BAD CONTRACT SWAPS

What are some bad contract swaps that teams could do? I’m sure that the contract swaps that I’m going to list are not unknown to the teams themselves, but I think that it’s interesting to look at them and consider whether they would make sense. I should add that some of these contracts include no-trade clauses and so trades could be rejected by the players, regardless of whether the GM’s agree to the trades or not. I included the list of the actual contracts in the end.

1. NEW YORK YANKEES TRADE OF JACOBY ELLSBURY TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS FOR SP JOHNNY CUETO

If San Francisco is ready to rebuild (and they should), then they could save some money and get some help for their outfield in this deal. Ellsbury is coming off missing the entire 2018 season, but Cueto is going to be attempting a comeback from a major injury himself. On the other hand, the Bronx Bombers could use more starting pitching depth and Cueto could potentially turn things around when healthy. He certainly would be more useful to them than Ellsbury, when they have as many outfield options as they do. Of course, San Francisco is better off waiting for Cueto to come back from injury first and getting a better return if he bounces back, but this way they could play it safe and save money in the process. Ellsbury might also welcome playing on the West Coast.

2. NEW YORK YANKEES TRADE OF JACOBY ELLSBURY TO THE DETROIT TIGERS FOR SP JORDAN ZIMMERMANN

The contracts are roughly the same, though Zimmermann is slightly more expensive. How does this deal benefit both sides? Detroit save a couple of million and get someone to fill their holes in the outfield. New York gets more starting pitching depth, which they need far more than another outfielder. I heard this trade idea mentioned before and think that it makes a ton of sense for both teams, especially since it’s unlikely that either will rebuild their value enough to command a better return.

3. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS TRADE SP JEFF SAMARDZIJA TO THE TEXAS RANGERS FOR DH SHIN-SOO CHOO

The two contracts are so similar that I had to suggest this. Texas needs starting pitching and San Francisco needs outfield help. Of course, you could also make an argument that it’s a wash, but it’s possible that a change of scenery could benefit each player. Choo playing in the outfield is a bad idea, but he could play first base if they trade Brandon Belt.

4. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS TRADE RF DEXTER FOWLER TO THE CHICAGO CUBS FOR RF JASON HEYWARD

This is a perfect change of scenery trade. Fowler is a fan favorite in Chicago and helped them end their historic World Series drought in 2016. He’s also less expensive than Heyward, who has been a disaster in Chicago. Chicago also save money in the trade and they seem to be trying hard to do just that this off-season. St. Louis on the other hand, might be able to get Heyward back on track and he was far better with them than with Chicago. Of course, this would be a trade between rival teams, but rivals do still trade and this one makes just too much sense.

5. NEW YORK METS TRADE LF YOENIS CESPEDES TO THE SEATTLE MARINERS FOR 3B KYLE SEAGER

This is a trade that Seattle could use to get out of Seager’s lengthier and overall more costly commitment. The Mets on the other hand, get third base help for the foreseeable future, in return for a player who can’t seem to stay healthy. If they truly intend to contend in 2019, then Seaver is far more useful than Cespedes, especially when they have a logjam of corner outfielders as it is. Cespedes makes less sense for Seattle, but depending on any more trades that they will do, they might be able to clear up a spot for Cespedes, who might not even be able to play much anyway.

6. NEW YORK METS TRADE LF YOENIS CESPEDES TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS FOR 3B EVAN LONGORIA

This is basically the exact same scenario as above, as San Francisco gets out of a longer and more costly contract for outfield help. San Francisco could actually use outfield help and Cespedes actually has upside, if they still intend to contend in 2019.

BAD CONTRACTS

I listed them based on AAV (average annual value).

1. SP Zack Greinke, ARI

2019: $34.5 million (age 35)

2020: $35 million (age 36)

2021: $35 million (age 37)

2. OF Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY

2019: $21 million (age 35)

2020: $21 million (age 36)

2021: $5 million buyout on a $21 million team option

3. DH Giancarlo Stanton, NYY

2019: $26 million (age 29)

2020: $26 million (age 30, can opt-out after)

2021: $29 million (age 31)

2022: $29 million (age 32)

2023: $32 million (age 33)

2024: $32 million (age 34)

2025: $32 million (age 35)

2026: $29 million (age 36)

2027: $25 million (age 37)

2028: $25 million team option or $10 buyout (age 38)

4. SP Johnny Cueto, SFG

2019: $22 million (age 33)

2020: $22 million (age 34)

2021: $22 million (age 35)

2022: $22 million team option or $5 buyout (age 36)

5. SP Jeff Samardzija, SFG

2019: $20 million (age 34)

2020: $20 million (age 35)

6. 1B Albert Pujols, LAA

2019: $28 million (age 39)

2020: $29 million (age 40)

2021: $30 million (age 41)

7. 1B Eric Hosmer, SDP

2019: $21 million (age 29)

2020: $21 million (age 30)

2021: $21 million (age 31)

2022: $21 million (age 32, can opt-out after)

2023: $13 million (age 33)

2024: $13 million (age 34)

2025: $13 million (age 35)

8. DH Shin-Soo Choo, TEX

2019: $21 million (age 36)

2020: $21 million (age 37)

9. RF Dexter Fowler, STL

2019: $16.5 million (age 33)

2020: $16.5 million (age 34)

2021: $16.5 million (age 35)

10. LF Ryan Braun, MIL

2019: $19 million (age 35)

2020: $17 million (age 36)

2021: $15 million mutual option or $4 million buyout (age 37)

11. 1B Miguel Cabrera, DET

2019: $30 million (age 36)

2020: $30 million (age 37)

2021: $30 million (age 38)

2022: $32 million (age 39)

2023: $32 million (age 40)

There are also vesting options for 2024 and 2025 for $30 each if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting, but that’s pretty much impossible.

12. SP Jordan Zimmermann, DET

2019: $25 million (age 33)

2020: $25 million (age 34)

13. SP Yu Darvish, CHC

2019: $20 million (age 32, can opt-out after)

2020: $22 million (age 33)

2021: $22 million (age 34)

2022: $19 million (age 35)

2023: $18 million (age 36)

14. RF Jason Heyward, CHC

2019: $20 million (age 29, can opt-out after)

2020: $21 million (age 30)

2021: $21 million (age 31)

2022: $22 million (age 32)

2023: $22 million (age 33)

15. 1B Chris Davis, BAL

2019: $23 million (age 33)

2020: $23 million (age 34)

2021: $23 million (age 35)

2022: $23 million (age 36)

16. SP David Price, BOS

2019: $31 million (age 33)

2020: $32 million (age 34)

2021: $32 million (age 35)

2022: $32 million (age 36)

17. LF Yoenis Cespedes, NYM

2019: $29 million (age 33)

2020: $29.5 million (age 34)

18. 2B Robinson Cano, NYM

2019: $24 million (age 36)

2020: $24 million (age 37)

2021: $24 million (age 38)

2022: $24 million (age 39)

2023: $24 million (age 40)

19. 3B Kyle Seager, SEA

2019: $19.5 million (age 31)

2020: $19.5 million (age 32)

2021: $18.5 million (age 33)

2022: $15 million (age 34, team option that becomes a $20 million player option if he’s traded and the buy-out ranges from $0 to $3 million)

20. 3B Evan Longoria , SFG

2019: $15 million (age 33)

2020: $15 million (age 34)

2021: $19 million (age 35)

2022: $20 million (age 36)

2023: $13 million team option or $5 million buy-out (age 37)

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