The hot stove is expected to be fuming heading into the 2022-2023 MLB offseason. Here’s a look at one trade candidate for each of 30 teams.
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Arizona is loaded with outfielders after the promotions of Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarthy, and Stone Garrett. One way to get that group more playing time is to move Daulton Varsho from the outfield back to his natural position behind the plate. The team would be selling low on Kelly after he struggled at the plate in 2022 (.617 OPS), but he’s still a viable option for teams searching for a starter and has only two years remaining before free agency.
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Atlanta has an embarrassment of riches nearly everywhere, including the outfield. Rosario is coming off a forgettable season due in large part to an eye injury, but the team would likely also like to reconfigure the left field and DH situations so that William Contreras can find more playing time. Rosario won’t fetch much in return for the $9 million remaining on his contract, though a move could be best for both sides.
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Bautista emerged from nowhere to become a superstar closer for the O’s, with a 2.19 ERA and 12.1 K/9. His emergence shows the team’s ability to develop pitching but also how easily the Orioles can find quality relief pitching. After trading former closer Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline, the team could look to sell high on Bautista.
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Duran’s minor league stats indicate a potential superstar offensive, but his instincts and MLB performance have been lacking. The Red Sox had no choice but to demote Duran back to Triple-A after his struggles in Boston, and the boos from the fans started to weigh on him. The team could do well to trade Duran while his value remains high.
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The Cubs have already stated they will be moving on from Heyward this offseason in spite of the $22 million he’s due to be paid next season. The team would prefer to get something in return, though a release is on the table should the Cubs not find any takers. Either way, it’s likely the Cubs will be paying the bulk of Heyward’s remaining salary.
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Moncada was supposed to be a superstar when the White Sox acquired him from Boston in 2017. Unfortunately, he’s been more of an enigma in six seasons, and he hit rock bottom last season with a .626 OPS in 104 games. Moncada still has time to rebound entering his age 28 season, but it might be time for Chicago to look at what they can get via trade with a viable backup plan in Jake Burger behind him.
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Senzel has failed to develop since he was drafted second overall in the 2016 draft. Injuries have been a big reason, though Senzel’s .601 OPS in 110 games last season shows just how dire the situation has become. Cincinnati remains in rebuild mode, and Senzel seems unlikely to be a part of their future despite three years remaining until free agency.
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Rosario has been a terrific addition for Cleveland since he was acquired for Francisco Lindor. The team is in good hands if they bring him back next season, but Rosario is entering his walk year. The team has a bevy of young candidates to replace Rosario immediately, including Brayan Rocchio, Gabriel Arias, and Tyler Freeman, so it could be the right time for the team to get value in return.
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Finding pitching isn’t easy for the Rockies while pitching their home games at altitude, and Marquez has been a rare pitcher who has found success. Unfortunately, his velocity has started to slip, and Marquez’s performance has followed with a 5.00 ERA and a declining strikeout rate last season. He could still be a solid option as a middle-of-the-rotation starter outside of Colorado as he enters the final year of his contract due just over $15 million.
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The Tigers have a new analytics-centric front office so this offseason could include drastic changes. Schoop would be an obvious candidate to be traded if not for his horrific 2022 numbers, hitting just .202-11-38 in 510 plate appearances. Coming off such a terrible year, it’s a no-brainer for Schoop to exercise his $7.5 million option, but the Tigers would likely love to move him if that happens.
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Whitley was one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball a few years ago, but much has changed due to injuries. The former first-round pick struggled over 40 innings in the minors last season but is still only entering his age-25 season. A change of scenery looks long overdue.
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The Royals fired baseball czar Dayton Moore with their continued on-field struggles, and more big changes could follow. Perez is a fan favorite and clubhouse leader, but there were signs the years of wear and tear were finally coming back to bite him last season, with significant time missed to a wrist injury. The team has found its heir apparent behind the plate with M.J. Melendez, but it will clearly take time for the Royals to rebuild. Perez has three high-priced seasons remaining on his contract, and now would be the time to move him if they have any temptation coming off another strong offensive campaign.
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Ohtani had another historic season in 2022 and received a record-breaking $30 for next season before he enters free agency in 2024. The Angels are rumored to be up for sale and continue to look a long way from competing in spite of their blue-chip talents. The organization could be enticed to move Ohtani while they can if he’s unwilling to sign long-term this offseason.
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It seems like decades since Bellinger was the NL MVP in 2019, as he’s been unable to find his stroke over the last two seasons. The Dodgers continued to win in spite of Bellinger’s performance last season, but at this point, it would seem like another voice could be what’s best for him to get back to stardom. Bellinger is due a huge payday next season before entering free agency but is a viable risk given the upside.
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The Marlins are loaded with pitching, but the same can’t be said for their hitting. The roster already has more starters than they need entering 2023, with top prospect Eury Perez close behind. Lopez is due a big raise in arbitration and has been the most prominent pitcher mentioned in trade rumors to this point.
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Renfroe had a fine season after he was acquired from Boston, launching 29 home runs. Still, he has defensive limitations that won’t get any better in his 30s and is entering his walk year. Milwaukee needs more hitting but could still look to maximize Renfroe’s trade value while they can.
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Kepler’s development in Minnesota has been rough, as a below-league-average hitter for most of his career. He’s coming off arguably his worst season, with a .666 OPS in 115 games, and the team has its fair share of outfield alternatives to replace Kepler. His past power and ability to make contact could make Kepler attractive to other teams despite his $8.5 million price tag next season.
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Two years into a four-year, $40 million contract, McCann appears to be a giant bust for the Mets. He has a cumulative .610 OPS in two seasons and missed much of 2022 due to injury. Top prospect Francisco Alvarez is likely to take over catching duties next season, so the Mets could look to move McCann for anything they can get.
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Kiner-Falefa did a great job defensively for the Yankees in 2022, but there wasn’t much to be said for his offense with a .642 OPS. The team has a wealth of young shortstop options heading into Spring Training, including Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Anthony Volpe. While the Yankees could keep IKF around as a utilityman, they might be better served to add pitching help in a trade for him.
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Laureano was one of the few valuable veterans the A’s didn’t trade last season, between an early-season suspension and late-season injury. His offense did deteriorate without much help around him, but Laureano has a strong track record with a career .768 OPS. Set to see a raise in arbitration, Laureano seems likely to be moved.
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Suarez had a strong year as a full-time member of the starting rotation, posting a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts. An extreme groundball pitcher, he benefits greatly from the infield shift. There could be some concern for Suarez’s style next season, especially with a sub-par defense behind him. The Phillies might not have a strong inclination to move their No. 3 starter, but swapping him for a starter who better fits their roster would be a smart move.
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As Pittsburgh’s most accomplished player, Reynolds has been the constant subject of trade rumors. He put together another strong year in 2022 with 27 home runs, and his salary continues to increase. The Pirates are nowhere close to competing, so Reynolds could be moved if the parties aren’t able to work out a long-term deal.
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San Diego’s handling of Campusano has been curious, to say the least. He’s one of the few top prospects the team hasn’t traded, yet they also haven’t given him a significant opportunity in the majors. Something has to give after two full, productive seasons at Triple-A, and that could be a trade this offseason.
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Has Yaz finally worn out his stay in San Francisco? He’s been one of the team’s most reliable power bats since 2019, but the decline has clearly taken effect, with Yastrzemski hitting only .214-17-57 in 148 games last season. The Giants are expected to spend big money this offseason and could push Yastrzemski out entering his age-32 season.
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Winker’s move to Seattle last year couldn’t have gone much worse, hitting only .219-14-53 in 547 plate appearances. He remains a strong on-base option due to his walk rate, but Winker’s OPS declined over 250 points from his 2021 season in Cincinnati. With a number of outfield options in Seattle, the team could look to move Winker as he heads into his walk year.
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St. Louis thought they were set at shortstop for the long term after DeJong’s outstanding first three seasons, but his bat hasn’t been the same since 2020. He’s hit below .200 in consecutive seasons, and a demotion to Triple-A last year had little impact. The team could give DeJong a change of scenery in the final season of his contract.
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The Rays have a common playbook to move players before they get too expensive. Margot is set to make $19 million over the next two seasons, but the team is in good shape in the outfield after the additions of Harold Ramirez and Jose Siri. While Margot’s ability to smash lefties and patrol the outfield has value, the team might opt to move him instead.
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Solak has shown all he can in the minors but has been unable to hit consistently with Texas. The additions of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager last season hurt Solak’s opportunity to make an impact with the Rangers, but other teams might be willing to take a flier on his minor league track record.
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Jansen’s bat has finally come alive in the majors, as he posted a .855 OPS in 248 plate appearances last season. The emergence of Gabriel Moreno, along with Alejandro Kirk’s outstanding makes catcher a luxury for the Jays so that Jansen could be moved for pitching.
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Voit was a veteran throw-in as part of the Juan Soto blockbuster trade. The 32-year-old’s rising strikeout rate is a red flag, but he could still have a market after hitting 22 home runs last season. The Nats will likely look to find value for the veteran as their rebuild continues.
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