With the General Managers meetings beginning in Phoenix on Monday, and the Winter Meetings about a month away, I felt it would be a good time to offer my thoughts on some trades that teams should discuss this offseason. We will hear plenty of trade rumors between now and early December, and I am sure you will hear more from me as well. So here are deals that, on the surface, make sense for both teams for various reasons which I will detail in my explanations for each potential trade.
Reminder: these deals are my own speculation
The five deals that should happen this offseason
Brandon Belt to the Pirates for Josh Bell
The Giants have discussed moving Buster Posey off catcher, possibly to third base since they already have Brandon Belt at first base. The chances of Pablo Sandoval re-signing with the Giants appears to be pretty good at this point, so third base will be locked down for at least the next 4-5 years, possibly 6, so moving Posey to third base would be nothing more than a start here and there.
But, they could move him to first base to free him from the grueling catcher position if they can deal Belt. The Pirates have a need for a first baseman, and the Giants have a need for a young outfielder with some pop. They started Gregory Blanco and Juan Perez in game seven of the World Series, and outfielder Angel Pagan isn't getting any younger, and hasn't played more than 96 games in each of the last two seasons, so they have a need for some youth in their outfield.
The Pirates outfield appears set for the next 4-5 seasons with Starling Marte in left field. Andrew McCutchen in center field and Gregory Polanco in right field. Bell is learning how to play first base in the Arizona Fall League this season, and word is that he has struggled. A trade to San Francisco would allow him to move back to the an outfield corner position, and young catcher Andrew Susac to take over the full time catching duties, with Posey moving to first base.
In Pittsburgh, Belt would settle the always unsettled first base spot in the Pirates lineup, and allow them to cash in one of their top prospects for major league talent.
Cole Hamels to the Red Sox for Eduardo Rodriguez, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Garin Cecchini
The Red Sox need an ace starting pitcher to compete in the American League East, and Hamels is one of the best in the game. Giving up Rodriguez wouldn't be easy, but Hamels would be worth it. The Red Sox are looking to make their fans forget about their last place finish in 2014, and trading for Hamels would do just that, creating optimism for a return to the playoffs in 2015. The Red Sox have already soured on Bradley Jr, and like the Dodgers, they have more outfielders than they know what to do with, The same can be said about third base, especially if Xander Bogaerts ends up moving there, so the Red Sox would be dealing from their strengths to fix a weakness in their starting rotation. Trading for Hamels gives them that legitimate ace at the top of their rotation and he comes with a contract that isn't overly excessive.
Philllies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to not have budged on his stance for three top prospects for Hamels, and this deal would meet his requirement, to a certain extent. Bradley Jr. could take over centerfield with Ben Revere moving to left field, if he is not traded. Cecchini could be the Phillies third baseman of the future.
Yasiel Puig and Tom Windle to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton
I wrote about this deal a few weeks ago, and you can read it in the link below:
Troy Tulowitzki to the Mets for Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Dominic Smith
I came up with this trade offer before the Mets went out and signed outfielder Michael Cuddyer yesterday afternoon. The Mets have a real need at shortstop and the Rockies finally appear read to deal one, or both, of their superstar hitters (Tulo and Carlos Gonzalez).
The Mets have plenty of young and controllable pitchers that could be used in a trade for a talent like Tulowitzki, and the Rockies have a real need for young pitching as they begin their rebuild. Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero ( or Dillon Gee) would be a solid return for the injury-prone, and expensive, Tulowitzki.
Even without Tulowitzki, I think the Mets could contend for a wild card spot in 2015, with the return of ace Matt Harvey, the emergence of National League Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom and the growth of Zack Wheeler. With those three at the top of their rotation, the Mets could give the Nationals some competition for the NL East title in 2015. Tulowitzki has been quoted saying he wants to play for a winner, and he would certainly help the Mets in their quest to return to the playoffs.
Jeff Samardzija to the Braves for Jason Heyward
This deal helps both teams, as the Braves have a real need to replace Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang, both of whom are free agents this offseason, while the A's need an outfielder to replace Yoenis Cespedes, who was traded to the Red Sox last season.
Both Heyward and Samardzija are free agents at the end of the 2015 season, and it appears the Braves have little interest in signing him to a long term contract, especially after they locked up several other young players over the last year or two.
The A's have already let it be known that Samardzija is available, and it is likely he is traded in the coming months, so they won't be signing him long term either.