0 of 10
Nick Wass/Associated Press
The 2021 MLB trade deadline is Friday at 4 p.m. ET, and the rumor mill is now in full swing as contenders make their pitches for the top available talent.
In early June, we asked B/R readers to submit their best deadline trade proposals, and the best and worst of the bunch were analyzed and graded. We then revisited that concept on July 1 and again on July 22.
With the deadline upon us, it’s time for one final round of reader submissions.
Ahead, we’ve once again selected a sampling of the best and worst user-submitted trade ideas to highlight with further analysis.
Each trade proposal received a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F based on how balanced the two sides of the deal are and how realistic it is for both teams.
1 of 10
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
To ATL: OF Bryan Reynolds
To PIT: OF Cristian Pache, RHP Kyle Wright, RHP Victor Vodnik, C Logan Brown
The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to need to be blown away to even consider trading Bryan Reynolds, who is now the de facto face of the franchise and one of the best young outfielders in baseball. The 26-year-old is hitting .309/.391/.524 with 23 doubles, 18 home runs and 57 RBI in a 3.7-WAR season, and he’s controllable for four more seasons after this year.
This is a competitive package, especially if the Pirates believe Cristian Pache will figure it out, but it’s not quite into blown-away territory and would be a relatively easy “no” for the Pirates.
To ATL: OF Bryan Reynolds
To PIT: OF Trey Harris, RHP Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP Daysbel Hernandez
Trey Harris and a pair of 24-year-old pitching prospects who profile as organizational depth wouldn’t keep the Pirates on the phone long enough for a counteroffer. Dial tone.
2 of 10
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
To SF: RHP Craig Kimbrel
To CHC: 3B Luis Toribio, IF/OF Mauricio Dubon
When it comes to trading closer Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs fans would be wise not to expect a return similar to what they surrendered in 2016 to acquire two months of Aroldis Chapman.
That was a massive overpay for a player the team viewed as the missing piece to win a title, not the going rate for a top-tier rental reliever. With that in mind, this is actually a terrific return for the North Siders.
Third baseman Luis Toribio is a 20-year-old playing at the Single-A level, and he has some of the loudest offensive tools in a deep San Francisco farm system.
“One of the best pure hitters among Giants farmhands, Toribio produces some of the highest exit velocities as well. He makes repeated hard contact with a vicious left-handed swing and uncanny hand-eye coordination,” wrote MLB.com.
Mauricio Dubon is a versatile young MLB piece with club control through the 2025 season who, at the very least, profiles as a useful utility player.
In return, the Giants would add a lockdown closer to a better-than-expected bullpen that’s thus far been anchored by veteran Jake McGee and submariner Tyler Rogers, both of whom probably fit best in a setup role.
3 of 10
Paul Beaty/Associated Press
To NYM: 3B Kris Bryant, RHP Craig Kimbrel
To CHC: 3B J.D. Davis, RHP Edwin Diaz, RHP Jose Butto, 3B Mark Vientos
Third baseman Mark Vientos was the proposed prospect centerpiece in almost every hypothetical swap between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.
The 21-year-old is hitting .266/.342/.579 with 13 doubles, 18 home runs and 49 RBI in 57 games at Double-A, and he could conceivably step into the everyday third base job in Chicago at some point in 2022.
Right-hander Jose Butto is a name that also came up multiple times as a secondary piece. A 23-year-old right-hander with a strong fastball-changeup combination, he began the season a bit behind the developmental curve at High-A. However, he was recently promoted to Double-A and has a 4.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 69.1 innings on the year.
J.D. Davis is also an intriguing piece of the puzzle with club control through the 2024 season and a reasonable $2.1 million salary this year. The 28-year-old has missed significant time to injury this year, but he’s hitting .342/.435/.575 with nine extra-base hits in 85 plate appearances.
The Edwin Diaz inclusion is where I’m a bit confused. Swapping Diaz for Craig Kimbrel seems like a lateral move for the Mets, who would benefit more from adding another late-inning arm to the mix rather than simply upgrading their current closer. He’s also not of much use to a selling and potentially rebuilding Cubs team, unless they’re going to flip him in a separate trade.
Still, this was the most realistic Kris Bryant trade proposal I saw.
4 of 10
Nick Wass/Associated Press
To CWS: SS Trea Turner, RHP Daniel Hudson
To WAS: LHP Garrett Crochet, RHP Jared Kelley, 3B Jake Burger, OF Micker Adolfo, RHP Matthew Thompson
This was one of the few trade proposals I saw that didn’t drastically undervalue Trea Turner.
The 28-year-old is hitting .322/.369/.521 with 18 home runs and 21 steals, and he leads the National League with 202 total bases while ranking fifth among all position players with 4.1 WAR in 96 games. He is also more than just a rental with an additional year of club control in 2022.
Just because the Nationals are listening to offers for him doesn’t mean they are motivated sellers, and it’s going to take a huge return to convince them to pull the trigger on a deal.
This is a huge return.
Garrett Crochet—with a high floor as an overpowering late-inning reliever—still has the potential to be developed as a starter.
Jared Kelley was one of the best prep arms in the 2020 draft class, Jake Burger and Micker Adolfo are young, MLB-ready pieces, and Matthew Thompson has one of the highest ceilings of any pitcher in the White Sox system even if he is off to a rocky start this year.
My only reservation is that with Nick Madrigal poised to return from hamstring surgery in 2022, is it really worth it for the White Sox to give all of this up for a player whom they don’t necessarily need next year? They could give up far less to acquire someone like Eduardo Escobar or Josh Harrison, or even Trevor Story as a two-month rental.
It’s a well-balanced trade—just not the smartest move for the White Sox.
5 of 10
Jim Mone/Associated Press
To LAA: RHP Jose Berrios
To MIN: OF Jo Adell, RHP Jaime Barria
Jo Adell and a few auxiliary pieces would be enough to land Jose Berrios, especially if the Twins have lost confidence in their ability to extend Byron Buxton. The question is whether the Angels are ready to give up on a 22-year-old with five-tool, superstar potential, even if it means adding a much-needed frontline starter.
To SEA: RHP Jose Berrios
To MIN: RHP Emerson Hancock, OF Taylor Trammell, RHP Juan Then, IF Joe Rizzo
Emerson Hancock checked in at No. 67 on my updated top-100 prospect list earlier this month, and Taylor Trammell was on there to start the year, so this is a big offer. It’s also one that makes a lot of sense for the Mariners, who have an abundance of outfield talent and need controllable pitching—Berrios is controllable through 2022—with their contention window opening. I like it!
To NYY: RHP Jose Berrios
To MIN: RHP Deivi Garcia, RHP Luis Medina, OF Clint Frazier
It’s certainly not the worst trade proposal I’ve seen from a Yankees fan. However, another suitor would have no problem beating this offer. Swapping out Clint Frazier with someone like Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe probably gets it done.
6 of 10
Clint FrazierMatt Slocum/Associated Press
As usual, the Yankees outnumbered the other 29 fanbases many times over when it came to comically lopsided proposals. Here are a few that stood out:
To NYY: SP Max Scherzer, SS Trea Turner
To WAS: OF Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier, “two prospects outside of the top 20 of NYY”
The Yankees get the best rental starter to hit the market in years and an NL MVP candidate in Trea Turner through the 2022 season in exchange for arguably the worst contract in baseball, a player who has been worth minus-1.4 WAR this season and “two prospects outside of the top 20” in the Yankees system. Amazing.
To NYY: 3B Jose Ramirez
To CLE: SS Gleyber Torres, OF Clint Frazier, “two minor league players”
I can only assume Cleveland will choose to include Jasson Dominguez in this deal since it’s apparently been given a blank check to select any two minor league players from the Yankees system.
To NYY: RHP Max Scherzer, SS Trea Turner
To WAS: SS Gleyber Torres, 1B Luke Voit, RHP Deivi Garcia, OF Clint Frazier, SS Anthony Volpe, RHP Luis Gil
There’s way too much going on here. The Nationals have nowhere to play Luke Voit with Josh Bell manning first base, and they have no need for a struggling Clint Frazier. A package built around two of those prospects probably gets you Max Scherzer, but is it really worth mortgaging those elite young talents for a rental when the season isn’t going anywhere? The other prospect is also not going to be enough to convince the Nationals to drastically downgrade from Trea Turner to Gleyber Torres at shortstop.
To NYY: RHP Max Scherzer
To WAS: RHP Clarke Schmidt, IF/OF Miguel Andujar
Disappointed I didn’t see any “Frazier and Andujar for your best player” proposals this time around, but this is close.
7 of 10
Pablo LopezNam Y. Huh/Associated Press
To LAD: 2B Cesar Hernandez
TO CLE: C Diego Cartaya, OF Romer Cuadrado
A second baseman who is hitting .228 in exchange for Diego Cartaya, who ranked No. 60 on our updated top-100 prospect list? Keep dreaming, Cleveland.
To BOS: RHP Pablo Lopez, 1B Jesus Aguilar
To MIA: 1B Bobby Dalbec, RHP Brayan Bello, RHP Thad Ward
Pablo Lopez is a 25-year-old with three remaining years of club control who has a 3.03 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 101 innings this season. The return package would have to start with Triston Casas or Jeter Downs, or the Red Sox would be laughed off the phone. Heck, the Marlins might not even do Jesus Aguilar for Bobby Dalbec straight up.
8 of 10
Nick Wass/Associated Press
To LAD: RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Brad Hand
To WAS: C Keibert Ruiz, OF Andy Pages, OF Jake Vogel, RHP Jimmy Lewis
On Wednesday, I proposed a trade package of Keibert Ruiz, Andy Pages and two relief pitching prospects in exchange for Max Scherzer and $5 million. It’s unclear whether the Dodgers would be willing to pay the luxury tax penalty that would come with adding all three of the veteran arms in the above proposal, and the secondary prospect return is a bit steep if there’s no cash changing hands, but this is a solid proposal.
To BOS: RHP Max Scherzer
To WAS: IF Michael Chavis, LHP Jay Groome, RHP Brayan Bello
Someone is going to be willing to offer up a top-100-caliber prospect for two months of Max Scherzer. Michael Chavis looks like a Quad-A guy at this point, and Jay Groome is no longer viewed as a top-tier prospect. Brayan Bello is having a breakout season, but he works better as a secondary piece in a Scherzer blockbuster. This just isn’t enough from Boston’s end.
To TB: RHP Max Scherzer
To WAS: RHP Michael Wacha, RHP Brent Honeywell Jr., IF Xavier Edwards
The Nationals would almost certainly have to include cash in any deal with the cost-conscious Rays. Michael Wacha and Brent Honeywell Jr. don’t move the needle much, but Xavier Edwards is a top-tier prospect.
9 of 10
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
To SD: RHP Ryan Tepera
To CHC: 1B Eric Hosmer, SS CJ Abrams, $43 million
With a crowded infield, the San Diego Padres are looking for a taker for Eric Hosmer, but unloading him won’t be easy. The 31-year-old is owed $60 million over the next four seasons, and he has been a league-average performer this year with a 100 OPS+ en route to 0.4 WAR in 93 games.
Why would a team consider taking on that type of financial commitment?
“It looks like if Eric Hosmer goes, so does one of the Padres’ top four prospects. That’s what is being discussed,” tweeted Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday.
We saw something similar prior to the 2020 season when the San Francisco Giants absorbed the contract of Zack Cozart and also acquired 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for a fringe prospect, essentially buying a top prospect with their payroll flexibility.
The four prospects Acee is referencing would be left-hander MacKenzie Gore, shortstop CJ Abrams, catcher Luis Campusano and outfielder Robert Hassell, with Hassell being by far the most likely to be included in a salary dump.
The meat and potatoes of the deal is the Hosmer salary dump and included prospect, but Ryan Tepera would also give an already talented San Diego bullpen another quality arm. The free-agent-to-be has a 2.91 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 10.4 K/9 in 43 appearances.
The above proposal runs into problems with the inclusion of $43 million. What is the Padres’ motivation to include an elite prospect if they’re still on the hook for more than two-thirds of Hosmer’s remaining contract?
10 of 10
Joey BartJeff Chiu/Associated Press
To SF: SS Trea Turner, RHP Max Scherzer
To WAS: C Joey Bart, LHP Kyle Harrison, RHP Camilo Doval, OF Jaylin Davis, OF Austin Slater
A trade package built around Joey Bart (No. 11) and Kyle Harrison (No. 99), who both earned a spot on our updated top-100 prospect list, would be a great place to start in a packaged deal to acquire Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
In order for it to make sense to package the two together, the Nationals have to be acquiring elite young talent that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to land with just one of them alone, and that’s the case with those two top-tier prospects.
However, the secondary pieces are a bit lacking.
Jaylin Davis has looked a lot like a Quad-A player to this point, Camilo Doval has struggled at Triple-A (20 G, 6.04 ERA) and in the majors (13 G, 7.59 ERA) this year despite high-octane stuff, and Austin Slater is a 28-year-old bench player.
It would take at least one more quality prospect—perhaps someone like low-level offensive players Luis Toribio or Jairo Pomares—and a couple more pieces with more upside than Davis and Slater bring to the table, but this is an intriguing start to what would be an all-in move on 2021 for the Giants.