8 Creative Deals That Should Happen Before the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline

Almost halfway through the 2019 MLB season, most teams know at this point if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Every year at the deadline there are multiple important deals made that affect both the current season and years to come. Here are some unique trade scenarios which are unlikely to happen, but are reasonable and would benefit both sides.

1.) Madison Bumgarner to the Yankees

The Deal:

NYY receives: Madison Bumgarner (SP)

SF receives: Chance Adams (SP), Frank German (SP) and Glenn Otto (SP)

Analysis: The odds of any team paying a large sum for an aging rental in Bumgarner is extremely unlikely, so a package of three middle-of-the-road starters would be adequate for the Giants. Chance Adams has shown flashes of greatness but has also struggled heavily at times. Both German and Otto are playing in A-Advanced, so they have time to develop into back-end starters.

The Yankees need for pitching has been brought around only due to injuries. A healthy Yankees rotation includes Luis Severino, Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, and James Paxton, with J.A. Happ, Jonathan Loaisiga, Jordan Montgomery, and Chance Adams as reserves. Currently, only four of these pitchers are fully healthy, so a trade may be necessary. With loads of depth on the major league roster, dealing a player such as Clint Frazier or Gio Urshella may not be out of the question.

2.) Trevor Bauer to the Rays

The Deal:

TB recieves: Trevor Bauer (SP)

CLE receives: Jesus Sanchez (OF), Nate Lowe (1B), Taylor Walls (SS), and Tommy Romero (SP)

Analysis: The Rays have been dominating using only three starters (two with Tyler Glasnow injured), so imagine what they could do with four lights-out pitchers. Landing Bauer and getting Glasnow back soon would vault the Rays into series competition with the Astros, Yankees and Dodgers as World Series favorites.

The package in this scenario leaves Tampa’s youthful MLB roster intact while giving the Indians much needed young talent. Jesus Sanchez fills a huge void in the Indians organization at outfield and should be ready to see MLB action as soon as 2020. With Brent Honeywell losing another season to injury, I can’t imagine he would be dealt anytime soon and as much as Cleveland would want pitchers in return, I’d expect Tampa to hold on to their young starters. Matthew Liberatore, Shane McClanahan, and Shane Baz have been outstanding at Class-A Bowling Green, and the Rays would be foolish to part with any of the trio. Brendan McKay is Tampa’s other elite arm, but his unique DH/SP combo is too valuable to give up.

3.) Bauer to the Padres

The Deal:

SD recieves: Trevor Bauer (SP)

CLE receives: Adrian Morejon (SP), Ryan Weathers (SP), Michel Baez (SP) and Cal Quantrill (SP)

Analysis: Trevor Bauer is likely the best available pitcher available at the deadline, and the Padres have what it takes to pry him away from Cleveland. In this scenario, the Indians would have to choose between the Rays package featuring three potential plus bats, and the Padres’ which offers four mid-rotation starters. Out of the four Padres prospects in the package, Weathers has the highest ceiling, and he is the only one I would project as a #2/#3 starter. Morejon, Baez and Quantrill I view as #3/#4 starters in an ideal situation. While this package may not blow Cleveland away, the Padres are in no rush to make a deal as the majority of their core is controlled for many years to come.

4.) Marcus Stroman to the Padres/Rays

The Deal:

SD/TB receive: Marcus Stroman (SP)

TOR receives: Ryan Weathers (SP), Logan Allen (SP), and Manuel Margot (OF) (from SD) or Jesus Sanchez (OF) and Nick Solak (2B) (from TB)

Analysis: If Trevor Bauer is dealt, it would likely be to either of these two teams, which would eliminate them as options for Stroman. Assuming one lands Bauer, the other should look at Stroman as a cheaper alternative who could wind up being acquired at a much better value.

Taking a look at the potential packages, the Rays would be keen to keep their young pitchers, so Sanchez is the top prospect on the move. Nick Solak has been a nice surprise as well, so Toronto would be getting two quality hitters in exchange for Stroman. The Padres offer is based around pitcher Ryan Weathers. He’s the name most teams would be after assuming Fernando Tatis Jr, Luis Urias, and MacKenzie Gore aren’t available. Luis Patino could be swapped out with Weathers, although San Diego may be more hesitant to let Patino go.

5.) Max Scherzer on the Move

The Deal:

WSH receives: Kyle Tucker (OF), Freudis Nova (SS), Abraham Toro (3B) and J.B Bukauskas (SP)

HOU receives: Max Scherzer (SP)

Analysis: With Houston’s lineup completely stacked, their pitching is the only part of their team that could use improvement. There is no better pitcher to acquire than Max Scherzer. With three years left on his contract, Scherzer would cost a boatload but would be worth it when he leads them to the World Series. They’d be adding Scherzer to a rotation that already features two stars in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, so the addition of Scherzer would likely give the Astros the best rotation in all of MLB.

After losing Bryce Harper to free agency in the offseason, the Nats have not been able to keep up there winning ways and are currently well under .500. Dealing Scherzer might be a big blow to Nationals fans, but it would signify a rebuild, that if done correctly, could have the Nats back in contention before 2022. Dealing Scherzer, as well as Anthony Rendon, would bring back five or six top of the line prospects who would replenish a weak farm system. In this deal, Washington gets four very talented players led by outfielder Kyle Tucker. Though Tucker struggled in his MLB debut, he has been excellent in Triple-A and would help as soon as this year. Nova, Toro and Buskauskas are at least two years away, but that’s not a problem if Washington does decide to rebuild.

6.) Phillies Land an Outfielder

The Deal:

PHI receives: Adam Jones (OF) and Greg Holland (CP)

ARI receives: Enyel de los Santos (SP), Simon Muzziotti (OF), Nick Maton (SS) and Edgar Garcia (SP)

Analysis: Having a 2nd baseman play center field is not ideal for a contending team, and that is what the Phillies are stuck with, as Scott Kingery has been forced into action in the outfield. With Andrew McCutchen lost for the season and Odubel Herrera in legal trouble, the Phillies would benefit from adding a 3rd outfielder. The Diamondbacks are a likely candidate to rebuild this offseason, and there’s no better time to start than at the trade deadline. Dealing rental veterans Jones and Holland will land lower-tier prospects than guys such as Zack Greinke or Ketel Marte, but it’s a start for a team in desperate need of talented prospects. The return for the Diamondbacks isn’t great, but it does offer a solid group of prospects who could become more relevant as their careers progress.

7.) Ketel Marte Blockbuster

The Deal:

LAA receives: Ketel Marte (OF)

ARI receives: Brandon Marsh (OF), Jordyn Adams (OF), Jeremiah Jackson (SS) and Kevin Maitan (3B)

Analysis: The Angels have a window of time to win, and that coincides with Mike Trout of course. Trout signed a massive contract last year and will be getting paid over 35 million dollars a year up until his age 38 season. As good as he is, it is improbable that Trout can perform at his usual standards into his late 30s. That gives the Angels 5-6 years to build a dynasty and contend for the World Series. Instead of waiting for their prospects to develop and wasting valuable time, the Angels could go for it all in 2019 and beyond.

Landing Marte would be huge for the Angels, adding a 3rd scary power bat (4th if you could Pujols) to their lineup. Add the surprise emergence of Tommy la Stella and you have 5 quality hitters at the top of the lineup. If they manage to hold on to Jo Adell, he could become another weapon in the outfield. With Trout and Marte both locked up 5+ years and Jo Adell, a young outfielder on the rise, the Angels should feel comfortable parting with both Jordyn Adams and Brandon Marsh.

From the Diamondbacks point of view, they are dealing their only “star” remaining, and although he is under contract through 2024, without dealing him Arizona would be lucky to field a solid team before 2022. Marsh is the only incoming player above Single-A, so the return package fits with the Diamondbacks’ timeline perfectly. Although this is the least likely deal to happen, it could benefit both teams in unforeseen ways.

8.) Angels go all In

The Deal:

LAA receives: Didi Gregorius (SS), Starling Marte (OF)

NYY receives: Chris Archer (SP), Jo Adell (OF)

PIT receives: Clint Frazier (OF), Estevan Florial (OF), Jamhai Jones (2B)

Analysis: The first thing to mention is that this whole trade is in a scenario in which the Angels acquire Ketel Marte (trade #7) and that the Yankees don’t add another pitcher (trade #1). This is the most complex of the 10 proposals, this deal has lots of moving parts, but it would benefit all the teams involved. In this rare three-team trade, the combination of prospects and MLB-caliber players would present a unique, one-of-a-kind deal.

For the Angels, acquiring Ketel Marte would be a great start to building a championship team, but they’d still be a couple of pieces away. Didi Gregorius is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season, but he could be a candidate for an extension with Los Angeles. Starling Marte has three years left on his contract, so he would be the Angels third outfielder with Mike Trout and Ketel Marte. Both Starling Marte and Ketel Marte are long term solutions with very reasonable salaries. The only real downside for the Angels is that their farm system would be completely depleted. If their organization is willing to pair these three All-Stars with Trout and Ohtani, that could put the Angels in the running for the top Wild Card this season, and potentially the division in 2020.

Clint Frazier has not worked out for the Yankees and it is becoming increasingly apparent that he will not be in New York much longer. Although Chris Archer has not been very good with the Pirates, he has proved to be excellent in the AL East in the past, so the Yankees could take a chance on him. Gregorius is a great ballplayer but could see limited playing-time with Giovani Urshella, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu taking up three infield spots. An extension for Gregorius is even less likely as Miguel Andujar will be returning in 2020, making the Yankees infield extremely crowded. Jo Adell has shown much more potential than Estevan Florial, so the Yankees improve their farm system in this trade too. Adell could eventually make an impact in 2020 when Giancarlo Stanton replaces Edwin Encarnacion as the primary DH.

Acquiring Archer for the package of Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz might have seemed bad for Pittsburgh at the time, but now looks like an absolute catastrophe for the entire franchise. Archer has been extremely inefficient for the Pirates, posting an ERA well over 5.00 since being acquired. Meanwhile, Meadows and Glasnow have taken off for the Rays, both performing like All-Stars, helping the Rays be near the top of the stacked AL East. Shane Baz was a surprise addition to the trade as a PTBNL (player to be named later), and has been nothing but lights out in Single-A this year. Cutting ties with Archer might be tough given how much they gave up to land him, but sometimes it’s best to know when you messed up. Frazier, Florial, and Jones are three young players who could be the core of a Pirates rebuild.

NBA Offseason Preview: The End of an Era… and the Beginning of a New One?

As the Toronto Raptors closed out the 2019 NBA Finals, it was widely agreed upon that this has been the most entertaining Finals experience of the 21st Century. I’ve never seen an NBA Finals in which the unrelated subplots were as important (if not more important) than the actual basketball being played in late May and June.

While the Raptors clinched their first ever NBA Championship over the Golden State Warriors, the NBA Rumor Mill couldn’t have been more active. After a playoff run for the ages, speculation of Raptors star and upcoming free agent Kawhi Leonard’s future was at an all-time high, in both importance and ambiguity. The same could be said for Warriors stars and upcoming free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson; until they both suffered catastrophic injuries. In news that was unrelated to the Finals, Kyrie Irving declined his player option for the 2019-2020 season with the Boston Celtics, fired his agent, then signed with a different agency. He signed with Roc Nation, whose President (Michael Yormark) is the twin brother of the Brooklyn Nets CEO (Brett Yormark).

Now, as the age of player empowerment hits its stride, what happens next?

Let’s start with a timeline.

June 20, 2019

  • NBA draft.

June 24, 2019

  • Last day for potential restricted free agents to exercise player options.
  • NBA awards are announced.

June 29, 2019

  • Last day for decisions on player, team and early termination options, unless individual contracts specify otherwise.

June 30, 2019

  • Last official day of the 2018/19 NBA league year.
  • Last day for teams to make qualifying offers to players eligible for restricted free agency.
  • Last day for players eligible for veteran extensions in 2018/19 to sign them.

July 1, 2019

  • Official start of the 2019/20 NBA league year.
  • July moratorium begins. The moratorium allows teams and players only to agree upon deals in principle, no pen-to-paper deals are allowed.
  • Free agents can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams.
  • Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet.
  • Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts.

July 6, 2019

  • July moratorium ends (11:00am CT)
  • Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades.
  • The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.

Who makes this offseason so important?

Here are some important names of this year’s offseason. These are the players that will in one way or another, change the landscape of the NBA’s next 5-7 years in this offseason. Included are their current team, their age at the beginning of next season, their stat line from this past season (PPG/RPG/APG/SPG/BPG, FG%/3FG%/FT%), their contract status, and my prediction for where they’ll land this offseason.

  • *Kevin Durant, GSW: 31, 26 PPG/6 RPG/6 APG/1 SPG/0.7 BPG, 52 FG%/35 3FG%/88.5 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: New York Knicks
  • Kyrie Irving, BOS: 27, 24 PPG/5 RPG/7 APG/1.5 SPG/0.5 BPG, 49 FG%/40 3FG%/87 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Brooklyn Nets
  • **Klay Thompson, GSW, 29: 21.5 PPG/4 RPG/2 APG/1 SPG/0.6 BPG, 47 FG%/40 3FG%/82 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent (Eligible for Super Max). Prediction: Golden State Warriors
  • Kawhi Leonard, TOR: 28, 26.6 PPG/7 RPG/3 APG/1.8 SPG/0.4 BPG, 50 FG%/37 3FG%/85 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers or Toronto Raptors
  • Kemba Walker, CHA: 29, 25.6 PPG/4 RPG/6 APG/1.2 SPG/0.4 BPG, 43 FG%/36 3FG%/84 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent (Eligible for Super Max). Prediction: Charlotte Hornets
  • Jimmy Butler, PHI: 30, 19 PPG/5 RPG/4 APG/1.9 SPG/0.6 BPG, 46 FG%/35 3FG%/85.5 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers or Los Angeles Lakers
  • D’Angelo Russell, BKN: 23, 21 PPG/4 RPG/7 APG/1.2 SPG/0.2 BPG, 43 FG%/37 3FG%/78 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Utah Jazz or Indiana Pacers
  • Nikola Vucevic, ORL: 29, 20.8 PPG/12 RPG/4 APG/1 SPG/ 1 BPG, 52 FG%/36 3FG%/ 79 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Orlando Magic
  • Kristaps Porzingis, DAL: 24, 2017-18 Stats: 22.7 PPG/ 6.6 RPG/1 APG/ 0.8 SPG/ 2.4 BPG, 44 FG%/ 39.5 3FG%/ 79 FT%, Restricted Free Agent. Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

*Durant suffered a ruptured achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, sidelining him for the entire 2019-20 season, therefore diminishing his value as a free agent. **Thompson suffered a torn ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, likely keeping him out of the upcoming regular season.

The most important part of this list lies within the two Warriors mentioned. The injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will keep both of them out for at least the 2019/2020 regular season. So even if Golden State somehow re-signs both of them, the Warriors won’t be nearly as strong as they’ve been. The Warriors have been a perennial powerhouse of the NBA. The collapse of a superpower seems like it should be accompanied by the passing of the proverbial powerhouse torch, but things haven’t ever worked that quickly in the NBA. After Russell’s Celtics fell, it took about a decade for Larry Bird and Magic to take over the league (Although Kareem just about completely dominated the 70’s). The transition from the 80s’ Celtics/Lakers era to the 90’s Jordan Bulls era was relatively smooth, but it was separated by a buffer called the Bad Boy Pistons. After Michael took six rings, it took a few years for the Kobe/Shaq Lakers to take hold of the league. What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect a new era of the NBA to be ushered in as quickly as the Warriors have fallen.

The Short-Term Future (1-2 Years)

If we’re looking at the next couple years of the league, we have to pay complete attention to Kawhi and Anthony Davis. If the Clippers sign Leonard, they automatically become a contender in the West. If Kawhi stays in Toronto, the West is left wide open. There will be a black hole where content used to spawn in the West naturally, and it could be filled by just about any teams or players. Here are some of the teams from the West that I think could make their case as perennial contenders next year:

  • Dallas Mavericks – It’s hard to think of a team that has a better long-term core than the Mavs. Luka Doncic just had one of the most impressive rookie seasons of the past 20 years, and he’ll only be 20 by the beginning of next year. Kristaps Porzingis has been almost forgotten about since he tore his ACL. He was a borderline All-NBA level player for the Knicks at 22 years old, but, understandably, he lost hype after his knee injury. It’s difficult for a 7’3″ man to rehab a knee injury and return to 100%. Dallas has a ton of cap space, they have over $50 Million free this offseason, but they’ll likely sign Porzingis to a deal worth over $30 Million annually. They still have enough salary cap room to sign a third all-star level player. There are rumors that they’ll offer Kemba Walker. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pursued someone like Khris Middleton, although Dallas hasn’t had a ton of recent success in the free agent market.
  • Los Angeles Lakers – This is an obvious one. Even though it’s premature to crown the Lakers as the favorites to win it all next year, they’ll dominate the NBA news cycle no matter how successful they are as a team. I think they could go one of two ways in free agency this year. They have somewhere from $23-27 million in cap space and five players on their active roster (Lebron, AD, Kuzma, Isaac Bonga, Mo Wagner). The first option is to target a ball-handling star and try to convince him to take a pay cut (i.e., Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Jimmy Butler) then use the veteran minimum to fill out a lackluster bench. The second option is to try and sign a few solid role players to round out a balanced 7-8 man rotation. They could target guys who could take $6-9 million annually, like Patrick Beverly, Danny Green, Paul Milsap, Marcus Morris, or Seth Curry. I like the latter option, but I think it’s more likely that Rob Pelinka will go with the superstar route.
  • Los Angeles Clippers – Sticking with another Los Angeles team, I think this is pretty straight forward. If the Clippers sign Kawhi, they’re the favorites to win the 2020 NBA title. It’s as simple as that. It’ll be a battle in Staples Center for control of the West, and I think that could be the most entertaining storyline of this offseason.
  • Utah Jazz – This is less of a breakout candidate because they’ve already broken out as a contender. However, they’re rumored to be targeting D’Angelo Russell in free agency. I love his fit with Utah, although they already have a slightly inefficient, volume-shooting, ball-dominant guard in Donovan Mitchell. Replacing Rubio with Russell adds an entirely new dimension to their already-solid offense, and their defense will barely take a hit.

There’s a lack of Eastern Conference teams for several reasons. Mainly, everything is pretty much set out there. If Kawhi re-signs in Toronto, they’re defending their title with a good chance to repeat. If they don’t re-sign him, they go into a rebuild. The Bucks are mostly figured out for the next few years, as are the Sixers (Barring a surprise Ben Simmons trade.)

The Long-Term Future (5-7 Years)

  • Boston Celtics – It seems like Danny Ainge’s asset-stacking strategies never really resulted in any notable success, which is bad. I like the Celtics’ long-term roster, though, which is good. Jayson Tatum had a pretty bad sophomore slump this past year, but I think he just completely over-performed in his rookie year. The Celtics are going to be relevant no matter what, but I don’t see a championship window opening for them over the next four or five years. They’re eventually going to have to pay Jaylen Brown and Tatum, and I don’t see either of them ever being the best player on a championship team, and I only see Tatum has potentially being a great number two. It’s going to be tough to build around those two.
  • New Orleans Pelicans – The Pelicans currently have a dream team. More specifically, a dream team if you’re playing Franchise Mode in NBA 2K. They have the greatest abundance of young talent that the league has seen in the past 25 years, and it’ll be exciting to see what happens with it. I love the backcourt duo of Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball. They’re two young, extremely intelligent, unselfish, and very defensively savvy guards, and their team-first brand of basketball will be perfect for a budding superstar like Zion Williamson. They also have what seems like every single one of the Lakers’ first-round draft picks for the next four-five years, so if Zion, Lonzo, Jrue, and Brandon Ingram blossom into a cohesive, efficient core, it won’t be hard to surround them with more talent. I don’t love Brandon Ingram’s fit in New Orleans, a pure scorer may be all he amounts to in the NBA, and I don’t know how he’ll develop as a defender due to his thin frame. It’ll be interesting to see what the Pelicans do with their fourth pick. There are reports that they’re negotiating with Washington in a deal for Bradley Beal. Sending the fourth pick, Brandon Ingram, and a future first-rounder for Beal would make sense for both teams. It would free up cap room for Washington, give them two future assets to boost their rebuild, and a potential star in Ingram. For New Orleans, it would introduce a win-now culture while developing their young players, plus it wouldn’t damage their rebuild due to all of the picks they acquired from Los Angeles. I think the Pelicans will be a League Pass must-watch for the next decade.
  • Milwaukee Bucks – I had to include them on this list. Whichever team has Giannis for the next ten years will be a force to be reckoned with. I hope that they can continue building a roster with championship potential around Giannis before his contract expires. They’ve already done a better job of this than how Cleveland and New Orleans treated Lebron and AD on their rookie contracts, respectively.
  • Philadelphia 76ers – I don’t have a great feeling about the 76ers’ future, but what do I know? I think Joel Embiid is a little too fragile, and he already moves like he’s 40. I got some real Greg Oden vibes in the playoffs this year, but he was technically nursing a back injury (and gastrointestinal issues.) Okay, now I have to go out and say it: I don’t think Ben Simmons is a Top 25 player in the NBA, and I will continue to believe this until he either develops a jumper or decides to show up in the playoffs consistently. If I were a GM trying to win a championship, I wouldn’t feel comfortable having him as my second option. I hope he improves, though. I hope he proves me wrong, and I would like to see the Sixers win a title over the next 5-7 years. If things go right for them, they could win a couple.

NBA Award Predictions

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, SG, Los Angeles Clippers

Coach of the Year: Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets

Most Improved: Pascal Siakam, PF/SF, Toronto Raptors

Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic, SF, Dallas Mavericks

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

How to Keep Track of Everything:

Keeping up with all of the happenings in the NBA’s offseason is tough. There’s smokescreens, welched deals, false reports, internet trolls, etc. If you need a way to stay connected to all of the news, I suggest following these twitter accounts. Rob Perez of the Action Network, @WorldWideWob, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, @WojESPN, Shams Charania of The Athletic, @ShamsCharania, and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, @KevinOConnor . NBA Twitter is the best part of twitter, don’t forget that.