Five Trades That Should Happen

It’s already been an active winter on the trade market, with Doug Fister, Prince Fielder, Jim Johnson, Peter Bourjos, and Dexter Fowler being among the more prominent names changing cities. Here at Insider, we’d like to encourage this hot stove to keep raging out of control, so here are four more trades that we believe should happen post haste.

Tampa Bay Rays trade David Price to Pittsburgh for prospects Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Alen Hanson, and Josh Bell.

The Pirates have a window of opportunity, and they should seize it. After a breakthrough 2013 season, the Pirates are legitimately one more elite player away from being legitimate World Series contenders, and David Price represents the rare elite talent that they could actually afford to acquire. With two more years of team control at arbitration prices that should total about $30 million over two years, the Pirates could squeeze Price into their modest payroll and give them two years to bring a title to the Steel City.

Price is the kind of impact arm who could allow the Pirates to keep up with the Cardinals in the NL Central, and then give them an ace to match up with the game’s best starters in October. The cost to outbid other suitors for Price’s services would be steep, but Pittsburgh has the depth of young talent to make a deal happen.

For the Rays, this deal might not return one Wil Myers-style elite prospect, but the Pirates farm system is brimming with upside, and this package would give Tampa Bay four shots at developing more home grown stars for the future. Glasnow and Kingham are both potential rotation staples, while Hanson and Bell are athletic youngsters with high ceilings; Keith Law rated Hansen as the 34th best prospect in baseball headed into the 2013 season, and he managed to reach Double-A in his age-20 season.

The Pirates load up for a two year run at a title while the Rays re-stock their system with upside. It’s a win-win.

Cincinnati Reds trade Brandon Phillips to Toronto for Brett Cecil

While the Reds suggest that they are open to keeping Phillips long term, it seems like this is a marriage that has sourced, and a relocation may be best for both parties. Enter the Blue Jays, who have a glaring hole at second base, and are in no position to shrink back from trying to win in the short term given their current roster. Jose Bautista won’t be an elite slugger forever, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle aren’t getting any younger, and the Jays window to win is going to get shorter if they don’t make some real upgrades this winter.

Phillips represents a massive upgrade for Toronto, given that they have no real internal options at second base, and taking on the remaining $50 million due Phillips over the next four years doesn’t seem that crazy given what free agents are signing for this winter. The Jays have enough bullpen depth to ship the Reds a quality arm in exchange for Phillips, and getting an above average second baseman should help the Jays try to win with their current core before Father Time catches up with them.

New York Mets trade Ike Davis to the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Joyce.

This Rays trade is a little less splashy, but still helps fill some holes for both teams. The Mets have two first baseman and a shortage of outfielders, while the Rays have too many outfielders and no first baseman. Davis is a classic Rays acquisition, buying low on a player with some upside who might be able to turn things around in a new city and provide several years of low cost production before he hits free agency. He’d follow in the fine tradition of James Loney, Casey Kotchman, and Carlos Pena as busted first base prospects the Rays have managed to extract value from.

Joyce is a bit more of a known commodity as a power hitting lefty outfielder who probably should be platooned. In many ways, Joyce is similar to Curtis Granderson, whom the Mets are negotiating on a multi-year contract for many millions of dollars, and whose signing would cost the team a pick in next year’s draft. Trading for Joyce would be an effective way to get most of what Granderson would offer without having to surrender the pick or give a lot of money to an aging outfielder on the down side of his career.

Milwaukee Brewers trade Yovani Gallardo to the Seattle Mariners for Brandon Maurer.

The Mariners want to add a starting pitcher to bridge the gap between their two veterans and their young kids, but as the Robinson Cano affair continues to show, it’s not always so easy for the team to get people to take their money. So, instead, perhaps they should simply focus on trading for players who don’t have a choice, and Gallardo could provide a reasonable alternative to the free agent innings eaters who are looking for long term deals anyway. His drop in strikeout rate in 2013 is a concern, but swapping one non-elite pitching prospect for the chance he rebounds to prior form is a worthy risk for a team with money burning a hole in their pocket and a yearning for some rapid improvement.

The Brewers, meanwhile, could use the savings to pursue a real first baseman so that they don’t end up using Yuniesky Betancourt at a hitter’s position ever again. Losing Gallardo would make the rotation worse while they rebuild, but getting enough money to buy a first baseman who can get on base more than 25% of the time is worth the downgrade.




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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.
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Matt Brown
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Matt Brown

Looks like four trades to me, haha

Cookierojas16
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Cookierojas16

I guess you have to join Fangraphs ++ to get the fifth.

willystarr
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willystarr

In the Maurer/Gallardo package, can we now just tack on Smoak to the Brewers?

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