The historic World Series Game 7 is now completely in the rearview mirror and front office personnel has turned their attention toward the forthcoming offseason. Executives are scouring other rosters and free agent lists in search of players who could breakout if they played in a new environment. Perhaps it is a former top prospect who has not yet seen his talent emerge or a journeyman player who fits perfectly elsewhere.
A prime example of this would be Arizona 2B Jean Segura, who was involved in a somewhat overlooked swap last winter before hitting .319/.368/.499 for the Diamondbacks in 2016. An all-star in 2013, Segura struggled through two subpar seasons with Milwaukee before rebounding in Arizona last year.
After examining each team’s roster, here are five ideal Change of Scenery candidates this winter.
Yasiel Puig OF Los Angeles Dodgers
Remember back to 2014 when Meghan Trainor was “All About That Bass” and Yasiel Puig was a 23-year-old 2nd-year outfielder coming off a season where he hit .296/.382/.480 with 16 home runs? Only 24 months have passed and ever since Puig has scuffled through two injury-riddled, mediocre seasons, including a demotion to the minors last summer. Still only 25-years-old, Puig is a possible middle-of-the-order hitter capable of playing all three outfield positions and under contract through 2019.
There are some injury issues and questions (right or wrong) surrounding his character, but there are few players in the majors with his talent level. If he lands in the right situation and stays healthy for 140+ games, he has All-Star, 20-20 potential.
Trevor Rosenthal RHP St. Louis Cardinals
Much like his teammates in St. Louis, Rosenthal struggled through a disappointing, injury-plagued 2016, posting a 4.46 ERA, 3.72 FIP and 56 strikeouts against 29 walks in only 40.1 innings. Prior to 2016, Rosenthal had established himself as one of the top relievers in the National League, with two consecutive seasons of 45+ saves and an all-star appearance in 2015. St. Louis appears to be moving forward with Seung-hwan Oh as their closer plus Kevin Siegrist and Matthew Bowman working as the primary set-up men – perhaps they could seek to move Rosenthal and his projected $6.3 million salary this winter to shore up other roster weaknesses.
Jurickson Profar SS/2B Texas Rangers
Only 4 years ago, a then 19-year-old Jurickson Profar was the top prospect in baseball and was poised to be one of the top middle infielders in baseball for the rest of the decade. Unfortunately a combination of injuries and the emergence of other players, Profar now finds himself about to hit salary arbitration with only 184 career major league games played. The Rangers are well positioned in the infield with Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre for the foreseeable future, leaving Profar on the outside looking in.
Understandably the Rangers will be hesitant to trade Profar, as it would be selling low on a tremendously talented 23-year-old. However, in the best interest of his development and long-term career, Texas should trade Profar this offseason to an organization that can provide him the playing time to blossom.
Shelby Miller RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
After being the centerpiece in one of the most controversial trades in years last winter, Miller struggled through a nightmarish 2016 in Arizona, posting a 6.15 ERA and 1.673 WHIP over 101 innings pitched. However, prior to last year, Miller had posted three consecutive impressive seasons with 30+ starts each and an ERA south of 3.75. Quite frankly, Miller had quietly emerged as one of the top young starters in the National League.
The Diamondbacks are likely to shake up their roster this winter with the arrival of a new front office, and trading Miller to give him a fresh start might be the best thing for the talented 26-year-old.
Michael A. Taylor OF Washington Nationals
Washington’s toolsy outfielder finds himself on this list because he has the defensive ability, speed and occasional home run power to be an asset to many teams, especially as part of a creative outfield platoon. Taylor is an asset at all three outfield positions and owns 20 home run & 20 stolen base potential. Unfortunately, it does not seem like an opportunity exists in D.C. for sufficient playing time, making him a potentially intriguing gamble and Change of Scenery candidate.