Search for a 1B : Trade Edition

The search for a first base upgrade has been the talk of Purple Row for much of the last month or so. Much of that talk has centered around free agents such as Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Mike Napoli, Steve Pearce, and Mark Reynolds. Free agency has its draws, but the Rockies may not be in a position to make an upgrade at 1B through free agency. The Rockies might have to get creative if they want to upgrade the bullpen and first base. The most sensible option may be a stopgap free agent for first base, and some creative trades for bullpen improvements. But, let's look into trade options that may be available for the Rockies at first base.

Would be nice, but isn't going to happen:

  1. Miguel Cabrera - Miggy would be a huge addition to the Rockies lineup. He's exactly the type of hitter the Rockies could use. He does everything. He hits for average. He hits for power. He walks. He keeps his strikeouts down. He gets on base. He doesn't get hurt. He doesn't have any crazy splits. All of this is why he's still owed $212M through 2023 (his age 40 season). Tigers seem to want to shed payroll and get younger, but this trade isn't going to happen. And shouldn't.
  2. Freddie Freeman - See MIggy but much younger, thus much higher acquisition cost. Not going to happen. And shouldn't.
  3. Paul Goldschmidt - See Freeman but much cheaper, thus much higher acquisition cost. Couple that with trading with an in-division rival, and it's not going to happen.

Might be a good option, but probably not worth it:

  1. Jose Abreu - There is a reason the Rockies bid for this less big cat, he's got the power. It was a pretty seamless transition for Abreu, who hit right away when he got to the MLB. While he still is a good hitter, he's getting progressively worse every year. The White Sox are probably ready to start their rebuild now, so Abreu should definitely be available. He has three affordable years left on his contract which lines up nicely with the Rockies contention window and other players' control. His acquisition cost should still be high which is why I think he probably isn't worth acquiring, but he'd be a good option.
  2. Chris Carter - There's been some talk that the Brewers won't tender him, but I don't buy that. The Brewers are rebuilding and have money available to invest in a guy like Carter that should bring back a nice lottery prospect or two. He's going to hit a home run or walk or strike out. That's what he did in 50% of his plate appearances last year. He's arbitration eligible and isn't too expensive yet. If he keeps hitting this many dingers, that arbitration figure will continue to unreasonably rise. While he's probably an upgrade over Reynolds, I don't think he's worth giving up a prospect or two.
  3. Justin Smoak - Depending on what the Jays do, they could use Smoak as trade bait to fill more pressing needs. Unlikely though.

Might be a good option, but pretty risky:

  1. Byung-Ho Park - Park was an interesting story-line from last year's off-season. Twins ended up winning the bid on him with a four year, $12M contract excluding their posting fee. He did not really reward them for that initial investment, but he did flash some promise. If you acquired Park, it'd probably be with the hope that he'd settle into the MLB and be Chris Davis-lite. A lot of home runs, walk percentage in the double digits, strikeout percentages in the 20s, and a playable defender at 1B. Main incentive for acquiring him is if he starts producing, you have him at a very affordable rate through 2020 ($2.75M, $3M, $3M, $6.5M option). Twins have been terrible and they have new management, so I'd imagine they'll listen on their players.
  2. Matt Adams - See Smoak but with a higher acquisition cost and a less desirable track record.
  3. Kenny Vargas - Interesting player and did some good things this year, but you just don't really know what you're going to get. Doesn't seem like there's a lot of potential here, but the Twins have a lot of candidates to play first and/or DH so one of them could be expendable.
  4. Darin Ruf - He has done somewhat well against lefties in his career, but he's nosedived. He's a non-tender candidate and likely will be. Only reason to trade for him is if you're adding him on as an additional piece in a trade because he should be cheaper as a free agent than through arbitration.

The 1B prospects:

  1. Trey Mancini - Similar to Vargas in that he did some nice things this past year, but you don't get the feeling that this kid is going to turn into a regular every day first basemen. Seems much more like a role player. Depending on what the Orioles do with Trumbo though, Mancini could be made available to upgrade their pitching staff.
  2. Jon Singleton - See Park, but with more risk. Astros have somewhat of a logjam with 1B/DH options. Unfortunately for them, none of them have worked out just yet. AJ Reed looked normal in his time in the MLB. Tyler White seems like a role player. Marwin Gonzalez doesn't really fit the 1B prototype.
  3. Chris Shaw - Shaw is one of the better 1B prospects in baseball, and is blocked by the duo of Posey and Belt. Again, working an in-division trade complicates things. Giants would want MLB or MLB-ready pieces too so you run the risk of just attempting to plug a hole but creating new holes in your roster. He may not even be MLB-ready.
  4. Joey Gallo/Ronald Guzman - See Shaw, but without the in-division complications. With Fielder going down with a career-ending injury and Mitch Moreland likely to hit free agency, the Rangers need to fill some holes. They're on record saying they want Gallo to start in AAA next year, so it doesn't seem like they want him to fill one of those holes at least not at the beginning of the year. Like the Giants, they'd want MLB or MLB-ready pieces so you'd have to get creative in order to actually improve the MLB roster while subtracting from it. Guzman may not even be MLB-ready.
  5. Casey Gillaspie/Richie Shaffer - Rockies and Rays already struck one deal in Bridich's regime, Bridich could go back and try to strike another one. Staffer has already seen MLB time, but Gillaspie may not be ready for another half year or longer.
  6. Peter O'Brien - See Shaw. With new leadership in Arizona, they could look to move some pieces around.
  7. Sam Travis (Red Sox), Hunter Dozier (Royals), Matt Olson (A's), Dan Vogelbach/DJ Peterson (Mariners), Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) - See Gillaspie. May not quite be ready.
When it comes down to it, a lot of these options are not as appealing as some of the free agent players. Those players just seem like better bets to produce well right away, and some of them won't clog up the Rockies future payroll - looking at you Steve Pearce.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).