Oh, man. This column is going to be awful. No one likes mock trades. Your team gives up too much. The other team gives up too little. How dare I suggest these trades. How dare I.
But they're the high-fructose corn syrup of baseball writing. So irresistible, even if they give you diabetes of the soul. I think the problem with a lot of these, though, is that they're phrased in a way that's too self-assured or clicky. Five trades that need to happen. Five trades that make sense for both sides. Five trades that must happen or the portal will close and we will all die in this shadow world.
Instead, allow me to present Five Trades That Would Interest Me Greatly for Several Minutes, and I'm Suggesting Them Because It's Not Like I'd Be the One Held Accountable for Them.
1. Giancarlo Stanton for Jurickson Profar
I can't believe I'm the first to come up with … oh, right. It's actually a hobby of mine to watch this Twitter search update in real time. Every five or ten minutes, like clockwork. Keep it open in a tab throughout the day. It's beautiful.
There's a reason for it, though. It's rare for a #1 prospect to be blocked quite like this. Sure, the Rangers could move Profar to second or the outfield, and shift whatever they need to after that. But what's the point? The whole point of Profar is that he's supposed to be a shortstop who can hit. A second baseman who can hit like Profar is projected to hit is cool, but probably not the #1 prospect in the land. And he'd have to really boost the power to get that value back in the outfield.
And if you're going to trade the #1 prospect in baseball, why not for a historically freakish slugger who is still just 23 with three-plus years of team control? Back in April, Adam J. Morris suggested it would take Profar, Mike Olt, Martin Perez, and another prospect to get Stanton. A down first half and more sketchy leg problems have certainly hurt Stanton's value. I'd say Profar (and his five-plus years of team control) is a fair return for someone with the risk/reward of Stanton.
Mostly, though, I just want to see it. There have been some young-on-young swaps recently, like Delmon Young for Matt Garza, or Edinson Volquez for Josh Hamilton. But there hasn't been anything like Profar-for-Stanton since the Roberto Alomar/Fred McGriff trade -- and that had as much to do with Tony Fernandez and Joe Carter as it did with the young guys.
C'mon. Amuse us, Rangers and Marlins.
2. Corey Seager, Chris Reed for Jonathan Papelbon, Michael Young
Look, I'm not just trolling Dodgers fans.
Look, I'm not only trolling Dodgers fans. I'm pretty sure the Dodgers will make a substantial deadline move. They're fated to make a substantial deadline move. It will happen. They're not going to walk into the club unless they're wearing their best furs. Also, picture the world of baseball transactions as an exclusive nightclub for that last sentence to make sense.
But they've already made a trade for the rotation. The outfield is overstuffed, which means the only spots to make a splash would be the bullpen or second/third base. Why not both? And considering that Michael Young ...
/pulls toad from tank
/takes huge lick
/puts toad back in tank
... can play both second and third, he could combine with Papelbon to give the Dodgers exactly what they don't really need but think they do. As for the Phillies, they'll be devastated to lose their closer, but this will free up payroll for the reloading. Which will consist of a three-year deal for Grant Balfour.
3. Tyler Pastornicky, Cody Martin for Ervin Santana
It took me a while to find the Royalsiest trade possible. I think this will do, though. Pastornicky is a shortstop in Triple-A with a decent defensive reputation and a .310 batting average. Seems like the perfect candidate to switch to second base. If you're the Royals. Martin is already 23, so it's not like there's a lot of projection left. He's a solid prospect, but not a top-100 kind of guy. And while we'll really never know what else the Royals would have been offered for Santana, we'll be unable to shake the feeling that there was something that would fit just a little better …
Santana would go 9-0 with a 2.19 ERA for the rest of the year with the Braves, of course.
4. Hunter Pence, Sergio Romo, Jose Mijares for Nick Castellanos
The Tigers moved the 21-year-old Castellanos to the outfield, and he's holding his own in Triple-A. He was the #21 prospect in baseball before the season, according to Baseball America, and he jumped to #15 in the midseason rankings. He good, alright. He good.
Pence is a free agent after the season; Romo and Mijares after the 2014 season. That's similar to the team control the Tigers had for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante when they traded the previously untouchable Jacob Turner to the Marlins, plus they'd get an extra lefty reliever thrown in. It's far-fetched, but it's not completely out of line for a win-now team.
The Giants would get a top prospect that they could jerk in and out of the lineup for years while loudly pointing out his faults. Win/win. And they're likely to be in reloading mode instead of rebuilding, so whatever they get back for a guy like Romo would have to be pretty close to major-league ready. Castellanos would be a name-brand prospect with whom they could appease the panda-hatted, ticket-buying masses.
5. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to the Red Sox for absolutely nobody
The first non-troll suggestion. The Red Sox are mighty proud of the prospect stash they've built over the years, and they're probably sick of the grabby teams asking too much for second-tier starters. The solution might be the Cuban amateur who defected earlier this year. Baseball Prospectus talked to a scout about Gonzalez:
"Very athletic pitcher who possesses six pitches. Fastball can run up to 96-97 mph but sits mainly 94-95. Also has a good curve, real good cutter, slider, change, and forkball. Solid makeup, very good kid and comes from a great family. Has stamina for 50-60 pitches now, but could slot in as a no. 2-3 starter in the big leagues by late August with some seasoning."
This is almost certainly the most realistic move here, as the Red Sox have already confirmed their interest. It would cost the Red Sox upward of $50 million, apparently. So they would have to be pretty danged sure.
Looks good from here.