MLB Rumors: Wild trade between Astros, Yankees, White Sox, Orioles would help everyone

MLB insider Anthony Castrovince has a trade to break your brain and the league.

Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Houston Astros / Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
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The MLB hot stove is simmering as winter meetings approach. The star of the offseason is Shohei Ohtani, with plenty of attention being paid to other free agents such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Cody Bellinger. But, the MLB hot stove also means trades. Sometimes blockbusters.

Multiple deals have already been ratified, with the Atlanta Braves restructuring their pitching staff. As rumors consume franchises across the league, it's only natural to break out the trade machine and get hypothetical.

That's exactly what MLB.com scribe Anthony Castrovince did in a recent column.

Tasked with proposing six logically sound and technically feasible trades, Castrovince mostly stuck to two-team swaps. For his final concoction, however, he involved four teams and eight players in a trade that will make your head spin. It also makes a great deal of sense for all involved.

Here are the full details.

  • New York Yankees receive: 3B Alex Bregman, OF Jake Meyers, LHP Jared Shuster
  • Houston Astros receive: INF Jordan Westburg
  • Baltimore Orioles receive: RHP Dylan Cease
  • Chicago White Sox receive: OF Jasson Dominguez (Yankees' No. 2 prospect), C/1B Samuel Basallo (Orioles' No. 5 prospect), RHP Spencer Arrighetti (Astros' No. 3 prospect)

MLB insider proposes four-team blockbuster to fix Yankees, Astros, Orioles, and White Sox

It's difficult to formulate a four-team, eight-player trade that will appease every fanbase. This certainly comes close.

There will be members of the Astros fandom reluctant to part with Bregman, but Castrovince lays out the brutal reality of the situation. Houston is approaching an organizational crossroads with the impending free agencies of Bregman and Jose Altuve in 2024. The expectation is that only one will be re-signed, and that's Altuve.

If the Astros expect to cut ties with Bregman before he walks, now is the time. His next team will get at least one full year of team control with the opportunity to negotiate a pricey extension, one the Yankees and deep-pocketed Hal Steinbrenner can afford. The Yankees also get a talented defensive centerfielder in Jake Meyers and another bullpen arm in Jared Shuster.

For the Astros, the return is Jorden Westburg, who slashed .260/.311/.404 with 17 doubles, three home runs, 23 RBIs, and 16 walks in 228 plate appearances (68 games) as a rookie. He can slide into Bregman's spot at third base and he's under team control through at least 2026 on a team-friendly contract. He's cheaper than Bregman with imminent potential to grow into a significant two-way contributor at the same position. One has to imagine Houston fans would get over the initial sting of losing Bregman eventually.

For the Yankees, it's a ticket to more star power on offense. Aaron Judge was far too often the only source of intimidation in the Yankees' lineup last season. New York needs another source of runs. Bregman slashed .262/.363/.441 with 25 home runs and 98 RBIs last season. Factor in a potentially resurgent Giancarlo Stanton, and the Yankees' lineup would be in a much better place.

The Orioles and White Sox aren't mere throw-ins either. Baltimore was the winningest team in the American League last season, but inexperienced pitching tanked their postseason dreams. Dylan Cease led the MLB in starts in 2023. He's coming off a down campaign for the lowly White Sox — 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.418 WHIP — but Cease is one year removed from a second-place Cy Young finish. He needs to cut down on walks and wild pitches, but Cease packs 95.6 MPH heat and he generally tempts whiffs (his 27.3 K% falls in the MLB's 77th percentile). The Orioles can confidently bank on a bounce-back season with a better team around him.

The Orioles sacrifice a talented young infielder, but the deepest farm system in the MLB should solve those concerns quickly. Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 prospect in the MLB, is expected to make the professional leap in 2024. Reinforcements are coming.

For Chicago, the appeal is simple — clean house and rebuild. Cease only has two years left on his contract and there's a risk of letting him tank his stock further with another bad season in 2024. Chicago gets a few top-10 prospects and looks better off long term because of it.

This is a legitimately fair four-team, blockbuster trade. Such sprawling deals are rare, and it's extremely difficult to get four MLB GMs on the phone or even in the same room to agree to terms on such a complex deal. But... this is a smart move for all involved. Maybe it's worth a look from the powers that be.

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