The 2017-2018 MLB offseason is expected to be busy. Here are some trade possibilities:
Billy Hamilton to the San Diego Padres
Reds get: LHP Eric Lauer and a lower-level prospect
Padres get: OF Billy Hamilton
The Padres need a speedy outfielder. They currently have Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe. Hamilton would succeed with the Padres. The Reds would want two prospects in return to add to their farm system.
Michael Fulmer to the Atlanta Braves
Tigers get: RHP Mike Soroka, LHP Luis Gohara, and two lower-level prospects
Braves get: RHP Michael Fulmer, lower-level prospect
This a win-win deal for both teams. The Tigers pickup two major-league ready pitching prospects and add some talent to their weak farm system. The Braves get an ace in this deal, who will lead their young pitching prospects for years to come.
Giancarlo Stanton - Boston Red Sox Blockbuster
Red Sox get: OF Giancarlo Stanton (Full Contract), RHP Brad Ziegler (Full Contract), and $20 million
Marlins get: SS Xander Bogaerts, 1B Sam Travis, 3B Michael Chavis, LHP Jason Groome, and a minor leaguer
The Marlins get some money off of their hands in this deal and add to their team. The Red Sox get their long-term solution for the middle of their lineup for a decade (If he does not opt out in a few years). Even though the Red Sox give a lot up in this deal, the result will be worth it for them.
The Detroit Tigers are reportedly signing Ron Gardenhire to be the team's next manager, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Gardenhire will replace Brad Ausmus, who managed the Tigers for the past four seasons.
Gardenhire, 59, last managed in the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 2014. Gardenhire led the show in the twin-cities for 13 seasons. He took the Twins to six postseasons and finished his time in Minnesota with a 1068-1039 win-loss record.
Gardenhire will definitely benefit the Tigers' organization. Having managed in the American League Central division for 13 seasons, he knows the five teams very well. Not to mention, Gardenhire served as the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. He was a key factor in their playoff run.
Gardenhire interviewed with the Tigers this past Tuesday. The Boston Red Sox also had interest in the Twins' former skipper.
The Tigers initially had a list of 50 managerial candidates, featuring Marlins' third base coach Fredi Gonzalez, Rockies' bench coach Mike Redmond, and Astros' bench coach Alex Cora.
Gardenhire will run the show in the Motor City and assist with the Tigers' rebuild.
When people think of major league baseball, they think of Mike Trout's electricity, Bryce Harper's hair flowing around the bases, and Clayton Kershaw's mouth-dropping curve. In a matter of time, Atlanta Braves' top prospect Ronald Acuna will be added to the list.
Entering the 2017 season, many people in the baseball world were unfamiliar with the name Ronald Acuna. Five months later, Acuna is a superstar in the making and the Braves feel like they have the winning one-billion dollar lottery ticket.
The 19-year-old phenom from Venezuela was a star throughout three minor league levels this past season. Over the season, Acuna kept on getting better and better and he matured as a hitter. The outfielder's numbers during his short AA stint are way better than his even shorter A+ stint and his AAA numbers are even better than his AA stint.
During his full season in the minor leagues playing for the High A Florida Fire Frogs, the AA Mississippi Braves, and the AAA Gwinnett Braves, Acuna took the minor league player of the year award and ran with it. The outfielder collected just 181 hits, including 60 extra base hits, of which were 21 home runs in 557 at-bats. He stole 44 bases and had an impressive batting line of .325/.374/522. Did I mention that he is just 19-years-old?
Acuna developed patience at the plate during his rise to stardom this season. Throughout the three levels he played in the minor leagues this year, his walk rate rose and his strikeout rate dropped.
From A+ to AA, he struck out less and walked more often, and in AAA, he struck out less but his walk rate slightly dropped. AA pitchers tend to have less control and less pitching demand than AAA pitchers, but overall this shows Acuna's tremendous improvement at the plate though out the season.
Many expect Acuna to be on the Braves' major league roster sometime next summer. The Braves are reportedly likely to attempt to trade outfielders Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp this offseason to open up an outfield position for Acuna.
Acuna is an early 2018 Rookie of the Year candidate. Acuna's powerful bat and dashing speed will help the Braves reach the postseason for years to come.
The Chicago Cubs should give right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. a shot at the closer role next season. Current closer Wade Davis will be a free agent entering this offseason.
Edwards Jr, 24, impressed the Cubs' organization this season. He went 5-4, with a 2.98 ERA in 73 relief appearances. He pitched in 66.1 innings and struck out 94 batters. The former 48th round pick turned into relief ace opened some eye lids this season and he is a huge contribution the Cubs' pitching success this season.
The Cubs' current closer Wade Davis pitched phenomenally this season too, but the 2017 all-star is expected to hit free agency this offseason and ask for Kenley Jansen type money. Davis, who is 32 years old, went 4-2 this season with 32 saves in 59 relief appearances. Davis also had a 2.30 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 58.2 innings.
Even though Davis had a splendid season as the Cubbies' closer, I believe they should let him walk and give Edwards Jr a shot next season.
First of all, Edwards is under team control until after the 2022 season. This would solve their closer question for years to come. Also, Edwards just turned 24 years old days ago, so he has a fresh and young arm. Edwards has pitched in the major leagues at different points over the past three seasons. The 2017 season was Edwards' first full season in the big leagues.
Edwards would save the Cubs millions of dollars if they choose to let Davis walk. The $7-12 million they can save this offseason for by not resigning Wade Davis can go towards starting pitching or an expensive trade target, such as Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton or Nationals' Bryce Harper (although he is likely to not be on the trade block).
Edwards is a fan favorite in Chicago. The fans would approve Edwards' transition into the closer role. His stats this season should impress the fans of the 2016 World Champions.
Internally, the Cubs' front office drafted Edwards Jr. so they know him and his mechanics well.
All we can do is speculate until Wade Davis signs either with the Cubs or a new team.
The Colorado Rockies should offer veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez a new contract after a below-average played 2017 season. The 31-year-old's seven-year, $80 million contract is coming to an end. After making $20 million this season, Gonzalez is expected to ask for at least $15 million annually over a span of multiple years.
Gonzalez has had multiple phenomenal years in the mile-high city, but last year, he was not his all-star self. Last season, he hit .262 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs in 470 at-bats. Saber metrically, Gonzalez had a -0.2 WAR and in an outfield, he had a .986 fielding percentage.
I think Gonzalez earns a new deal with the Rockies. Despite a sub-par season, Gonzalez would provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse with a lot of youngsters, such as Brendan Rodgers, Ramiel Tapia, and David Dahl, waiting in the wing.
Next season, Gonzalez is expected to have a breakout season. He may use his 2014-2015 seasons as an example. In 2014, he played in 70 games during an injury-played season, when he hit .238 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs. He also had a career worst -0.7 WAR. In his 2015 season, the Venezuela native hit .271 with 40 home runs and 97 RBIs. He also won the silver slugger award.
If history re-occurs, I think he is in line for an all-star season. He was a partial contributor to the Rockies' playoff berth this season.
Many may disagree with me that Gonzalez should be wearing Purple and Black next season, but the end result may be worth another chance for Gonzalez. If the Rockies do not want to commit to a long-term deal with CarGo, they could offer him a qualifying offer, which is worth $17.4 million next season.
If he declines the qualifying offer, it will be beneficial for the organization. They would be owed a first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft. If he accepts the offer, they would lose their #22 pick.
If they want to go the long-term route with Gonzalez, the Rockies should offer him a three-year deal worth a total of $48 million.
The St. Louis Cardinals have been known to have a rich farm system, especially for having a deal of young major-league ready pitchers. This has always been their secret weapon and this offseason I think they should execute their plan to acquire a big time power bat. The only way of doing so, is to part with some of their farm system.
The Cardinals have something rare in right-hander, Alex Reyes. Reyes, 23, missed all of the 2017 season due to Tommy John Surgery. The #14 ranked prospect (MLB Pipeline) has a fastball that can reach 100 mph and is rated a 75, on the 20-80 rating scale. In 12 appearances in 2016, Reyes impressed with a 1.57 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 46 innings.
If the Cardinals are serious about trading for a power bat this offseason, such as Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton or Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson, they may need to cut Reyes loose. Both teams are going to ask about Reyes and realistically the only way the Cardinals will acquire both sluggers, would be by trading Reyes, as the headliner.
The party does not stop at Reyes. The Red Birds have talented pitchers Jack Flaherty and Luke Weaver waiting in the wing. If the Cardinals plan to trade some of their prospects this offseason, you may hear these names quite frequently.
Weaver, 24, awed Major League Baseball in his second stint in the big leagues. In 13 appearances this season, Weaver went 7-2 in 60 innings, with a 3.88 ERA and 72 strikeouts. Weaver has "above-average" control and a high 90's mph fastball. Weaver may be on someone's wish list this offseason. If I am the Cardinals, I would ship him out of the Midwest for some big time talent.
The Cardinals have another potential ace in their organization in Jack Flaherty. The 21-year-old righty had an impressive year in AA and AAA. In 25 starts between the two levels, Flaherty went 14-4 with a phenomenal 2.18 ERA in 148.2 innings with 147 strikeouts. Flaherty appeared in the majors six times in September, and he had a 6.33 ERA. Obviously, he had the big-league jitters. He is expected to be on the major league roster opening day next year. He mainly utilizes his fastball, which ranges in the low 90 mph range. He has excellent command of his fastball and he is not scared to throw it.
The Cardinals also have Sandy Alcantara and Dakota Hudson, who opened some eye lids too.
Alcantara has potential to be a lights-out closer. The 22-year-old has an Aroldis Chapman fastball. He is literally the righty version of Chapman. His fastball reaches the 100 mph range with ease. Alcantara appeared in this big leagues this season and impressed during his September stint.
Hudson, 23, is seemingly around the corner from his shot in the big leagues. It is safe to assume the righty will be seen in the majors around mid-year next season. In both AA and AAA, the righty went 10-5 with a 3.01 ERA in 25 starts.
The Cardinals have a lot to deal with this offseason after missing the postseason in 2017. Many speculate the Cardinals will try to land a power bat. If they want to get Donaldson and Stanton, you can expect at least two of these pitchers to be wearing new uniforms next season.
The Detroit Tigers and Manager Brad Ausmus recently parted ways after he lead the team to Major League Baseball's worst record of 64-98 this season. Ausmus led the Tigers to only one postseason appearance, which was in 2014, during his four-year reign in the Motor City. Overall, Ausmus led the Tigers to a 314-332 win-loss record and a .486 winning percentage.
In my opinion, the Detroit Tigers should take a look at these three managerial candidates:
Gardenhire, 59, last managed the Minnesota Twins in 2014. Gardenhire led the show in the twin-cities for 13 seasons. He took the Twins to six postseasons and finished his time in Minnesota with a 1068-1039 win-loss record.
Gardenhire would definitely benefit the Tigers' organization. Having managed in the American League Central division for 13 seasons, he knows the five teams very well. Gardenhire and the Tigers appear to be the perfect match. Not to mention, Gardenhire served as the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. He was a key factor in their playoff run.
Gonzalez, 53, has ten years of managing experience on his resume in the big leagues. He managed the Florida Marlins for four seasons and the Atlanta Braves for six years. During his time in Atlanta, he took the Braves to two postseasons. He owns a career 710-692 win-loss record. Gonzalez spent this year in Miami with the Marlins as their third base coach.
Gonzalez managing the Tigers makes perfect sense. Gonzalez who has been wanting to manage for a while now, can help the Tigers during their rebuild. He helped the Marlins with their rebuild in 2007 and 2008. Assuming next season is sort of their "rebuild season", Gonzalez is the man for the job. After the Marlins went 71-91 in 2007, he turned them around the next year and the season after with 84 wins, and then 87 wins.
Yes, you read this correctly. Guillen, 53, has nine years of managerial experience under his belt. He managed the Chicago White Sox for eight seasons and the Miami Marlins' inaugural season in 2012. Guillen led the Sox to two postseason appearances and a World Series championship. He has a career 747-710 win-loss record. Guillen is known for being controversial. He made comments regarding Cuba's leader Fidel Castro in 2012, which resulted in Guillen being suspended for five games and fired after the season.
Guillen could fire up the Tigers' clubhouse. Guillen is known for being very loud-mouthed and argumentative. But seriously, he could fire up the Tigers' clubhouse with all of the momentum he has. Yes, many would disapprove if Guillen were to manage again in the United States, but the fans love it when he runs out of the dugout like there is no tomorrow, and gets nose-to-nose with the umpires.