2018 MLB Trade Deadline: 5 potential trades that make sense, including new homes for Manny Machado and Jacob deGrom

The 2018 MLB non-waiver trade deadline is now four weeks away, but already we've seen several contending teams make moves to bolster their rosters. The Mariners added Alex Colome and Denard Span. The Nationals added Kelvin Herrera. The Diamondbacks added Jon Jay. Plenty more trades are on the way.

As always, some trades will come out of nowhere and some trades we'll see coming a mile away. This post is about the trades we'll see coming a mile away ... in theory. Here are five potential trades scenarios we here at CBS Sports -- and by "we" I mean "I" -- believe just make sense for both teams. Just because they make sense to me doesn't mean they'll happen, of course.

Feel free to tell me how wonderful my trade proposals are on Twitter at @mikeaxisa. Here are the five trades that make too much sense not to happen, in no particular order.

D-Backs acquire Manny Machado

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
Manny Machado is heading to the desert. Hypothetically, of course. USATSI

I think we've reached the point where it's not a question of "if" the Orioles will trade Machado, but "when." The O's are on pace for 115 losses and Machado is an impending free agent. Barring a surprise monster contract extension in these next few weeks, it would be baseball negligence for the O's to keep Machado and risk losing him for nothing but a dinky draft pick as a free agent after the season.

As for the D-Backs, they remain in first place in the NL West and they have a clear need for another bat. Consider their offensive ranks among the 30 MLB teams:

  • Runs per game: 4.37 (17th)
  • Batting average: .228 (29th)
  • On-base percentage: .305 (26th)
  • Slugging Percentage: .396 (23rd)
  • OPS+: 83 (28th)

Yeesh. Shortstop is an obvious spot for an upgrade as well. Nick Ahmed, a splendid defender, owns a punchless .224/.282/.414 (80 OPS+) batting line at the moment. I would be unrealistic to expect even someone as good as Machado to do what J.D. Martinez did for Arizona last year, but Machado is one of the few players in the game who can have a similar impact. He's a bona fide middle of the order force and someone who can change the balance of power in a division no one seems to wants to win.

Proposed trade package: Jon Duplantier, Ketel Marte, and Taylor Widener. The D-Backs do not have a great farm system at the moment, though they can cobble together enough young assets to entice the O's. Duplantier (Baseball America's No. 52 prospect) and Widener are two very good Double-A right-handers who will be big-league options within a year. Marte is still only 24 and he's shown promise on both sides of the ball, plus he's signed affordably through 2024. He gives the O's a young middle infield building block for the post-Machado era.

Yankees acquire Jacob deGrom

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins
A trade that sends Jacob deGrom from New York team to the other sure does make a lot of sense. USATSI

Let me preface this by saying I'll believe a big Yankees-Mets trade will happen when I see it. The two teams haven't made a notable trade since the Mike Stanton for Felix Heredia lefty reliever swap in December 2004, and they haven't made an in-season trade of any kind since the Mets sent Armando Benitez to the Yankees for three young arms prior to the 2003 trade deadline.

That said, a trade sending deGrom to the Yankees makes sense for both clubs. The Yankees need another starting pitcher -- that is true even after their rotation posted a 3.36 ERA in June -- and not just another depth arm. They have lots of those. They need an impact starter to pair with Luis Severino. Someone who better allows them to go toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in a postseason series, or Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, or Chris Sale and Rick Porcello.

The Mets ace has been off-the-charts good this season. He leads all qualified starters with a 1.84 ERA and a 206 ERA+, and while I wouldn't expect him to pitch that well following a shift into Yankee Stadium and the AL East, deGrom is clearly a difference-maker. He's excellent, he's familiar with New York, he's under team control through 2020, and he's proven his mettle in the postseason.

As for the Mets, wow are they bad. They're bad and their roster is quite old, which is the worst kind of bad. They started 11-1 and have now slipped to 33-48, and pretty much all their offseason free-agent signings (Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak, Jason Vargas) look like busts. Furthermore, potential young building blocks like Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario are having trouble finding their footing at the MLB level.

Simply put, the Mets need to add as much young talent as possible, otherwise they run the risk of not being competitive before deGrom can leave as a free agent in two years. The Yankees still have a tremendous farm system and can match or beat pretty much any offer. A crosstown trade would take some real guts at the front office and ownership levels -- imagine if you're the Yankees and deGrom stumbles while the prospects thrive with the Mets, or the Mets if the prospects bust and deGrom leads the Yankees to a championship? Oy vey -- but there's a fit here. The Yankees and Mets match up well.

Proposed trade package: Estevan Florial, Clint Frazier, Sonny Gray, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Justus Sheffield. The Mets would ask for Gleyber Torres and/or Miguel Andujar and the Yankees would say no. The Yankees have enough prospect depth to get a deal done anyway. Sheffield (No. 23), Florial (No. 57), and Loaisiga (No. 70) are all top 100 prospects according to Baseball America's recent midseason update and Frazier would be a top 25-ish prospect had he not exceeded the 130 at-bat rookie limit by 24 at-bats.

It's not just about prospect rankings, however. Frazier, Loaisiga and Sheffield are all big-league ready pieces the Mets could plug into their roster tomorrow. The Mets don't really need more outfielders, but when you're trading a guy like deGrom, you need to get the best talent in return regardless of position, hence Frazier and Florial. As for Gray, he is simply not working out for the Yankees. Including him in the trade offsets salary for the luxury tax cognizant Yankees and represents a buy low opportunity for the Mets, who can flip him for more pieces either before the deadline or (more likely) in the offseason, after he rebuilds some value in a pitcher's park.

Phillies acquire Adrian Beltre

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers
Adrian Beltre is the veteran third baseman the upstart Phillies need. USATSI

There are already some legs to this one. The Rangers have made Beltre (and others) available and the Phillies are said to have interest in Beltre, which makes sense because it is looking less and less likely Maikel Franco will recapture his 2015 glory with each passing day. Consider Philadelphia's third base ranks among the 30 clubs:

  • Batting average: .245 (19th)
  • On-base percentage: .310 (20th)
  • Slugging percentage: .735 (18th)
  • OPS+: 90 (17th)
  • Defensive runs saved: minus-9 (28th)

At age 39, Beltre is no longer the player he was in his prime, but he's still hitting .309/.373/.440 (116 OPS+) with strong defense, and would represent a rather enormous third base upgrade for the Phillies. And, truth be told, Philadelphia's lineup drops off quite a bit once you get beyond the stout top four of Cesar Hernandez, Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera and Carlos Santana. Beltre would bring much-needed lineup depth as the Phillies prepare for a second half postseason race.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are in last place and on pace for 90 losses, so it makes sense to trade away any impending free agents. That includes Beltre. Do the Rangers want to trade Beltre? Of course not. He is their team leader. But they're not in the race and, realistically, what are the chances Beltre is a part of the next contending Rangers team? Not very good given his age. Trading him is a painful but sensible move.

Proposed trade package: Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez. Texas is in desperate need of pitching depth and in the righty De Los Santos and the lefty Suarez, they get two 22-year-olds with upside who are having success at the Triple-A level. Both guys could pitch in the big leagues before the end of the season and be rotation options next year. MLB.com ranks Suarez and De Los Santos as the 9th and 11th best prospects in Philadelphia's system, respectively.

Brewers acquire J.T. Realmuto

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Miami Marlins
Catchers who can hit dingers are awfully valuable. USATSI

Everyone is talking about the Brewers acquiring a starting pitcher and that's understandable, though their hole behind the plate shouldn't be ignored either. Stephen Vogt is done for the season following shoulder surgery and the Brew Crew are currently trying to get by with journeymen Manny Pina and Erik Kratz at catcher. It is not going well. Milwaukee's catcher ranks among the 30 teams:

  • Batting average: .216 (20th)
  • On-base percentage: .291 (19th)
  • Slugging percentage: .357 (18th)
  • OPS+: 90 (21st)
  • Defensive runs saved: plus-1 (15th)

Not good at all. Realmuto is one of the top all-around catchers in baseball -- seriously, the guy is hitting .309/.366/.542 (152 OPS+) and he's a strong defender -- and he's under team control through 2020, so he'd be a long-term addition to a very good up-and-coming Brewers team. With all due respect to Pina and Kratz, the Brewers going from Pina and Kratz to Realmuto represents one of the biggest upgrades any club can make at the trade deadline.

The Marlins are in full blown tear it down mode -- Realmuto would reunite with former Marlins teammate Christian Yelich in Milwaukee -- and it's only a matter of time until Realmuto gets moved. I'm surprised he wasn't traded in the offseason, to be honest. Miami would save the remainder of Realmuto's $2.9 million salary and, much more importantly, infuse the organization with even more young talent.

Proposed trade package: Keston Hiura, Freddy Peralta, and Brett Phillips. Trading Hiura, the No. 9 overall pick in last year's draft and Baseball America's No. 36 prospect, would really hurt, but trading for a cornerstone catcher like Realmuto should hurt. Peralta is a solid MLB-ready pitching prospect and Phillips is an exciting young outfielder who is completely blocked with the Brewers. They have nowhere to play him, barring injuries. The Marlins are so short on outfielders they are playing rookie third baseman Brian Anderson in right. Huira is a headliner here. Peralta and Phillips are expendable for the Brewers and good additions for the Marlins.

Indians acquire Brad Hand and Kirby Yates

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres
Brad Hand is the closest thing to Andrew Miller on the trade market. USATSI

Although things have settled down of late, the Indians still have a painfully obvious need for bullpen help. Not just this season either. Both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen will be free agents after the season, and given the club's small payroll status, it is not a good bet either guy will return. They both might be $15 million a year relievers on the open market.  

In Hand and Yates, the Padres own two of the top relievers in baseball. Everyone knows Hand is great. (Or at least I think everyone does at this point.) Yates, however, is mostly flying under the radar. He's been outstanding since getting to San Diego last season. Consider Hand's and Yates' numbers this season:


IP ERA ERA+ WHIP K/9 BB/9

Hand

40 1/3

3.12

128

1.09

12.9

3.3

Yates

34

0.79

503

0.82

10.9

2.4

Hand is a lefty and signed affordably through 2021. Yates is a righty under team control through 2020. They're long-term additions who improve the bullpen this season and give the Indians late-inning bullpen solutions for the post-Miller-and-Allen era. Keep in mind the Indians had Yates briefly during the 2015-16 offseason -- they had him between waiver claims, basically -- so they saw something they liked once upon a time. Chances are he still has some fans in the organization.

As for the Padres, they are a rebuilding last place club, and I am honestly surprised they haven't traded Hand already. I thought he would be gone at the trade deadline last year, then again in the offseason. Instead, the Padres held on to him and signed him to a contract extension, which only makes him that much more desirable to trade partners. The time has come for GM A.J. Preller to turn his end-game duo into more young assets to move the rebuild forward.

Proposed trade package: Shane Bieber, Quentin Holmes and Nolan Jones. Preller tends to shoot for the moon and go after pure upside with his deals -- getting then-17-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. in the James Shields trade is the perfect example -- hence a package that includes Holmes and Jones, who extremely talented prospects in the low levels of the minors. Baseball America ranks Beiber as the No. 60 prospect in baseball right now, though that is more for his high floor than his high ceiling. He's an MLB-ready arm the Padres can stick in their rotation. Jones and Holmes are the high upside lottery tickets Preller loves.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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