To say MLB's offseason moves slow is an understatement. It's hard to use the words "MLB offseason" and "move" in the same sentence. The NBA does not have this problem. Its offseason is the anti-MLB offseason. Signings and trades are agreed upon before it even begins (imagine that) and the majority of major transactions take place almost immediately. Stars demand trades. Teams acquiesce. The world reacts.
So if only for a moment, imagine the MLB offseason operating like the NBA's. How would signings and trades and rumors transpire? SI's MLB staff has some ideas...
Trevor Bauer calls up George Springer and J.T. Realmuto (never mind that the Mets already signed James McCann) and says, “Let’s play together and win a championship.” All three decide to take their talents to Queens. At a huge virtual press conference, Bauer declares, “Not one, not two, not three …"
Mike Trout accidentally posts something meant for his burner Twitter account to his main account. Fans discover that he has been ducking into the dugout bathroom during games to tweet insults at opposing pitchers, local weathermen and Eagles receivers. His passion got the better of him, he says in his apology. "I'm just trying to help the team win," he adds. "Unlike Nelson Agholor."
The Phillies' front office takes over J.T. Realmuto's house to present their best offer and block him from signing with anyone else. Bryce Harper is there, too, doing his part to prevent him from leaving, while Zack Wheeler will show up to help out with some food and good arguments of his own. Sources will report that Brian Cashman is driving around, beside himself, trying to get in on the action. (He will later dispute this.)
In very NBA fashion, Nolan Arenado's camp makes it publicly known he wants a trade out of Colorado. Trevor Story, who shares the same side of the infield as Arenado, responds by also demanding a trade. The Rockies work out a blockbuster deal with the Marlins to send both Story and Arenado to Miami, on the condition that Arenado waives his opt-out after the 2021 season. Arenado only agrees to do so if the Marlins can sign DJ LeMahieu, which they do.
Miami's infield for 2021 and beyond is anchored by three former Rockies and the Marlins never lose another game again. The end.
We often hear of NBA superstars bonding and making future free agency plans while playing in the Olympics. Well, it turns out baseball players do the same during the World Baseball Classic. Before competing for the WBC-winning U.S. team in 2017, Nolan Arenado wrote for the Players Tribune that "Giancarlo Stanton is someone I talked to a lot about the WBC before I decided to play. He has me super hyped for it. So it’ll be cool to take the field with that guy." He later gushed about his experience, sounding much happier than he ever has with the Rockies.
Arenado has often been linked to his hometown Dodgers, but what if he forced a trade to join Stanton in the Bronx? He has another link to the Yankees in former Rockies teammate D.J. LeMahieu, who's thrived in pinstripes and could agree to re-sign with New York if they acquire Arenado. The Yankees already have Gio Urshela at third base but, uh, he's not Nolan Arenado.
The Angels go on a crusade to make pitching obsolete. First, they trade Griffin Canning, Jaime Barria and Luis Rengifo to the Cubs for Kris Bryant, who will play left field and first base. Then, L.A. trades Dylan Bundy and Raisel Iglesias to the Phillies for Bryce Harper on the condition that Philadelphia pays Harper's salary in 2021, after which point Albert Pujols retires and the Angels take on the rest of Harper's salary. With Harper's contract off the books, the Phillies sign J.T. Realmuto, and then, for some unfathomable reason, trade Zack Wheeler to the Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton and Adam Ottavino.
The final outcome:
Angels: Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper
Cubs: Griffin Canning, Jaime Barria, Luis Rengifo
Phillies: Dylan Bundy, Raisel Iglesias, J.T. Realmuto, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Ottavino
Yankees: Zack Wheeler
Who says no?
Given the circus surrounding James Harden and the Rockets, let's take our offseason fantasy just a few blocks down the road to Minute Maid Park. Frustrated by the dissolution of a potential dynasty, Alex Bregman demands a deal out of Houston, with his eyes firmly set on the Big Apple. Don't worry, Astros fans. Sending Bregman to the Yankees would be too cruel. But the Mets? Why not the Mets? Their farm system isn't one that can or should be emptied out for one player, but these hypotheticals don't rule out illogical decisions.