Chris Sale, Jonathan Lucroy among those who could change teams
By Jim Duquette
Just one week remains before this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and teams have thus far been relatively slow in wheeling and dealing. But if last year is any indication, this may just be the calm before the storm -- with the Aroldis Chapman deal serving as the first raindrop to fall.
The 2015 season saw a flurry of trades -- headlined by Yoenis Cespedes, David Price and Troy Tulowitzki -- occur in the final days of July. Now that Chapman has been shipped from the Yankees to the Cubs for a package that includes elite shortstop Gleyber Torres -- MLB's 24th-best overall prospect -- look for some other significant pieces to be moved over the next seven days. The following blockbuster trades make sense for the clubs involved:
Chris Sale to the Rangers: The Rangers made one of the boldest moves at the deadline last year -- acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phillies -- and they have had had talks with the White Sox regarding Sale after his recent team-issued suspension. Chicago's system has little talent overall, but that could change quickly if the club parts with someone of Sale's stature. The cost would not be cheap, but placing Sale in the rotation with Hamels and Yu Darvish would make Texas the team to beat in the American League. Look for Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels to pull off a blockbuster again this year, with the club possibly giving up a package with Jurickson Profar, corner infielder Joey Gallo and right-hander Dillon Tate -- the latter two represent baseball's seventh and 31st-best prospects,respectively -- to acquire Chicago's stud left-hander.
Rich Hill and Ryan Madson to the Red Sox: Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and general manager Mike Hazen have already been extremely aggressive on the trade market, acquiring Drew Pomeranz, Brad Ziegler, Aaron Hill and Michael Martinez. There is growing sentiment that the club has another big move in it, and a trade for Hill and Madson would fill Boston's needs perfectly. The Sox could afford to put Eduardo Rodriguez in the deal, and they still have a slew of talent in their system to acquire the pair of A's arms without parting with outfielder Andrew Benintendi or second baseman Yoan Moncada. Rodriguez and third baseman Rafael Devers, MLB's No. 14 prospect, would be a fair package.
Jonathan Lucroy to the Indians: This deal makes perfect sense now that catcher Yan Gomes is likely out for the season with a separated throwing shoulder, even though Cleveland insists that it will fill the position from within. Roberto Perez and Chris Gimenez are adequate offensively, but Lucroy would make a big difference for a lineup that may be without Michael Brantley for the foreseeable future. And to note, the Indians should be in serious offensive acquisition mode after seeing their lineup score six runs over a three-game weekend set vs. the O's. The Indians could potentially part with outfielders Bradley Zimmer or Clint Frazier -- baseball's 22nd and 23rd-best prospects, respectively -- plus Perez for Milwaukee's star backstop.
Jake Odorizzi to the Marlins: Miami had been hunting for starting pitching even before Wei-Yin Chen went on the disabled list this week with a left elbow sprain. Evaluators speak to how little the Marlins have in their system, but they do possess a couple of impact pieces that Tampa Bay could pry away in a trade for Odorizzi, who is under team control for the next two seasons. If the Marlins are in "go-for-it" mode, they will make this trade and then potentially another depending on Chen's prognosis. The Marlins could offer their second and third-best prospects -- first baseman Josh Naylor and southpaw Jarlin Garcia, respectively -- to get a deal done for Odorizzi.
Andrew Cashner to the Orioles: Cashner is a player in whom upwards of six teams are interested at the moment, and now that the Padres have reportedly traded Melvin Upton Jr. to the Blue Jays, it's likely their attention will turn to fielding offers for Cashner, who would give the O's a pitcher who can look like an ace on his best day. Cashner is eligible for free agency after the season, so the cost to acquire him would not be enormous. Perhaps an offer of third baseman Jomar Reyes -- who is ranked the No. 2 prospect in Baltimore's system but is struggling for high Class A Frederick -- and some of their international pool money could get it done.
Jim Duquette, who was the Mets' GM in 2004, offers his opinions as a studio analyst and columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.