A week or so ago, MLBTraderumors posted a list of the players in 2012 who were out of options. Upon analyzing this, I looked for players who would be squeezed out of a roster spot on their current team and tried to find a trade partner for them who was in a similar boat. It was hard to do, but I found a few scenarios that I believe benefit both the players to be traded and the teams involved. In other words, the players they'd be getting back could help them on a 25-roster, at least more than the other out of options player(s) they were acquired for. Here's a couple trade ideas with some analysis.
MIN receives 1B Brandon Allen
OAK receives P Matt Maloney and IF Mike Hollimon
As a Twin, Maloney was a long-shot to make either their rotation or bullpen (already including two lefties in Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing). In Oakland, he'd have a shot being their fifth starter. As I've previously opined, if I were GM Billy Beane and am interested in rebuilding, I'd prefer to start the season with a rotation of Brandon McCarthy, Dallas Braden, Bartolo Colon, Tom Milone, and Maloney, keeping Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker in the minors for service time reasons. Scanning the Athletics' 40-man roster and list of non-roster invitees I find a dearth of middle infielders, so Hollimon could be a throw-in to make up for Allen's potential they're sending the Twins. With Luke Hughes possible starting the season on the DL, Allen's power left-handed bat and 1B-OF glove could fill out Minnesota's bench alongside Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Trevor Plouffe, and Craig Tatum (see below).
MIN receives C Tatum and P Jensen Lewis
ARI receives rights to P Jeff Gray and C Rene Rivera
According to Buster Olney, the D-backs are searching for catching depth, which may have prompted their waiver claim of Tatum a few months ago. However, being out of options, he is not a roster option for them at this point. The Twins are likely to carry a third catcher this season, and as Ron Gardenhire's favorite, Drew Butera is likely to get that precious roster spot. Despite his defense, Butera hits less than most pitchers, so even Tatum represents an upgrade in the batter's box. Lewis gives the Twins an extra arm to try out in camp as a late-inning option, and Rivera, as a non-roster player, better serves the D-backs' purpose that Olney mentioned. Gray could slot into the final bullpen spot for Arizona, competing with Joe Paterson and Brett Lorin.
NYY receives P Mike Zagurski
ARI receives OF Justin Maxwell
With Boone Logan as the only lefty pen option on the 40-man roster (excluding Rule V draftee Cesar Cabral), Zagurski would provide the Yankees with a second southpaw if so desired. There's technically room, as those two would offset Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Cory Wade, and most likely Phil Hughes in the bullpen. Maxwell could fight for the final bench spot for the D-backs, giving them another needed backup OF option. A continued injury to Stephen Drew or a trade of Gerardo Parra would add even more sense to this proposition.
HOU receives 1B David Cooper, P Luis Perez, and IF Luis Valbuena
TOR receives 1B Brett Wallace
The Astros were an easy team to find matches for, even if it meant finding roster spots for two extra bodies by DFA'ing perhaps Arcenio Leon and Enerio Del Rosario. Their roster is chock full of players heavy on options and light on experience (and potential). So why not try once again to find a first baseman for the present with this trade? Someone's got to keep base warm for Jonathan Singleton, so why not Cooper? Perez would give the bullpen a second lefty to pair with Wesley Wright and Valbuena could fill an open bench spot. Wallace returns to Toronto, again with a chance to supplant Adam Lind as the long-term 1B, with Michael McDade the only real legitimate prospect who'd be breathing down his neck.
FLA receives P Lucas Harrell and P John Gaub
CHC receives P Sean West
HOU receives rights to IF Marwin Gonzalez
This deal allows the Astros to do with Gonzalez as they wish, either on the roster or, preferably, in the minors. Harrell, as a long man, reunites with a former skipper in Florida, plus the Fish add a lefty with options in Gaub. Evan Reed seems like a worthy of a DFA to make room. West gets a chance with Chicago, who is searching for a reliable southpaw out of the pen.
SEA receives P Ramon Troncoso
LAD receives P Cesar Jimenez
The Dodgers currently have one lefty in their bullpen, Scott Elbert. The only two projected bullpen arms without options are Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra, so probably the only way Jimenez makes the team out of Spring Training is if one of those two really struggles. Troncoso could slide into the last Seattle bullpen spot, but everything would have to work out right and he'd need a stellar spring. This is an example of a trade that would yield minimal, if any, results, but is a better scenario all around than the current one for each team.