Trading Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber Is a Big Positive

It’s pretty much only a matter of time before the Cleveland Indians trade either starting pitchers Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Both will bring back big returns. The Indians need outfield help in any return for either or the two so expect a team with depth in that area to be the team to land one of the two tribe’s aces.

While Indians’ fans probably aren’t fans of the team dealing one of their top starters, it almost has to happen at this point. It will not only help the team now, but it will help them going forward with the potential talent they get in return. While it could be a possibility that both could get dealt, it’s unlikely for that to happen.

The clear positive here is the Indians have more than enough depth to account for a loss of any pitcher including Bauer and/or Kluber. There’s no arguing that Kluber is clearly one of the best in the game and his affordable contract makes him all the more attractive of a trade chip. Bauer further established himself as a top shelf starter last season with his outstanding numbers, so his trade value is high in his own right.

With the recently extended Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, and top prospect Triston McKenzie, the Indians can afford to trade one of the two in Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. You can also count the one who doesn’t get traded will be apart of that depth, obviously.

Kyle Tucker of the Astros and Alex Verdugo of the Dodgers would be great options to headline a trade package for one of the Indians’ ace’s, but that’s both if either team is willing to pull the trigger on a deal due to their interest, respectfully. Of course, there’s many other teams in on the two, including the Mets who have Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo as options for the Indians to choose from and others from interested teams around the league.

Cleveland has an exciting offseason and will still go into the 2019 season with a contending roster even if one of their starters in Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber are traded.

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Destination Speculation; Winter Meetings Edition

We are officially to the annual GM winter meetings, which means executives from every MLB organization will get together and is also a time where we usually see the most offseason activity amongst all 30 clubs around the league(it also includes the Rule 5 draft, which is held on the last day of the meetings).

With that being said, rumors will be all over the place pertaining to free agents and trade candidates alike. There’s always that move or two that will catch us all off guard, so it’s important to keep up with the latest news concerning each team around baseball, including the team you root for, because well, you never know. Here we will speculate on places we could see some oft-talked about players potentially going during the upcoming week. First we start with:

-Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer

The Cleveland Indians have been one of the most talked about teams thus far, due to their desire to shop starters Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was just signed to an extension which makes him less likely to be traded, but that still leaves Kluber and Bauer. Both would fetch potentially huge returns in trades and Cleveland will not settle for anything less than a large return. Teams we’ve heard discussing the Indians’ starters so far have been the Mets and Dodgers. Other speculative fits could also be the Braves, Padres, Reds, Phillies, and Astros. Perhaps Houston namely, could include Kyle Tucker in a deal for Kluber or Bauer due to the Indians’ desire to acquire some outfielders.

-Noah Syndergaard Trade?

Rumors have swirled around Syndergaard thus far, to the point where multiple teams have discussed players with the Mets however no deal has come to fruition. Since then, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made it known he doesn’t intend on dealing the Mets No.2 ace unless a massive offer comes along. Could he get dealt? The Padres have been the most aggressive team on Syndergaard yet Mets brass has insisted San Diego include one of Fernando Tatis Jr or Mackenzie Gore as part of a trade package that, unsurprisingly, the Padres don’t want to offer. The same teams listed above in the Kluber/Bauer section could be in on Syndergaard, but the Mets surely wouldn’t deal “Thor” to the Braves or Phillies. Don’t be surprised if he gets dealt despite Mets management saying they are unlikely to deal him.

-Does Dipoto Continue Dealing?

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been wheeling and dealing over the past several weeks, both building up the farm system and adding young, MLB ready talent. While Seattle has already dealt most of its top trade chips, could Dipoto still surprise us by biting on an offer for star outfielder Mitch Haniger or perhaps starter Marco Gonzales? We will find out this week. Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, and other high priced veterans recently acquired have been talked about already too. Don’t underestimate dealin Dipoto, he always has something up his sleeve.

-Bryce Harper and Manny Machado Sweepstakes:

It’s not entirely known if Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado will sign at the winter meetings but if they do, expect record contracts like we’ve all predicted. It will surely be fascinating to see who will end up with one of these two(or even both).

-Yusei Kukuchi

He’s been posted by his home team in Japan, and while it’s unlikely he signs during the meetings, whoever wins the bidding for his services will surely be adding a quality, young starter who can slot in well in any big league rotation. Expect west coast teams to have the most interest.

There will be A LOT more moves this week, including plenty of free agent signings(at least we hope due to last year’s free agent freeze), and trades will flow in with notable players such as Zack Greinke, J.T. Realmuto, and Madison Bumgarner potentially being dealt this week. It will make for another fascinating week this hot stove season so stay tuned and feel free to continue the discussion with your comments below!

NHL Introduces Seattle as 32nd Franchise; Will Begin Play in 2021-22 Season

It’s finally official hockey fans! The league has unanimously approved the City of Seattle to become the 32nd team to play in the NHL.

It had been rumored for the last few years that Seattle would eventually end up with a team following the arrival of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and indeed that has happened.

There has also been a bit of a shakeup division wise following the news. Once Seattle begins play in 2021, they will play in the Pacific Division, while the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central division that same year to pave way for Seattle to play.

It was exciting to see the Las Vegas Golden Knights enter the NHL for the first time last season, and even more exciting watching the team get to the Stanley Cup finals last year as well.

What the future has in store for Seattle remains to be seen, but one things for sure, they will now have a team and it will be just as exciting as it was when the Golden Knights first arrived. Seattle has yet to have a name, but we should expect to see those details emerge within the next year. Stay tuned.

Sonny Gray Drawing Widespread Interest

The Brewers and Padres are the two latest teams with interest in Yankees starter Sonny Gray.

Gray has become one of the most oft-mentioned trade candidates early on in the offseason, as the Yankees are looking to deal the struggling 29-year old on the heels of a down 2018 season that saw the right-hander post a 4.90 ERA in 130.1 IP. Despite those numbers, he was a far better pitcher on the road than he was in New York’s home ballpark, which helps him have some trade value and explains why so many teams are eyeing a bounce back for Gray.

The Braves, Rangers, and several other teams have also been linked to Gray recently, so expect Gray to be dealt sooner than later.

Reds Interested In Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer

The Cincinnati Reds are on a quest this offseason to add to their starting pitching staff and have continued to look just about everywhere for available options. The team has already shown interest in starters such as Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, and trade candidate Sonny Gray. But now they are interested in a couple of other high profile trade candidates.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi says the Reds are open to a blockbuster trade that would send either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati, but also cautions that there hasn’t been progress on any deal to this point.

Obviously this would be a huge development if the Reds and Indians were to come together on a trade this significant, but the Reds need starters and the Indians are looking to cut payroll and have shown an interest in trading one of their top starters for immediate and lower-cost help on other parts of the big-league roster.

The Indians are looking for outfielders and bullpen help so the Reds would have to be willing to sacrifice in one of those areas to make a trade possible.

MLB Top Prospects; 2019’s Rookie Class Looks Impressive

The 2018 season saw the debuts of several top prospects around the league, including AL Rookie of the year and two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani and NL Rookie of the year Ronald Acuna Jr. Both phenoms have plenty of years of elite seasons ahead and no doubt will be entertaining to watch as they continue to grow as major leaguers.

They weren’t the only two to debut in impressive fashion either. Dodgers starter Walker Buehler and Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty both had strong rookie years as well, along with the arrivals of Yankees top prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, who made strong first year impressions as well. And let’s not forget Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto, who burst onto the scene at just 18 years of age and crushed major league pitching. Plenty of other future talent made brief debuts as well.

So with that being said, what does 2019 look like in regards to top prospect arrivals? Needless to say, nothing short of impressive. It could look even stronger than the 2018 season we just saw. In fact, most of the top 10 prospects over at MLB.com and other outlets may or will make their debuts, including uber prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr.

It may take longer for some than others, both due to service time considerations and/or teams feeling like their respective players aren’t quite ready to jump to the major league level early in 2019. Regardless, we will see plenty of top talent make it to the show and those players include the aforementioned Guerrero Jr and Tatis Jr, White Sox Top prospect Eloy Jimenez, Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley, Reds infielder Nick Senzel, Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers, and more.

There are others who have already made brief debuts in 2018 but still hold their rookie status such as Victor Robles and Kyle Tucker. Those two could very well be in the bigs to stay if they can deliver results for their respective teams(especially if the Nationals lose Bryce Harper in Robles’ case).

The end of the 2018 season left us in awe as we watched some exciting young talent ascend to the majors in a big way and 2019 could see, or will see in the case of some teams, more top talent emerge from the minor league ranks. We will all be here to watch, so get excited. So, What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments!(In case I missed anything as well)

MLB Top Prospects: Will We See Brendan Rodgers in 2019?

Rated as MLB.com’s No. 9 overall prospect and the Colorado Rockies’ No. 1 prospect, infielder Brendan Rodgers is nearing his MLB debut, and it could finally come in the 2019 MLB season.

The 22-year old Rodgers, who was the third overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, has slowly advanced up the minor league latter and has put up strong numbers at each level. He reached Triple-A for the first time last season and while he batted just .232/.264/.290, it was in a small sample of just 69 plate appearances. He spent most of his 2018 season in Double-A, where he hit a strong .275/.342/.493 with 17 homers in 357 PAs.

As mentioned above, Rodgers went No. 3 overall in the 2015 draft and the two players that were drafted above him, Alex Bregman and Dansby Swanson, are both already contributing at the MLB level. It’s only a matter of time until Rodgers himself starts to contribute, but when will he?

Brendan Rodgers had primarily been a shortstop before he was drafted, but ever since the Rockies drafted him, they have moved him around the infield at second and third base as well in the minors. Rodgers has the ability to play each of those positions, but with Nolan Arenado at third base and Trevor Story locked in at short, Rodgers’ best chance at seeing time if he’s to make it to the big league level next season would probably be at second base. Of course, he could split time at all three positions, and if Arenado leaves Colorado in free agency in the 2019-20 offseason, Rodgers could be the long-term solution at third.

There’s always those out there that would wonder what Colorado could get if they were to use Rodgers to headline a trade for an elite big league player, but that is highly unlikely to happen. It would take more than just a lot to even consider trading a potential future franchise cornerstone in Rodgers. Of course, Dansby Swanson was traded to the Braves before he could even climb up the latter in the D-Backs farm system, so you never know.

While Brendan Rodgers could finally make his MLB debut in 2019, don’t expect it until later in the season, as Rodgers will have to spend more time mastering the Triple-A level.

Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado?

It’s a simply put question, but as always there’s no answer without a discussion. So here we go.

Two players who have been franchise cornerstones for their respective teams, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are both nearing free agency and that has gotten many to wonder whether or not Arizona will trade Goldschmidt and whether or not Colorado will trade Arenado. It’s two different situations however with both players.

The Diamondbacks are gearing up for somewhat of a rebuild and have been open to offers for their star 1st baseman. They’ve even been rumored to possibly consider a package deal where the team would attach the massive contract of Zack Greinke to get Greinke’s contract off the books at the same time trading Goldschmidt for some prospects. That would limit a return in prospect capitol and/or major league assets so that may not ultimately be the route Arizona goes.

As for Goldschmidt suitors, the most recent of teams to have expressed interest are the Minnesota Twins. While they inquired about Goldschmidt, they may not end up fully pursuing him. There are other teams that have been reported to express early interest but right now nothing has gotten far enough between the D-backs and another team to see a deal close at this time.

No doubt Arizona is going to want a strong return for Goldschmidt given his performance over the years, and speculative fits like the Astros and Yankees, have the farm systems to give a strong return. He’s got one remaining year of control however, so it could somewhat limit a major prospect haul.

Now onto Nolan Arenado, perhaps the top third baseman in the game. Another perennial MVP contender, Arenado, despite one year of team control remaining himself, could net an even bigger package in a trade, given both his numbers and elite defense at the third base position. Teams will lineup for his services if Colorado dangles him on the trade block.

The “if” means a lot. The Rockies have discussed a potential contract extension with Arenado in the past but have come to no deal to this point, setting up his free agency following the 2019 season. Plenty of time still to get a deal done. And unlike the Diamondbacks, the Rockies are aiming to get back to the playoffs again next year and contend for a World Series title. While that’s a tall task, they have made it to the postseason in each of the last two years. Trading Arenado is definitely a route they don’t want to take. They could however, cash in Arenado for major league assets that could fill other holes on the roster immediately if they so choose.

While Paul Goldschmidt seems the likelier to move based on Arizona’s intentions on rebuilding the roster, don’t be surprised if Colorado at least considers shopping Nolan Arenado to see what teams are willing to offer. So, who would you want to see on you’re team, feel free to leave a comment.

Goldschmidt’s 2018 numbers: .290/.389/.533, 33 HR, 83 RBI, 5.4 WAR, 6th place in MVP voting

Arenado’s 2018 numbers:

.297/.374/.561, 38 HR, 110 RBI, 5.6 WAR, 3rd place in MVP voting, Gold Glove Award

Yankees To Acquire James Paxton

In the first blockbuster move of the offseason, the New York Yankees have acquired starting pitcher James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners. Prized pitching prospect Justus Sheffield is among three prospects that will head to Seattle in return.

Paxton has been the ace of the Seattle Mariners pitching staff over the last several years and with Seattle looking to deal veterans off the roster, Paxton and his two remaining years of control was bound to be dealt at some point. Paxton was Seattle’s prime trade chip, thus explaining the reason for the big return.

In return, the Mariners are going to get one of the best pitching prospects in the game in Sheffield. Sheffield is a 22-year old left-hander who is ranked by MLB.com as the 31st best prospect in the game. He is also regarded as the Yankees No. 1 prospect. He split last season through multiple minor league stops, and compiled an outstanding 2.48 ERA in 116 innings. He briefly made his MLB debut with the Yankees, pitching in just 2.2 innings.

Sheffield has the potential to become a No. 3 starter and potentially even better based on his potential to have three-plus pitches once he’s in the bigs.

The Mariners also received right-handed pitching prospect Erik Swanson and outfield prospect Dom Thompson-Williams in the deal.

Arizona Coyotes Notes; Demers Injury, Archibald Suspension, Chychrun Extension

A few notes on the Coyotes:

-Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury against the Predators last night.

-Meanwhile Forward Josh Archibald has been suspended 2 games after his hit to the head of Predators Forward Ryan Hartman. Despite not being ejected during the game, League officials reviewed the hit and deemed it necessary to suspend Archibald for the incident.

-In case you haven’t heard, the Coyotes have confirmed their extension of defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The deal is for six years with an AAV of $6.4MM per year.