I want to be excited about the Clay Buchholz trade, I really do. He used to be something like a star, and the Phillies are building a sneaky-good rotation. Sneaky competent? And, really, it’s still just Clay Buchholz.
On second thought, this trade really is a can of sardines in the earthquake kit. Better than nothing, but what now?
I’ll tell you what now. I’m going to make a bunch of trades, and they’re all official as soon as I publish. Read the new CBA if you don’t believe me. All of these trades make too much sense not to happen, and we’re bored, so let’s light some things on fire.
A very important note: I’m not going to pretend that I know what kind of prospect haul would go the other way. I’ll assume the teams can figure that out on their own. Because I’m not including the prospect return, these do not qualify as “fake trades,” and are not prohibited by internet law. It’s a crucial distinction.
These trades should probably happen, though.
Dodgers get Brian Dozier
The Dodgers need a second baseman to be the cherry on their offseason sundae, and it’s going to be a cherry covered in edible gold leaf, just because. All they’ve spent their money on this offseason is their own players, and that’s not exciting. The rotation is full. The outfield is full. They have a respectable bullpen and bench. And then you get to second base (Enrique Hernandez? Austin Barnes? Micah Johnson?). You know they’ll upgrade before the season starts.
Look over there. A second baseman who hit 42 home runs. That’s something a team would like to show off when it walks down the red carpet, alright. The Twins don’t have to trade Dozier, but if they were contemplating it, this is the perfect scenario. There’s a win-now team that’s loaded with prospects and willing to do a whole bunch to fill its Brian Dozier-shaped hole.
Also, the Dodgers trade Corey Seager, Julio Urias, and Cody Bellinger to get Dozier. I lied about the part where I’m not going to figure out the return for the other team, at least in this case. Also, the Twins get Clayton Kershaw, who is then flipped to the Angels. Remember, this is all binding.
Orioles get Jose Quintana
This pairing was included here before the latest rumors about Quintana and the Pirates, which also make a lot of sense. But I’ve made up my mind and I’m stubborn. The Orioles can stop screwing around with expensive pitchers like Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez, and get an ace who’s under team control for several years at a low price, which would allow them to be competitive for Manny Machado.
Difficulty: The Orioles don’t have a top-10 farm system, and the prospects they do have are probably made up (Chance Sisco and Ryan Mountcastle, looking at you). If there was ever a pitcher to make a team want to deal its best prospects, as well as a player or two off its 25-man roster, Quintana is it.
As of right now, the Orioles are planning to start both Gallardo and Jimenez, and you can watch a documentary about it next year, Earned Runs All Over the Place, Oh, God, They’re Everywhere, if my GoFundMe gets enough support. They’re still trying to slug their way out of this mess, and they just might do it. But Quintana has already proven he can thrive in a homer-happy ballpark, and he’s cheap. The Orioles won’t find another available pitcher who fits that description for a long, long time.
Cubs get Danny Duffy
The Cubs voluntarily parting ways with Jason Hammel is still weird. It was honorable that they decided to decline his option rather than trade him, I get that, but why didn’t they want him in the first place? To make room for Mike Montgomery, which would create an additional hole in the bullpen? That doesn’t make sense.
The Cubs are up to something.
Do not trust the Cubs.
It’s hard to see them matching up with the White Sox and Quintana. Maybe not in a prospect sense, but in a “spin on this extended middle finger” sense. Teams will make trades with crosstown rivals or hated rivals, and they’ll do it all the time. But this is a special case, with the Cubs being the darling of the city (more so) and the White Sox embarking on a painful, steady rebuild.
It’s not just the part where they’re rivals. It’s about optics and framing. There’s a way to rebuild without jabbing paying customers in the eye. The White Sox are doing that very, very well at the moment, giving their fans the proper amount of prospects and sugar plums to dance through their heads throughout the offseason. Sending a beloved player to that team, the offseason after they did that, well, no. Just no.
Anyway, Duffy fits. Quite well. The Royals know they aren’t keeping him after this season, and they probably should have gone full White Sox at the start of the offseason. Because he’ll be a free agent, the Cubs won’t have to part with all of their best prospects, like they would with Quintana. Just a couple good ones. Suddenly, the Cubs would have a rotation of doom, one through five, and their bullpen would be that much deeper.
Do not trust the Cubs. They’re up to something.
Astros get Billy Hamilton
The Astros have a center fielder. George Springer is fine out there, with Josh Reddick a solid fielder in right, too. Left field would be filled with a Norichika Aoki/Jake Marisnick/Teoscar Hernandez amalgam, which can work.
Or the Astros could get one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, which would help the entire roster. An extra outfielder also means that it’s easier to keep Reddick away from left-handers.
Just as important, though? The voom. Hamilton has something called voom. Voom is so hard to get. You never saw anything like it, I bet. And paired with Jose Altuve at the top of the order, it would drive the rest of the league batty. The Astros already look like they’re going to threaten 200 homers, if not blow past it, so a big trade for a young, Gold Glove-caliber outfielder filled with voom might make the most sense of all.
Giants get J.D. Martinez
Perhaps the most obvious trade of all, assuming the Tigers are still selling. The Giants don’t want a long-term commitment. Martinez is gone after the season. There’s a hole in left field that the Giants are planning to fill with a pair of young-ish players in their mid-20s, except what they really need is more power. Guaranteed power, not speculative power. Preferably right-handed power. Without it, the Giants are looking absurdly vulnerable against left-handers.
That shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Being weak against left-handers?
3. Right-handed weirdo
Yeah, no big deal. That’s just the rotation for the team that’s expected to be the Giants’ closest competition.
For now, though, the Giants are suggesting that they’re out of money because of the salary cap tax, which means that they’re saying they’re comfortable with Mac Williamson (reverse platoon splits his entire career) and Jarrett Parker (unplayable vs. left-handers).
You have to wonder if that will still be the case as soon as the Dodgers acquire Dozier, which means their infield will have hit nearly as many home runs in 2016 as the Giants’ entire roster. That might convince the ownership group to push past the tax threshold just a little bit more.
Also, it’s too bad. The trade is official because I published this. Figure out the prospects going back the other way, Giants.
We still have months of offseason left. If you think it’s dull now, just wait until the Hall of Fame voting is over. Brrrr. Until then, all we have are these fake trades that should happen. Get on it, teams.