We are less than a week away from the 2016 trade deadline, and it’s shaping up to be a crazy one. Already we have seen Aroldis Chapman traded to the Cubs, and there’s sure to be more to come before Monday. Let’s create five potential trades to impact the pennant races.
1. Dodgers get: Jake Odorizzi
Rays get: Jose De Leon, Yadier Alvarez, and Ronny Brito
The Dodgers get the frontline starter they need in this deal in a season where the injuries have piled up for their rotation. Odorizzi is under team control through the 2019 season and can slide in perfectly behind Clayton Kershaw if/when he returns this season and in the future. Through 7/24, Odorizzi has a 4.10 ERA, 4.15 FIP, and is only making $520,700, although over the next three seasons he’ll see that number increase.
In the event Tampa trades away one of their starting pitchers, which I think is tough to envision unless they get a huge package in return, then this may be a offer worth considering. First, Tampa would get two young arms in return. De Leon is not far from making an impact in the Majors and could possibly make some starts in September for Tampa. Currently he has a 2.49 ERA, and more impressive he has a 64-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43.1 innings. While he has missed time this season with a minor ankle injury, as well a shoulder injury, he is back to normal now. Alvarez made his professional debut this season, beginning in the Arizona League and most recently promoted to the Midwest League. His combined numbers through his first 25 innings are a 1.80 ERA with a 36-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Alvarez is only 20, but he has the potential to be a front of the rotation starter.
The third player the Rays would receive is Brito, a 17-year-old shortstop with a high ceiling. Brito’s glove is ahead of his bat in his development. Brito is a raw talent, but one Tampa should look to include in any deal with the Dodgers to give them more talent up the middle in their system.
2. Nationals get: Andrew Miller
Yankees get: Joe Ross, Erick Fedde, and Nick Lee
Let me begin by saying I do not envision the Yankees trading Miller, even after trading Chapman; however, if they do, this is the type of deal I would look for from Washington. While the Nationals are in first place in the N.L. East, they’ll need to shore up their bullpen in order to hold off the Mets and Marlins down the stretch. Miller would be the perfect complement to Jonathan Papelbon at the back of Washington’s bullpen. Papelbon is a free agent after the 2016 season and Miller is signed through the 2018 season at a price tag of $9M per year. This Washington team is back where they expected to be after a rough 2015, so they cannot afford to let another opportunity pass them by with the talent they have on their team now.
After landing young positional talent from the Cubs, the Yankees would focus on pitching prospects in the event they trade Miller in this scenario. Ross has accumulated 172 innings at the big league level in two seasons with a career 3.56 ERA and 3.49 FIP. Also, he is under team control through the 2020 season — offering the Yankees a young, talented arm to join an aging rotation. Currently Ross is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, but he began a rehab assignment last week and appears on his way to making a return.
Fedde is one of the top pitching prospects in the Nationals system and an arm personally I would hold on to, but the Nationals want to win now. Although I would rather trade Reynaldo Lopez because I think he profiles better as a reliever, I can see the Yankees wanting Fedde included in any deal for Miller. The Nationals drafted Fedde in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft, even after he had undergone Tommy John surgery a month prior to the draft. This season with the Potomac Nationals he has 71 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 73 innings, all while opponents are hitting .245 against him. He has the potential to be a #2 starter at the big league level. Lee is a reliever that began his career as a starter. The left-hander has struggled this season in Double-A, but with his four pitch mix, there is potential in Lee to be an effective reliever if he can harness his arsenal and control.
3. Indians get: Jonathan Lucroy
Brewers get: Clint Frazier, Mike Clevinger and Nellie Rodriguez
This was the toughest trade to create for numerous reasons. The Indians have been steadfast in keeping Bradley Zimmer and Frazier, but after what the Yankees received for Chapman, a reliever who is a free agent in three months, I think the market changed a bit. The Indians have the talent in their farm system to make some big trades this week, and this is one of them.
Between Frazier or Zimmer, the one I would be willing to trade is Frazier. It is a tough call, but the Indians have a chance to make a real run in the American League, and Lucroy is a great piece for them. Frazier has an extremely quick bat with plus power. In the Milwaukee system, Frazier would be able to play CF and give them a potential future All-Star up the middle. Clevinger has made three starts at the major-league level, but they were not as successful as his Triple-A season has been. He has a 3.17 ERA, with 9.10 K/9 and 3.38 BB/9. Clevinger has two plus pitches, fastball and slider, which profile him as a potential #2 starter. Rodriguez is an average fielder with a future as first base, but more of a designated hitter if he stays in Cleveland. However, Milwaukee could use him at first, where his defense is passable. Meanwhile, his bat is loaded with power. Rodriguez is only in Double-A, but I can see him hitting 20 home runs at the major league level, albeit with a large amount of strikeouts.
The Indians have a tremendous opportunity to run away with the A.L. Central and potentially go deep in the postseason. If they want to do that, Lucroy would be a great addition. He has a $5.2M option for 2017 and is currently heading toward a 122 wRC+ and a 2.8 fWAR. Lucroy would provide the Indians with a bridge until Francisco Mejia is ready in 2018.
4. Cubs get: Josh Reddick
A’s get: Pierce Johnson and Jake Stinnett
After acquiring Chapman, it is clear the Cubs are as all-in as they can be — especially after the well-known 108-year drought. Chicago already has a stellar outfield of Willson Contreras, Dexter Fowler, and Jason Heyward with Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler on the disabled list. As the injuries of Coghlan, Soler, and even Kyle Schwarber at the beginning of the season have shown the Cubs, you can never have enough depth.
The Cubs may look to deepen that depth with Reddick — a former Theo Epstein draftee in Boston. Reddick has a 118 wRC+ and a 0.9 fWAR through July 25th, but he did miss a month with a fractured left thumb in June. A free agent at the end of the season, Reddick can provide the Cubs another strong bat in an already dangerous lineup. As much as Reddick has stated he wants to stay in Oakland, there is an incentive to him being dealt: If he is traded midseason, he cannot have a qualifying offer attached to him, which we have seen become detrimental to free agents on the market.
Oakland is in need of pitching prospects, and they will get two young arms here. Johnson may no longer fall into the “prospect” category since he is now 25 and has struggled in Triple-A this season. In 40.2 innings, he has a 7.75 ERA with a slightly lower 5.84 FIP — signaling some bad luck, but not much considering his FIP still is high. However, the talent is clearly there, as Johnson has a plus fastball and curveball with a changeup not far behind. He is not far away from the big leagues, and if it all comes together he projects as a mid-rotation starter.
Stinnett, on the other hand, can be a steal in this trade. Only in Single-A, he has a plus fastball with his off-speed pitches further developing. Stinnett is striking out 7.52 per nine and walking 2.80 per nine (a career best at this point). He may have struggled to begin his professional career, but if Stinnett’s pitches develop the way they should, then he has the chance to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
5. Marlins get: Jeremy Hellickson
Phillies get: Kendry Flores and J.T. Riddle
This was a tough one because while Miami needs pitching, they are certainly barren in their farm system. There are a few notable names like Josh Naylor, Stone Garrett, and Tyler Kolek, but Hellickson is not worth trading those three over. However, the Marlins do have a young right-hander in Flores who’s made two starts for them in his budding career. Flores profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter with his changeup working as his best pitch. It is his only plus pitch with his other offerings lagging behind. Flores would present the Phillies with another arm to throw out there down the stretch as they decide on who should be in their 2017 rotation.
Riddle will be 25 in October and is currently in Triple-A. He is a shortstop with the versatility to move to second, third, and even the outfield on occasion, which is increasingly important in today’s game. Riddle is quick to the ball with a short stroke — I project him as a .270 hitter with little power. He can certainly be an asset to any team, particularly a rebuilding one like Philadelphia.
Hellickson, a free agent at the end of 2016, would give the Marlins an established starter to slide behind their ace Jose Fernandez. In 119.2 innings, Hellickson has a K/9 of 7.97 and a BB/9 of 2.03; those would be career bests since his rookie season, which was a small sample size. The Marlins are finally in contention, and an improvement in their rotation may give them a bigger push towards a wild card berth or even the N.L. East crown.
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Carl Triano is a contributor at Beyond the Box Score and Minor League Ball.