There’s plenty of trade chatter as camp approaches, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes in a column today. That’s already been made evident by the notable deal struck earlier this evening. As always, a full read is recommended, but here are some of the highlights of the post:
- The Orioles would prefer to add Dexter Fowler after signing Yovani Gallardo — assuming they can get that deal done — says Rosenthal. But if that doesn’t work out for some reason, Baltimore’s backup plan would be to pursue a deal for Jay Bruce. The Reds appear to have realistic expectations with the veteran, who hasn’t been consistently productive in recent years and is owed $12.5MM this year (with a $13MM option for another season). Indeed, getting something done would likely require rather modest expectations. Though Bruce has shown quite a bit of talent over the years, and is still shy of thirty years of age, his track record over the past two seasons (.222/.288/.406) isn’t inspiring.
- The White Sox could be a threat on Fowler or other free agent outfielders, per the report. Chicago seems to have more interest in adding there than in pursuing Ian Desmond, as the team likes its internal options at shortstop. The South Siders are pushing on multiple fronts and might well also line up a deal for Avisail Garcia if they make a significant addition. The willingness to be flexible and seek creative avenues to value could certainly serve the Sox well as the winter wraps up; the team already seems to have done well in securing Mat Latos at just $3MM.
- Chicago’s interest in Andre Ethier has been overstated, says Rosenthal, but the Dodgers have indeed explored trade scenarios. It’s a complicated decision, as he notes, since Ethier has been plenty useful. Then there’s the fact that his contract status comes with some intricacies. Ethier is set to reach ten-and-five rights early in the year, and his vesting clause poses a bit of a barrier for possible suitors. From my perspective, it remains somewhat difficult to see another organization being willing to take on enough salary (and/or give back enough value) to make a deal work out. There’s $38MM still to go over two years, plus the threat of a reasonably attainable vesting clause, and that’s quite a bit for a player who will soon turn 34 and would come with expectations of being a solid regular rather than a difference maker.
- While the Padres are still looking around for deals, discussing players like Matt Kemp and Derek Norris, near-term deals for those prominent names appear unlikely. Likewise, the Athletics have had talks involving Billy Butler, and may even have had one opportunity to deal the struggling DH. Butler is more expendable than ever with Khris Davis now in the fold, though that addition hardly makes a trade inevitable given how much Butler is owed. Oakland will presumably hope he can rebuild value by carrying momentum from a solid finish to an otherwise rough 2015.