While many of you are searching the arcade and the internet for huge deals this Black Friday, I’m here dreaming up deals of a different kind.
This list of Hot Stove Trade Shows is always one of the most fun columns to write every year and then the fun gives way to the frustration of a bunch of strangers yelling at me telling me my trades are terrible.
This is the life of a (fake) baseball general manager.
So let’s do it again! I’ll make the deals, you give the letters. This sounds like a pretty good deal, right?
Hey, what’s more satisfying than swapping out a major league for a major? Here is one… might work?
Lopez hits a career-high in innings pitched (180) with his third consecutive hit Era + Above the league average. He’s the best starting pitcher known to be available in this commercial market, after talks about him over the summer it’s clear they didn’t result in a deal. The Marlins are looking for a stable presence in center field, and an Orioles team with solid center fielder depth and need for a reliable starter might be an ideal business partner.
Mullins didn’t repeat his stellar All-Star production from 2021 at the plate last season, but he’s still a thrilling player with elite defense and speed that led to 30 straight steal seasons. Although breaking up with him will be difficult for Baltimore, the O has potential Colton Kauser Knocking on the door of the major leagues.
Lopez has two years left on arbitration, while Mullins has three. So the trade is unbalanced from that perspective, although perhaps that concern is mitigated by the value of the first offer. A one-for-one swap might not work, but Mullins-for-López at least creates an interesting starting point.
The Cardinals need to replace their old catcher and get interesting position player depth elsewhere. The Blue Jays have an excessive knack for point catching and need a left-handed power hitter. Let’s get these crazy kids in a room together (preferably for winter get-togethers) and take this apart.
Here’s a suggestion: a deal that sends 2022 All-Star Kirk to St. Louis, where he can deftly fill senior Yadier Molina’s shoes and give the Cards an offensive boost with his stellar discipline and connections.
To get Kirk, the Cards give up Gorman, whose range limits make survivability at second base a question mark in a post-shift world. What’s not in question is his power potential from the left side of the plate, and oh boy, does the Blue Jays need to balance out their right-leaning lineup. Gorman could conceivably be transferred to a point on the outside corner and/or used as a police officer. (Cards can do the same thing, of course, but they have outer depth and great potential Jordan Walker looming). Hard-hitting Pacheco is pulling off this deal as the Blue Jays’ near-term bullpen option.
If that sounds like overpaying Kirk or if the Blue Jays would prefer to keep Kirk, these clubs could still match up in a deal for Gabriel Moreno or Danny Jansen. Or maybe there is a deal where you have to swing the left putt Lars marked He goes to Toronto in place of Gorman. The bottom line is that these two teams can meet each other’s needs in one way or another.
Boston should be able to lock Devers down with an extension. It is not expected to be traded. But if the deal is not executed somehow? The Red Sox had better think twice about capitalizing on his value in this market before he entered his walking year.
Not only does the Mets all-in-one need Devers’ strength, but he can also offer the Red Sox a ready replacement prospect under control through 2028 in Baty, who got his feet wet in the seniors in 2022 and mashed the Minor League (a . 315)/. 410/.533 slash in Double-A/Triple-A last year). Tidwell, a second-round pick in the 2022 MLB draft, completes this specific proposal.
Adding another lower level prospect may be necessary for a player like Devers. But the point is, if the Red Sox find themselves in a situation where Devers’ long-term suitability is called into question, the Mets can craft a perfect match.
Will Ohtani — who qualifies for free agency later — be dealt with this winter? No, probably not. And Angels general manager Perry Minasian backed up his public stance on Ohtani’s availability by trying to improve the product around the two-way star. But we can’t rule out the informal ownership change that turns things around, and this column is free to operate in its own reality. What fun is a bold trade proposal piece that doesn’t include Ohtani?
So let’s send baseball’s biggest star to a team that needs one.
Giants can use their vast intellect and resources to build around Ohtani. They made it to the finals to land him in 2017 and would have done so if World DH had been around at the time. Now they can finish the job and use their long-term financial flexibility to extend his tenure.
The cost, of course, must be huge. Maybe more cuddly than this. In this deal, the Giants send the Big Three (and five of the Top 30) to Anaheim. Luciano is no lock to stick with, but his great strength is alluring. Harrison is not yet in Triple-A, but he has the raw material to roll out in the seniors very soon. Matos has solid bat-and-ball skills, but will need to fill what he has to reach his potential. The package is rounded out with a few lottery tickets in the right hand. Overall, it would greatly improve the strength of the assisted angels system in the near term.
So… is that enough for one year of Ohtani? Anything?
Want nuts? Let’s get nuts.
with Anthony Volpe And the Oswald Peraza As the Yankees’ close or immediate quarterback, Torres is a good candidate for a transfer this winter. And a White Sox team whose second base has been a problematic situation for more than a decade is an obvious fit. There is perhaps a more direct trade-off here as the Sox send big odds and/or assists to the Yanks.
But what fun is that? We’re here to think big, and this crazy suggestion might help both sides.
The Sox got a definite improvement and possibly an extra high at second base in Torres. They move on to Moncada, who has had a checkered career thus far. And while replacing him with Donaldson erases a lot of the positives, it also frees the Sox from the $24.8 million owed Moncada in 2024 (plus a $5 million buyout in 2025) for the $8 million buyout of Donaldson ’24 deal. That’s some added long-term financial flexibility for the Chicago team that needs it. At least Donaldson can still give them good defense in the hot corner.
Of course, pairing Donaldson with Tim Anderson would be, More than a little embarrassing (Hey, we promised you, this was crazy.) But it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen players with a past having to smooth things over after a takeover.
Meanwhile, Torres comes with two years of contract control and has managed to transition well to second base while hitting 24 homers and 28 doubles with a 0.761 OPS. If this is his floor, that’s a big upgrade for the South Siders. And if he can access the upside that made him the centerpiece of the Cubs-Yankees trade Aroldis Chapman in 2016, that’s an even bigger advantage. Calculating the cost of the Torres arbitration, the Sox are taking nearly $3 million in ’23 payroll in this trade-off.
What do the Yankees get? For example, Lambert’s bullpen, which has been in control through 2027 and has had solid results in high leverage positions after switching to ‘pen’ last year (2.90 ERA in 40 relief appearances). Even when sending half of Donaldson’s paychecks to the Sox, New York is cutting about $3 million from its 23-year payroll. The Yanks’ improvement at third base in Moncada, who struggled (and was injured) in 22 but at 27 is a safer bet to get back into production Offensive is above average at this point from Donaldson. Moncada also balances the Yankees lineup as an alternate captain. The Yankees took $24.8 million owed to Moncada in ’24 and lost $8 million owed to Donaldson for the season.
do you know me Maybe Torres will end up playing for Chicago, after all!
Those two clubs plunged into deep talks about Murphy last summer, with the guard ultimately reluctant to give up any of his best playing opportunities in the swap for Murphy.
In some ways, that was understandable at the time. All that’s happened since then is Cleveland has established itself as a bona fide competitor but still desperate for a solid bat and some offense behind the plate.
Murphy, an Ohio native who is in contractual control until 2025, is checking every box for a club that would take a big risk handing off the starting catching duties to a rookie Bo Naylor. Murphy will keep the Guardians focused on good defense and calling the game from his position while greatly increasing offensive potential. And Murphy slashed .250/.332/.426 last season. Due to its competitiveness and presence Shea Langlers And many of my near-adult prospects have no sense of holding on to Murphy. But with the Cardinals likely among the clubs in the bidding, the cost wouldn’t come cheap.
This trade requires guards to tackle from deep field and midfield, but that’s the cost of doing the business of turning a good major league team into a potentially great one.
Well, that will never happen. But it’s an interesting concept. While the Brewers have every intention of building around professors Burns and Brandon Woodruff, the increasing cost of both arms of refereeing on a team that hasn’t typically managed high payrolls will make that very difficult.
This would be a deal that would allow the Brewers to essentially reset. Yelich’s stretch hasn’t been as bad as some naysayers might suggest, but his back problems and inability to reach the MVP cap since signing haven’t helped this small club. Yelich still owes another $156 million over his 36-year-old season.
Who better than Yelich’s hometown Dodgers to take over this deal while landing in the rotational cleat and replacing Trea Turner at shortstop? Brewers receive a strong stock of prospects. More importantly, they get a fresh start from a long-term payroll perspective. The burden of Yelich’s contract is the obvious sticking point here, as the Dodgers would be reluctant to give up top-tier prospects.