By: Chris Larson
Right now, every General Manager in the game of baseball is actively looking at every avenue to upgrade their roster and plugging in different players into their computers/formula programs to see who might fit where and how it might effect the team in the bigger picture. This isn't just a process that happens this week either, as it is something, that happens multiple times throughout the offseason as well.
However, when you have all 30 General Managers together, under the same roof such as out in Las Vegas right now, you are going to have trade discussions that are out-of-the-box and rumors will come out about trade packages that might seem like odd fits, but when you start to think more about it, the fit is actually natural and would make perfect sense.
Here are five out-of-the-box trade ideas regarding a few of the names, that we've heard mentioned, on the trade market thus far:
1. Corey Kluber to the New York Mets - The Mets aren't one of the first teams that come to mind when you start thinking about Corey Kluber and potential trade destinations. From what we've heard thus far, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cincinnati Reds have been connected to Kluber the most often. However, when you start to consider the New York Mets more, you can start to see why it would make perfect sense. The Mets skipper, Mickey Callaway, was Corey Kluber's pitching coach with the Cleveland Indians and is very familiar with Kluber's mechanics, pitch usage, and overall pedigree. From that perspective, it would make complete sense and would only significantly help to bolster the Mets starting rotation even more. If New York added Corey Kluber, they would have Noah Syndergaard, Kluber, and Jacob deGrom at the top of their starting rotation followed by Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz. That's a pretty solid starting five and a group that could compete with the best of them during both the regular season and postseason.
2. J.T. Realmuto to the Tampa Bay Rays - Even after adding Mike Zunino to the mix, Tampa Bay would benefit greatly from a trade for J.T. Realmuto. In fact, if the Rays were to add Realmuto to their catching combo, they could easily have the best catching combo in all of baseball. If you haven't already noticed, J.T. Realmuto is highly regarded in the game and many people feel as though he is the best catcher in the game right now. Furthermore, the Miami Marlins are looking for a significant return for Realmuto and that is definitely something that the Rays could provide. According to MLB Pipeline, the Rays currently have the fourth best farm system in all of baseball and they could include an everyday MLB level outfielder, such as Austin Meadows, in the deal since the Marlins would like to acquire at least one MLB ready piece in any Realmuto deal. If theres another reason why this trade should happen, it's because it involves the two teams in the sunshine state and wouldn't require Realmuto to have to move very far from where he currently is.
3. Yasiel Puig to the Los Angeles Angels - If the last trade proposal wasn't close enough, consider this one that would have Yasiel Puig basically traveling across town from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Angels. The fit makes a lot of sense on paper, as Puig who currently occupies right field for the Dodgers, could slot right into right field for the Angels, assuming one trade in particular could happen first. That trade would involve the Angels trading their current right fielder, Kole Calhoun, who has been rumored to be available, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported a few weeks ago. Whether or not the Angels could actually move Calhoun, has yet to be seen, but if they could a nice addition to their lineup would be Yasiel Puig and it could be a deal that expands even further. Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN, reported that the Dodgers were also willing to listen to trade offers on starting pitchers, Rich Hill and Alex Wood. Depending on what the Dodgers are asking for and what the Angels are willing to give up, the Halos could land one of those pitchers, to address their rotation concerns, and essentially kill two birds with one stone.
4. Robbie Ray to the Oakland Athletics - The Oakland Athletics have made it widely known that they are on the lookout for starting pitching and an addition that included, Robbie Ray, would certainly be a substantial one. Ray, who is known around the league as being a strikeout pitcher with an above normal walk rate, could give the A's some much needed rotation depth and a valuable lefty, as they look to once again compete with the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels. Ray, who is under control for two more seasons, is arbitration eligible (projected at $6.1 million dollars according to MLB Trade Rumors, and would be a cost effective addition for the payroll cautious A's. During his big league career, Robbie Ray has never once faced the Oakland A's or pitched at Oakland Coliseum, but given that The Coliseum is an extremely pitcher friendly ballpark, it's one where Ray could ultimately thrive. For an Athletics team that is focused on once again making the postseason, this is one trade that the A's should definitely consider, even though it might take quite an enticing offer to get the Arizona Diamondbacks to budge.
5. Whit Merrifield to the Philadelphia Phillies - If you were to ask the Royals and their General Manager, Dayton Moore, if they would be open to trading Whit Merrifield, their immediate answer would be "No", but considering the type of player that Merrifield is, along with the season he is coming off of, the return could be extraordinary. For a Kansas City team that is in full rebuild mode, it doesn't make a lot of sense for the team to hang onto Merrifield considering the prospect value he could bring back. From the Phillies perspective, they would likely have to find a suitor for second baseman, Caesar Hernandez, first, which could be difficult amid a crowded middle infield market, but it's been something the team has been looking at trying to do for almost two seasons now. If you want to get really crazy, think about how cool it would be if the Phillies were able to land Whit Merrifield AND Salvador Perez. The Phillies have been connected to J. T. Realmuto and currently have a catching combo composed of Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, a combo that isn't necessarily right for a team with a mainly young starting rotation. If the Phillies were able to also land Perez, Perez could be a nice leader in the clubhouse and someone to help the team's young starting pitchers develop even more.