With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training this week, it's truly the best time for baseball fans as the 2017 season is upon us.
With the offseason in the rearview mirror and most of the big-name free agents off of the board, the roster that your favorite team has will by and large be the same as it will be come Opening Day.
But as the 2017 season transitions from Spring to Summer, a lot of things can change.
Teams that were believed to be contenders could falter, making the organization want to trade some of their bigger names. On the flipside, fringe contenders could perform at a higher level than they believed they could, which could make them trade away young players for a talent that can be the final piece between a first-round exit and a World Series Trophy. The Cubs' window to win is right now and after losing some big names in free agency like Aroldis Chapman and Dexter Fowler, as well as losing David Ross to retirement. You have to wonder if they'll look to make a big move by the summer to go for a repeat.
The season will be interesting as it is — but trades could make it even better. Let's take a look at 15 trades that could very well happen this season.
15 Brandon Finnegan to the New York Yankees
Heading into 2017, the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds couldn't be further apart. On one hand, the Bronx Bombers are seeing their young prospects manefest at the big league level, and title contention is in their very near future. On the other, the Reds continue to flounder as they look towards a full scale rebuild. While one would think Finnegan is a part of said rebuild, the Yankees have the prospects to get him — and the Reds should be all ears.
14 Justin Wilson to the Miami Marlins
The terrible and untimely death of ace Jose Fernandez hurt the team both on and off the field. But when you look forward to 2017, the Miami Marlins still have a great shot to compete in the NL East, as they have a young, deep lineup that's complemented by a decent starting staff. One place they need an upgrade, however, is the bullpen. And with the Detroit Tigers looking to get younger, the Marlins should call and ask for lefty Justin Wilson.
13 David Robertson to Washington Nationals
The Miami Marlins aren't the only team in the NL East that can use help at the reliever position. The Washington Nationals are the defending champions of the division and will have their hands full this season. That gives them even more of a reason to replace Mark Melancon, who signed with the San Francisco Giants this offseason. With the Chicago White Sox selling all of their veteran pieces due to a full-on rebuild, David Robertson is a logical fit for the Nats.
12 Brett Gardner to the St. Louis Cardinals
Coming into the 2017 season, the St. Louis Cardinals may have one of the more complete lineups in all of baseball. While Randal Grichuk — the team's current starter out in left field — has displayed immense potential as a power hitter, he's done little else to justify a spot in the everyday lineup. And with the team competing for a World Series ring, they could use an upgrade at the position. Someone like Brett Gardner could be the perfect fit.
11 Todd Frazier to New York Mets
Like the previously mentioned Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals, the New York Mets, too, will try and win the National League East. If healthy, their starting rotation will be the best in baseball — but they still need some help in their starting lineup. Team captain David Wright is expected to be ready this season but his injury history is too deep for him to be relied on. Fortunately, there's a local boy on a team that is trading away their vets.
10 Eric Hosmer to the Philadelphia Phillies
It was only two years ago when the Kansas City Royals finally saw all of their years of losing and rebuilding pay off as they went on to win the 2015 World Series. That team's core is still intact — but the small market club has a number of those top players becoming free agents after 2017. Because they struggled last season, they would be wise to trade some of those assets and retool for the future. First baseman Eric Hosmer would be a good starting point.
9 Joey Votto to the Toronto Blue Jays
For years, the Toronto Blue Jays have been on the cusp of competing for a championship, as their powerful offense and above-average rotation has been trending upwards. One position that hasn't featured much production has been first base. Joey Votto — a native of Toronto and member of the lowly Cincinnati Reds — makes the most sense for the Blue Jays.
8 Joe Mauer to the Washington Nationals
On one hand, Joe Mauer is far from the player who was an elite catcher that hit .365 in 2009. But now that the veteran has made the switch to first base and has overcome some injuries, he's become a steady presence in the middle of the Minnesota Twins lineup. The team, however, is among the worst in baseball. Trading away the face of the franchise will be tough but it would help bring young players back in return.
7 Sonny Gray to the Kansas City Royals
As stated in the Eric Hosmer slide, the Kansas City Royals may need to sell off some pieces this season — but instead of rebuilding, the team should instead retool and stay in contention. With their starting rotation in serious need of new blood, a pitcher like Sonny Gray would be the perfect player to target.
6 Andrew McCutchen to the Seattle Mariners
Throughout the offseason, Andrew McCutchen's name has been frequently mentioned in trade talks. While he's currently positioned to start in right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it'll be hard to see him sticking with the organization since they've been shopping him for months.
5 Jose Abreu to the Miami Marlins
In what has been stated multiple times on this countdown, the Chicago White Sox are officially in rebuild mode. Trading David Robertson and Todd Frazier seem logical, but shipping Jose Abreu out of town would be almost as big as trading Chris Sale — but if the right package comes along, they must pull the trigger on the move.
4 Dellin Betances to the San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants could've continued their streak alive of winning a World Series every other season — if they had a decent bullpen. Unfortunately, the position was in shambles throughout all of 2016 and was a massive reason behind their late season struggles. The organization began to reshape the bullpen by signing Mark Melancon to a lucrative free agent contract this offseason but reinforcements are still needed.
3 Chris Archer to Los Angeles Dodgers
Ever since Chris Archer became a star pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, he's long been discussed in trade rumors. With the organization not trending upwards, they'll look to ship anyone out of Florida as long as they can get substantial prospects in return. When it comes to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they have said prospects to get a deal done, making an Archer to LA move even more logical.
2 Jose Quintana to Astros
Speaking of the rich getting richer, the Houston Astros are quietly positioning themselves as the Chicago Cubs of the American League. They have the young talent in Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Alex Bregman. They've brought in Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Josh Redick as veteran reinforcements. It appears that they're one pitcher away from having a top-notch rotation.
1 Los Angeles Angels Trade Mike Trout
When looking up and down every single MLB roster, there is no other player that can be named the face of the league than Mike Trout. The Los Angeles Angels center fielder does it all on the field — he can hit for power and average, is a fast runner, and is a tremendous defender — and is a model citizen off of it. Unfortunately, his organization has done him wrong by not giving him any bit of help on the field.
Throughout his six-year career, the Angels have finished in first place just one time — and as Trout ages, he's going to want to play for a winner. The reason there is no prediction on what team he'll be traded to is because every single team in baseball will be vying for his services. The Angels are in no position to win in 2017 and Trout's frustrations will show. Don't be shocked if he demands a trade and he's playing elsewhere before the year is over.
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