This offseason is going to have plenty of trades. However, there are five big trades that especially need to happen. These trades are big and so will most likely actually not happen, but they should.
The New York Mets aren’t going to be contenders any time soon. They won’t spend on the free agents that they need in the offseason and they have a weak farm system that won’t be able to make up for that. The Oakland Athletics are going to be coming off a surprisingly good season, but will be entering next season without ace Sean Manaea. In other words, they badly need an ace to capitalize on their sudden window of opportunity. DeGrom would be a perfect fit in Oakland: he’s controllable for the next few years, is affordable and is a proven workhorse ace. The package that Oakland would have to send is steep but worth it in my opinion. They will definitely have to send their top two pitching prospects A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo and other top prospects. I put Sean Murphy because of the Mets’ catching needs, but it could be someone else. Barreto makes the price especially steep but I think that he can be replaced by someone else. Either way, who knows if Puk and Lazardo will work our anyway and they can afford to sign some veterans to stabilize the back end of the rotation.
If the New York Mets trade one ace to start a rebuild, the other one should go too. Syndergaard has less value than DeGrom due to his injury history, but might actually have better stuff, is younger and is controllable for one more year. San Diego may be a weird destination, but they recently signed Eric Hosmer to an 8 year/$144 million deal specifically to contend in the next few years, so acquiring an ace in his mid 20’s makes sense. San Diego would have to send their top pitching prospects lefties Mackenzie Gore and Adrian Morejon along with other pieces such as Frsncisco Mejia, who can help the New York Mets with their problems at catcher. RHP Michel Baez lost some luster but could be another useful piece. This may be on the weaker side of returns for Syndergaard, but his health issues may be enough to lower his value.
Colorado is going to lose Arenado to free agency after next season. They don’t give out big contracts of the caliber that Arenado will likely demand and he’ll almost certainly receive a better deal elsewhere. It would make sense for Colorado to receive something in return for him now, while also being able to compete next season. Boston might want to get an advantage over the New York Yankees by acquiring the best third baseman in the game. Devers is potentially a future star and is also a direct replacement for Arenado at third base, who might just breakout in Coors while not even being eligible for arbitration yet. In the meantime, Vazquez helps Colorado’s catching mix and breaks up Boston’s catching surplus. Arenado is only controllable for a year but Boston can afford to re-sign him and might just have the best lineup in the game when adding him to their already loaded batting order.
Merrifield broke out pretty much out of nowhere with Kansas City, but seems to be legitimately good. The problem is that he’s 29 years old and is on a rebuilding team. Merrifield’s value is hard to gauge due to his sudden breakout, but he seems to be a legitimate top 10 second baseman who would fit perfectly in Milwaukee’s top of the batting order with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. Milwaukee might be willing to send a second baseman in return in their top prospect Keston Hiura. This might be the best that Kansas City can get for Merrifield and Milwaukee may be willing to pay the price to have a better chance to win during this window of opportunity.
Wait what?! In order for this trade to make sense, Trout first has to reject an extension with the Angels. If he does, then considering the likelihood of him leaving in 2 years and the Angels not being likely to win the World Series in that timespan, especially with ace/DH Shohei Ohtani requiring Tommy John surgery, it may make sense to trade him now while his value is at its peak. Trout grew up close to Philadelphia and they’re trying to build their next contending team, so they may in fact be a good fit for him. Philadelphia already has a better core than the Angels, a better farm system and more available money. What if they also sign Manny Machado? Would they be willing to trade their top prospects for Trout? This trade almost certainly won’t happen, but may make sense for both sides.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments and on Twitter @NeilfromNYC