Whereas the offseason has gotten rolling, commerce season hasn’t fairly arrived. The Tigers acquired Mark Canha from Milwaukee within the largest swap of the primary couple weeks. In any other case, the GM Conferences merely served to set the stage for future transactions.
That’ll absolutely contain some notable trades. Not like the summer time deadline, projecting which gamers will change palms is tough at this stage of the offseason. Apart from the A’s, there aren’t any groups clearly in rebuild mode. Golf equipment just like the Rockies, Royals, White Sox, Nationals and Angels have uphill paths to competition, but none has indicated they’re ready to punt on the 2024 season solely.
The Padres, Twins, Rays, Brewers and Guardians are all aiming to contend however have questions on their payroll. That’s customary working process for Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and Cleveland. San Diego and, to a lesser extent, Minnesota have proven a willingness to spend in recent times however are scaling again — in each circumstances, probably tied to their unsure native tv rights contracts.
That informs the offseason commerce panorama, which is headlined by a couple of stars deep into their arbitration home windows. With out many clear rebuilders, it’s attainable we see extra swaps of huge leaguers at positions of want between groups that anticipate to compete.
Earlier than we get to the listing, a notice on methodology. This isn’t a strict rating of gamers’ commerce worth, neither is it solely about chance of being moved. We’re attempting to steadiness each of these issues, an inherently subjective train. All projected salaries for arbitration-eligible gamers are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
1. Juan Soto, LF, Padres
Apart from Shohei Ohtani’s free company, there could also be no larger story of the offseason than Soto’s future in San Diego. He’s coming into his ultimate 12 months of membership management, projected for a $33MM wage that will be the very best ever for an arbitration-eligible participant. The Padres are scaling again payroll, maybe as a lot as $50MM. They want a number of beginning pitchers and will stand to improve at first base and/or designated hitter.
Buying and selling Soto would enable the Friars to recoup MLB-ready expertise whereas clearing important spending room for a number of smaller additions. It could even be a devastating blow to the lineup. Soto overcame a comparatively gradual begin (by his requirements) to hit .275/.410/.519 with 35 residence runs this 12 months. The Padres are nonetheless motivated to win within the brief time period. Barring what could be a surprising run at Ohtani, they’re not going to amass anybody higher than Soto.
President of baseball operations A.J. Preller continues to keep up they’ll discover a long-term deal. There’s nothing to recommend an extension is especially probably. Soto rejected a $440MM provide from the Nationals earlier than he was traded on the 2022 deadline. The worth would solely be greater now that he’s a 12 months and a half nearer to free company. Within the absence of an extension or a definitive declaration that Soto is off the commerce market, hypothesis will linger. Alden González of ESPN wrote final week that many all through the trade imagine the three-time All-Star can be out there.
2. Corbin Burnes, SP, Brewers
3. Willy Adames, SS, Brewers
Burnes and Adames are tied along with good motive. They’re each 12 months from the open market and projected for a noteworthy arbitration wage — $15.1MM for Burnes, $12.4MM for Adames. Milwaukee is reportedly open to provides on the vast majority of the roster.
A former Cy Younger winner, Burnes could also be the perfect pitcher out there in commerce. The appropriate-hander posted a sub-3.00 ERA every season from 2020-22. His 3.39 mark throughout 193 2/3 innings this previous season wasn’t fairly so dominant however remains to be high-end manufacturing. Burnes struck out slightly below 26% of opposing hitters. Whereas his lowest mark since his rookie season, that’s nonetheless an above-average determine.
Adames is coming off a much less spectacular 12 months. The 28-year-old hit .217/.310/.407 by means of 638 journeys to the plate. That’s barely below-average offense, though he nonetheless linked on 24 residence runs. Adames is a superb defensive shortstop with plus energy in an offseason the place there are basically no free agent shortstops of notice. Even with a mediocre on-base proportion, he’d generate loads of curiosity.
4. Shane Bieber, SP, Guardians
Develop high-end beginning pitching, commerce a high starter as they grow to be costlier, change him with proficient youthful arms. The Guardians have trodden this path with Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco. Bieber, one 12 months from free company with a projected $12.2MM wage, might be subsequent.
Cleveland has the likes of Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, Logan Allen, Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill (himself a possible commerce candidate) as rotation choices. Whereas Bieber is now not a Cy Younger caliber pitcher, he turned in a 3.80 ERA with a below-average however serviceable 20.1% strikeout charge over 21 begins this previous season. Bieber misplaced a very good chunk of the second half to elbow irritation however returned to make two appearances in late September.
5. Tyler Glasnow, SP, Rays
The Rays signed Glasnow to an extension in August 2022 when he was finishing his rehab from Tommy John surgical procedure. The large right-hander is ready to make $25MM subsequent season, the biggest single-year wage in franchise historical past. That naturally results in questions on whether or not the Rays are ready to fulfill that determine, significantly in an offseason the place they’ve a loaded arbitration class.
In the event that they made him out there — and he’s already surfaced in rumors — Glasnow could be a really interesting goal. He was fairly good this 12 months, working to a 3.53 ERA whereas putting out greater than a 3rd of opponents over 21 begins. An indirect pressure value him the primary two months of the season, however he prevented the injured listing thereafter. He’s a 12 months away from free company, making one other extension with Tampa Bay seem unlikely. But dealing him would signify a troublesome blow to the Rays’ possibilities of competing in 2024. They’re already down Shane McClanahan for the complete season and can be with out Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen for not less than a very good portion of the 12 months. Whereas they’d probably convey again some type of MLB assist as a part of a Glasnow commerce return, the rotation depth might be an issue.
6. Dylan Stop, SP, White Sox
Stop had a disappointing follow-up to his Cy Younger runner-up marketing campaign. He allowed a 4.58 ERA over 177 innings this previous season. That’s almost two and a half runs greater than his glowing 2.20 mark of the prior 12 months. As is commonly the case, his true expertise most likely lies someplace within the center. Stop nonetheless missed loads of bats — 27.3% strikeout charge, 13.6% swinging strike proportion — whereas issuing a couple of extra walks than preferrred. His fastball averaged 95.6 MPH, down a tick from the previous season.
The appropriate-hander has proven the flexibility to pitch at an ace-caliber degree. He’s two seasons from free company and projected for an $8.8MM arbitration wage, making him extra reasonably priced than the opposite high-end beginning pitchers close to the highest of this listing. The additional 12 months of management most likely provides him extra commerce worth than any of Burnes, Bieber or Glasnow. It additionally makes him much less more likely to be traded this offseason.
First-year GM Chris Getz has advised nobody on the roster is really untouchable, an comprehensible strategy for a staff that simply misplaced 101 video games. Neither proprietor Jerry Reinsdorf nor Getz has referred to as this a rebuild, although. Any slim hopes the White Sox could have of competing in 2024 could be dashed by buying and selling Stop, the one above-average beginning pitcher on the roster.
7. Alex Verdugo, RF, Pink Sox
Verdugo’s identify has been floated in commerce rumors for a couple of seasons. The Pink Sox have held onto him up to now. They’ve a brand new baseball operations chief in Craig Breslow, who has acknowledged the staff has gotten early calls on the left-handed hitting outfielder. Jarren Duran and Masataka Yoshida additionally hit from the left aspect. Dealing Verdugo might free some at-bats for a right-handed addition whereas maybe bringing in quick assist for the pitching employees or at second base.
MLBTR initiatives Verdugo for a $9.2MM wage in his ultimate season of arbitration. He’s coming off one other league-average offensive displaying, when he hit .264/.324/.421 with 13 residence runs by means of 602 plate appearances. Verdugo hasn’t grow to be the All-Star participant the Sox envisioned when constructing the Mookie Betts return round him. He’s a strong common, a high-contact hitter who charges as a good defender in proper area.
8. Trent Grisham, CF, Padres
9. Ha-Seong Kim, 2B, Padres
If the Padres maintain Soto, dealing Grisham and/or Kim might be an alternate technique of trimming payroll. Whereas neither goes to make wherever close to Soto cash in 2024, they’re every on mid-level salaries of notice. Grisham is projected for a $4.9MM wage in his second-to-last season of arbitration. Kim is slated for an $8MM wage and can be due a $2MM buyout on a 2025 mutual choice at season’s finish. He’ll be a free agent subsequent winter.
Grisham has the additional 12 months of management however is the more serious participant. He attracts loads of walks however has hit beneath the Mendoza line in two straight seasons. He’s coming off a .198/.315/.352 line over 555 plate appearances. The attraction is on the opposite aspect of the ball. Grisham is an above-average defensive heart fielder, holding him as a low-end common even when he’s greatest suited to the underside of a lineup. San Diego might kick Fernando Tatis Jr. over to heart area in the event that they dealt Grisham, liberating proper area for a much bigger offensive menace than Grisham gives.
It’s the same story with Kim. Dealing him would free Jake Cronenworth to maneuver again to second base, opening first base for a greater hitter. It’d be powerful to switch Kim’s general manufacturing, although. He’s a plus defender at a number of infield spots. He hit .260/.351/.398 with 17 residence runs and stole 38 bases in 152 video games. Buying and selling Kim isn’t as damaging to the lineup as a Soto deal could be, however it’d be harder than parting with Grisham.
10. Gleyber Torres, 2B, Yankees
One other participant one 12 months from free company, Torres is projected for a $15.3MM wage in his final arbitration season. That’s beneath his market worth however a notable determine for a bat-first second baseman — a common profile that the league has devalued in recent times. Torres was New York’s second-best offensive participant in 2023, hitting .273/.347/.453 with 25 homers by means of 672 journeys to the plate.
Even when they’re not fascinated with an extension, New York might maintain Torres for his ultimate season of membership management. They’re already gentle on constant hitting past Aaron Choose. On the floor, buying and selling their second-best hitter appears counterintuitive. The large query is whether or not the entrance workplace believes Oswald Peraza is able to entering into an on a regular basis second base function in 2024. In the event that they really feel the 23-year-old is prepared, buying and selling Torres to clear spending room whereas bringing again outfield or pitching assist is smart.
11. Jonathan India, 2B, Reds
The Reds’ infield surplus has fueled commerce hypothesis on India again to the deadline. Cincinnati didn’t appear inclined to make that transfer midseason, pointing to India’s function as a clubhouse chief. Whereas that’s actually nonetheless an element, he didn’t hit properly down the stretch and completed the 12 months with a middling .244/.338/.407 batting line. He’s a properly below-average keystone defender.
There’s an argument the Reds are higher off counting on an up-the-middle tandem of Matt McLain and both Noelvi Marte or Elly De La Cruz. Maybe the offseason is a greater time to think about shifting India for a back-end starter. The previous Rookie of the Yr is projected for a $3.7MM wage and has three seasons of remaining arbitration management.
12. Eloy Jiménez, DH, White Sox
Jiménez now not appears like a core piece for the White Sox. Numerous accidents have saved him off the sector all through his large league tenure. He solely has two seasons of 100+ video games and hasn’t gotten to 500 plate appearances since his 2019 rookie 12 months. Jiménez was nonetheless a wonderful hitter when wholesome as lately as 2022, when he ran a .295/.358/.500 line over 84 video games. His manufacturing fell this 12 months, as he posted a .272/.317/.441 slash with 18 homers over 489 journeys to the dish.
That’s not particularly imposing for a participant who’s greatest suited at DH. But Jiménez has proven higher offensive upside that isn’t matched by many on this winter’s free agent class. If the Sox are ready to maneuver on, one other staff might look to purchase low. He’ll make a $13MM wage subsequent 12 months, the ultimate assured season of his contract. He’s assured a $3MM buyout on a $16.5MM membership choice for 2025 and the deal incorporates an $18.5MM staff choice for the ’26 marketing campaign.
13. Max Kepler, RF, Twins
14. Jorge Polanco, 2B, Twins
Minnesota president of baseball operations Derek Falvey has confirmed the staff is paring again payroll. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes reported the group might finish within the $125-140MM vary. In the meanwhile, they’ve round $120MM in projected spending.
The Twins have a couple of methods to clear room. Buying and selling both Kepler or Polanco would accomplish that. The previous is making $10MM, whereas the latter is enjoying on a $10.5MM deal. Kepler can be a free agent after subsequent season; Polanco’s contract has a $12.5MM staff choice for 2025 that comes with a $750K buyout.
They’re every good gamers. Kepler is a plus defender in proper area who hit .260/.332/.484 with 24 homers this 12 months. Polanco was restricted to 80 video games however ran a .255/.335/.454 displaying. He’s one of many sport’s higher offensive second basemen and noticed some third base motion for Minnesota late within the 12 months. The Twins have Matt Wallner and Trevor Larnach as left-handed hitting nook outfield choices. They’re deeper on the infield, the place Willi Castro and Kyle Farmer (one other commerce candidate) are potentialities at second/third base behind starters Edouard Julien and Royce Lewis. High prospect Brooks Lee, the No. 8 general decide in 2022, isn’t removed from MLB readiness. The Twins might look to maneuver Kepler or Polanco for rotation depth or to herald a righty bat to steadiness the lineup.
15. Randy Arozarena, LF, Rays
Arozarena hasn’t been the topic of the identical degree of commerce hypothesis as Glasnow has. There’s an argument the Rays ought to be extra prepared to maneuver the All-Star outfielder in the event that they’re trying to create payroll room. Tampa Bay has higher depth within the outfield than they do on their injury-riddled pitching employees. Josh Lowe, Jose Siri, Harold Ramírez, Luke Raley and Manuel Margot are all available. (Margot has come up in commerce rumors as properly.)
None of these gamers is pretty much as good as Arozarena. Buying and selling star gamers for youthful expertise is acquainted territory for the Tampa Bay entrance workplace although. Arozarena is projected for a $9MM arbitration wage and controllable for 3 seasons. He’d have important commerce worth if the Rays have been to think about shifting him.
16. Mariners SP
We initially had Bryan Woo on this spot. It might simply as simply have been Bryce Miller or Emerson Hancock, so we’ll cheat and simply point out the Seattle rotation usually. They’re virtually actually not going to commerce George Kirby. It’d take so much to pry away Logan Gilbert. Transferring any of Woo, Miller or Hancock might be extra interesting for a entrance workplace that’s searching for methods so as to add long-term offensive upside.
None of that trio has even reached one 12 months of main league service. Hancock solely has three large league begins underneath his belt. Miller and Woo spent extra time within the rotation this 12 months, beginning 25 and 18 video games respectively. They each turned in mid-rotation outcomes. Different golf equipment most likely have differing opinions on which right-hander they like. (The Mariners probably have their very own slight preferences.) They’d all have important worth if president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto determined to maneuver one for a bat.
17. Dylan Carlson, CF, Cardinals
It was a little bit of a shock that Carlson didn’t change palms over the summer time. Numerous experiences advised the Playing cards have been making him out there as they regarded for tactics so as to add a controllable starter. It didn’t occur, however the identical logic applies this winter.
Carlson has been surpassed by Lars Nootbaar because the beginning heart fielder. St. Louis wants a number of beginning pitchers and can probably herald not less than one through commerce. Carlson most likely has much less worth than he did earlier than the deadline. Not solely did he end with a mediocre .219/.318/.333 batting line, he underwent season-ending surgical procedure on his left ankle in September. There’d however be groups prepared to take a shot on a former high prospect who regarded like a mean or higher heart fielder 12 months in the past. Carlson is projected for a modest $1.8MM wage and has three years of arbitration management.
18. Paul Blackburn, SP, A’s
Blackburn is arguably probably the most fascinating lifelike commerce candidate on the Oakland roster. The A’s have torn issues to the studs. They’re unlikely to compete inside the two remaining years of Blackburn’s arbitration window. The appropriate-hander (30 subsequent month) labored to a 4.43 ERA with a good 22.4% strikeout charge over 103 2/3 innings this previous season. He’s projected for a $3.2MM wage. A Blackburn commerce isn’t going to be an offseason defining transfer, however he has a very good probability to be flipped to a contender searching for reasonably priced back-end beginning pitching.
19. Alek Manoah, SP, Blue Jays
Maybe no participant had a extra disappointing 2023 efficiency than Manoah. Inside one season, he went from Cy Younger finalist to basically unplayable. The appropriate-hander pitched to a 5.87 ERA over 19 large league outings. His walks greater than doubled whereas his strikeouts fell from 22.9% to a modest 19% clip. He misplaced his spot within the Toronto rotation and was ultimately demoted to the minors. Manoah by no means pitched in Triple-A and obtained an injection in his throwing shoulder on the finish of the season.
How will the Jays proceed after that disastrous 12 months? Normal supervisor Ross Atkins stated final week the staff would give him “a robust leg up” on the #5 spot within the rotation. The Jays aren’t broadcasting a need to commerce him, though they wouldn’t be doing themselves any favors in the event that they declared they have been prepared to maneuver on. Dealing Manoah to herald a decrease upside however greater flooring pitcher wouldn’t be a shock with the Jays firmly in win-now mode. The previous first-round decide is controllable for 4 extra seasons and received’t attain arbitration till subsequent winter.
20. Brandon Drury, 2B, Angels
The Halos signed Drury to a two-year free agent deal final winter. The righty-hitting infielder turned in a pleasant season, connecting on 26 residence runs with a .262/.306/.497 line throughout 523 plate appearances. Subsequent 12 months’s $8.5MM wage appears like sturdy worth, significantly in an offseason the place the availability of up-the-middle gamers is skinny. The Angels most likely aren’t kicking off a rebuild. They might do a shorter-term retool if Ohtani walks, or they might merely look to maneuver Drury for pitching whereas turning second base to Luis Rengifo and/or an exterior acquisition.
21. Brendan Donovan, 2B, Cardinals
Donovan is an extended shot commerce risk if the Playing cards transfer a controllable hitter for beginning pitching. He’s extra precious than Carlson and fewer more likely to be on the transfer. On the identical time, he’d internet a clearer rotation improve if St. Louis have been to present him up — probably turning the center infield over to a mix of Tommy Edman, Nolan Gorman and Masyn Winn in that situation.
The 26-year-old hit .284/.365/.422 with 11 homers by means of 371 plate appearances this previous season. A flexor tendon damage pushed him to designated hitter and ultimately required surgical procedure that ended his 12 months a pair months early. He’s anticipated again for Spring Coaching. If wholesome, Donovan brings glorious contact expertise and a strong plate strategy. He’s a multi-positional defender who can play any of the corners along with second base. Donovan has 4 years of remaining management and received’t get to arbitration till subsequent offseason.
22. Christopher Morel, DH, Cubs
Morel is more likely to be a divisive participant across the league. He has enormous uncooked energy and linked on 26 residence runs whereas slugging .508 in 107 video games for the Cubs. The appropriate-handed hitter owns a .241/.311/.471 line in simply over 850 MLB plate appearances over the previous two seasons. When he’s scorching, he can carry a lineup.
He additionally strikes out greater than 30% of the time and doesn’t have a defensive match. Morel has performed all three outfield spots and every of second base, third base and shortstop within the majors. He hasn’t rated properly wherever. The Cubs used him principally at designated hitter this 12 months and have advised they’ll get him first base run in 2024. That’s not an incredible match for a plus runner with top-of-the-scale arm energy, but Morel hasn’t proven himself able to dealing with extra essential positions frequently.
How groups mission Morel defensively might influence each whether or not he’s traded and what sort of return the Cubs might obtain. As a primary baseman or DH, he’s a fringe common with a statistical profile that’d paint him as a lumbering slugger versus a dynamic athlete. If one other staff feels he can maintain his personal at second base or in heart area, he turns into way more fascinating. The Cubs don’t have any urgency to commerce him. Morel is controllable by means of 2028 and received’t attain arbitration for not less than one other season. But president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has alluded to the opportunity of a deal, saying final week that “one other staff may be capable to put him [at second base],” the place the Cubs have Nico Hoerner.
23. Christian Vázquez, C, Twins
Buying and selling Vázquez is one other route Minnesota might take into account to clear cash. The Twins signed the veteran catcher to a three-year, $30MM free agent deal final offseason. He had a troublesome first season in Minneapolis, limping to a .223/.280/.318 line over 355 plate appearances — albeit along with his typical model of fantastic protection. Ryan Jeffers simply surpassed him because the #1 choice on the depth chart. A $10MM per 12 months backup catcher is a luxurious for a staff attempting to trim wage.
Minnesota probably wouldn’t be capable to offload the complete deal, however they might attempt to shed round half the cash or tackle a smaller contract in return. Vázquez’s 12 months wasn’t a lot worse than a season that acquired Omar Narváez two years and $15MM final winter, whereas Tucker Barnhart secured a two-year, $6.5MM assure regardless of a a lot lesser offensive monitor file.
24. Luis Robert Jr., CF, White Sox
Robert has probably the most commerce worth of any participant on this listing. He can also be the least more likely to transfer. Final week, Getz referred to as him a franchise constructing block and famous he had no plans to proactively store Robert at the same time as he left open the opportunity of listening to provides on anybody.
It’s not exhausting to grasp why. Robert’s an elite defensive heart fielder who linked on 38 residence runs whereas hitting .264/.315/.542. It was the primary time he stayed wholesome for a 162-game schedule. The end result was a season that’ll get him down-ballot MVP help. Robert is a prime-aged celebrity and, in contrast to Soto or Burnes, he’s nowhere close to free company. He’ll make $12.5MM subsequent 12 months, $15MM in 2025 and is controllable through $20MM staff choices for 2026-27. Buying and selling Robert would signify a whole teardown that the Sox most likely don’t need. But the haul could be astronomical in the event that they determined to go in that route.
25. Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets
Alonso was the topic of early offseason commerce hypothesis. With the Mets projecting a much less lively offseason and inserting a precedence on 2025, it wasn’t out of the query he might be out there. Alonso is projected for a $22MM arbitration wage and can be a free agent after subsequent 12 months.
New York has subsequently walked again a few of their statements a couple of attainable retool. They’re nonetheless aiming to compete in ’24 even when they’re signaling they received’t blow away the highest of the free agent market. First-year president of baseball operations David Stearns has twice publicly stated he anticipates Alonso being the Opening Day first baseman in Queens. That received’t cease groups from attempting, however an offseason deal appears decidedly unlikely.
Others Of Observe
A’s: Seth Brown
Braves: Vaughn Grissom
Brewers: Adrian Houser, Devin Williams, Brandon Woodruff
Cardinals: Alec Burleson, Tommy Edman, Nolan Gorman, Tyler O’Neill
Giants: J.D. Davis, Mike Yastrzemski
Guardians: Josh Naylor, Cal Quantrill
Mariners: Ty France
Marlins: Josh Bell
Mets: Jeff McNeil
Nationals: Hunter Harvey, Lane Thomas
Orioles: Anthony Santander
Padres: Scott Barlow
Phillies: Nick Castellanos
Rays: Manuel Margot, Harold Ramírez
Pink Sox: Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, Nick Pivetta
Rockies: Brendan Rodgers
Royals: Salvador Perez
Tigers: Spencer Turnbull
Twins: Kyle Farmer