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.

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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.

Player Notes: Syndergaard To Padres?, Realmuto Trade Talks, Reds and Sonny Gray

A few notes from the hot stove:

-The Padres are interested in acquiring Mets starter Noah Syndergaard and have had talks with them about a deal. It’s not known if anything is anywhere near close, but acquiring Syndergaard would be just what the Padres want in trading for a top of the rotation starter this offseason. The Padres deep farm system works in their favor in attempting to acquire any top trade candidates in the months ahead.

-Reports have said that the Marlins are insisting the Astros give them either Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker as the headliner in any J.T. Realmuto trade. Realmuto is the top catcher available in both the trade and free agent markets, but despite the Astros need for a catcher and interest in the prized Marlins backstop, they are not willing to give up either top prospect in any trades.

-The Reds are reportedly interested in Yankees hurler Sonny Gray. Gray fits the need of a top starter for Cincinnati but it is curious to wonder if Gray would be a good fit being the Reds ballpark is very hitter friendly, much like Yankee stadium where Gray badly struggled last year.

Teams That Would Be Interested In Zack Greinke

3 years/$104.5million. That’s how much money is left on Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke’s contract. Greinke is set to earn $34.5MM in the upcoming 2019 season, followed by salaries of $35MM in both 2020 and 2021. Most, if not all, teams would steer clear of acquiring a contract with that much money still left to be paid to a pitcher in his mid 30s. However, could it actually be realistic that the D-Backs can still trade the still strong performing Zack Greinke? It could be.

Despite the fact that he’s 35, he is still putting up very strong numbers atop of the Arizona starting rotation, including this season in which the right-hander posted a 15-11 record, a 3.21 ERA, and 4.8 WAR in 207.1 innings. Even his 3.70 FIP suggests he is a quality starter still. Despite those numbers, once again that massive contract still hampers his trade value big time. The Diamondbacks want to trim payroll and getting Greinke’s contract, or more realistically, at least some of his contract off the books would be a huge help for the Arizona front office. So who would still trade for Greinke despite the age factor and massive contract? Let’s take a look:

Houston Astros:

The Astros are set to lose both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton in free agency this offseason, which leaves three holes to fill in the starting rotation. Collin McHugh will fill one of those holes as he has already been said to be moving back to a starting role next year. Another could be filled by top prospect Forrest Whitley as he makes his way to the majors for the first time. Which still leaves another spot that would still need to be filled. Brad Peacock, Josh James, and Cionel Perez are among the in-house options to fill that spot, plus there’s also a very real chance that the Astros just simply re-sign Morton to fill one of their rotation spots. However, acquiring Zack Greinke would easily slot another sure fire top-of-the-rotation starter into what’s already a big one-two punch in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Plus, acquiring Greinke won’t cost too much in the way of prospects(not that Houston is lacking in any way) as long as Houston eats a portion of that huge contract, which they can afford, especially since they have more money coming off the books after the 2019 season. They will want to use that money to extend players like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman however.

-New York Yankees:

This is a fit for multiple reasons; they can acquire Greinke and perhaps even fill that first base need by having Arizona package Paul Goldschmidt into a deal. That would take a lot for the Arizona front office to think about but if they’re really hellbent on getting Greinke’s contract off their books, it’s one way that it will work. The Yankees also still have a solid farm system from which to trade from so pulling off a deal like this is more realistic that you may think.

Chicago White Sox:

Sox GM Rick Hahn has made it no secret that he is ready for his team to make another step forward closer to contention and the team wants to add a top flight arm to its young and talented pitching staff. Chicago has the open payroll to take on at least some of Greinke’s contract but if they’re so sure that they can compete as soon as next year or the 2020 season, Greinke would be a solid option. His age mixed with the fact that Chicago still doesn’t look like a playoff contending team yet however, may not work well.

Atlanta Braves

They want to add an impact starter to the mix this offseason, but it’s all about how far they’d be willing to go money wise to make a deal happen, whether it’s through free agency or through a trade for someone like Greinke.

Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper sweepstakes aside, the Nats could really use another starter behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, plus if they miss out on bringing back Harper, they can use some of that money to negotiate with the Diamondbacks about how much of Greinke’s contract they’d be willing to pay.

Other fits could include the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers(one of Greinke’s former teams), and San Diego Padres.

However it pans out, Greinke’s continued dominance has made it a realistic chance that the D-Backs could deal him and at least some of his contract, and if they want to do it, they better do it this offseason while Greinke is still putting up strong numbers.

Notes From MLB; Mariners Stadium Change, Marlins New Logo

A couple of news items from Seattle and Miami:

-T-Mobile has bought the naming rights to Seattle’s baseball stadium, which was previously named Safeco Field prior to this news. T-Mobile will reportedly pay the Mariners $3MM annually as part of acquiring the rights to change the stadium name.

-The Miami Marlins have revealed their new logo today and their new uniforms are expected to be revealed Friday. The team’s last logo change was in 2012, the same year the team changed their name from “Florida” to “Miami”.

Rookie Report: Anaheim Ducks

This post is apart of our series in which we will take a look at the performances of prospects that have made it to the NHL thus far this year. Our first look, the Anaheim Ducks:

Kiefer Sherwood/Forward

-Age: 23

-Undrafted Free Agent

-Current stats through 19 games:

2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points

Jacob Larsson/Defenseman

-Draft Year: 2015, Round 1 pick #27

-Current stats through 9 games:

0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

Isac Lundestrom/Forward

-Draft Year: 2018, Round 1 pick #23

-Stats through 15 games:

0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points

Where Will James Paxton Go?

As the hot stove season begins to take shape, we’ve already heard tons of names thrown around the rumor mill, and that will only continue as teams get set for the upcoming winter meetings in December. One name that has been mentioned quite often already(due to the Seattle Mariners willingness to deal almost anyone), is Mariners ace James Paxton.

The left-hander had yet another fine season and will surely be of interest to almost any contending team looking for a front of the rotation starter. In 160.1 innings pitched, he posted an 11-6 record with a 3.76ERA and 208 strikeouts to go along with peripherals that say he was better than his bottom-line results(3.24FIP, 3.02xFIP). Baseball-reference pegged him at 2.9WAR while fangraphs had him higher at 3.8. Those numbers will surely get the Mariners a quality return in a trade with anyone.

The New York Yankees and Houston Astros are among the most notable teams to have expressed interest in Paxton and both have strong farm systems that can easily get a deal done. The Mariners have several needs on the roster with limited payroll space to use plus their farm system is among the worst in the entire league, which makes getting a solid return for Paxton all the more important.

It’s also worth mentioning hypothetically that a few other teams that could be interested in Paxton could be the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres, both of whom have expressed interest in acquiring a top starter and boast strong farm systems as well, the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics, two teams that badly need rotation help(although Seattle may not want to deal with division rivals), and perhaps even the Reds, another team that could use rotation help.

He is arguably the biggest trade chip Seattle has at the moment and Jerry Dipoto never stops dealing, so expect “dealin Dipoto” to get something for his ace at the winter meetings.