2013 MLB Winter Meetings: Every Team’s Top Trade Target
2013 MLB Winter Meetings: Every Team's Top Trade Target
The Winter Meetings are one of the few times each year that all 30 general managers are in the same place at the same time. It is very easy to negotiate trades face to face during this time and gauge interest in not only your players but how likely it is to acquire one that you need.
So far during this year's Winter Meetings, players like Brett Anderson, Mark Trumbo and Logan Morrison have been dealt. After some of the best players in baseball like Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Bartolo Colon signed, teams now can begin to replace the players they lost via trade.
There are some teams looking to cut payroll and move some of their big contracts like the Los Angeles Dodgers who have four starting outfielders. Yasiel Puig is off limits and Carl Crawford is the least desirable in the bunch. That leaves either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier to be traded before the season starts. Kemp makes more money than Ethier but has injury concerns, whereas Ethier is less talented but will cost a team less money and less of a return to acquire him.
The Seattle Mariners are in a position where they have a lot of young and talented infielders that they can use to acquire a pitcher like David Price or an outfielder like Kemp. With Cano penciled in at second base and Logan Morrison at first, that leaves Nick Franklin, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Brad Miller all available for trade.
While there are still a large group of talented free agents remaining like Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Matt Garza, Grant Balfour and Ubaldo Jimenez, every team has a list of players they would like to trade for. This would be the best fit for each team on the trade market.
Arizona addressed their biggest need by acquiring a power bat in Mark Trumbo. The next thing they should do is get a closer to replace the aging J.J. Putz. Jonathan Papelbon comes with a big price tag, but if you are willing to pay it, Philadelphia may just let him go for one decent prospect.
Atlanta wants to move on from Dan Uggla, and they could upgrade by trading him for Brandon Phillips. This would allow Cincinnati to get out of four more years of Phillips with Uggla only having two years remaining on his deal.
The Baltimore Orioles need a second baseman to replace Brian Roberts, and Jose Altuve may be the best one available. With Houston desperate for pitching, they could send Dylan Bundy to the Astros to get Altuve.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox need to find a replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have four outfielders. If the absorb most of Matt Kemp's contract they could probably land him for Willie Middlebrooks and one of their pitching prospects. Kemp could shift to right field, which will help keep him healthy and the Red Sox could move Shane Victorino to center.
If Max Scherzer is on the trading block, the Chicago Cubs could be the best fit. They have a few outfield prospects they could dangle, and a 1-2 punch of Scherzer and Jeff Samardzija would give them a top of the rotation to what they had with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior in 2003.
Chicago White Sox
Even though the White Sox are in rebuilding mode, they need to get a middle of the lineup bat. They are going into the season with Conor Gillaspie at third base. He had a good season in 2013, but acquiring Chase Headley would give them a proven 100 RBI third baseman. This would also allow the Padres to move Gyorko to third.
The Cincinnati Reds are poised to have the fastest player in baseball at the top of their lineup in Billy Hamilton. They could be one of the most dangerous teams in baseball if they could acquire Brett Gardner to hit second in front of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. He would be a big upgrade over Ryan Ludwick in left field and give the Reds two very good defensive outfielders.
Mark Melancon proved he could be a Major League closer when Jason Grilli was injured last season. With Chris Perez and Joe Smith both leaving via free agency, Cleveland needs to get someone to be their closer for the long term.
After trading Dexter Fowler to Houston, Colorado is left with a big hole in center field. They had played Carlos Gonzalez there in the past, but he is better being a corner outfielder. By acquiring Rasmus, they can put him in center and have a lineup that goes righty-lefty-righty-lefty all the way down.
The Detroit Tigers have three power arms at the top of their rotation in Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez. The problem is that they don't have lefty in the rotation, but acquiring Cliff Lee will give them the best starting five in baseball. They would have three Cy Young Award winners, and Lee has proven he can pitch in the American League.
Houston went into the offseason with no bona fide Major Leaguer in their outfield. They took the first step by acquiring Dexter Fowler and would take another step in the right direction by trading for Jon Jay. St. Louis is loaded in the outfield with Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Shane Robinson, Peter Bourjos and top prospect Oscar Taveras coming up. Trading away Jay would allow Taveras to start in center field and Bourjos and Robinson to be bench players.
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals filled their biggest hole by signing Omar Infante to a four-year contract. If they lose Ervin Santana, Mark Buehrle would be the perfect veteran for them to acquire to make a playoff push. He is signed for two more years, and you could probably get Toronto to eat a chunk of his salary if you throw a couple prospects at them.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels traded away a big bat in Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks to get a couple young pitchers for their rotation. While that addressed a need it left a hole in the outfield for the Angels. The Diamondbacks have a full outfield and could be looking to deal Cody Ross, who could be a perfect fit in LA. He can play all three positions in the outfield and could allow you to DH Josh Hamilton and platoon him with J.B. Shuck and Kole Calhoun.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Imagine a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Zach Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Then factor in you have Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Dan Haren all on the roster as well. This would give you the best rotation in baseball and pieces to make a trade. An offer of outfielder Joc Pederson and pitcher Zach Lee could be enough to get Price from Tampa.
The Miami Marlins have a big hole at third base, and Daniel Murphy could temporarily fill it. With top prospect Colin Moran a year away, they could acquire Murphy, play him at third base and then move him back to second next year when Rafael Furcal is gone. He would be the perfect No. 2 hitter in the lineup and would allow them to move Christian Yelich to third in the lineup and Giancarlo Stanton down to fourth.
The Texas Rangers traded for Prince Fielder this offseason which makes Mitch Moreland expendable. He's not a good enough hitter to be a full time DH on the team and he's a decent fielder. The Rangers don't want to DH Prince because they need him to be active so he doesn't get lazy. Milwaukee has had a hole at first since Fielder left them and could fill it with Moreland for a mid level prospect.
With Justin Morneau gone, the Minnesota Twins are moving Joe Mauer to first base permanently. That leaves the Twins with very little behind the plate, but they could fix that by trading for Jason Castro. The Astros could then play Carlos Corporan behind the plate all year and see if he can get his average up.
New York Mets
The New York Mets signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year contract and have Zach Wheeler to be their No. 2 starter next year. With Matt Harvey out until 2015, trading for Jeff Samardzija would allow them to slide Wheeler to No. 3 in the rotation and give them a powerful rotation in 2015 when Harvey comes back.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have spent their offseason working on their lineup by signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. However, they still haven't addressed their biggest need which is starting pitching. C.C. Sabathia has started to decline and Andy Pettitte is now retired. They can't count on Ivan Nova or Michael Pineda to give them anything so they need to make a splash by trading for Cole Hamels, which will give them an ace for the next five years.
Kansas City signed Omar Infante to be their second baseman which could make Emilio Bonifacio expendable. He would be perfect for Oakland to play second base and hit second in the lineup behind Coco Crisp. He is a big upgrade over Eric Sogard, and the combo of Crisp and Bonifacio at the top of the lineup would give them the fastest 1-2 punch in baseball.
The Philadelphia Phillies need a starting pitcher, and Ryan Dempster needs to go back to the National League. Dempster was so bad in Boston that they had to go out and acquire help in the form of Jake Peavy to get him out of the rotation. With John Lackey, Peavy, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester still in the rotation, Boston would love to shed Dempster's contract and the Phillies need someone to go with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick.
Homer Bailey would be the perfect replacement for A.J. Burnett in the Pittsburgh rotation. He is the perfect fit because that means the Pirates would no longer have to face Bailey. Pittsburgh hit .217 last year against Bailey, and he is still under club control.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are in need of a left handed reliever, and the Braves have two great ones. With Jonny Venters missing all of last season, the Braves found a gem in Luis Avilan. If the Padres are willing to take a risk on a pitcher that missed last year with an injury, he could solve the left handed issue in the bullpen.
San Francisco Giants
It appears as though the San Francisco Giants have their lineup and rotation set for the start of the season. They have a good closer in Sergio Romo but need a righty set up guy to get the game to him. Santiago Casilla has been good in that role, but acquiring Drew Storen would give them a dominant 7th, 8th and 9th inning guy. The Washington Nationals are loaded in the bullpen with Rafael Soriano, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen. Storen struggled last year with a 4.52 ERA but still has the stuff to be great.
The Seattle Mariners have a plethora of young infielders, and the LA Dodgers need a second baseman and a third baseman. The Dodgers have four really good outfielders, and the Mariners need one. If they could acquire Andre Ethier it would give them a middle of the lineup of Robinson Cano, Corey Hart, Andre Ethier, Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have young and powerful arms in the bullpen like Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez. They still could use a right handed veteran to replace Edward Mujica. Mike Adams is now the seventh inning guy in Philadelphia and an expensive one at that. They could be looking to move him, and he would fit in perfectly with the Cardinals bullpen.
Tampa Bay Rays
With Fernando Rodney likely out of their price range, the Tampa Bay Rays need a closer. They have Juan Carlos Oviedo coming back from injury and they traded for Heath Bell, but neither of them are closers that can win you the pennant. With the San Diego Padres not likely to be in contention they may be willing to deal Huston Street for one of the many young pitchers the Rays have.
If the Texas Rangers can't re-sign Nelson Cruz or sign Shin-Soo Choo, they will need to look at the trade market for a replacement. The Philadelphia Phillies have Domonic Brown, Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere in the outfield next year and could move Mayberry. In Texas he has the chance to be a 25-30 home run guy if he gets regular playing time in that potent lineup and small ballpark.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays traded for R.A. Dickey to be their ace last season, but he struggled in the American League. They could move everyone back one spot in the rotation if they acquired Chris Sale, but with the trades last year for Jose Reyes and Dickey, they may not have the chips to pry him from Chicago.
The National League East has a few left handed power bats. Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Domonic Brown, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard play for two teams in the division. The Washington Nationals have a really good lineup, a dominant rotation and a very good bullpen. Their biggest struggle is that they don't have an overpowering lefty, but could fix that by trading for Andrew Miller. Once Miller got hurt last year the Red Sox got quality appearances from Craig Breslow and could find Miller superfluous.