Who doesn't love a blockbuster deal? Here are five top-flight stars who could be traded this offseason:
5. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
He's a free agent after 2016, the Reds aren't going to be contenders in 2016 and there will be plenty of interest if the Reds shop him around. Teams don't like to give up decent prospects for closers, but of course Chapman isn't your ordinary closer. Then look at 2015's disappointing teams -- Nationals, Mariners, Red Sox, Tigers, A's -- and they all had bullpen issues. You can never have too much starting pitching; well, you can never have too much relief depth either.
Possible destination: Yes, the Nationals' bullpen imploded, but with Jonathan Papelbon under contract they're more likely to add setup guys than a closer. So how about Detroit? The Tigers likely will fancy themselves as contenders despite this year's lousy record, but they need a bullpen overhaul.
4. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
A few months ago, Gonzalez looked like a potential salary dump when he was hitting .219/.296/.336 through the end of May. But he has recovered his value with a monster second half -- 24 home runs in 50 games entering Friday's action. Like the Reds, the Rockies are unlikely contenders in 2016 given the state of their pitching, so it makes sense to trade Gonzalez now, with two years remaining on his contract, rather than waiting. Considering Gonzalez's injury history, he's also one injury away from seeing his value drop again. The Rockies have some outfield depth with Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.
Possible destination: Gonzalez makes $17 million and $20 million the next two seasons, which isn't prohibitive but puts the Rockies in the quandary of taking a lesser package to balance out the $37 million or including some cash for a better package. Anyway, the Mariners' outfield is a mess. Nelson Cruz should be the DH, Mark Trumbo should be the first baseman, Austin Jackson is gone and there are no prospects on the way. With Cruz and Robinson Cano, the new general manager is unlikely to embark on a rebuild. The farm system is so weak, however, they may not be able to come up with a good deal.
3. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
It's pretty clear that Don Mattingly isn't a big fan of Puig, but what remains unclear is whether the front office wants to move forward with the mercurial right fielder in 2016. He has played just 77 games because of two separate hamstring injuries and has hit just .256/.324/.440, a letdown from his 2013-2014 performance, when he averaged 6.7 WAR per 650 plate appearances. You don't trade that kind of player easily, especially since he'll make a team-friendly $24.6 million the next three seasons and would still be under team control in 2019 as well.
Possible destination: Trading Puig could be contingent on what happens with Zack Greinke. If he opts out of his contract (almost certain) and signs elsewhere, and the Dodgers then fail to sign one of the big free-agent pitchers (David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann), they could use Puig as bait to acquire pitching help. But who has excess pitching? Well, there is a team in New York that may want to move a certain right-hander after the season ... and the Dodgers could always replace Puig with a free agent such as Justin Upton or Jason Heyward.
2. Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
The current American League ERA leader is going to finish in the top three in the Cy Young voting, so why would Billy Beane trade his young ace? Hey, it's Billy Beane! You can't predict what he'll do. Just ask Josh Donaldson. Gray isn't arbitration-eligible until 2017, and the A's usually keep their young players at least until then, but if Beane is still in the process of overhauling the Oakland roster for increased depth, Gray would bring a huge premium of talent in return.
Possible destination: The Red Sox need an ace. The Red Sox have a bountiful farm system with some exciting young position players such as Rafael Devers and Manuel Margot. Jackie Bradley Jr. certainly would look nice patrolling center field in Oakland. You never know.
1. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Remember, I said these were players who could be traded, not will be traded. The Marlins are unpredictable enough that I certainly wouldn't put it past them to trade Stanton a year after he signed his mega-contract. Joel Sherman of the New York Post floated this idea a few weeks ago. Stanton does have full no-trade protection, so that's an issue, and any team that acquires him would have him for only five guaranteed seasons as he can opt out after 2020.
Possible destination: Didn't we just trade Puig? Stanton went to Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks so he'd be returning home if he went to the Dodgers. To a team that isn't owned by Jeffrey Loria. The Dodgers have prospects such as pitchers Julio Urias, Jose De Leon and Grant Holmes. Maybe they'd be willing to trade Joc Pederson or Corey Seager. Stanton in Dodger Blue? Hitting bombs at Chavez Ravine into the California sunset? Hmm...