found through the leagues based on big baseball data, scouting reports and past performance. Teams will exploit that value in whatever means necessary. When the dust settles, many will find themselves staring out at new crowds and new skylines.
This second piece of my off-season prediction will center on prominent players which be finding themselves on new teams after a tumultuous winter. I will first go over my team-by-team expectation of players who may be “on the block”, then go over my potential top ten traded players and my thoughts on their destinations.
(Disclaimer – these are the opinions of Hunter Davis only and the ‘trades’ listed are merely speculation based on what could fit elsewhere…)
Orioles – Zach Britton and Ubaldo Jimenez
Red Sox – Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Yankees – Ivan Nova and Alex Rodriguez
Rays – James Loney and Logan Forsythe
Blue Jays – Miguel Castro and Ryan Goins
Other than Ramirez, Britton and Rodriguez, there is not much to look at when it comes to the trade market. Most teams in the AL East will be looking towards acquiring new blood into their organizations. The Red Sox may look to unload themselves of a part of Ramirez’s remaining 66 million dollars to open space at first base for a combination of Travis Shaw, Allen Craig or Brock Holt internally. If my previous post comes to fruition, Chris Davis could represent a defensive and offensive upgrade. Baltimore, in trading Britton, could represent the beginning of a new period for the team. With many likely leaving for free agency, the Orioles may need to cut their losses and trade some value while they can. A Britton trade though could also be a sign of a changing of the guard, a la, Jim Johnson of the 2013-14 off-season. Rodriguez would be interesting especially if it was to a National League team. Would the full-time DH make a move to first? His numbers state that he can still be somewhat productive when healthy and rested, something of value to a young team seeking veteran role models and a platoon first base.
Indians – Jose Ramirez and Carlos Carrasco
White Sox – Adam LaRoche and Avasail Garcia
Tigers – JD Martinez and Ian Kinsler
Royals – Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando
Twins – Trevor Pluoffe and Aaron Hicks
The AL Central was easily more difficult to determine due to a lack of determined direction for most of the teams in the division. I see every team in this division hit the off-season with the mentality that they are one or two players away for the 2016 division winner. The biggest names I placed on this list, Carrasco, Martinez, Garcia and Kinsler are present in the “worse case” that they do decide to go into full blown “rebuild” mode. The team that could be most impacted by this would be the Tigers. With Miguel Cabrera in the midst of his prime, two years off of winning the triple crown, it is expected that GM Avila will tackle the off-season with a renewed ferocity to put a playoff caliber team around his all-time great. The Indians need more outfield and bench flexibility and could benefit moving Ramirez for a prospect package. Could Zobrist fill a void they have? (yes I know what I predicted). The Twins seemed to be the best situated for the trade market this off-season as they have capable MLB-caliber to be traded in Plouffe, Hicks, Robinson and Suzuki.
Astros – Chris Carter and Jed Lowrie
Angels – CJ Wilson and Collin Cowgill
Athletics – Josh Reddick and Sean Doolittle
Mariners – Chris Taylor and Seth Smith
Rangers – Jurckison Profar and Mitch Moreland
Like the Central, the West division has lots of potential in this upcoming off-season. Each team in the last two years has occupied first or second place in the division late in the season. The potential of each team is invigorating and makes the trade market extremely hard to predict. See both the Rangers and Astros looking to shed some of the excess weight off of the roster in order to better perfect the team chemistry and potential.
Braves – Michael Bourne and Cameron Maybin
Marlins – Martin Prado and Marcell Ozuna
Phillies – Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz
Mets – Michael Cuddyer and Wilmer Flores
Nationals – Gio Gonzalez and Drew Storen
Will this be the year that the Phillies part ways with the last holdouts from the mid-2000s era? With the Mets all but certain to win the (statistically) weakest division in baseball, every team has all but begun to line up their off-season plans whether it being an all-out sale on the Marlins part or a continuing contracts for prospects trend the Braves have pull this season. Washington has everything to lose with this off-season after this lost season.
Cubs – Starlin Castro and Jason Hammel
Reds – Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce
Brewers – Ryan Braun and Jean Segura
Pirates – Pedro Alvarez and Jeff Locke
Cardinals – Brandon Moss and Jaime Garcia
I looked hard at each team in the Central and it shows how good the division truly is. When the “odd” man out in St. Louis’s incredible rotation is Jaime Garcia, you’ve got lots of good things coming your way. The Brewers should be aggressive this off-season to move both Braun and Segura. The team is not going to get rid Matt Garza without taking on a majority of that contract. The Pirates could look to sell off Alvarez to let Josh Bell get his chance at the majors. Regardless of the outcome, all of these teams should be pretty involved in all trade action this off-season.
Diamondbacks – Aaron Hill and David Peralta
Rockies – Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez
Dodgers – Yasiel Puig and Andre Either
Padres – Tyson Ross and Yonder Alonzo
Giants – Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt
The west division, like the east is coming off of a weaker year than expected, with not even the division-leading Dodgers having a season worth remembering (yet). Many of these teams may look to trade off some of it’s expendable talent while it is still valuable. If the Dodgers lose in the first round of the playoffs again will Don Mattingly find an end to his Dodgers career? He has voiced his displeasure at the lack of production in the second half of the season from many of his highly-paid stars, which may only redirect attention for long. Andrew Freeman may look to overhaul several portions of his squad in order to correct some of the errors in team chemistry that exist. The Rockies may finally get the memo that despite having the two players, first and second in the league in homers, will most likely not field a playoff caliber team next year.
After reviewing the league, it’s hard to anticipate trades this early out. With that in mind I would lie to propose five trades which could occur this off-season.
5) – Carlos Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Mets for Wilmer Flores, Logan Verrett and to B-level minor leaguers
4) – Alex Rodriguez, Bryan Mitchell and 25 million to the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna, Brian Anderson and an international bonus slot
3) – Hanley Ramirez, Garin Ceccini and 22 million to the Orioles for Dylan Bundy and Mike Yastrzemski
2) – Yasiel Puig and Jose De Leon to the Cleveland Indians for Carlos Carrasco and Jose Ramirez
1) – Sonny Gray, Sean Doolittle to the Boston Red Sox for Eduardo Rodrigeuz and Devin Marrero
If you want, call me crazy, but that is what you should expect when the off-season hits full swing.
Want to discuss more? Hit me up on twitter at @huntrdavis