If the Hot Stove is your thing, it’s been a fun offseason. Many of the premium free agents are off the board now, but the good news is several still remain. As you’ll see in this piece, there’s still a few big trade pieces who could further shake things up.


Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

A potential trade of Matt Kemp is a game changer for obvious reasons. Chiefly, he’s really good when healthy. Kemp was worth an 8.4 WAR when he was runner-up for the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2011, according to Fangraphs. That could be the difference between going home or reaching the postseason for a lot of teams.

As well, unloading Kemp would free the Dodgers of his $20-plus million average annual salary over the next six years. They’ll probably have to eat some of it, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, but dealing Kemp would still save them a lot of money that they could then spend elsewhere.

The possibilities for that are endless—hey, this is the Dodgers after all. But they’ll need all of it and then some to hammer out extensions for Hanley Ramirez and Clayton Kershaw, worthy undertakings considering those moves will keep them atop the NL West for the next couple of years.

I think the Seattle Mariners should have moved on Kemp yesterday. It’s risky, yes, but the Robinson Cano contract wasn’t exactly the move of a risk-averse team. They still need to get better for the Cano deal to make sense; acquiring Kemp would be one way to do that.


David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

David Price said he’s preparing himself to be traded, as Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reported in October. Would you blame him if it were wishful thinking? He’s not going to get on with his life/career with the Tampa Bay Rays, as we know they cannot afford to sign him to a long-term deal.

Any team would be glad to have Price. He’s a hard-throwing ace in the prime of his career and a lefty to boot. There’s not many of them for sale these days, as they tend to get locked into long-term contracts—except the ones on the Rays.

Price’s departure from Tampa would be a stark reminder that the system is unfair, but it would also be yet another opportunity for the Rays to remind everyone of how smart they are.

They’ll end up with a nice haul of prospects, because that’s what they always seem to do. The team that acquires Price will get two years of a Cy Young Award-winner at cost-controlled salaries. That’s super valuable.

On the field, the Rays would take at least a small step back without Price. I’m not sure that’s a given considering how adept they are at developing players, but I also doubt they have a four- or five-win pitcher just waiting in the wings to backfill the rotation spot.

They might still be an 88-win team without Price, though, which is pretty astonishing if you think about it.


Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees

On Sunday, Yankees president Randy Levine said the team has “absolutely no intention” of trading Brett Gardner, according to ESPNNewYork.com. I’m not buying it.

Gardner is a good, cheap center fielder entering his walk year, a valuable commodity. It’s fair to wonder whether he’s available now that the Yankees have signed Jacoby Ellsbury, but apparently, that’s not the case, as Levine tells it. Instead, the Yanks plan to have Gardner in left, alongside Ellsbury.

Maybe that really is the Yankees’ plan, or maybe, it’s just a negotiating ploy, but they still have a lot of holes to fill on their roster. In no particular order, they need a starter or two, a couple of relievers, perhaps a second baseman and maybe a third baseman.

Can they get all of that in free agency?

Gardy can slide into left, combining with Ellsbury to give the Yanks a great defensive outfield and more speed in their lineup. Or, Gardner could be trade bait, because I’m sure teams are interested in him now or would be if he were made available.

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