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The 7 trades that should happen before the MLB trade deadline

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Some of these trades are realistic. Some of them would be a tougher sell. But all of them should happen.

Buffalo David Bitton Celebrates New Men’s Shop With New York Baseball Players Noah Syndergaard And Jacob deGrom At Macy’s Herald Square
Sorry, kid, everything you love will eventually go away.
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Buffalo David Bitton

Let’s be clear about what this post is. This is not a selection of specific trade rumors. There is nothing worse than a national writer taking five seconds to look at a Baseball America list, picking a few names out of a hat, and calling it a viable trade. Now, even if I studied a team’s farm system like I was writing a 600-page book on them, and I talked to every person in the organization’s front office for dozens of hours, I will still come up with a fake trade that both sides hate. But, more importantly, I’m not willing to pretend to work that hard.

That’s how fake trades work on the internet. Never fake trade on the internet.

So I’m just listing the return the contending teams will get, and you’ll just have to use your imagination if you’re a fan of the rebuilding teams. The only rule is that I can’t take a team with a bottom-ranked farm system like the Giants and somehow get them Jacob deGrom. For the big whales, there needs to be a lot of prospect plankton.

Let’s dive in, then, and make people mad! Here are some fake trades that should totally happen.

The Nationals should trade with the Marlins and get J.T. Realmuto

The Marlins are on pace to lose only 94 games this year, which means they’re better than expected. Still, getting Realmuto out of there is something of a humanitarian mission at this point, and the good news is that there are all sorts of excellent fits for a sweet-swinging catcher with Gold Glove potential. The four worst teams at catcher according to Wins Above Average are all contending right now: the Nationals, A’s, Rockies, and Red Sox. All of them could make a good case for emptying the arm for a 27-year-old catcher under team control for two more years.

The A’s need pitching more than hitting right now, even if that hitting comes with a bonus skill that magically helps pitching. The Red Sox can go in several directions, and they’ll have too many irons in the fire to put all of their eggs into a Realmuto bidding war, especially if nobody’s really sure if the Marlins are even selling. The Rockies have never been much of a trade-the-farm kind of team, and I’m not sure why they would start now.

The Nationals, then. They’re suffering through the death rattle of the Matt Wieters experiment, and they have no plans to stop contending soon. They have the prospects to dangle, like [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], and it would be perfectly neo-Marlins to trade the last beloved player within the division for maximum pain.

The Red Sox should trade with the Reds and get Scooter Gennett

The Red Sox are, uh, doin’ just fine as is. But if you look at that same chart of teams sorted by Wins Above Average for each position, you’ll find the Red Sox at or near the bottom in all of baseball for three positions: catcher, second base, and third base. It’s possible that they’ll swoop on Realmuto or Wilson Ramos, but wouldn’t it make more sense for them to get someone who can play either second or third?

That would be Gennett, Probably. He only has a handful of games at third in his professional career, but his arrival wouldn’t have to be touted as the End of the Dustin Pedroia Era or Bad News for Sweet, Sweet Rafael Devers. It could just be, “Hey, Scooter’s here to help. We’ll find at-bats for everyone! And then the Red Sox could make it the end of the Dustin Pedroia Era or bad news for Devers, but, you know, quietly.

My only concern with this deal is that the Red Sox don’t have a great farm system, partially because they’ve been promoting a lot of their best prospects over the years, and the Reds don’t have to deal him for anything less than the perfect deal. Which means the Red Sox might have to part with someone off the 25-man roster. Like Rafael D

[apple whizzes by my head]

Like Rafae

[pineapple whizzes by my head]

Like Ra

[six coconuts and a newspaper vending machine whiz by my head]

Look, like I said, I’m not here to create elaborate fake trades. Y’all figure out what you need to do, but it would hurt to get Gennett. At the same time, the Red Sox have the best rotation and bullpen, statistically, in baseball. A little push for the lineup would go a long way, especially in October.

The Rockies should trade with the White Sox and get Jose Abreu

Ian Desmond’s overall numbers aren’t pretty, but they belie how miserable his start to the season was. He’s probably fine. Ish. Fine-ish.

But here’s where the Rockies have ranked in first base production according to FanGraphs’ WAR over the last few years:

2018 - 29th
2017 - 29th
2016 - 27th
2015 - 24th

The last time they were any good, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer were hitting the snot out of the ball, which was 1937 or so. This is a chronic problem for the Rockies, and while Abreu isn’t likely to turn his old-player skills into a fine wine, and he’s in the middle of his worst season, that’s just going to make him more affordable. He’s under team control next year, so he isn’t just a rental.

I would take the over on Abreu’s stats at Coors Field. The Rockies’ problem yet again is that they have a sneakily feckless lineup, and the easiest way to fix that would be to get a thumper at first base. Here’s one who might be discounted because of minor dings and scrapes, but the ceiling is worth the chance the Rockies would have to take.

The Brewers should trade with the Mets and get Jacob deGrom

It’s actually a very Brewers trade. They gave up Michael Brantley for a short burst of CC Sabathia brilliance, and they gave up Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi for a short burst of Zack Greinke. Dumping a pile of prospects for an ace-brand ace is very much what they do.

This would be a little different because the Brewers already gave up some of their best trade chips for Christian Yelich, so it’s not a perfect match. They can’t make their very best prospect untouchable and offer the Mets human anagram Lucas Erceg. They would have to part with, well, him. I’m not going to type it. I promised I wouldn’t type actual offers. But this one would be an obvious fit, with the Brewers parting with someone who would make them sigh and grumble and wail, and the Mets acquiring a prospect who has the whiff of can’t-miss to offer to their angry fans.

If you look at the top prospects in baseball, you’ll notice a common thread among the top half: Most of those prospects belong to teams who probably wouldn’t be interested in giving up anything for a short-term boost like deGrom, at least not right now. The Brewers would have some competition from every team in baseball, sure, but not all of them can offer a top-50 prospect. Not all of them would be willing to, either.

The Brewers could go small, with someone like Tyson Ross or Bartolo Colon. But it’s much more like them to go big. This would be the biggest, and I’ve decided that it should happen. Look at me, I’m banging my gavel. It’s official.

Lightning round!

The Giants should trade with the Reds and get Adam Duvall

You might not realize this, but there is a very vocal, very strange faction of Giants fans who complain about the Adam Duvall trade all the time. He’s having a miserable offensive season, but he fits the Giants’ luxury-tax aspirations, and his power and defense make him a strong-buy low candidate.

And it would make things quieter around here.

The Braves should trade with the Blue Jays and get J.A. Happ

I mean, sure, Anibal Sanchez is definitely going to keep pitching like he’s in his prime, and it’s silly of me to even question this.

But what this section presupposes is, maybe he won’t?

Happ is a free agent after the season, so the Braves wouldn’t have to worry about an expensive veteran being hard to displace when one of their 387 pitching prospects is ready next year. And they can afford to part with a couple prospects, what with them having 387 of them. They can pick their rental, but Happ is probably the best mix of effectiveness and reasonable cost.

The Yankees should trade with the Mets and get Noah Syndergaard

Because some men just want to watch the world burn.