The Hot Stove will be burning with free-agent talk all winter, but general managers will also turn to the trade market as they attempt to tweak their rosters for 2023.
The objectives of these executives will differ; some will look to shed payroll, while others will seek answers to their club’s problem areas. Either way, the end result will be some deals that help reshape the baseball landscape.
Blue JaysDanny Jansen
Jansen hit for power this year (15 home runs, .855 OPS) and he can run a pitching staff well, but the Blue Jays’ catching depth — Alejandro Kirk made the All-Star team, while the club’s former top prospect, Gabriel Moreno, made his big league debut in June — combined with the scarcity of catching around the league could make Jansen an attractive trade chip.
Orioles: Anthony Santander
Baltimore could look to deal for a controllable starting pitcher — Pablo López, perhaps? — which would likely require parting with prospects such as Colton Cowser, Connor Norby or Coby Swimsuit. But Santander, who is entering the third of his four years of arbitration eligibility, could also be used in such a trade (or a smaller deal).
Rays: Ji-Man Choi
Choi earned $3.2 million in his second year of arbitration, and although he had a mediocre 2022 season, the 31-year-old should have value to other teams at a reasonable price. Choi has a .349 on-base percentage over the past five years, and he could be viewed as a solid platoon option.
Red Sox: Rafael Devers
With Xander Bogaerts having opted out, the door is open for the Red Sox to sign Devers to a nine-figure extension. If the two sides are unable to come to terms on a deal, Boston could look to trade the third baseman with one year remaining before he becomes a free agent rather than risking him bolting next winter with only Draft-pick compensation to show for it.
Yankees: Aaron Hicks
Hicks lost his everyday job this season, and although he is coming off a down year, his contract — he’s owed roughly $30 million over the next three seasons — is reasonable. Other teams might view the 33-year-old as a change-of-scenery candidate, while the Yankees aren’t likely to ask for a big return in any deal.
Guardians: Zach Plesac
Starting pitching remains an area of depth for the Guardians, who could make a trade or two in order to clear out some roster space. Plesac is entering his arbitration years this winter, giving him three more years of control — a major selling point for potential suitors. Although the 27-year-old righty has underperformed over the past two seasons, he has shown the ability to succeed at this level and might benefit from a change of scenery.
Royals: Michael A. Taylor
Taylor’s name was floated around quite a bit prior to last summer’s Trade Deadline, but the center fielder could find himself on the move this offseason with Kyle Isbel and Drew Waters ready to handle everyday roles. Taylor has one year and $4.5 million left on his contract, the type of contract any contractor seeking outfield help can handle.
Tigers: Gregory Soto
An All-Star in each of the past two years, Soto has established himself as a reliable closer. Detroit has several areas to address as it looks to bounce back from a disappointing season, and with three years of club control remaining, Soto would be very appealing to multiple contenders.
The Twins: Max Kepler
Kepler will earn $8.5 million in 2023 and has a $10 million club option for 2024, a team-friendly deal for the outfielder. Kepler has n’t come close to matching his production from 2019 over the past three seasons, but the new shift rules could benefit him going forward. no. 5 prospect Matt Wallner is ready to take over in right field, making Kepler expendable as the Twins try to fill other holes on the roster.
White Sox: Lucas Giolito
It’s quite possible that the White Sox try to extend Giolito, who earned $7.45 million in 2022 and is entering his final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent next winter. The right-hander had a subpar season by his standards, but his track record since 2017 would be more than enough for a team to roll the dice on him for one season.
Angels: Jo Adell
GM Perry Minasian has said publicly that he won’t be trading Shohei Ohtani this offseason, though the 2021 AL MVP would instantly become the most sought-after trade candidate if that changes. The Angels have a number of areas to address, and while Adell has struggled during his stints in the Majors, the 23-year-old could be a prime change-of-scenery candidate for a team that still believes in the former 10th overall pick’s talent
Astros: Forrest Whitley
The 2016 first-round pick still hasn’t made his big league debut, having missed all of 2021 following Tommy John surgery. Whitley, once the gem of the Astros’ farm system, still ranks as Houston’s No. 10 prospects and is only 25 years old. It would n’t be surprising if other clubs had interest in Whitley, hoping to unlock his full potential.
Athletics: Sean Murphy
Oakland has unloaded nearly every veteran player on its roster over the past two years, leaving Murphy as one of the few players remaining from the 2019-20 playoff teams. Murphy is entering the arbitration process, giving an acquiring club three years of control prior to free agency. The 2021 Gold Glove winner is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game, so the Athletics should be able to bring back a nice package while opening up the catching job for Shea Langeliers, who was their No. 1 prospect before graduating to the big leagues this season.
Mariners: Marco Gonzales
Having locked up Luis Castillo on a long-term contract, Seattle has some rotation depth from which to deal. The Mariners were entertaining offers for Gonzales prior to the Trade Deadline, and with No. 2 prospect Emerson Hancock likely to join the rotation in 2023, Gonzales — who will earn $6.5 million in 2023 and $12 million in 2024 — would be solid mid-rotation depth for many contending teams.
Rangers: Mitch Garver
Garver missed nearly three months after undergoing surgery to repair a flexor tendon, opening the door for Jonah Heim to assume catching duties in Texas. Heim doesn’t have the same offensive potential as Garver, but he is one of the best framers in the game, bringing tremendous value behind the plate. Garver earned $3.35 million in 2022 and is entering his final year of arbitration, making him a good value for a team seeking a short-term catching solution.
Braves: Marcell Ozuna
With two years and $36 million remaining on his contract, Ozuna would appear to be difficult to trade, especially after a mediocre season. But what if the Braves attached a prospect and picked up part of the contract — or took back another team’s bad contract — in order to clear the roster spot? With GM Alex Anthopoulos, anything is possible.
Marlins: Pablo Lopez
López was a popular name on this summer’s trade market because the Marlins have a surplus of pitching from which to deal. López earned $2.45 million in 2022 and is entering the second of three arbitration seasons, making him a controllable arm that teams will covet. After posting his third straight season with an ERA below 4.00 while throwing 180 innings, López should have a number of suitors if the Marlins make him available.
Mets: Ronny Mauricio
The Mets’ No. 1 prospect in 2020, Mauricio (currently the team’s No. 6 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) is still highly regarded by talent evaluators. The 21-year-old hit 26 homers and stole 20 bases at Double-A in 2022, but with Francisco Lindor signed through ’31, Mauricio’s future will either be at a new position or with a new club.
Nationals: Luke Voit
Voit had a solid season with the Padres and Nationals, but Washington is undergoing a rebuild, so trading the slugger with two years of arbitration eligibility makes sense. The Nats have Joey Meneses to play first base on a full-time basis, and the 31-year-old Voit has shown raw power during his career and could be an impactful bat when given the opportunity.
Phillies: Rhys Hoskins
The Phillies might make a big play for Trea Turner this offseason, which could mean moving Bryson Stott to third base and Alec Bohm to first base. Hoskins, who earned $7.7 million last season and is entering his final year of arbitration, would be a solid addition to the middle of a number of lineups.
Brewers: Corbin Burnes
Burnes is one of five notable Brewers entering their next-to-last year of arbitration, creating some interesting decisions for Milwaukee in the club’s desire to remain competitive in the long term. Just as the Brewers did with Josh Hader this season, they are likely to entertain offers for Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Eric Lauer and Adrian Houser, all of whom are eligible for free agency after 2024. Burnes will likely be out of Milwaukee’s price range in terms of an extension and would bring back a huge haul, so while it’s far from a lock that he will be dealt this winter, the Brewers will likely consider all options.
Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill
O’Neill’s underwhelming season was riddled with injury issues, and with both Juan Yepez and Brendan Donovan capable of everyday roles — not to mention top prospect Jordan Walker waiting in the wings — there is a belief that O’Neill could be on his way out of St. louis The 27-year-old earned $3.4 million in 2022 and has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining.
Cubs: Ian Happ
It was somewhat surprising when Happ wasn’t dealt before the Trade Deadline, but with one year remaining until he becomes a free agent, the Cubs could look to move him this winter. Happ earned $6.85 million in 2022 and is entering his final year of arbitration, so barring an offseason extension, the outfielder is likely to start ’23 in a new uniform.
Pirates: Bryan Reynolds
Reynolds will continue to appear on this list until the Pirates trade him. Pittsburgh has been reluctant to deal the 27-year-old to this point because he won’t be eligible for free agency until the end of the 2025 season. But those three years of club control would likely mean a huge return, giving GM Ben Cherington something to consider.
Reds: Joey Votto
OK, so this one might be a stretch, but the Reds have very few tradable veterans unless a team wants to take a big chance on Mike Moustakas. Votto is hoping to be ready for Spring Training following shoulder surgery, and while it seems unlikely that he would ask for a trade in the final year of his 10-year, $225 million deal, perhaps the six-time All-Star would like the opportunity to play for a container again.
D-backs: Jake McCarthy
With a plethora of young outfielders, the D-backs have an area of strength from which to deal this offseason. Arizona has a long list of needs, so while any one of the outfielders could be used as trade bait, McCarthy — who hit eight home runs with 43 RBIs, 23 stolen bases and a .769 OPS in 99 games this season — is the only one of the group who was not a highly regarded prospect.
Dodgers: Cody Bellinger
Since winning the NL MVP award in 2019 to cap an impressive three-year start to his career, Bellinger’s performance has plummeted. He has 29 home runs, 104 RBIs and a .611 OPS in 239 games since the beginning of 2021, and after earning $17 million in 2022, he should receive a small raise in his final year of arbitration before reaching free agency. A change of scenery could benefit the 27-year-old.
Giants: Mike Yastrzemski
Yastrzemski’s 2022 splits suggest he would be better served as a left-handed half of a platoon (.737 OPS vs RHP, .575 OPS vs LHP), and his ability to play all over the outfield provides versatility. With three years of club control remaining, the 32-year-old also brings a reasonable salary as he enters his second of four years of arbitration eligibility.
Padres: Luis Campusano
San Diego’s No. 2 prospect a year ago, Campusano has seen limited time in the Majors in each of the past three seasons. He projects as a solid everyday catcher, but the 24-year-old’s skills are still raw enough that he might not completely mesh with the Padres’ win-now approach. If GM AJ Preller looks to make a move this winter for a big bat or a pitcher, Campusano could serve as the centerpiece for such a trade.
The Rockies: CJ Cron
Cron has enjoyed success in Colorado, posting two productive seasons in a row with the Rockies. He increased his home run and RBI totals in 2022, though his on-base and slugging percentages each dropped. Entering the final year of his two-year, $14.5 million deal, the 32-year-old Cron is an affordable power bat that could bolster a number of lineups.