Major League Baseball’s trade season – and the bevy of crazy rumors and speculation that come with it – is officially upon us.
The Mariners and Diamondbacks fired the opening salvo with last week’s six-player swap that was highlighted by the Mariners adding slugger Mark Trumbo to an underachieving lineup in hopes of pushing the club into contention.
Luckily, it seems that this was just the first of many potential early deals before the July 31, non-waiver trade deadline. This evening we’ve been treated to rumblings of two potential deals in the works.
Rumors are swirling today that the Mets and Brewers are in talks to bring the shambling skeleton that is Aramis Ramirez to the Big Apple as a fill-in at third base while David Wright battles spinal stenosis.
Ramirez, 36, would be an interesting addition to a Mets club that has struggled to score runs and could use a potent bat to pair with Lucas Duda. That having been said, Ramirez is a few years removed from being a true offensive threat himself; he’s hitting a meager .213/.257/.390 on the season, but that includes seven long-balls which would be more than Mets third basemen have mustered as a collective on the year.
Ramirez is making $14 million this season, but the Mets are legitimate playoff contenders and might be willing to take on some salary to improve one of the league’s worst offenses in time for a postseason push.
Rounding out our pair of early season trade rumors is someone we talked about over the winter, Jonathan Papelbon.
It’s believed that the Phillies have accepted their fate as non-contenders and are more-than-willing to move Papelbon. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Cubs and Blue Jays are the likely front-runners for his services at the moment.
Papelbon, 34, is making $13 million this season and has an almost-sure-to-be-vested $13 million option for 2016. According to Rosenthal’s report, the club is reportedly willing to eat a sizeable chunk of his salary to net better prospects in a trade.
Potentially complicating matters is Papelbon’s limited no-trade clause that allows him to block deals to 17 different clubs, but his comments in the past indicate that he’s ready to join a contender if the opportunity arises.
Despite the financial roadblocks to moving Papelbon, his performance still ranks as one of the top closers in the game. On the season he’s racked up 12 saves (out of 22 total wins for a miserable Phillies team) with a 1.13 ERA, 0.917 WHIP, and 29/6 K/BB ratio in 24 total innings.
It’s still very early in the season and, with the second wildcard, only a handful of teams – Philadelphia, Oakland, Miami, and Milwaukee – appear to be obvious sellers, so it could still take a few weeks for the trade market to truly develop, but if these early rumors are any indication, it could be a very exciting run to trade deadline this season.