FanRag’s Jon Heyman kicks off his weekly notes column by ranking the 20 best trades in the past two years, with the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson acquisition topping the list. Certainly a good deal of hindsight is used when crafting any such list, and the development of certain prospects could change the way we perceive some of these still-fresh deals, but many of the swaps listed do indeed look lopsided one way or another at the moment.
Some highlights from the column…
- The White Sox never even put Chris Sale or Jose Quintana on trade waivers last month, knowing that there wouldn’t be time to negotiate a sufficient return in the limited 47-hour window after the respective aces were claimed. They’ll instead explored trade scenarios for both pitchers once again this winter, though owner Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t keen on rebuilding. Todd Frazier was claimed on trade waivers but pulled back, according to Heyman, whereas outfielder Melky Cabrera made it through waivers but remained in Chicago despite his above-average offensive production dating back to last June.
- The Marlins will try to find a No. 2 type starter this winter to slot between Jose Fernandez and Wei-Yin Chen, but the usual caveats apply: this offseason bears a historically poor crop of free-agent starting pitching, and the Marlins’ paper-thin farm system makes it difficult to land a high-quality pitcher via trade. Per Heyman, the Marlins are frequently asked about Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto but are loath to part with either rising star. He also adds that manager Don Mattingly is strongly in favor of the team re-signing Martin Prado.
- Jonathan Villar’s strong play for the Brewers this season has apparently created some wishful thinking among other clubs, as there’s been increased interest in top prospect Orlando Arcia, but the Brewers are “not entertaining offers” for the highly touted 22-year-old.
- Aaron Judge’s struggles notwithstanding, the Yankees won’t seek outfield help this offseason, GM Brian Cashman told Heyman. In addition to Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Judge and Aaron Hicks, Cashman pointed out that the Yankees also have Clint Frazier and Mason Williams, commenting that players with Frazier’s level of talent can force their way onto the big league roster quickly. The GM also expressed confidence that Luis Severino can stick as a starting pitcher and talked about the rapid development of Gary Sanchez on the heels of the young catcher’s stunning late-season breakout.
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the younger brother of Astros infielder/DH Yulieski Gurriel, will host a showcase for interested teams on Sep. 14 in Panama City, according to Heyman. The Cardinals are one of about 20 teams planning to go watch the young shortstop, he notes. While the showcase will allow teams to get a look at the younger Gurriel, I can’t envision him actually signing until his 23rd birthday passes on Oct. 19. At that point, Gurriel will no longer be considered an amateur, and thus will no longer be subject to international signing bonuses.
- The Blue Jays will make the obvious decisions to extend qualifying offers to Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, and they’re also considering a QO for Michael Saunders. While that might’ve seemed like a highly implausible scenario a few months back, Saunders has been quite good in a full, healthy season. In 500 plate appearances, the 29-year-old is slashing .266/.348/.505 with 23 homers — though he hasn’t been as good in the season’s second half. Saunders’ injury history could at least create some pause, but given his quality offensive output and lack of a platoon split in 2016, I think he’d be able to secure a nice multi-year pact even if he turned down the sizable one-year offer.