Bowden: Way too early MLB trades I’d like to see happen, plus Luis Arraez trade takeaways

The Padres and Marlins didn’t want to wait 87 days until the MLB trade deadline on July 30 to make the first big trade of the season, as they completed a five-player trade Friday night that became official on Saturday. San Diego acquired two-time batting champion infielder Luis Arraez from Miami for center fielder Dillon Head, the 25th overall pick in last year’s MLB draft, along with three other minor leaguers , outfielder Jakob Marsee, first baseman Nathan Martorella and right-hander. reliever Woo-Suk Go. San Diego also received nearly $8 million in this deal.

The Padres significantly improved the top of their lineup by adding Arraez, a base machine who is one of the best pure hitters the game has seen in years. He reminds me of Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs and Rod Carew with his elite bat control and ability to put the ball where the defense isn’t playing. He has a staggering career strikeout percentage of 7.5 percent. (The league average over the past six years is 22.9 percent.) He will create traffic for the rest of the Padres lineup, including Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Jake Cronenworth. Arraez’s best position is designated hitter, followed by first base, second base and third base, and he will likely be used in all four as it will allow the Padres to rotate their infielders to the DH spot to allow them to rest. He is under team control through the 2025 season.

The Marlins weren’t going to be able to sign Arraez long term and with so many needs on their depth chart, this was the type of deal they had to make. Head was the headliner and most important player acquired by the Marlins, as he could eventually become their long-term answer at center field and the leadoff spot. Marsee profiles as a solid fourth type of outfielder in the majors, Martorella can hit but lacks power in the field, and Go, who signed a $4.5 million contract this offseason, has a chance to be a deep reliever for Miami. This won’t be a popular trade in South Florida, as the Marlins’ top two bats from a year ago — Arraez and Jorge Soler, who signed with the Giants in the offseason — are now gone without their offense is replaced in the major league. level. But it was necessary for their long-term future.

I liked this trade on both sides and it got me thinking about other All-Star caliber players that could be traded over the next three months before the deadline. Generally speaking, it’s way too early to make any trades as most teams want to wait until at least mid-July to see if they’re in contention, but that doesn’t mean we can’t not have fun and discuss some players who could be closer to the deadline depending on how things develop.

Here are three way-too-early trades I’d like to see happen and why these deals could make sense for both sides.


MLB Trade Notes: Taking stock of the Padres-Marlins deal Luis Arraez

1. Mets trade 1B Pete Alonso to the Mariners for RHP Emerson Hancock and 1B Ty France

Alonso will be a free agent after this season and there is no indication the Mets will extend him long-term before he hits free agency. Therefore, if they are not in the wild card race at the end of July, they should trade Alonso and try to re-sign him in the offseason. He loves New York and loves being a Met, so they would have a legitimate chance to sign him this winter. Meanwhile, by parting ways with Alonso before the trade deadline, they could get back a promising young pitcher in Hancock, the sixth player overall selected in the 2020 draft, who debuted last year and posted a 4.75 ERA in six starts this year. Hancock, 24, has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. France, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this season, also returns as part of the contract in New York. He could play first base for the Mets the rest of this season, and with his experience at third, second and DH, gives them a multi-position player and a potential offseason trade chip (especially if they re-sign Alonso ). To me, his swing and approach says he should be much better than his production – .250/.337/.336 slash line and a 99 OPS+ last year and a 97 OPS+ this year – so maybe ‘a change of scenery would help. France is under team control until next season.

The Mariners, on the other side of this deal, would fill their biggest need, landing a big mid-power bat to give them a much better chance of winning the AL West and even running the table in October. Seattle could replace Hancock in the rotation with Bryan Woo and still have the best five-man rotation in baseball. Woo, who posted a 4.21 ERA in 18 starts last year as a rookie, is on the injured list but reportedly close to returning.

2. The Blue Jays trade 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the Astros for 1B/OF Joey Loperfido and OF Kenedy Corona

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. celebrates after hitting a grand slam on Sunday. (Geoff Burke / USA Today)

Guerrero will be a free agent after the 2025 season and the Blue Jays have not yet signed him to a long-term deal. They would get a much better return in a trade now than in the offseason or before next year’s trade deadline; therefore, they will have to seriously consider selling him in July if they fall out of the race. Guerrero is still only 25 years old and just entering his prime. Can you imagine him hitting between Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker over the next two seasons (at least)? Vlad Jr.’s best season came in 2021, when he led the majors with 48 home runs and led the AL with a 1.002 OPS. He followed that up with a 32-homer season and a Gold Glove Award in 2022. However, the three-time All-Star’s numbers dipped last year to 26 homers and a .788 OPS, and this year he’s only hitting . 239 with four. home runs, 15 RBIs and a .711 OPS. A change of scenery, including a move to Houston, could be a huge boost for him. The Astros need help at first base. José Abreu, who was drafted to the team’s spring training facility last week, appears to be in serious decline. Jon Singleton played well for them, but he is more of a solid bench player. Guerrero would solve the Astros’ first base and really stretch their lineup.

In return, the Blue Jay would get Loperfido, who could take over first base in the long run. He led the Minors with 13 homers when the Astros promoted him last week. Loperfido, 24, can also play left field. Corona, 24, can play all three positions and outfield profiles as a high-end type producer with 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He’s hitting .185/.340/.309 this season in Double A with 10 steals in 11 attempts. Both players will not be eligible for arbitration until at least 2027.

3. The Guardians trade right-handed relievers Hunter Gaddis and Cade Smith to the Orioles for RF Heston Kjerstad

Heston Kjerstad, pictured last week against the Yankees, made his MLB debut last September. (Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

The Guardians need to improve right field in the short and long term and acquiring Kjerstad, the second overall pick in the 2020 draft, would accomplish both goals. Kjerstad, 25, has slashed .349/.431/.744 at Triple A this season with 10 homers and 30 RBIs and has gone 2-for-9 since being promoted to the majors two weeks ago. However, the Orioles outfield is crowded with right fielder Anthony Santander, center fielder Cedric Mullins and left fielders Colton Cowser and Austin Hays, along with Kyle Stowers and Coby Mayo, who are ready for the big leagues but at Triple A Kjerstad is talented. but could be consumable. (He ranked 20th on my Top 50 Prospects list last August.)

In this trade, the Orioles would acquire two strong, controllable relievers to help fortify their bullpen. Gaddis, 26, posted a 2.87 ERA in 17 appearances for Cleveland this season with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.7 walks per nine. Smith, 24, posted a 2.30 ERA and 1.43 FIP in 16 appearances this year, his first in the big leagues, with 13.8 strikeouts per nine (24 strikeouts in 15 2/3 sleeves). The Guardians could afford to deal both righties because they have a deep bullpen with Emmanuel Clase and position men such as Tim Herrin, Scott Barlow and Nick Sandlin, as well as relievers recovering from injuries and more good weapons among minors. who are ready for promotions.

There’s no need to wait until June and July to have fun discussing business proposals. Please use the comments section to share any deals you would like to see. And as always, thanks for reading. I like you – yes, even the haters!

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(Pete Alonso top photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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