The demand for 2018 baseball video games is about to skyrocket. The trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and various deals have already gone down. As teams prepare to either cast off dead weight, send away stars for prospects for a rebuild, or reinforce their squads for a playoff run, we take a look at some of the most likely trades and some that have already happened.
Mariners Trade OF Tyler O’Neill to St. Louis for LHP Marco Gonzales
As a Mariners fan, this is a super frustrating trade on the surface. Under the surface, it’s still frustrating. For those not too familiar with minor league baseball, Tyler O’Neill has been a top Mariners prospect for the past few seasons. He’s a powerful bat and a strong outfield presence and will be a solid contributor in any lineup sooner than later. He hit an absolute yak of a home run off of Clayton Kershaw in Spring Training this year, and has basically kept Mariner fans excited during the tough times. The fact that Mariner outfielders such as Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia have played as well as they have provides a sense of depth and security, and DiPoto’s win-now mentality means any extra weight in view of this season is dispensable.
Gonzales just came off of Tommy John surgery and didn’t play at all in 2016, and his scouting report places him as a back-end starter or long reliever. Basically, he doesn’t seem to provide the value given up by getting rid of O’Neill. That being said, the Mariners have been doing all they can to stockpile pitchers due to an insane rash of injuries this year. Their recent trade of Jean Machi and Mark Lowe to the White Sox for cash has left a void of sorts at the minor league level, a spot to be filled by Gonzales. Still, the loss of O’Neill, while not yet fully measureable, doesn’t seem justified by the addition of Gonzales.
Mariners Acquire David Phelps from Miami for Prospects
I promise this isn’t a Mariners-only article, Jerry Dipoto just loves to trade. Another move to shore up a depleted pitching staff, DiPoto sent four minor league prospects to Miami for setup man Phelps. Compared to the O’Neill-Gonzales trade, it makes more immediate sense; a veteran bullpen guy to throw in the late-inning mix with Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz. Overall, a good trade. Side note: it’s nice, as a Mariners fan, to be on the other side of this “prospects for good player thing.” Former GM Jack Zduriencik was a bloody nightmare.
The Sonny Gray Sweepstakes
In case you weren’t aware, the Oakland A’s have a pitcher named Sonny Gray, and people really want him. The starter isn’t a free agent until after 2019, and has posted a 1.62 ERA in his last five starts. With the A’s far from realistic contention and Gray peaking at just the right time, he could bring them a sizeable return.
Rumors have the dominant Houston Astros as the favorites to land Gray, but other teams, including the Yankees, have been in talks for the 27-year-old. The most intriguing option other than Houston is the Dodgers, who just lost Clayton Kershaw to the DL with a back injury and Brandon McCarthy is out with a blister. Los Angeles has a strong lead in the NL West and has won 33 of their last 39 games, but they’re not pulling any punches here.
All in all, it looks like Gray will be going to the Astros, but don’t forget the Dodgers or even the Cubs…
Darvish to Los Angeles?
The Dodgers have reportedly also drawn interest from Texas Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish. Theo Epstein, looking to put his team in elite form for a postseason run, has also inquired on the asking price for Darvish. If this trade 1.) happens and 2.) happens with one of these two teams, it could be one of the most important of this season. Any NL team outside the West basically needs to win their division to make the playoffs the way things are going. The Cubs have gone on a tear recently and are now tied with the Brewers for the NL Central lead, but retaining that lead is the most important thing to Epstein right now.
Gray will take up a lot of attention over the next week or so, but Darvish could be the most important trade this year.
Brewers Interested in Kinsler
Ian Kinsler is one of the more underappreciated players in the majors today. This is likely because he’s played on somewhat hidden teams throughout his career (the AL Central is a nice place to hide), but he’s posted solid numbers and performance over the years, and only just last year received his first Golden Glove.
As the Brewers look to defend their lead in the NL Central, Kinsler could be a solid addition to square up the infield and add some consistency to the lineup.
So, don’t sleep on the trade deadline this year. Between a few big pitchers making moves and some other position players in discussions, a lot of the division races could be majorly affected by moves made this week.