In an ordinary Major League Baseball season, early April would be a tad too soon for trade speculation. But in 2021, it feels like it's never too early to start considering trades teams might make.
There have already been two trades of note, with the New York Yankees acquiring Rougned Odor from the Texas Rangers and Atlanta landing Orlando Arcia from the Milwaukee Brewers. The former was a salary dump on Texas' part, while the latter was an upside play for Atlanta.
We have ideas for five trades that would similarly fit one of those two molds. But for the sake of making things a little more interesting, we've also theorized some possible trades that would move the needle a lot more.
Let's begin with the less interesting variety and go from there.
Michael Chavis to the Pittsburgh Pirates
Because he's likewise blocked from playing time at the major league level, perhaps the Boston Red Sox will do Michael Chavis the same sort of solid that Milwaukee did for Orlando Arcia.
Though he quickly made an impression after arriving as a well-regarded prospect in 2019, Chavis has hit just .230/.281/.380 with too many strikeouts over his last 109 games. Because he couldn't shake the strikeout bug even as he hit for power in spring training, it was no surprise when the Red Sox optioned him.
Even if Chavis is something of a reclamation project, he's only 25, still in his pre-arbitration years and not eligible for free agency until after 2025. As such, he might appeal more so to rebuilders than contenders.
For instance, the Pittsburgh Pirates need as much cheap, controllable young talent as they can get their hands on. And they just so happen to be run by former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, who drafted Chavis in 2014. An offer of low-level pitching could get something done.
Lewis Brinson to the Colorado Rockies
Meanwhile in Miami, Lewis Brinson has been relegated to a reserve role in deference to veteran center fielder Starling Marte.
Though Brinson, 26, doesn't exactly deserve better after posting an ugly minus-3.0 rWAR between 2018 and 2020, it isn't a good look for the Marlins that the formerly elite prospect is riding the pine. He was, after all, supposed to be the guy who justified the trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee in 2018.
The Marlins would be granting Brinson a needed change of scenery if they traded him. And given his age, pre-arbitration eligibility and club control through 2024, he'd be a good upside play for a rebuilding team that actually has playing time for him.
If they're inclined to throw their fans a bone after jettisoning Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies should at least look into Brinson. His athleticism would play well in Coors Field's huge outfield, and the park itself might spark his offense. If they can get him for parts they wouldn't miss, they should.
Amed Rosario to the Cincinnati Reds
Elsewhere on the topic of former top prospects who are now out of everyday jobs, Amed Rosario arguably fits that bill even though he's started in two of Cleveland's five games so far.
This could change if Andres Gimenez opens the door for Rosario at shortstop by continuing to struggle offensively. But since Gimenez is younger and the better defender of the two, it's at least as likely that Cleveland will keep rolling with him while Rosario languishes in a utility role.
If Cleveland instead looks to trade the 25-year-old, it could be because it just doesn't want to pay the remainder of his $2.4 million salary. Or it could be because there's actual interest in him, perhaps even from a team in the same state.
The Cincinnati Reds' experiment with Eugenio Suarez at shortstop was a shaky idea to begin with, and it's not looking any better now. A deal for Rosario would at least give them a stable defender at the position, and it would deepen their lineup by pushing Mike Moustakas into a roving platoon role.