Whether it be the Astros acquiring Justin Verlander to help them win it all or the Yankees acquiring Sonny Gray and realizing it was a failed experiment a year and a half in, the trade deadline never fails to provide some intense excitement. We are less than a month away from the July 31st deadline, and we have gotten an idea of what teams should be buying and what teams should sell the farm on the market. This is my first article on Diamond Digest, and I want to make it a memorable one. Some teams are going to make great acquisitions while others may make ones that leave us scratching our heads. No matter what, it’s one of the most exciting times in the baseball season! I’m going to run through eight trade proposals that I think have a reasonable chance of happening this month and I’ll analyze how they could help the teams that make the deal. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Marcus Stroman to the Bronx
The Yankees have been rumored to be looking to add a seasoned starting pitcher on the trade market and Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman certainly fits the bill. Stroman has been a stud for Toronto in 2019, having pitched to a 3.18 ERA in 104.2 innings of work. He also has a 3.82 FIP and a 1.26 WHIP with a 141 ERA+. Recently sidelined with a shoulder injury, it is a common belief that buyers are going to want to see him make at least one start before any deals start to get worked on. Opposing hitters are batting just .248 against the 28-year-old right-hander and he has the 29th best home run per fly ball rate in all of baseball. Stroman is making just $7.4 million in 2019, and he still has a year left of team control. The Yankees will have competition for Stroman, but they have the prospects to get the deal done.
The Trade: Yankees acquire Stroman in exchange for OF Everson Pereira, INF Thairo Estrada, and a prospect to be named later.
Jose Abreu to Tampa Bay
One of the top teams in the American League in the first half, the Tampa Bay Rays certainly are looking to add a high profile bat and bullpen depth as they scour the summer trade market. White Sox 1B Jose Abreu could be a fit that provides some offense for the club, and he could make them a legitimate contender. He’s slashing .278/.316/.522 with 21 homers and 66 RBIs, along with 117 wRC+. He’s not a great defender at first, but the Rays would certainly overlook that for the offensive firepower. It’s not very much of a risk for Tampa Bay either, as Abreu has consistently been one of the best hitters in baseball since he broke into the league in 2014. The question is whether the White Sox want to deal him, and the Rays should offer a package that gives them no choice but to. A package centered around two Top 100 prospects and a mid-level or high ceiling guy could be enough to get the deal done.
The Trade: Rays acquire Abreu in exchange for RHP Shane Baz, OF Jesus Sanchez, and SS Jelfry Marte.
Madison Bumgarner to Minnesota
The Twins have undoubtedly been one of the biggest surprises in the first half of the 2019 season, and their front office should continue to push this club for World Series contention. Acquiring a postseason legend like Madison Bumgarner is a great way to do that. The Giants are expected to be huge sellers at the trade deadline, and the former World Series MVP is expected to be on the move. Bumgarner is aging, and he hasn’t been his old self (4.03 ERA in 111.2 IP), but the Twins can afford to risk it for a guy with a career 2.11 postseason ERA. He’s got a 3.99 FIP and a 1.20 WHIP in 2019 but his strong 4.8 K/BB ratio indicates some positive regression could be on the way. The Giants are reportedly asking for quite a bit, and considering Bumgarner is a rental, they’ll probably have to lower their price.
The Trade: Twins acquire Bumgarner in exchange for RHP Brusdar Graterol, OF/1B Luke Raley, and RHP Luis Rijo.
Wilson Ramos to Texas
With the New York Mets severely falling back in the NL East, it’s time for them to sell on some of their key assets. Wilson Ramos is one of these, and the Texas Rangers certainly will need an upgrade at catcher over Jeff Mathis. Ramos isn’t the best defensive catcher and the Mets aren’t playing him as much due to it, but his strength lies in his offensive game, and the Rangers would definitely love to bolster their lineup with him. The 31-year-old backstop is slashing .272/.349/.408 with 9 homers, 41 RBIs, and 103 wRC+. He’s also relatively cheap compared to other top catchers, as he’s only making about $10 million per year. The Rangers may also be intrigued by the fact that they could use him up until 2021. Two mid-level prospects could be just enough to get Ramos to Arlington.
The Trade: Rangers acquire Ramos in exchange for C David Garcia and INF Jonathan Ornelas.
Will Smith to Atlanta
The Braves actually rank second in baseball in bullpen ERA, but they’ll need to upgrade their closer and possibly acquire a few more quality arms to stabilize the bullpen. They are in control of the NL East, but they have World Series aspirations and Giants closer Will Smith could be an acquisition that propels them to just that. He’s made 22 saves in 36 games and has a 2.04 ERA and a 1.99 FIP in 35.1 innings of work. He’s close to turning 30 and he’s set to hit free agency this fall, but he’s been one of the best relievers in baseball in 2019 and that alone will fetch the Giants some quality prospects in return. In comparison, he’s pitching nearly as well as Aroldis Chapman was when he got traded for Gleyber Torres in 2016. The Braves have an incredible farm system, so a few prospects with high potential may not be out of reach for San Francisco.
The Trade: Braves acquire Smith in exchange for RHP Bryse Wilson, LHP Luiz Gohara, and OF Jefrey Ramos.
Zack Wheeler to Milwaukee
Zack Wheeler hasn’t been nearly as stellar as he was in the final stretch of last season, but he’s still putting up numbers that look better with a deeper dive. He’s 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA and a 3.65 FIP in 119 innings, and he’s striking out batters at a career-high rate (9.83 K/9) while issuing walks at a career low rate (2.57 BB/9). The big issue with Wheeler is that he’s giving up the home run ball a lot more than he did in 2018, as his HR/9 number is up to 1.21 from a 0.69 rate last year. Every stat mentioned indicates that there is positive regression to come, and that is exactly why Wheeler will battle alongside MadBum to be the most popular rental starter on the market. The Milwaukee Brewers are in heavy need of a solid starter, as they rank 19th in the MLB in starters ERA (4.82). Over the last few weeks, they’ve been rumored to be interested in Wheeler. The Mets should sell on him, and a solid prospect or two would likely be enough to get Wheeler to Milwaukee.
The Trade: Brewers acquire Wheeler in exchange for OF Corey Ray, RHP Marcos Diplan, and 1B Jake Gatewood.
Ken Giles to Los Angeles
After being troubled on and off the field in 2018, former All-Star closer Ken Giles has resurrected himself in Toronto and he figures to be a sell high candidate for a rebuilding Blue Jays club. He has a year left of team control and that will only add to his trade value, as he has made 31 appearances and pitched to an extremely impressive 1.45 ERA and 1.49 FIP. Giles is striking out a hefty amount of batters (15.39 K/9) and is doing an excellent job of limiting the home run ball (0.58 HR/9), both helping him overcome a rising walk rate (2.61 BB/9). The Dodgers could use some bullpen help as they push towards a World Series run, and acquiring Giles would be huge. The Blue Jays would command something similar or of more value than what the Braves sent to San Francisco for Will Smith in the projected trade from earlier.
The Trade: Dodgers acquire Giles in exchange for RHP Dennis Santana and OF D.J. Peters.
Matthew Boyd to Philadelphia
Ken Rosenthal recently said that the Phillies mindset at the deadline depends on if the Braves continue to run away in the NL East, but even if they do, the Phillies could acquire a piece for a few years in the future by trading for breakout lefty starter Matthew Boyd of the Detroit Tigers. Boyd is controllable through 2023 and is hitting his stride in 2019, with a respectable 3.87 ERA and 3.56 FIP in 107 innings of work. The former Blue Jays prospect is striking out batters at an incredible rate (11.94 K/9) and still isn’t sacrificing control (1.68 BB/9). He does struggle to keep the ball in the yard as he’s giving up about 1.6 homers per nine innings, but he’s finally figuring it out as a big league pitcher. Detroit would command a significant return because he is not a rental or anything close to it, but the Phillies would like the idea of adding a top three rotation starter for their future World Series pushes.
The Trade: Phillies acquire Boyd in exchange for OF Mickey Moniak, RHP Spencer Howard, and SS Luis Garcia.
Featured Photo: Steve Mitchell – USA Today Sports
Thanks for reading my first article here on the DD! I hope you guys enjoyed! Be sure to share this around and feel free to give me your thoughts, comments, and questions on my Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great day!