The deadline to make changes is 4 pm ET this Friday and one of the things that makes this time of year so interesting is its unpredictable nature.
Sure, many of the trades that will come to fruition will be those with some connection to the wave of rumors that has been circulating in the previous weeks. However, there are always movements that seem to come out of nowhere, so to speak.
So while there is no shortage of rumors based on reality, it hurts no one to have a little fun. In that vein, MLB.com brought together five of its writers and asked each one to put together a proposal for change that some might describe as insane. These are the trades that almost certainly won’t happen… but maybe they should.
Braves host: OF Aaron Judge
Yankees host: OF Drew Waters (No. 25 MLB prospect), LZ Kyle Muller (No. 5 Braves prospect), OF Michael Harris (No. 9 Braves prospect)
Why should it be: The Yankees have had a strange and unsatisfactory season in which they remain in the fight for the postseason, but they are not showing any signs of being a real threat to win the AL East. They have done nothing to show that they are a team that deserves great reinforcement.
So how about a big bush shake?
Judge will be a free agent after the 2022 season, and capitalizing on his enormous trade value while bringing in bright-looking pieces and several years of contract control makes sense. Waters, 22, an MVP in the Southern League (Double-A) in 2019, is a switch hitter who does better on the left side of the plate, has the skills to defend all three outfields and is on the verge of Major League Baseball Muller, 23, has split the time between Triple-A and the Big Top this year and is aiming as a piece of the long-term rotation. Harris, 20, has more to go in the minors, but he has an interesting combination of power and speed.
The Braves would be giving up a lot, but they would be getting Aaron Judge. The injury to the right knee of the Venezuelan Ronald Acuña Jr. was a great blow to the hopes of the Braves in the East of the National League, who had already suffered the suspension of the Dominican Marcell Ozuna. But the division is still winnable and Judge’s arrival would immediately heal those wounds and keep the Braves’ World Series hopes alive. Though newly acquired Joc Pederson will be a free agent at the end of the season, Judge will remain on board to team up with a healthy Acuña (and a new contract Freddie Freeman, hopefully) to provide the Braves with a lineup of those that would inspire fear in the season. 2022.
Why wouldn’t it be: The level that the Yankees are showing may not justify bringing in a great piece, but it does not seem likely that they will leave the race with two months to play. And while Braves GG Alex Anthopoulos isn’t afraid to think big, wearing your best minor league pieces to such an extreme is probably too much of a stretch for a team that hasn’t lived up to expectations in 2021.
Megachange at the LN Central
Brewers host: OF Bryan Reynolds, RHP Richard Rodríguez
Pirates host: INF Brice Turang (MLB No. 74 Prospect), LZ Aaron Ashby (Brewers No. 7 Prospect), OF Tristen Lutz (Brewers No. 12 Prospect)
Why should it occur: The Brewers are 10th in the National League in OPS from their center fielders, thanks to poor seasons for Jackie Bradley Jr. and Lorenzo Cain, both signed through the end of 2022. Reynolds would make the Brewers better, who have a body. pitchers capable of taking them far in the postseason, but they need an injection of hits in the lineup. Reynolds, who went to the All-Star Game two weeks ago, entered Wednesday’s game hitting .309 / .391 / .524 and won’t be a free agent until after the 2025 season.
Turang is an expendable piece due to the presence of Dominican Willy Adames and Kolten Wong (not to mention Keston Hiura), so with him Milwaukee has a tremendous trade chip. Ashby and Lutz would also give the Pirates two players close to MLB ready, while Rodriguez would make the Brewers’ bullpen even stronger.
Why would it not be: For Pittsburgh, trading Reynolds to another NL Central team and having to see him 19 times a year in the Brewers uniform for the next four years would be tough. The Pirates are unlikely to move Reynolds given his contract status, but for a roster in need of so many upgrades, he’s their best player. Like all GMs, Ben Chergington probably believes his team can compete in the near future, and Reynolds would be one of the linchpins in that rebuilding.
Impact movement in the Bay
Giants host: RHP Max Scherzer, LZ Brad Hand
Nationals Receive: OF Heliot Ramos __ (MLB 63rd Prospect), C Patrick Bailey (Giants No. 6 Prospect)
Why should it occur: Heading into the 2021 season, it was inconceivable that a rather aging Giants team could put up a fight in a division that includes reigning World Series champions the Dodgers and powerful Padres. San Francisco finished the past four seasons under .500 and its roster is full of veterans. But the club hit the mark with the signatures of Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Jake McGee on the pitching side and has enjoyed the rebirths of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria as they set the best record in the majors .
However, this does not seem to be the beginning of a dynasty for the Giants, but the farewell of this nucleus. Gausman, DeSclafani, Wood, Crawford, Brandon Belt and Donovan Solano of Colombia will be free agents when the season ends. Posey could be, too, if the club decides not to exercise its $ 22 million option. This is a team expected to go all out on the trade deadline and acquiring Scherzer and Hand would give it a better chance of claiming the NL West title, avoiding the Wild Card Game, and reaching the World Series. .
Why wouldn’t it be: Would the Giants pay such a high prospect price for two “hired” players? Most likely not, as so many of the club’s key players will be free agents this winter.
Toronto strengthens for the final stretch
Blue Jays welcome: 3B José Ramírez, RHP Emmanuel Clase, RHP Bryan Shaw
Cleveland receives: OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., SS / OF Austin Martin (No. 16 MLB Prospect), RHP Eric Pardinho (No. 13 Blue Jays Prospect)
Why should it occur: The Blue Jays are part of an AL East in which there are four contending teams, all with records above .500 and positive run differentials. Toronto has one of the two most dynamic offenses in the division, along with the Red Sox, but the team needs to beef up pitching, both in the rotation and in the bullpen. Shane Bieber was included in a previous version of this change, but when he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, a new plan had to be devised: The Dominican Class, a flamethrower to strengthen the relief, and Ramírez, also from Quito, to make the offensive order even more powerful.
The Blue Jays don’t need another bat. But with no ace available, if Ramirez is added, Toronto’s lineup could be unstoppable. Instead of preventing runs, they could score them in droves and reinforce the relay. Ramírez’s contract includes options for 2022 and 2023, so it would not be a rental unit, and Clase will not be eligible for salary arbitration until 2024. That’s important, since the Blue Jays offense is very young. and it can be assumed that it will be there for a long time.
Why would it not be: Although the Cuban Gurriel appears to be close to being unleashed in many ways and the prospects have great potential, it seems unlikely that Cleveland will part with Ramirez, given that his contract includes two options from the club. He and Class could both be on the team when Cleveland gets competitive again, especially if the club’s starters manage to avoid the injuries that have hampered them in 2021.
Rockies-Cardinals Part II: A ‘spicy’ maneuver
Cardinals welcome: SS Trevor Story, RHP Germán Márquez
Rockies host: LZ Matthew Liberatore (No. 27 MLB prospect), 1B Luken Baker (No. 14 Cardinals prospect)
Why should it occur: The St. Louis club came into action Wednesday 8.0 games from the top in the NL Central and 7.0 from one of the Wild Cards. But president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has indicated that his team will not be a seller ahead of the trade deadline. The Cardinals don’t think they are out of contention because of their roster. Can you imagine a reunion of Story with Nolan Arenado on the left side of the San Luis infield, alongside Venezuelan Márquez, greatly reinforcing San Luis’s starting rotation? Using Arenado’s terminology back in his Colorado days, that would be “spicy.”
Although in plain sight it looks a bit strange, this would make sense for the Cardinals. Arenado said that Story and Márquez were two of his favorite teammates and although Story can be seen as a two-month reinforcement due to being a free agent after this season, San Luis has been successful in agreeing extensions with the stars they acquired. by means of changes (Paul Goldschmidt is the last example). The fact that Story and Arenado are good friends also helps the cause. For his part, Márquez has a contract that favors the team and that will expire after the 2023 season.
Stranger things have happened than watching a team qualify within 7.0 games of a postseason berth with two months remaining. With Story entering the lineup and Marquez entering a group of starters struggling after Jack Flaherty – who is recovering from injury – the Cardinals may have a rebound.
For the Rockies, it’s another opportunity to trade with the Cardinals. Well, some would say it wouldn’t happen again. But it is an opportunity for Colorado to get in exchange what some thought they were going to acquire for Arenado in the offseason. Liberatore, the most sought-after prospect in the St. Louis organization, could make his Major League debut next season to be a great piece in the Rockies’ future. And with the burly Baker, who has tremendous innate power, the Colorado team could try to develop the thunder-on-the-start solution that has been missing for several years.
Why would it not be: The Rockies would not complete this trade for two reasons. First, interim general manager Bill Schmidt recently said that his club is not “the minor league system of other teams.” If the Cardinals have Arenado on third base, Story on shortstop and Marquez on mound, that would not agree with Schmidt’s remarks. Second, Colorado has indicated that Marquez will not be part of any trade.