This years offseason has already seen some blockbuster trades that are bound to shake up the league.
Chris Sale to the Red Sox
It’s official, the Sox are in it to win it. The Papi-less Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, two of baseball’s most prized prospects, for Sale, potentially the league’s best lefty starter. Sale bolsters the rotation of David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, which was shaky in the back end last year. The possibility exists now that last year’s Cy Young award winner (Porcello) could be the third starter for the very same team. The Sox have now established themselves as the team to beat in the American League. On the other side of this deal, the White Sox received two incredible prospects here and are starting to rebuild, maybe following the footsteps of their brothers from across the city.
Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees
In 2014, Jonathon Papelbon signed what was then the largest deal in the history of relief pitches when he and the Phillies inked a four-year, $50 million deal. Just like the record for fastest pitch ever, Chapman also shattered the relief pitcher contract record by signing a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees. Essentially, the Yankees traded Chapman and his contract to the Cubs for half the year in return for one of the top prospects in baseball, shortstop, Gleyber Torres. Of course this doesn’t affect the Yankees as they still have all the money in the world to go after Manny Machado and Bryce Harper next year, and return baseball to its unfair, salary-cap-needing status quo. There is, however, some hope for the rest of the league, as this vast contract for a pitcher who has been undoubtedly overworked in his career could come back to haunt the Yankees.
Wade Davis to the Cubs for Jorge Soler
A good ol’ fashioned 1-for-1 trade in which the Cubs sent Jorge Soler to the Royals in exchange for closer Wade Davis, the likely replacement for Chapman. The Cubs sent Soler, a backup outfielder in an already jam-packed outfield, to the Royals and got back one of baseball’s best closers. On the surface it seems like the Cubs won the deal but upon a closer look, things become less clear. Davis, who spent time on the DL last year, is in the final year of his contract, while Soler will be a Royal for multiple years. Also, Soler has always been a minus defender and oft injured, two things which go out the window as he will be able to play DH for Kansas City.
Adam Eaton to the Nationals
Everyone thought this trade was a big deal, especially Danny Espinosa, who got traded to the Angels as a result of a hissy fit he threw about it (or for other reasons); who am I to speculate? Anyway, I believe the Nationals far overpaid for a player that some would call “better than average.” Last year Eaton hit .284 and had an on base percentage of roughly .360 while adding 14 homeruns, 14 steals and spectacular defense in the outfield. No doubt Eaton is a good player, but the Nationals gave up two of the top 10 right handed pitching prospects in baseball, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, as well as last year’s first round pick, Dane Dunning. This all seems a little extreme to me, but hey, the Nats are looking to win now, and they do have the team to do it.
Ian Desmond to the Rockies
The confusing thing about this trade is Desmond just got moved to centerfield from shortstop, and now is going to a Rockies team with a full outfield (Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl). So the first question is where is he going to play, and the answer is, first base. Interestingly, the Rockies passed on a number of actual first basemen: Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo and Mike Napoli, choosing to sign Desmond. This was likely done to avoid the risk of not getting anyone were they to miss out on one of the big names. That being said, Desmond can hit (.285 and 22 homers), and expect those numbers to go up in Colorado – which actually gives the Rockies one of baseball’s scariest lineups, no matter what elevation you play at (Blackmon, LeMahieu, Arenado, Gonzalez, Story, Dahl, Desmond, Wolters).