It’s hard to predict what prospects will be on the move at any time of the year, let alone at the crazy Winter Meetings. The difficulty is that there isn’t really a market for prospects, because prospects aren’t typically on the mythical trading block. Veterans are on the trading block. Prospects are the currency.
So we must first determine the teams that are looking to add prospects.
The Seattle Mariners are looking to add bats to go with their smaller ballpark, which brings the likes of Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Nick Franklin to the forefront of trade discussion. The Mariners are reportedly interested in Royals DH Bily Butler, and with the Royals desperate to add pitching, any deal between the two would almost certainly require Walker, Paxton, or 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen to head to the midwest. Walker is to the Mariners as Wil Myers is to the Royals—for those who struggled with the SATs, it means he’s a top prospect who’s virtually untouchable—but either of the lefties, Paxton or Hultzen, could possibly be moved if the return is a proven bat like Butler.
What won’t happen is the reported discussion between the Red Sox and Mets that had both going to Flushing in exchange for Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey. The Red Sox are interested in Dickey, but Bogaerts is one of the top power-hitting prospects in baseball. Dickey is great, but he’s 38 years old and no one can say for sure how well he’s going to age, no matter how confidant they are in his ability to knuckle the ball towards the plate into his 40s. Bradley, however, could be a part of a deal. A future leadoff hitter and center fielder is the exact type of prospect the Mets lack in their farm system and would be a great fit for their blueprint of the future.
Reports are that the Los Angeles Dodgers are also interested in Dickey. That deal almost certainly won’t get done unless the Dodgers include top prospect Zach Lee, and even then, it would take more than just that. Lee was a bit disappointing in his first full season in 2012—the 2010 first-rounder posted a 4.39 ERA between High and Double-A. He’s not nearly the high-ceiling prospect that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are, but is probably the best the Dodgers have to offer if they want Dickey.
Any deal would likely have to include Dee Gordon as well. Additionally, given the lack of impact position players in the Mets farm system, they might request Joc Pederson, an outfielder and 2010 draft pick who emerged as a true prospect in his first full season, hitting .313/.396/.516 as a 20-year-old in the California League.
The Philadelphia Phillies are trying to fill a few specific holes, mainly in center field and at third base. They’ve been rumored to be interested in Dexter Fowler, with the Rockies requesting pitching in return. That could include major leaguer Vance Worley or it could be a anyone from fringe prospect Tyler Cloyd, who emerged last season as a potential major league starter, to Trevor May, who turned in a disappointing 2012 season but may still be the most desirable pitching prospect in a Phillies farm system depleted from similar trades over the years.
At the hot corner, the Phillies have been linked to Rangers third baseman Michael Young, without strong reports as to what the Rangers might want in return. The Rangers’ major league roster is already overcrowded on offense, but they could be interested in any of the young bullpen arms the Phillies have to offer, like Phillippe Aumont (unlikely to be traded by the Phillies), Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman and others.
Withonly one day of the Winter Meetings in the books, any number of teams could still match up on a deal, meaning any prospect could be on the move. These, however, are the ones on teams that are “buyers” who fit the needs of the organizations with which their own teams best match up.