With roughly a month until the trade deadline, it’s often a fun exercise to explore possible trades that could happen before the end of July. These are not full-out rumors, just off-the-cuff speculation of trade scenarios.
Anyone who works in the industry or is an analyst can tell you that trades involving multiple partners are exponentially hard to complete. Getting two teams to agree on which players will be exchanged is hard enough, adding any additional “cooks in the kitchen” can douse the hopes of any trade quickly.
But one deal that just may work could be a three-way trade between the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, and the L.A. Dodgers. Two of these teams, the Reds and the Giants, are in tight pennant races and are in need of a little additional help to propel each to the front of their respective division.
The Reds have a wealth of catching talent. Catcher Ramon Hernandez is enjoying a terrific offensive season (.308/.370/.513) and has provided well behind the plate as well. Although he hasn’t hit nearly as well as Hernandez, Ryan Hanigan has been relatively close to league average for a catcher and has more defensive potential than Hernandez at this point in his career. They also have a catcher by the name of Devin Mesoraco crushing Triple-A pitching down in Louisville.
However, their starting pitching has been relatively attrocious. Starters Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, and Travis Wood all have ERAs north of 5.00. Although they are looking forward to the return of Homer Bailey, the Reds are in desperate need for reliable starting pitching to team with the top offense in the NL.
The Giants are in a complete opposite predicament. They have a wealth of starting pitching, but lack any sort of viable offensive output from their catchers now that Buster Posey is out for the season with a broken leg.
Yet, there has been rumors that the Giants are very reluctant to give up any of their starting pitching for an offensive boost. Although they boast an impressive starting five that’s been good enough to essentially make Barry Zito a very expensive middle reliever, it is unlikely that they will be open to giving away any of them mid-season for a bump in offensive production.
That’s where the woeful Dodgers come in. With the McCourt dealings providing a blanket of financial insecurity that lays heavy on the organization, the Dodgers have been rumored to want to deal away some of the players nearing free agency. One of those players, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, is enjoying a fine year for the Dodgers and has become the most likely to go. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports numerous teams have scouted Hiroki, including the Reds.
By sending Kuroda to the Reds, the Dodgers would relieve themselves of his salary for the rest of the season. The workhorse starter would give the Reds’ rotation a mid-season boost that they so desperately need. The Reds could then clear some salary to pay Kuroda by trading Hernandez to the Dodgers, clearing the way for Mesoraco to join them in Cincinnati. Hernandez would be a big boost to a lack-luster Giants offensive lineup and would be a free agent at the end of the season, allowing Posey to slip back in behind the plate next year. In return for letting Kuroda go, the Dodgers would then receive a couple prospects from the Giants and possibly the Reds.
Looking at previous trades of similar players that are about to hit free agency, it is unlikely the Dodgers will receive a player like Zach Wheeler or Eric Surkamp. Then again, the market for upper-end starting pitching will be very meager and the price may go up even though it is a somewhat of a salary dump move for the Dodgers.
Of course, there are a number of roadblocks in such a deal beyond just the three-way obstacle. This would mean that the Dodgers and Giants would trade within their division, not a completely usual practice in MLB. Also, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Kuroda would require compensation to waive his no-trade clause. It’s also possible that money exhanged in the deal as well.