May 21, 2024

Bowden: Way too early MLB trades I’d like to see happen, plus Luis Arraez trade takeaways

The Padres and Marlins didn’t need to wait 87 days till the MLB trade deadline on July 30 to make the primary huge trade of the season, as they accomplished a five-player swap late Friday evening that grew to become official Saturday. San Diego acquired infielder Luis Arraez, a two-time batting champion, from Miami for middle fielder Dillon Head, the twenty fifth total choose in final yr’s MLB Draft, plus three different minor leaguers, outfielder Jakob Marsee, first baseman Nathan Martorella and right-handed reliever Woo-Suk Go. San Diego also received almost $8 million in the deal.

The Padres considerably improved the highest of their lineup by including Arraez, an on-base machine who’s one the most effective pure hitters the sport has seen in years. He jogs my memory of Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs and Rod Carew along with his elite bat management and talent to put the ball the place the protection isn’t enjoying. He has a staggering profession strikeout proportion of seven.5 p.c. (League common over the previous six years is 22.9 p.c.) He’ll create site visitors for the remainder of the Padres lineup, together with Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Jake Cronenworth. Arraez’s finest place is designated hitter, adopted by first base, second base and third base, and he’ll in all probability be utilized in all 4 as that may permit the Padres to rotate their infielders into the DH spot to get them some relaxation. He’s underneath crew management by means of the 2025 season.

The Marlins weren’t going to find a way to signal Arraez long run and with so many wants throughout their depth chart, this was the kind of deal they’d to make. Head was the headliner and most essential participant the Marlins acquired as he may finally turn out to be their long-term reply in middle area and the lead-off spot. Marsee profiles as a strong fourth outfielder sort within the majors, Martorella can hit however lacks nook infield energy, and Go, who signed a $4.5 million deal this offseason, has an opportunity to be a depth reliever for Miami. This received’t be a preferred trade in South Florida because the Marlins’ two finest bats from a yr in the past — Arraez and Jorge Soler, who signed with the Giants within the offseason — at the moment are gone with out their offense being changed on the major-league degree. However, it was vital for his or her long-term future.

I favored this trade for either side and it acquired me enthusiastic about different All-Star-caliber gamers who might be dealt over the subsequent three months earlier than the deadline. Generally talking, it’s manner too early to make trades as a result of most groups need to wait till not less than mid-July to see whether or not they’re in competition, however that doesn’t imply we will’t have some enjoyable and talk about some gamers who might be moved nearer to the deadline relying on how issues play out.

Here are three manner too early trades I’d like to see occur and why these offers may make sense for either side.



MLB trade grades: Taking inventory of the Padres-Marlins Luis Arraez deal

1. Mets trade 1B Pete Alonso to Mariners for RHP Emerson Hancock and 1B Ty France

Alonso might be a free agent after this season and there’s no indication the Mets are going to lengthen him long run earlier than he reaches free company. Therefore, in the event that they aren’t within the wild-card race come late July, they need to trade Alonso and check out to re-sign him within the offseason. He loves New York and loves being a Met, so that they’d have a professional likelihood to signal him within the winter. In the meantime, by parting with Alonso earlier than the trade deadline, they may get again a promising younger pitcher in Hancock, the sixth total participant taken within the 2020 draft, who debuted final yr and this yr has logged a 4.75 ERA over six begins. Hancock, 24, has given up two runs or fewer in every of his previous 4 begins. France, who will flip 30 this season, additionally comes again within the deal to New York. He may play first base for the Mets the remainder of this season, and along with his expertise at third, second and DH, provides them a multi-position participant and a possible offseason trade chip (notably in the event that they re-sign Alonso). To me, his swing and method say he ought to be significantly better than his manufacturing — .250/.337/.336 slash line and a 99 OPS+ final yr and a 97 OPS+ this yr — so perhaps a change of surroundings would assist him. France is underneath crew management by means of subsequent season.

The Mariners, on the opposite aspect of this deal, would fill their largest want, touchdown an enormous middle-of-the-order energy bat to give them a significantly better likelihood of profitable the AL West and even working the desk in October. Seattle may substitute Hancock within the rotation with Bryan Woo and nonetheless have the most effective five-man rotation in baseball. Woo, who logged 4.21 ERA over 18 begins final yr as a rookie, is on the injured checklist however reportedly nearing a return.

2. Blue Jays trade 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Astros for 1B/OF Joey Loperfido and OF Kenedy Corona

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. celebrates after hitting a grand slam Sunday. (Geoff Burke / USA Today)

Guerrero might be a free agent after the 2025 season and the Blue Jays have yet to sign him to a long-term deal. They’d get a significantly better return in a trade now than they might within the offseason or within the leadup to subsequent yr’s trade deadline; due to this fact, they’ll want to significantly think about dealing him this July in the event that they fall out of the race. Guerrero continues to be solely 25 years outdated and simply getting into his prime years. Could you think about him hitting between Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker over the subsequent two seasons (not less than)? Vlad Jr.’s finest season was in 2021, when he led the majors with 48 house runs and topped the AL with a 1.002 OPS. He adopted that up with a 32-homer season and a Gold Glove Award in 2022. However, the three-time All-Star’s numbers dipped final yr to 26 homers and a .788 OPS, and this yr he’s batting solely .239 with 4 homers, 15 RBIs and a .711 OPS. A change of surroundings, particularly a transfer to Houston, might be an enormous increase for him. The Astros need assistance at first base. José Abreu, who final week was optioned to the team’s spring training facility, seems to be in critical decline. Jon Singleton has performed properly for them, however he’s extra of a strong bench participant. Guerrero would clear up first base for the Astros and actually lengthen their lineup.

In return, the Blue Jay would get Loperfido, who may take over first base for them long run. He was main the minors with 13 house runs when the Astros promoted him final week. Loperfido, 24, can also play left area. Corona, 24, can play all three outfield positions and profiles as a 20-home run, 30-stolen base, top-of-the-lineup sort producer. He is hitting .185/.340/.309 this season in Double A with 10 steals in 11 makes an attempt. Both gamers received’t be arbitration-eligible till not less than 2027.

3. Guardians trade right-handed relievers Hunter Gaddis and Cade Smith to Orioles for RF Heston Kjerstad

Heston Kjerstad, pictured final week towards the Yankees, made his MLB debut final September. (Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

The Guardians want to improve proper area for the short- and long-term and buying Kjerstad, the second total choose within the 2020 draft, would accomplish each goals. Kjerstad, 25, slashed .349/.431/.744 at Triple A this season with 10 house runs and 30 RBIs and has gone 2-for-9 since being promoted to the majors two weeks in the past. However, the Orioles’ outfield is overcrowded with proper fielder Anthony Santander, middle fielder Cedric Mullins and left fielders Colton Cowser and Austin Hays, together with Kyle Stowers and Coby Mayo, who’re major-league-ready however at Triple A. Kjerstad is gifted however might be expendable. (He ranked 20th on my top 50 prospects list last August.)

In this trade, the Orioles would purchase two strong, controllable relievers to assist fortify their bullpen. Gaddis, 26, has posted a 2.87 ERA in 17 appearances for Cleveland this season with 9.8 strikeouts per 9 innings and 1.7 walks per 9. Smith, 24, has logged a 2.30 ERA and 1.43 FIP over 16 appearances this yr, his first within the huge leagues, with 13.8 strikeouts per 9 (24 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings). The Guardians may afford to deal each righties as a result of they’ve a deep bullpen with nearer Emmanuel Clase and set-up males akin to Tim Herrin, Scott Barlow and Nick Sandlin, together with relievers working their manner again from accidents and extra good arms within the minors who’re prepared for promotions.

We don’t have to wait till June and July to have enjoyable discussing trade proposals. Please use the feedback part to share the trades you’d like to see. And, as at all times, thanks for studying. I respect you — sure, even the haters!



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(Top photograph of Pete Alonso: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)