First off, I'll acknowledge the fine work Corey Seidman is doing on CSN with his trade series. Instead of posing specific trades as Corey did, I'd like to take a look across the trade partners at some of the key names and maybe a few under the radar types. It's important to establish where we're looking first and I'll include all the kids in the pool of rumors, even the guys with almost no chips. Why? Because honestly, 'almost no chips' is nearly the exact selling price of Jonathan Papelbon. So rumors have mentioned the following teams as possible suitors: O's Royals, Angels, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays. I am going to leave off one team: The Red Sox. Why them? Because I honestly don't see them trading anything big, more likely small fixes with more fringe prospects. I could be wrong, but I'll take the risk. Today I'll look at the Angels, Dodgers, Mariners and Orioles.
Angels: The cupboard is kind of bare in the Halos system, but there are some nice parts that could work in a Papelbon deal or similar bullpen trade. First off is Taylor Lindsey a Second Baseman struggling with a really low BABiP. He'd be a good Buy Low candidate and he's in Triple-A, so it's not crazy to think he could succeed Utley in a year or two. He has a good walk rate (though he's known to chase low out of the zone) and power that will play at Second. His defense is average, so he'd be a downgrade from what we're used to with Utley, but reports seem to indicate he could stick there with the glove. He's not a safe gamble, but you're getting rid of Papelbon, so you can't really complain. Staying in the Middle Infield we could look at Alex Yarbrough a Second Baseman; solid hit tool, decent power, but K and BB rates are not what you want. A great wild card could be Jose Rondon a 6'1" 20 year old SS who's killing it at Inland Empire (a premiere hitter's paradise, so grain of salt here). He has a slick glove and even if the bat doesn't develop, his glove can probably win him an MLB bench role. The Angels don't have the bullets for Hamels or Lee, but they could swing a Reliever or two, if they desired.
Dodgers - Staying in LA, the Dodgers have a pretty good system (it was awful pretty recently, which is always good to remind people since these things can sometimes turn on a dime like that) and could swing any of the Phillies players in terms of prospect value. The Dodgers though also have 4 Starting OF's and barring them creating the first Nickel Defense in the Majors, they'd likely be inclined to jettison Ethier or Kemp if they could too. That said, someone else can write about that and everyone should know those names pretty well. Any deal with the Dodgers would be headlined by one (or both if you're a glass is two halves full type) of Joc Pedersen or Julio Urias. Pedersen is everything you want in an OF prospect: Power, speed, defense, average, takes walks (he's almost downright Votto-esque in this area). The one word of warning is he is not great against Lefties (K rate over 30% there, AVG around .260-ish. Better in 2014, but still warning signs). Currently plays in a bit of a launching pad, so again, take the .249 ISO with a grain of salt... but not a big one as he had a .219 ISO in the decidedly Pitcher friendly Southern League last year. Urias meanwhile, is a 17 year old pitching in the decidedly hitter friendly Cal League (High-A) posting this line: 3.51 ERA, 9.64 K/9, 4.21 BB/9, 46.3% GB rate. He'd be high risk though as he's 17, under six feet and has a bit of work to do yet. He has 3 potential Plus pitches and incredibly advanced feel for his age. He was signed on the same trip to Mexico that netted the Dodgers Puig, so that airfare has certainly paid for itself, to say the least. Other targets: Corey Seager is destroying, and I stress, destroying High-A pitching, but I think they'd be buying high on the Shortstop and I'm not sure the Dodgers would be quick to trade him. You could also buy low on Zach Lee, though he's probably got Kyle Kendick as a ceiling.
Mariners - There's a lot here if Ruben can pry it away from Jack Z. The first name to come up would be Taijuan Walker. Walker is pretty damned good. There are some potential injury concerns, but he's prensently pitching pretty well and most young pitchers have some degree of injury red flags. If Walker avoids injury, he has a good shot at being an Ace quality Starter. If the M's and Phillies work out a deal that accounts for the injury risk by including some wild cards, all the better. A few other great names: D.J. Peterson and Austin Wilson. Both are 2013 draft picks that I thought the Phillies might be interested in. Peterson has a big bat where he's put up a .270 ISO (yay High Desert, the most offensive of locations). Peterson's glove can play Third, but not at a very high level, he's probably a First Baseman long term, but he has the power for the role and he'd be ready in ~2 years, which would time well with Howard. Of course, in College and pros, he's played in the most notorious launching pads quite a bit, will his bat still be as big in a more neutral environment? That is certainly a fair question. Wilson, meanwhile, is a classic Stanford Line Drive hitter (a somewhat absurd 22% of contact), he's showing power so far and a solid approach at the plate. The Stanford track record makes me nervous though. A few other sleeper names to look for: Chris Taylor, a Shortstop playing in Triple-A, good plate approach, good defense (not spectacular, but good enough to stick), power is pretty good for Short, strong Line Drive hitter who typically carries a high BABiP, would be a nice snag. Patrick Kivlehan, a former Rutgers Football player, his approach at the plate has improved, his power is nice (ignore the .281 he put up in High Desert, he's probably a .150-.200 ISO guy, at best), defense is not going to play at Third, not sure the bat will play at First. Good gamble if you can pry him loose.
Orioles - Any deal would be discussed with the names of 3 Pitchers from the O's. The first is potential future Ace Kevin Gausman. Gausman's walk rates have been impeccable at every stop until 2014. He's struggling with his control a bit more this year, but he was in Baltimore only a few months beyond the one-year anniversary of his being drafted. Perhaps the rush has thrown him a bit, but if the command returns, he's a bona fide #1 Starter. It's possible the O's don't want to wait for Gausman to figure it out, seeing a window this year. That said, they'd be nuts to trade Gausman for a potentially injured, mid 30's Cliff Lee. The second name you'll hear is Dylan Bundy. Bundy was by some accounts the top Pitching prospect in baseball 2 years ago, then came Tommy John and a lost 2013. Only four starts into his return in 2014, Bundy looks back to form. He'd be a nice Buy Low player here and a potentially damaged Lee for a potentially damaged Bundy seems more reasonable from the O's POV. The third name is Hunter Harvey. Harvey is a 19 year old RHP drafted 22nd overall last year. He's putting up big K numbers, but kind of biggish BB numbers too. You might be buying a little high on Harvey and he's really far off which boosts the risk, as part of a deal, fine, but I wouldn't want him as the centerpiece of one. An under the radar name I like: Chance Sisco, a 6'2" Catcher who's killing the Sally to the tune of .343/.409/.469. Defense is a work in progress and power is expected to improve a little, Chance was a Second Round pick last year, so I'm using Under the radar loosely here.