This off-season has been a crazy one. Many of the big name free agents are already off the board and we're not yet at the winter meetings. The number of significant trades has also been interesting.
The Mariners just signed Robinson Cano to a 10 year, $240 million contract. This was a curious move because they are coming off a 71 win season. Pitchers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, along with third baseman Kyle Seager, are the only impact players on their team. So what's their plan? Even with the Cano signing, the M's still have about $40-50 million dollars to spend. They also have plenty of young players with upside....
Unfortunately, with a narrow window, they can't afford to wait for those players to develop. The M's have been linked to David Price, to form a trio that would compete with any front three in baseball. Their other needs include a couple right handed power bats, a back of the rotation innings eater and a closer.
That sounds like a pretty good trade partner. Let's start with something like this....
Trade Glen Perkins, Josh Willingham and Kevin Correia for SS Chris Taylor, RHP Brandon Maurer, UT Stefen Romero and RHP Tom Wilhelmsen.
This proposed trade fills several needs for the Mariners, while only increasing their payroll by $16M. This leaves them with money to acquire Price and another bat like Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz. At the very least, it gives them another option and trading partner.
From the Twins' perspective, Perkins is obviously the biggest piece in this trade. Glen is one of the ten best relievers in baseball, with or without the "closer" tag. Perkins would have much more value to the M's and the fact that he will make roughly $12M in the next three years, makes him one of the bigger bargains in baseball.
Willingham and Correia are both players who have one year left on their contracts. With Cano and King Felix eating up $50M for years to come, the M's will look for as much financial flexibility as possible. Hammer is coming off a down, injury-riddled season. Although I hate the thought of selling low, I feel supply and demand will increase his value. Right-handed power is in short supply and Josh also fills their need for a corner OF. Correia would be a perfect fit as an innings eater in that ballpark.
Now for what the Twins are getting. None of these proposed guys are can't miss players, but they all have upsides to be useful major league players. With the M's pitching depth and a crowded middle infield, they are all players they can afford to trade.
Chris Taylor is the key piece for me in this trade. He is currently the M's minor league player of the year. Known for his glove, he has great hands and feet. He also has an average to above average arm. So far, his offense has kept up with his defense. At age 22, Chris spent 2013 at A+ and AA putting up a .314/.409/.455 slash line with 38 stolen bases. He has the potential to be an everyday shortstop who gets on base, provides good defense and steals 25+ bases.
The other pieces are interchangeable. The M's have plenty of young talent. So instead of Maurer and Romero, it could be some other combination. Wilhelmsen is a deal sweetener; you can also replace him with another prospect.
The Mariners have a limited budget to work with, they have needs to fill and they have the prospects to trade. Now is the time for the Twins to strike and maximize the value received on our players.