Free agents aren’t doing much moving, but the MLB trade market has been going crazy this winter. These ten players could also be on the move before Opening Day.
While MLB free agents and their representatives line up to shout collusion over the lack of activity surrounding most of the big names, general managers have been getting down and dirty on the trade market. Among the established stars who have already been moved this offseason are Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Gerrit Cole and Andrwe McCutchen. In the few weeks left until pitchers and catchers report, a few more big names could join this group.
Rebuilding efforts in Miami, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are in the early stages, and each team still has at least one big chip left to work with. The San Francisco Giants plan to play McCutchen in right field, leaving open the possibility of a trade for a center fielder if they do not sign Lorenzo Cain. The Baltimore Orioles have not yet made up their mind on what to do with Manny Machado. In the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers are all loaded up with young talent and have needs that could be filled via trade.
There’s a lot left that can happen, and free agents aren’t controlling much of anything this winter.
Let’s start with a few trade candidates who are probably not moving, but worth keeping an eye on.
- The Royals — Danny Duffy, Kelvin Herrera and Ian Kennedy: Kansas City has kept up with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas and does not appear ready to pull the plug on their current roster. If they miss out on their two big targets, however, they could change their mind.
- Young Cubs — Ian Happ, Javy Baez, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber: The Cubs were willing to include some of their young stars in a potential trade for Machado, but that fell through. It’s unclear if they will use any of their considerable MLB depth to add a starter or closer.
- Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu: The Chicago White Sox seem to have done enough auctioning off of established players for now and will hold onto these sluggers for a little while longer.
- Jackie Bradley Jr: The Boston Red Sox say Bradley isn’t on the block, but would they consider moving him if it means J.D. Martinez is coming to town?
- The Salary Dump Candidates — Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasmany Tomas and Shin-Soo Choo: You gonna pay me to take these guys, or what?
- Raisel Iglesias: The Cincinnati Reds really should be trying to do more to land a haul for their dominant closer this winter
- Michael Fulmer: He’s coming off a down year and forearm surgery, but the Detroit Tigers would definitely be open to moving the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year if they get blown away.
It would not come as a complete shock if any of the players mentioned above are traded before the start of the 2018 season, but the ten we are about to discuss in greater detail have a much higher likelihood of being on the move.