The Diamondbacks have a problem.
Ok, the Diamondbacks have many problems, but I'm talking about the loss of Patrick Corbin right now. After a breakout campaign in 2013, the Diamondbacks' lefty is headed for Tommy John surgery, leaving the the team without their best pitcher. Unlike most of the issues that Arizona faces, this particular problem has a viable solution, however. With Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius both ready to handle the everyday duties at shortstop, the Diamondbacks can swap a shortstop for a pitcher to replace Corbin. That pitcher probably won't completely replace the level of production that Corbin would have given them, but they could certainly find someone who could replace his innings and be respectable enough, numbers -wise by dealing Gregorius.
There are plenty of suitors looking for help at shortstop as well. Tigers will be without Jose Iglesias for most of the 2014 season. The Mets can claim that they are willing to run Ruben Tejeda out there all season long, but their actions say otherwise. The Rangers might need help if Elvis Andrus is not as healthy as they claim. The Yankees are going to spend the 2014 season saying goodbye to the greatest shortstop in franchise history and Brendan Ryan is no one's idea of a worthy successor to Derek Jeter. Unfortunately, these teams are not without other viable options. Stephen Drew is still out there, wondering why everyone in baseball hates him. The Cardinals are shopping Pete Kozma. Darwin Barney of the Cubs is a viable trade candidate and teams with a strong stomach for shaky defense (ie: Detroit) might even consider playing Nick Franklin at short.
Among the suitors, I see the Mets as the best fit for Gergorius. They are shying away from Drew because of the draft pick, just like everyone else, but they are also wary of the former-Red Sox shortstop because his peak will probably be gone by the time that they are competitive. They don't need a middling stop-gap solution like Barney or Kozma- they have that in Tejeda- they need a player who can contribute now and in the future. They also have the starting pitching to get it done. Put Noah Syndergaard out of your mind. That isn't happen, but even so, it isn't hard to find pitchers they can afford to spare that could work in Arizona. Kevin Towers might be just crazy enough to take Bartolo Colon and some low-minor prospects if the Mets eat some of the money on his deal, but I wouldn't bet on it. Rafael Montero is a stronger possibility here and a straight swap would make sense for both sides. Montero is close enough to the majors to fit Arizona's needs. His upside might make it too hard for the Mets to part with him, but Gregorius is a capable defender who showed some strong plate discipline and solid contact skills in his first full season in the majors. That return should be enough to make them feel good about giving up a player with mid-rotation potential.
Can you find a better deal than Montero for Gregorius?
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find a major league-ready starting pitcher to swap for Gregorius. The team trading for Gregorius has to have some reasonable need for him and they have to give up someone who can conceivably help Arizona on the mound at some point in 2014. No lists of five High-A and Low-A arms here, please. It might be a great trade, but that isn't what Arizona is looking for (in this scenario, at least. I make no claims about knowing what goes on in Kevin Towers' mind). Also, please follow the actual rules for MLB transactions- you can't trade draft picks in this sport, folks. Other than those limitations, you have free reign. Make a three-team deal, a four-team deal, whatever it takes.
Give us your best trade proposal in the comments or, if you are shy, you can rec the proposal you like the best.
Breakfast Links: 3/21
Houston is looking to pull a page from the Rays book and moving aggressively towards lock up some of their top young talent. That could mean go as far as extending a player like Springer, who has yet to play a game at the major league level.
This is the precise situation that Houston is trying to avoid. Masterson wants to stay in Cleveland, but the two sides can't find common ground and he will head to free agency and, most likely, to another team.
Some players get more chances than others. Tuiasosopo is 27 and he has hit .207/.290/.356 in 401 major league plate appearances as a slow running, poor fielding corner infielder/ corner outfield. Yet, he has found his way onto his second 40-man roster this offseason. He is no team's idea of a major league regular, but many teams see him as a valid last resort, or so it seems.
The veteran righty returns to Charm City after being sent to Atlanta late last season.