Published on April 17th, 2014 | by Jesse Haven1
Five Early-Season Trade Proposals
1. With Chase Headley recently going down with a right bicep strain, the San Diego Padres have been having Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal start taking ground balls at third. The speculation is that one of these two could be more than a temporary solution. With Headley’s impending free agency and top catching prospect Austin Hedges projected to start in 2015, Headley will likely be dealt if the Padres continue to play poorly. Alonso’s bat isn’t likely to stick at first base, which is why he and Grandal could be strong candidates to replace Headley. The Boston Red Sox would be a great fit for Headley who could use a change of scenery going from one of the worst hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the best. A Middlebrooks/Headley platoon would help both players immensely considering both hitters have significant platoon splits. The switch hitting Headley has a career .273/.362/.418 line as a lefty facing right-handed pitching, while Middlebrooks has a career .288/.342/.500 line vs. lefties (opposed to .236/.272/.444 versus righties). Headley’s free agent value could be boosted by moving to Fenway as well. Mike Carp would be a great fit with the Padres, as he would be a cheaper/cost-controlled option for San Diego who could rotate between first, third, and corner outfield. Carp’s bat is being wasted in Boston as a part–time player; and, you could imagine San Diego buying out some of Carp’s arbitration and free agency years with a team-friendly contract much like they did with Jedd Gyorko last week. The Red Sox could also throw in a lower-tier pitching prospect to supplement the deal, as these two teams already have a long history of making trades.
2. Following the possible season-ending injury of Maicer Izturis, the Blue Jays are particularly thin around the infield. One of their top outfield prospects Anthony Gose, after 6 professional seasons (three split between the majors/minors), seems primed for an opportunity to make an impact at the big league level. Unfortunately barring injury, Gose is currently blocked in the Jays’ outfield by Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, and Jose Bautista. The Jays may be waiting to plug Gose into Centerfield in 2015, if Rasmus leaves as a free Agent; however, the Jays have a short window for success and they need to win now. I would suggest offering Gose to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for another blocked player, second basemen Nick Franklin. Franklin hit nearly .400 in the minors this season and was recently called up by Seattle following an injury to Logan Morrison. A lot of the trade speculation surrounding Franklin has him going somewhere to play shortstop, but a move to the Blue Jays would allow him to stay at his natural position, second base. Seattle’s lack of speed and outfield defense would make Gose a welcomed addition. The switch-hitting Franklin could platoon at second base with lefty Ryan Goins and could also be a formidable fill-in for Jose Reyes’ semi-annual DL stints.
3. With top infield prospects Javier Baez and Kris Bryant set to be called up this season, it may be wise for the Chicago Cubs to sell high on utility infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio. After a dismal 2013, Bonifacio is off to a great start hitting .339 with seven steals this April. Chicago has a surplus of hitting prospects, but they need to continue to add pitching to their farm system. The Texas Rangers would be a great fit for Bonifacio. With injuries to Adrian Beltre, Jurickson Profar, and Engel Beltre, Bonifacio could add depth to both the infield and outfield. A lower-level Texas pitching prospect like Jerad Eickhoff, Alee Asher, or lefty Luis Parra, could be ready to contribute when the Cubbies project to be competitive in 2016.
4. After losing Jose Iglesias for the season due to shin splints, the Detroit Tigers revamped defense took a huge hit. Many Tigers’ fans questioned why they would go with a veteran like Alex Gonzalez (who hit .177/.203/.230 with a -0.1 dWAR in 118 plate appearances with Milwaukee last season) instead of trading for Nick Franklin or signing Stephen Drew. The Arizona Diamondbacks have one of the worst starting rotations in baseball and a logjam at short stop with Didi Gregorius optioned to AAA to make room for Chris Owings. A top Tigers’ pitching prospect like Robbi Ray or Drew VerHagen could help compliment a future D’backs rotation that includes Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley, and Aaron Blair. Gregorius is a superb defender and would help Detroit recoup the defensive value lost on Iglesias.
5. The Pittsburgh Pirates desperately need a first baseman. After losing Justin Morneau to free agency they are going with an ineffective platoon of Gaby Sanchez and Travis Ishikawa. The New York Mets have gone with Lucas Duda as their starting first baseman leaving power-hitting Ike Davis relegated to the bench. The Mets outfield is a mess, and the speedy Jose Tabata would be a nice addition considering he will be the odd man out once the Pirates call up uber-prospect Gregory Polanco. Getting out of the intense media-frenzy of New York City and into the small market of Pittsburgh could be exactly what Davis needs. PNC Park is also more accommodating to left-handed power than spacious Citi Field. Davis’ .256/.357/.471 career platoon splits against righties would make him a much more favorable platoon partner with Sanchez than Ishikawa. If the Pirates aren’t willing to shell out the cash to sign Kendrys Morales, Davis may be a cheaper investment with major upside.