The Major League Baseball season is underway, and teams are already starting to solidify their places as contenders or pretenders for the season. For example, the New York Yankees have taken the league by storm, thanks in part to the outstanding performance of youngster Aaron Judge. Yet the Yankees have some glaring weaknesses, such as, and especially their starting pitching. Should the Yankees' outstanding performance continue, they will be in the market to add a starting pitcher rather than in the market to sell one of their pieces.
The opposite has proven to be true for the Toronto Blue Jays, who are off to a ghastly start. Toronto is playing awful baseball, placing themselves at the bottom of the standings. Considering the number of injuries in the organization and the number of players on expiring contracts, it makes plenty of sense to believe that the Blue Jays are heading for trading away pieces to other teams. Regardless, we should see plenty of trading action during the regular season. Let's take a look at 15 potential deals you could see made this MLB regular season, with explanations for why they make sense for their respective teams. Where is your favorite player going? Find out!
The Arizona Diamondbacks are making their own run in the National League West, hoping to make up for an awful recent stretch of seasons in their division. The Diamondbacks appear ready to make a run, but their starting pitching leaves plenty of question marks. Can Zack Greinke be Zack Greinke? Is Taijuan Walker is a trustworthy starter? Is Patrick Corbin healthy? The Diamondbacks have so many questions on the mound that they need to acquire a sure-thing starting pitcher to help shore up their rotation. Marco Estrada may not be an ace, but one thing he is, is a sure thing for the rotation. The Diamondbacks will make a deal for the starter to continue their run for playoff glory. They won't trade a mega-prospect this time, though.
Jose Quintana is not off to a good start for the Chicago White Sox, who have surprisingly been off to a good start as a team. The White Sox were expected to be one of the clearly rebuilding clubs this season, yet currently find themselves hovering around .500. Yet we do not expect this to continue, and when it ends the White Sox will need a place to trade Jose Quintana to really kickstart their rebuild. The Houston Astros are for real this season and want to continue to be for real, needing a number two starter to go along with staff ace Dallas Keuchel. Bringing in Jose Quintana would be a huge step in the right direction for Houston.
David Robertson has been rumored to be close to being traded to the Washington Nationals for months now, but the Nationals could never seem to reach an agreement with the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have gained some leverage this season, as not only have the White Sox played better than expected, but the Nationals have also struggled to close out games. The fit remains clear, however, and the White Sox won't be this good for much longer. Robertson belongs on a winning team, and the Nationals are certainly a winning team. The two teams will eventually budge and come to an agreement on a deal sending the former Yankees and current White Sox closer to the Nationals, ending the months of negotiating it took.
The San Francisco Giants are off to one of the roughest starts in recent team history, finding their way to the bottom of the National League West standings. However, the Giants are an extremely proud franchise, and will not sit back and watch as they struggle through the season. The Giants will make a trade that will have people scratching their heads, as they will acquire one of the New York Yankees' best hitters, despite the Yankees being the good team and the Giants being the struggling team. Chase Headley will be moved to the Giants, thanks in part to the Yankees realizing they have other options to fill the hot corner, and want to spend their money elsewhere. Headley will be moved to kickstart the Giants.
Speaking of the New York Yankees selling off players despite having a good season, the Yankees will likely trade their starting left fielder, Brett Gardner, to the Washington Nationals. The Nationals recently lost Adam Eaton for the season due to a torn ACL, so they are in the market for an outfielder. The Yankees have Aaron Hicks ready for an everyday role, and Aaron Judge has already proven he can play everyday and then some. For the Yankees, a team with plenty of outfield prospects in the upper levels as well, moving Gardner to the Nationals represents getting the most bang for their buck. For the Nationals, they will likely not see a high price on the speedy outfielder, making it a worthwhile deal.
The Colorado Rockies are finally atop the National League West, sitting in unfamiliar territory. Even the year the Rockies made it all the way to the 2007 World Series, Colorado did so as a Wild Card team. The Rockies likely want to avoid playing in the Wild Card game at all costs, so they will be looking to make major splashes during the regular season. One of the biggest splashes a team can possibly make during the regular season this year is acquiring Eric Hosmer from the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are off to a horrible start this season, and appear primed to sell off their pieces to contenders. In a strange twist of events, the Colorado Rockies will be the top contender for acquiring Hosmer.
The Boston Red Sox are off to a worse start than they expected, but the Toronto Blue Jays are in a completely different league than they expected. The Red Sox still sit a few games above .500, while the Blue Jays need binoculars to find .500 this season. One of the biggest issues for the Blue Jays this season has been the lack of offense, and Jose Bautista simply has not helped the cause. He's on a one-year deal, and the Blue Jays would be best served getting the most out of him as trade bait rather than attempting to extend his contract. The Red Sox are in need of some offense and have familiarity with the longtime AL East player. A move makes sense.
We truly believe the Houston Astros will be going all in this year for not only the American League West title, not only a playoff run, but a trip to the World Series. Their previous acquisitions point in that direction, and the Astros are only missing a couple of pieces to look like the clear favorites out of the American League. One area that the Astros can improve in is their bullpen. Ken Giles has not panned out like the Astros would have liked him to, so the Astros could certainly use a closer that will be their ninth inning guy with no uncertainty. Enter the rebuilding Royals and their closer, Kelvin Herrera. The fit is perfect, and the Astros have the pieces to get it done.
Todd Frazier is off to a poor start this season, but he will pick things back up in the coming months. With that, he will be an enticing option for a team that needs to add offense at the hot corner. One team that has seen awful production from their third baseman is the New York Mets, a team that also is under plenty of pressure from their fans to succeed in the MLB today. The Mets will jettison Jose Reyes from the roster and acquire a player who grew up a Yankees fan living in New Jersey, Todd Frazier, to be their new third baseman. It will also signal their giving up on David Wright returning to health once and for all, a sad truth Mets fans have to deal with.
In a rare trade within the same division, the Baltimore Orioles will acquire a much needed starting pitcher from the Tampa Bay Rays to continue their quest for the American League East crown. The Tampa Bay Rays are free-falling towards the bottom of the standings in the American League East once again, an unsurprising truth considering their lack of talent on the roster. They are in need of a rebuild, and trading with their division rival Baltimore Orioles will help restock their prospect cupboards. For the Orioles, acquiring Alex Cobb from the Tampa Bay Rays will represent adding a solid innings eater who can also get plenty of outs along the way, and help give the Orioles a solid option for the rotation.
In one of the most surprising trades of the regular season, the Toronto Blue Jays will signal that they have completely given up on their team by trading within their division and sending Francisco Liriano to the New York Yankees. Liriano will join a Yankees rotation that consists of plenty of question marks and youngsters, and will look to provide veteran presence and a pitcher that can eat some innings and strike out some batters. The Blue Jays will get back some fringe prospects, hoping that they can steal some prospects away from a division rival for a player that would not be helping their cause much this season anyway, considering the Blue Jays are destined to be out of the race for the majority of the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates appear set for another disappointing season, and the team will likely wish to make some moves to shake up their core following that truth. One of the longer tenured Pirates who the team can afford to move is Josh Harrison, a super utility player who produces for them offensively and with his speed. The Cleveland Indians will be looking for a player to add some flexibility to their roster this season, and there are not many players more flexible in Major League Baseball today than Harrison. The fit will work out perfectly, and the Indians will send over some fringe prospects, including a pitcher that the Pirates can work their magic with and turn into gold. This deal will work for both sides.
In one of the stranger deals of the regular season, the Milwaukee Brewers will finally pull the trigger on trading Ryan Braun, only not to the Los Angeles Dodgers like everyone believes they will. Instead, the Brewers will send Braun to the Atlanta Braves in a deal that will surprise the entirety of the league. See, the Braves are looking to stockpile talent of all ages for their new ballpark and in an attempt to contend sooner rather than later. The Brewers are committed to the rebuild, but cannot seem to make a deal work with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves already made a surprise move in acquiring Matt Kemp from the San Diego Padres, so why not go out and get Braun, too?
One of the worst-kept secrets in Major League Baseball is that if the Detroit Tigers do not contend this season, they will be shipping away some of their best players. Justin Verlander does not want to be traded by the Detroit Tigers, but a deal may have to be made, as the Tigers simply do not look like a team that can contend this season. The Tigers will see themselves dropping in the standings in the days leading up to the MLB Trade Deadline, and will determine that the best course of action is to pull the trigger on a deal involving their ace. The Los Angeles Dodgers will jump on the opportunity to acquire Verlander to complement Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation.
Back when the New York Yankees had Robinson Cano in the middle of their lineup, he was partially driven by his best friend and teammate Melky Cabrera. The two eventually parted ways as the Yankees traded Cabrera away and allowed Cano to leave as a free agent, but now appears to be the perfect time to get the band back together. Cano and the Mariners are in need of an offensive spark, and Cabrera simply does not mean much to the Chicago White Sox, a team looking to rebuild rather than focus on getting Cabrera RBI opportunities and whatnot. The Mariners can attempt to add some offense and shore up their outfield by bringing in Cabrera from the rebuilding Chicago White Sox this season.