Monday marked two weeks before the MLB trade deadline arrives. We’ve already seen the Chicago Cubs pull the trigger and land a much-needed starting arm in Jose Quintana. There’s no questioning the huge question mark that is the Washington Nationals bullpen. They’ve started the search in landing arms, via Oakland, in Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. While neither strike me a dominant closer, they should help sure up the late innings of ball games. With numerous teams looking for pitching, there are still those looking to acquire bats. This week, I want to focus on batters that could be changing area codes in “That’s Amore!” Hitters Who Could Be On The Move.
Hosmer is set to become a free agent at season’s end. The Royals currently sit two games out of both the AL Central and a Wild Card spot. As the deadline inches closer, and the Royals start to lose ground, there’s no question they will look to move the free agent to be. Hosmer enters Monday slashing .311/.368/.480. Across the board, his slash line is a career-high, and he has a chance to break his career-high of 25 home runs set last season. Where does Hosmer fit? He would be an immediate upgrade for the St. Louis Cardinals. After moving Matt Adams to the Braves, there is an open slot at first. It would make sense to keep Matt Carpenter at first base while allowing another player to slot in at first. At 27, Hosmer can be the answer for the next five to seven seasons. The Cardinals will need to move quickly to compete for the National League Central for the foreseeable future. With the Cubs core being young, the Cardinals need to think outside the box. What would Hosmer cost? The Cardinals have talented minor league arms in Luke Weaver, Alex Reyes, Marco Gonzales, Jack Flaherty, and Dakota Hudson. Assuming Kansas City would look to bolster their minor league arms, there could be a package put together that helps both clubs build for the future. Finding a long-term answer, at first base, is a dire need for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Six games out of both a Wild Card spot and the AL Central, it’s only a matter of time before Detroit starts rebuilding. Al Avila will be answering calls on every player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if J.D. Martinez brings the most value in return. Detroit’s window is nearly shut for a championship, and now is the time to start the fire sale. Like Hosmer, Martinez is a free agent after the 2017 season. Dark horse teams include Colorado and Arizona. Teams looking for a power bat will be zeroing in on Martinez. St. Louis and Los Angeles seem like likely destinations should Martinez be moved. Randal Grichuk has underperformed, and with Stephen Piscotty and Dexter Fowler locked up, St. Louis will be in the market for an outfield bat with power. As I mentioned previously, the Cardinals have a plethora of arms Detroit could be interested in. Outfielder Magneuris Sierra could be included in a package along with infielders Eliezer Alvarez and Edmundo Sosa. Of course, there could be an expiring contract deal in J.D. Martinez for Lance Lynn. Similar to Hosmer, trading for Martinez comes with risk as he hits free agency this winter. If the Cardinals could get Martinez to sign long-term he could be the power bat this lineup is missing.
The only thing missing from the Dodgers roster is a power bat in the outfield. Yasiel Puig has failed to live up to his rookie season, and Joc Pederson strikes out at an astronomical rate. Martinez would give the Dodgers the bat they need to solidify this offense that already features Corey Seager and rookie sensation Cody Bellinger. Bellinger has split time between the outfield and first, but having him stay at first would be the ideal situation. Similar to all teams acquiring about Martinez, the rental status could kill a potential deal. The Dodgers possess more than enough talent to acquire Martinez, and it’s only a matter of time before they pull off their first big trade.
Dark horse teams include the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. Both teams find themselves 10+ games behind Los Angeles, and are currently one and two for the NL Wild Card spots. Of the two, Arizona’s lineup lacks any sort of power from the outfield position. Adding Martinez would immediately allow him to slot somewhere between Jack Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. Carlos Gonzalez is having the worst statistical season of his career. With a majority of the outfield power coming from leadoff man Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies are in dire need of a power-hitting outfielder. If they want to stay in playoff contention, and make a push in the playoffs, they desperately need another outfielder that can make a difference at the plate.
The Marlins are up for sale, and the incoming owners have a mess to clean. The team has a considerable amount of debt, and Giancarlo’s 13-year, $325 million dollar contract gets into the nitty gritty portion as he’s to make $25mil+ starting in 2018. With the contract putting much strain on the organization, Stanton as well as Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich could be on their way out. Like Stanton, Yelich and Ozuna have years of control with four and two years respectively. Having controllable contracts could make the trio more appealing than the like of J.D. Martinez or other outfielders set for free agency after this season. As I mentioned earlier, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Colorado, and Arizona immediately become players for a Marlins outfielder. If the Brewers are to make a deep push, I can see them as a player for Marcell Ozuna.
There’s no question Stanton brings the most potential of all three outfielders. However, his contract is a nightmare for any general manager inquiring for his services. There is the out-clause after 2020, but he’s owned an awful lot of money ($77mil) before he could choose to exercise his out-clause. Regardless, Stanton gives an immediate upgrade to any team that acquires the right-handed hitting slugger. If John Mozeliak can find a way to land Stanton, the Cardinals would get an answer to much-needed outfield help.
Assuming the Dodgers would agree to add another left-handed batter, Yelich makes sense. He can hit anywhere in the lineup, and his ability to get on-base would allow this potent Dodgers lineup to do major damage come playoffs. With five years, $58.25 remaining on his contract, Yelich is an appealing option for the Dodgers, let alone any team, in the market for an outfielder. The power potential is there, and playing for a winning team could bring out the best in Yelich. After Los Angeles, Yelich can easily fill the void looking to be filled by Arizona, Colorado, and Milwaukee. He immediately becomes an upgrade for each team. Marcell Ozuna is another option for all four teams. The outfielder is arbitration-eligible through 2019, and the righty is well on his way to setting career-highs in homeruns, RBI, runs scored, OBP, and SLG. Assuming the team acquiring Ozuna could lock him up with a long-term deal, they could be getting the biggest steal out of all three outfielders. My dark horse are the Philadelphia Phillies. They have the prospects stocked up, and could be ready to bring in a top outfielder as the rebuild has begun.
Todd Frazier & Mike Moustakas
There’s no team in need of a third baseman more than the Boston Red Sox. Early reports suggest Frazier to be heading to Boston, and Frazier could give them a much needed boost. Of course, the average has struggled, but the power still has him on pace for 30+ home runs. The expiring contract makes Frazier a rental, but playing with Boston could allow Frazier to resign with Boston over the winter. Red Sox third baseman are currently hitting .228 with seven home runs and 40 RBI. After Frazier, Mike Moustakas could be another option for the Red Sox. Coming off an All-Star appearance, Moustakas is currently slashing .270/.303/.553 with 25 HR and 55 RBI. While Moustakas is more appealing, the Royals could ask an handful for Moustakas. Just like Frazier, Moustakas could be an appealing option assuming he decides to resign over the winter. After the failed Pablo Sandoval experiment, the Red Sox could decide to go cheaper, and acquire Frazier to push their three game lead in the division. Frazier and Moustakas are likely to be moved, and the Red Sox are a key player for one or the other.
David Dahl & Raimel Tapia
The Rockies are in the market for a starting pitcher, and any team looking to move an arm could inquire about outfielders David Dahl and Raimel Tapia. Both rookies are highly touted, and could help any team looking to develop a young outfielder. The Cardinals immediately come to mind as they could look to move the expiring contract of starting pitcher Lance Lynn. I can easily see a deal involving either Dahl or Tapia for Lance Lynn. Lynn’s had success while pitching in Colorado (1-1/2.84/1.105/18:5), and he immediately becomes a major upgrade for a rotation making a push to the post-season. Assuming the Rockies take a chances on a rental, both teams could fill voids with a deadline deal.
Deeper options include New York Mets’ Zack Wheeler or Atlanta’s Jaime Garcia. I’d like to see the Rockies go after Zack Wheeler. He’s controlled through 2020, and could be acquired for a package including one of Dahl or Tapia. Wheeler gives the Rockies another young arm with huge upside. Jaime would be another rental, but could be had for lesser prospects than Dahl or Tapia assuming Atlanta agrees. Another under-the-radar move could be acquiring the Phillies’ Aaron Nola. The Phillies are ready to make a move for a younger outfielder, and Nola could fill the need for another starting pitcher.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday July 16th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #94 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and he focuses on spot starting low owned pitchers. His articles publish every Sunday morning.