Mark Feinsand asked on Twitter last night if there were 5 players in baseball that you would trade Phil Hughes for. Immediately the obvious answer was yes. He later followed up adding that you have to include cost, age and success in New York. He then said there are less than 20 players in the majors he would consider trading Hughes for. Off the top of my head this still seemed low, so I figured I’d scan the rosters and check it out. I’m looking at this from the Yankees perspective, not in a vacuum. Without dipping into the minor leagues as I am not a prospect expert, are there 20 (or more) guys on MLB rosters that I would trade for taking everything into consideration? Today I will address the National League, come back tomorrow for the American League.
Justin Upton is the only guy here I would trade Hughes for. While 2010 was a disappointing season for him, a 22 year old with a 111 OPS+ and 3.8 bWAR in a down season is a great commodity. Would the D-Backs trade Upton for Hughes? No.
Jason Heyward is an absolute no-brainer. I’d also go with Brian McCann, who is probably 90% of Joe Mauer at a much lower cost. While the Yankees are stacked in the catching department, if you could trade Hughes for McCann you would, then you could flip Montero in a deal to bring back your Hughes replacement. Would the Braves make either of these trades? No.
If the Yankees were ready to move Derek Jeter off of SS, or if Jeter was ready to move off SS himself, I’d trade Hughes for Starlin Castro. Considering the situation the Yankees are in it’s not a move I would make now, but young shortstops of Castro’s caliber are harder to find than pitching. Would the Cubs trade Castro for Hughes? No.
Joey Votto is a no brainer. He’s the kind of guy you’d make a spot for. Jay Bruce is just 23 years old with 68 career HR’s and is coming off a 127 OPS+, 5.3 fWAR and 4.3 bWAR season. He doesn’t fill a need with the strong Yankees outfield, but I think I’d make this trade and deal from the surplus. Would the Reds trade Votto or Bruce for Hughes? No and possibly.
Regardless of Jeter’s situation, if you could trade Hughes for Troy Tulowitzki you do that in a heartbeat. Ubaldo Jimenez would be another easy one. You could make the argument for Carlos Gonzalez but his road splits are a huge concern. Would the Rockies trade any of these three for Hughes? No.
Hanley Ramirez, like Tulo would be too good to pass up regardless of Jeter’s situation. Josh Johnson is another no-brainer. Mike Stanton would also be too good to pass up. Would the Marlins trade any of these three for Hughes? No.
None. The Astros are a mess.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is a definite yes. You could argue for Andre Ethier and bringing his left handed bat to Yankee Stadium but he’s older than you may think (29 in April) and getting expensive. If you believe in upside you might consider Matt Kemp, but Kershaw is the only sure thing for me. Would the Dodgers trade Kershaw for Hughes? No.
Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun are definites for me. I wouldn’t want to bring Prince Fielder in, pay him a bunch of money, then tell him all he has to do is hit. That’s got problem written all over it.
New York Mets
I’d probably trade Hughes for David Wright and move A-Rod to DH full time but I could be easily talked out of it. I don’t think the Mets would make the trade though.
I’d take both Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels for Hughes. If the Yankees didn’t already have Cano I’d think about Utley though he’ll be 32 next year and expensive. The Phillies would not trade any of them for Hughes.
I’d consider Andrew McCutchen but I think I’d stick with Hughes. The Pirates would not make the trade however.
San Diego Padres
Adrian Gonzalez is another guy you make room for. As awesome as Mat Latos was, would I pull the trigger on a trade for Hughes? I don’t think I would (but I’d probably be wrong). Pitchers coming from the NL is always dangerous. Coming from the Padres and Petco only adds to that uncertainty. Would the Padres trade Gonzalez or Latos for Hughes? No.
San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Buster Posey are no brainers. An argument could be made for Madison Bumgarner but I’d stick with Hughes.
St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols wouldn’t fill a need and is about to get very expensive, but he’s Albert Pujols so of course I’d make the trade. Adam Wainwright and Colby Rasmus would both make the cut as well, Rasmus would force another trade from the crowded outfield but it would be worth it. Would the Cardinals trade Pujols or Wainwright for Hughes? No. Would they trade Rasmus for Hughes? I doubt it, unless Larussa really hates him and has enough pull to ship him out.
Even thought the need isn’t great, Ryan Zimmerman is and I’d trade Hughes for him. I’d also trade Hughes for Strasburg but with an eye beyond 2011 and taking a huge risk. I think the risk would be worth it as Strasburg truly has a chance to be a once in a generation type of pitcher. It’s certainly a big risk/reward situation. The Natinals would not trade either of them for Hughes.
So there we have it, I count 25 National Leaguers I would trade Hughes for if the situation presented itself. How about you? Be sure to check back tomorrow for my take on the American League.