The trade deadline is coming and contending teams will be trying to improve their rosters for the stretch run. Here are five trades that should happen…
1. BALTIMORE ORIOLES TRADE SS MANNY MACHADO TO THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS FOR RHP MITCHELL WHITE, C KEIBERT RUIZ & SS/2B GAVIN LUX
Baltimore are not going to the playoffs, and it’s doubtful that they have much of a chance in extending Manny Machado after he hits free agency at the end of the season. This is their chance to cash-in on him and the Los Angeles Dodgers are just the right team to overpay. Trying to finally win the World Series with their current core, and suddenly finding themselves in a weak division, this is LA’s time to strike. It’s no secret that LA needs a SS after losing Corey Seager for the season, and Chris Taylor is simply not going to cut it if they want to be contenders again. LA are currently at league average when it comes to scoring runs per game, Machado will give them a much needed boost.
A half-season of Machado shouldn’t cost too much, but Baltimore will likely still expect a big return. RHP Mitchell White is one obvious piece. White is LA’s #3 prospect and is #89 on MLB’s top 100 prospects list. Baltimore needs pitching and therefore would want White, especially considering LA will not give them Walker Buehler. With Machado a free agent after this season, and 2B Jonathan Schoop a free agent after next season, more middle IF depth would be useful for Baltimore. LA can send their top middle IF prospect Gavin Lux (#12 prospect in their system who is not on the MLB’s top 100 prospects list). Lux is a decent but not major piece that wouldn’t hurt LA much to give up. The final piece is debatable but due to Baltimore’s likely high demands and LA’s possible desperation, LA could send their #2 prospect C Keibert Ruiz, who is also #45 on the MLB’s top 100 prospects list. Baltimore would likely push for Alex Verdugo, but I don’t see LA agreeing to that.
2. KANSAS CITY ROYALS TRADE 3B MIKE MOUSTAKAS TO THE ATLANTA BRAVES FOR LHP JOEY WENTZ & C/3B DREW LUGBAUER
Kansas City will almost certainly trade free agent to be Mike Moustakas as they’re not going to the playoffs this year. The Atlanta Braves are leading their division and need a third baseman. Pretty simple match here. Moustakas is having a good year, but power first low OBP rentals aren’t exactly in demand. I could see Atlanta slightly overpaying to beat the market for him, but not in a significant way. They can send their #10 prospect and Kansas City native LHP Joey Wentz in return. Due to Moustakas’s bat being so useful for the stretch run, I could see Atlanta (who are deep in pitching), being willing to move him along with their #28 prospect C/3B Drew Lugbauer. Kansas City can definitely use pitching and a potential third baseman of the future since they’re trading one in Moustakas.
3. TORONTO BLUE JAYS TRADE 3B JOSH DONALDSON TO THE HOUSTON ASTROS FOR 1B/OF YORDAN ALVAREZ, C CHUCKIE ROBINSON & LHP BRAD ADCOCK
Assuming that Josh Donaldson is healthy enough, he would be a perfect fit at DH for Houston. Houston’s lineup hasn’t been as effective as it was last year, and current DH Evan Gattis has been atrocious. With Donaldson’s issues staying healthy and his declining defense, it makes sense for him to be a DH for the rest of the season. I think that Toronto could reasonably ask for Houston’s #4 prospect (#76 on the MLB top 100) Yordan Alvarez in return for the former AL MVP. Alvarez fits in nicely with Toronto’s top prospects and their likely contention timeline. Toronto can also expect lottery ticket type prospects such as Houston’s #26 prospect C Chuckie Robinson and #27 prospect LHP Brett Adcock.
4. CHICAGO WHITE SOX TRADE 1B JOSE ABREU TO THE COLORADO ROCKIES FOR 1B/2B RYAN MCMAHON, 3B COLTON WELKER, OF RAIMEL TAPIA & RHP PETER LAMBERT
The Colorado Rockies need a first baseman and the Chicago White Sox will their superstar 1B Jose Abreu hit free agency after next season. He doesn’t really fit in their current window of contention, so it makes perfect sense to cash-in on him now. Due to Abreu being under control for the rest of this season and all of the next, the price is sure to be significantly higher than the one for a rental. It should start with Ryan McMahon, Colorado’s recent top 1B prospect who has now graduated to the Majors. OF Raimel Tapia makes sense too, he’s stuck in the Minors, despite hitting an impressive .301/.354/.519 in AAA this season. He showed potential during his call-up last year too when he batted .288/.329/.425. Colorado’s #2 prospect (#93 on the MLB top 100) 3B Colton Welker will likely have to be included as well, along with their #3 prospect (#96 on the MLB top 100) RHP Peter Lambert. 2 top 100 prospects and Major league ready controllable young former top prospects might just be enough for a year and a half of Abreu.
5. MIAMI MARLINS TRADE C J.T. REALMUTO TO THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS FOR OF JUAN SOTO & C PEDRO SEVERINO
Washington had interest inJ.T. Realmuto before, if they want to finally advance in the playoffs, they need a better catcher than Matt Wieters. Despite how good Juan Soto already is, their OF is crowded with Adam Eaton and Michael A. Taylor under control for years, Victor Robles on the way, and with the face of the franchise Bryce Harper, who may or may not be retained as a free agent at the end of the season. Realmuto is a top 5 catcher on a team-friendly deal and they should go after him. Soto would have to be paired with C Pedro Severino, who would have no shot at being a starter in Washington with Realmuto joining the team. I was thinking of adding SS Carter Kieboom to the mix (Washington’s #3 prospect and #81 on the MLB’s top 100 prospects), but that may be a bit much. That said, it would be an in-division trade.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @NeilfromNYC