With the MLB offseason freshly underway, it’s time to take a look at some of the prime players who could be on the move.
Trade activity is typically subdued around this time of the year as teams that were sellers at the deadline last season already sold off their stars, while teams that were seeking an added piece for a playoff push already made their moves. At this time of the season, when every team sits at 0-0, many teams will take a step back and see how the beginning of the season will go, thus limiting the values of players on the block.
One player to focus on is reigning National League Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton. With Derek Jeter and company’s acquisition of the Miami Marlins complete, they are looking for a complete teardown of the organization.
Under normal circumstances, teams would be enamored to be able to achieve the star talent. Stanton, however, is still owed over $200 million in his contract that he signed with the organization, a sum that will scare off many teams that would like his services. Due to the insane amount of money remaining, Stanton will likely be limited to the big market teams such as the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers or the Chicago Cubs.
The Yankees and Dodgers are always willing to spend unlimited amounts of money to field a competitive team, though Yankees brass is adamant that they can build a team without going over the MLB salary cap and getting hit with the penalty. The Cubs are aware that their young talent will eventually have to be paid, and facing a situation in a few years where they might have two players making over $200 million in Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, would be hesitant to bring in a third.
One team that would be willing to take Stanton’s contact is the Boston Red Sox. They are a team with phenomenal pitching that, while not in the biggest market in baseball, are still in a comparatively large market and would have the financial resources to bring in Stanton. The Red Sox are in desperate need of a power hitter in their lineup, and Stanton absolutely fills that need.
Another star player that could be on the move this offseason is Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton. The Orioles, unlike the other teams mentioned, do not have the financial flexibility to pay Britton the amount that he would likely get if he explored free agency. Keeping that same theme, if the team were to trade him before he hits free agency after this season they would likely get a large amount in return as opposed to letting him walk. Britton, when healthy, is a perennial All-Star caliber player and it would make sense for the Orioles to shop him as they enter the verge of a total rebuild.
While Stanton and Britton are two players that I am closely watching, there are still a handful of other players to watch out for. Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder Andrew McCutchen, after having a bounce back year, has restored his trade value and should be on the move.
The Pirates, being the Pirates, likely won’t move him because of their love for the aging star. However, given the notion that the team is probably the third best in their own division, they are better off committing to a full rebuild rather than just being mediocre for the next few years.
Trading McCutchen would be a step in the right direction for the organization, especially considering the low budget that the team operates with every season.
The MLB offseason is always an exciting time for fans. With new rumors emerging nearly every day, it is interesting to imagine all the different trade scenarios that could emerge. As general managers prepare their notes for the winter meetings in which all the general managers of the teams sit in one building and discuss trading, the potential for a frenzied rush of transactions is always present.
Only time will tell where the major trade pieces for teams will be when the season begins again.