The 6 Most Surprising Trades Of The Offseason

Every offseason has a few trades most people didn't see coming.  Here are my picks so far:

  1. Reds acquire Mat Latos from Padres for Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger.  The Reds have clearly been in the hunt for a front-of-the-rotation starter since last summer, but Latos' availability was surprising.  Latos is a 24-year-old with a 3.37 career ERA and 93 mile per hour fastball, and he's under team control for four more seasons.  He's the type of pitcher even non-contending teams are usually looking to acquire.  As with the Rockies and Ubaldo Jimenez, perhaps Padres GM Josh Byrnes believed Latos was at peak value.  Or maybe he just couldn't resist a chance to acquire the team's future first baseman, catcher, and closer, an intriguing wild card in Volquez, and the depth to move Anthony Rizzo to fill another need. 
  2. Blue Jays acquire Sergio Santos from White Sox for Nestor Molina.  Most assumed the White Sox would move some players close to free agency, but Santos recently signed a contract that allows team control through 2017.  He won't see his first $4MM+ salary until 2015, and only then if the first of three club options is exercised.  The arguments for trading Santos: relievers have short shelf lives, the White Sox had good bullpen depth, and a top closer is a luxury on a potentially rebuilding club.  Still, it's surprising Molina was the sole return.  Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein believes Molina projects as "a future No. 4 starter with some chances of being a three."  The White Sox are banking on the righty to buck the industry opinion.
  3. Padres acquire Huston Street from Rockies for Nick Schmidt at $1MM, Padres acquire Carlos Quentin from White Sox for Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez.  These two deals sandwiched the Padres' Latos trade and suggest a win-now mentality that doesn't mix with moving an ace.  However, the commitments in prospects was minor for the Padres and both players are only under contract for one more year.  Street and Quentin likely created surplus trade value for Byrnes, and the price for Quentin was surprisingly low.  Plus, we can't say for sure the Latos trade worsened the 2012 Padres until we see how Byrnes sorts out his current logjams.
  4. Red Sox acquire Mark Melancon from Astros for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland.  Melancon, the former Astros' closer, is under team control for five more seasons and therefore was generally assumed unavailable.  The Santos and Melancon trades suggest a newfound willingness to move relievers in their prime, which makes you wonder what a Kenley Jansen or Greg Holland could fetch.
  5. Diamondbacks acquire Trevor Cahill, Craig Breslow, and cash from Athletics for Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook.  Most people assumed Gio Gonzalez would be moved rather Cahill, and instead A's GM Billy Beane traded both.  The Santos and Cahill trades remind us that long-term extensions don't take players off the trade market.  It was also surprising that the D'Backs targeted Cahill and were willing to surrender Parker.  GMs are less attached to top prospects they didn't acquire, though — Parker wasn't a Kevin Towers draft pick, and Rizzo wasn't a Byrnes acquisition.
  6. Angels acquire Chris Iannetta from Rockies for Tyler Chatwood.  Here's another example: Jerry Dipoto didn't draft Chatwood.  Dipoto was willing to move six years of the 22-year-old righty for the more immediate impact brought by one year of Iannetta.  The Rockies, meanwhile, may feel there's little difference between Iannetta and new catcher Ramon Hernandez for 2012.

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42 Responses to The 6 Most Surprising Trades Of The Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. AndreTheGiantKiller 4 years ago

    Don’t even suggest trading Kenley… Don’t give Ned any ideas!

    • Guest 4 years ago

      lets see what the ‘stache tells him to do

    • CAD_Monkey 4 years ago

      Let Ned test the market…we don’t have enough utility infielders or back up catchers for the competitive NL West.

  2. redsx968 4 years ago

    The more I look at that Ianetta-Chatwood deal it looks better and better for the Rockies lol

  3. I agree with these picks.

  4. I can’t believe that Dana Eveland to the Orioles for Jarret Martin and Tyler Henson trade didn’t garner some consideration. It was not only surprising, but shocking and appalling as well.
    I mean Duquette stated that Eveland won in the really difficult and tenacious Albuquerque League. So that would mean winning for Eveland in the AL East should be no problemo!
    As a side note Showalter said something similar about Kevin Gregg last year. This is paraphrased, Kevin Gregg pitched for both Mike Scioscia and Lou Pinella, so that must mean he’s a good pitcher. Umm no, it simply means that he pitched for two good managers. It didn’t mean he pitched well!

    PS Chris Iannetta from Rockies for Tyler Chatwood was dumb on Dipoto’s part!

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Just for the record… Have any of your posts not been about the Orioles?

    • Fifty_Five 4 years ago

      It’s not surprising because no one cares

  5. More like the 6 trades of the offseason.

  6. RepOak 4 years ago

    Surprised Pujols to angels isn’t on this list

    • RepOak 4 years ago

      I know he wasn’t a trade but it was still surprising

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        Is it really surprising to you that a free agent signing wasn’t on a post regarding surprising trades?

    • deere5800 4 years ago

      It’s the six most surprising trades

  7. How about the Derek Lowe trade, even though he was in his last year of his contract, it still seemed to be an untradeable player.

    • M_Harden 4 years ago

      Not really. The Braves had been rumored to be shopping him and they also ate most of his salary, as expected.

    • We knew he was being shopped around though, it was just a surprise that it was the Indians who acquired him. Not that he was actually traded.

    • Being a Braves fan and watching him struggle all year, barely making it to 5 innings before really falling apart, and that he was traded so early in the offseason was what made it so surprising.  The Braves had been trying to trade him since the end of the first year of the contract.  It took 3 offseasons to finally get something done.

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        Yeah he was far more movable this offseason than three offseasons ago. 1 yr / 5 million for an innings-eater with still-soli peripherals.

  8. the_insomniac 4 years ago

    Was sad to see Nestor Molina leave. I do believe he has a higher upside than what some of the experts project. Not an ace, but a good 2-3 starter.

    But I can’t complain about acquiring Santos. He seems like a stand up guy and I hope he does well in Toronto.

  9. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    How about Jeff Mathis for Brad Mills ?

    you know, the fact that someone actually traded for Jeff Mathis.

    • M_Harden 4 years ago

      Anthopoulos too.

    • rikersbeard 4 years ago

      he’s an adequate backup catcher with solid defensive skills. Mills didn’t really have much of a place in the jays system. AA got what he wanted for a backup and made room on the 40 man roster in doing it. 

    • johnsmith4 4 years ago

      was going to say the same about Mills…oh well…maybe we shouldn’t be surprised

  10. jumpsuitjohnny 4 years ago

     The longer the Latos trade settles in, the more reasonable it sounds from Cincy’s point of view. At first I was stunned at the amount talent and potential they gave up. However, really with the exception of Boxberger all of the players were expendable to the Reds regardless of how talented they were. And if Latos stabilizes an otherwise shaky rotation for those four years he is under contract control it will more than pay for itself.

    • i thought you were gonna say “if Latos stabilizes his [makeup issues]”, which is very telling from a padre perspective.

  11. eyeglass1 4 years ago

    It’s all WHAT if’s for the kids that San Diego acquired. Latos, no matter, if he stays as good as he’s been, then that’s a pretty good starter. You don’t know if Alonso can keep healthy or hit a slow curve yet over a prolonged season. And, seriously, I think Boxberger COULD be a closer but those guys are a lot more common then an ACE in your rotation. 

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      It’s kinda funny that you say what San Diego got were a bunch of “what ifs” and then basically admit Latos is also a “what if.”

      • the more i think about the trade, the more i think it was also about getting latos out of the clubhouse before the young guys come up from the minors.  when buddy black is asked about tim stauffer all he has to say is good things, and that stauffer prepares and goes about pitching like a pro.  i’m thinking they wanted the kids coming up to be influenced by stauffer instead of latos.

        • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

          Was Latos that much of a problem? And if that’s the issue then why trade for Voloquez who’s already had a 50-game suspension.

          The first I heard of the compensation for Latos I thought the Reds had made a massively desperate overpayment. However after realizing the Reds picked up a 24 year old with four years of team control with top of the rotation ability I had to think they paid a fair price and with the changes in Central it could be prime time for them to take over.

          Though I think the Pads got more than question marks. Voloquez could be a solid back of the rotation starter in San Diego and if Alonso can do for a full year what he did in 88 ABs last year then the Pads have gotten back the production they lost when trading away Gonzalez.

    • the more i think about the trade, the more i think it was also about getting latos out of the clubhouse before the young guys come up from the minors.  when buddy black is asked about tim stauffer all he has to say is good things, and that stauffer prepares and goes about pitching like a pro.  i’m thinking they wanted the kids coming up to be influenced by stauffer instead of latos.

  12. Jeremy Weaver 4 years ago

    As a Cubs fan, I can’t help but notice that as you say, Rizzo becomes expendable and clearly the Cubs front office has some interest in Rizzo.  Maybe Rizzo for Garza has been discussed as a jumping off point.

    • Jeremy Weaver 4 years ago

      Of course, there are a lot of other potential suitors for Garza so maybe the Padres and Cubs are looking for a third party.  Rizzo to the Cubs, Garza to the third team and some need-filling pieces or prospects to the Padres and maybe the Cubs as well.  Any thoughts?  That might explain why it’s taking so long to move Garza…

  13. tds18 4 years ago

    Padres won’t wanna trade Rizzo for a suspect starter.  The advantage of not having to trade Rizzo in the Quentin deal is the Padres ability to use him as trade bait for acquiring a solid middle infielder.

    • IndianaBob 4 years ago

      Garza is not a suspect starter.  Tied for 12th among all pitchers in WAR last year.  His career year so far, but he will probably be at least a low end #1 this year as I would put him among the top 30 starters.

  14. not the gio gonzalez trade?

  15. #6 was a surprise, a pleasant one. From our end it’s brilliant and people don’t want to realize it. Chatwood’s high walk rate + altitude, I just don’t see it, 6 years of control or not.

    Then we get rid of Jeff Mathis. He’s a nice backup option yes, but he was never going to be that in Anaheim. Chris Iannetta improves the offensive catching situation while providing better defense than Mathis. It may only be one year, but that might be all the Angels need, they have Hank Conger waiting in the wings.

  16. TophersReds 4 years ago

    Not really.

  17. Name ’em…that’s why we have a comments section.

  18. vtadave 4 years ago

    Here’s my vote for a “Fail” button next to “Like”.

  19. Perry for Balester surprised me.  Not that it should make the list….

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