While free-agents obviously get a ton of attention this time of year, sometimes the most impactful offseason moves are trades--see the Dodgers acquisition of Mookie Betts. Players find themselves on the trading block for a variety of reasons. Sometimes their contract causes the move, other times a positional logjam on their team, and in other situations a change of scenery is the motive. Let's look at 25 players who could be moved this offseason.
The most high profile trade candidate this winter was Indians' shortstop Francisco Lindor, and after he was shipped to Queens along with starter Carlos Carrasco, his infield teammate in Cleveland may have just taken over that title. The switch-hitting Ramirez is coming off a monster 2020 season, and with the Tribe entering a clear rebuilding phase, he represents a way for them to import more talented young prospects. In 58 games last year the veteran slashed .292/.386/.607 with 17 homers and 46 RBI. He's primarily a third baseman but his ability to play second makes him even more valuable to other teams.
Potential trade partners: Braves, Rangers, Dodgers
The Cubs haven't been shy about their willingness to move Bryant over the past few months, and that was even before he hit just .206 in the truncated 2020 campaign. Teams that were interested in the past will certainly circle back now to see if Chicago may be open to selling low on the former NL MVP. While that would seem to be the last thing the Cubs would do, like Lindor, Bryant will be a free-agent after the '21 season and his long term future is unlikely to be in the Windy City.
Potential trade partners: Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, Rangers
Andujar is a true wild card in this winter's trade market. He burst on the scene as a rookie in 2018 and hit .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBI for the Yankees. Since then, injuries have unfortunately limited him to only 33 games in two seasons. While Andujar clearly proved he could hit in his only full big league campaign, his defense at third base left quite a lot to be desired. He's been trying to learn more positions to become more versatile, but his future is probably as a DH somewhere. The Bombers have been in dire need of reliable starting pitchers for a while now, and parting with Andujar could be a way to get one.
Potential trade partners: Rangers, Indians, Tigers
The Rockies handed out long term extensions to both Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon in an effort to compete in an uber-competitive National League Central, but the investments haven't exactly worked out. Now they face a big decision on Story, a talented defensive shortstop with a pair of 35+ homer seasons on his resume. He'll turn 28 in November and is set to become a free-agent following 2021. If Colorado doesn't intend to put pen to paper on another massive contract, their depleted farm system could certainly use the influx of talent Story would bring back.
Potential trade partners: Yankees, Reds, Phillies
The Giants' first baseman has been a big contributor in the Bay Area for a decade and has won two World Series titles with San Francisco. But his time with the team that drafted him in the 5th round back in '09 could be coming to a close. When Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 campaign it prompted the Giants to promote their top prospect, catcher Joey Bart, to the big leagues. Now they face the long term conundrum of getting both Bart and Posey into the line-up on an everyday basis, and the latter does have experience at first base. As for Belt, he'll be a free-agent at the end of next year and he just hit .309 with a 1.015 OPS. Someone could surely use his left handed bat.
Potential trade partners: Nationals, Yankees, Twins
The Brewers' closer has enjoyed an almost unnatural level of success since he first debuted in '17. In 172 Major League appearances the flame-throwing southpaw owns a career 0.86 WHIP with a .144 batting average against. He's converted 62 saves, racked up 39 holds, and struck out an insane 380 hitters in 223.2 career innings. With all of that said, just ask Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen how volatile relief pitching can be. Milwaukee would be crazy not to listen to potential trade offers, and if a team is willing to meet their price they'd probably have to pull the trigger.
Potential trade partners: Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Angels, Blue Jays
Like Andujar earlier, Frazier has yet to really receive a fair shake in the Bronx, but his value to the Yankees could be greater in trade than on the field. As a young right handed hitter the former Indians' 1st round pick has all the attributes you could ask for. In the abbreviated 2020 season he just set new personal bests in OBP and SLG%, and while his defense was always suspect, to his credit he's made significant strides in that area. But New York has a surplus of capable outfielders and in addition they were far too right handed a year ago. Frazier seems like a logical guy to export in search of pitching.
Potential trade partners: Rangers, Indians, Cubs, Giants
Myers had a down year in 2019, but he bounced back in a big way this past season. Participating in all but five of San Diego's games, the big right handed slugger slashed .288/.353/606 while blasting 15 homers and driving in 40 runs. Now that his value has been resurrected, it would seem to be a good time for San Diego to move him, although his contract is a big impediment to that. The Friars owe the veteran $40 million over the next two seasons, and to pull off a trade they'll have to either eat some of the money or take back an equally bad contract.
Potential trade partners: Marlins, Orioles
Plesac is an immensely talented young right hander who's only made 29 starts in the big leagues and is under team control through 2025. So why on earth would Cleveland even entertain the notion of moving him? Well, the Francisco Lindor/Carlos Carrasco trade did more than just send two franchise cornerstones to New York City. It announced to the entire league the Indians are fully ready to embrace a necessary rebuild. Even with that in mind Plesac shouldn't be a trade candidate, but the team did lose trust in him last summer when they suspended him (along with Mike Clevinger) for putting the club in general by violating covid protocols.
Potential trade partners: Yankees, Brewers, Rays, Marlins, Rockies, Cubs
Andrus is a former all-star who has been a stalwart for the Rangers at position number six for over a decade, but his time in Texas may have run its course. The veteran hit a disappointing .194 with only eight extra base hits in the truncated 2020 campaign, and the Rangers have expressed they're going to move forward with Isiah Kiner-Falefa as their starter at short moving forward. Andrus has played every inning of his big league career at shortstop so positional versatility is not really something he offers, so a role as a utility infielder in Texas is not ideal. The Rangers would be wise to get on the phone with the handful of teams that need a shortstop to see if a deal could be worked out.
Potential trade partners: Athletics, Phillies, Reds
The Phillies desperately need starting pitching help, as behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler they simply have nothing but question marks. In an effort to acquire the arm they need, someone like Segura could certainly be expendable. The veteran swung the bat well a season ago, slashing .266/.347/.422 while adapting well to both third base and second base after spending the majority of his career at shortstop. Philadelphia does owe Segura $28.5 million over the next two years, so they'd probably have to take back a similar salary commitment to make a transaction work.
Potential trade partners: Indians, Cardinals
Colorado selected Gray #3 overall in the 2013 draft, but like so many pitchers before him it just hasn't worked out in Denver. The big right hander is coming off an especially ugly 2020 that saw him pitch to the tune of a 6.69 ERA with an unsettling 1.44 WHIP. For the first time in his big league career he failed to strike out a batter/inning and it wasn't even close either, as in an era with hitters striking out more than ever, Gray punched out just 5.08/9 innings. He still has the attributes to be a solid rotation member, but a fresh start is probably needed.
Potential trade partners: Twins, Yankees, Marlins, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox
Davis pretty quickly became a fan favorite in Queens, as his right handed power and infectious personality have really resonated with Mets' fans. While it would be a tough pill to swallow, New York may have to be realistic about their surplus of players who play the same position(s). Between Davis, Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo the Mets just have two many first base/third base/left field options to get them all in the game at the same time without playing too many people out of position. They're also short on pitching, and using a surplus to trade for a need makes a world of sense.
Potential trade partners: Indians, Rangers, Tigers, Pirates
UPDATE: Musgrove was traded to San Diego in January.
Pittsburgh is light-years from contention in the National League, and anyone of any real value should be firmly on the trading block. The 28-year-old Musgrove is far from a top of the rotation starter, but he's reliable and steady at the back end, and his ability to deliver quality starts and keep his team in the game is valuable. Several other teams could do far worse to round out their starting rotations, and while the return won't be significant, it's worth investigating.
Boston listened to offers for their starting catcher at the trade deadline last summer, and while they resisted pulling the trigger then, the idea of moving him is still very much on the table. Boston needs an incredible amount of help on the mound, and at 30-years-old it's safe to say Vazquez does not fit into their long term future. In '19 the veteran crushed 23 homers and gunned down almost 40% of would be base-stealers. The top backstop available this winter is clearly free-agent J.T. Realmuto, but everyone who fails to land him could conceivably pivot to making a phone call to New England.
Potential trade partners: Mets, Phillies, Reds, Brewers
One of Kansas City's last holdovers from their championship team in 2015, the left handed Duffy could very well find himself in a new city next spring. Last season the veteran was not all that sharp, pitching to a 4.95 ERA in 56.1 innings, but his peripherals were admittedly better than the ERA indicates. Duffy will turn 32 just before Christmas, and a rebuilding Royals team would quite frankly be better off giving younger pitchers an opportunity. Duffy's contract will be a hindrance to a potential trade, but if Kansas City is willing to eat some money to improve their return, a deal could come together.
Potential trade partners: Orioles, Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, Yankees, Mets, Rockies
Here is a perfect case of a change of scenery being required. Detroit's hard-throwing right hander has long been viewed as a potential dominant closer, but to date nothing has really come together for him. His '20 campaign was particularly miserable, as in 25 outings he limped to a disastrous 7.15 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP in 22.2 innings. The stuff is still there, and the 25-year-old consistently blows away more than a hitter/inning. You'd have to believe a lot of his struggles are more mental than anything else, and perhaps a new team and a new pitching coach can help Jimenez realize his full potential. Look for several clubs to inquire about buying low on him this winter.
Potential trade partners: Nationals, Mets, Phillies, Angels, Red Sox
The Mariners' third baseman has seemingly had his name floated in trade discussions for years, and while he's still in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps this is the winter that changes. At 33-years-old Seager will in all probability not be a member of the next good Seattle team, and it makes sense for them to consider trying to bring back young talent. To do that though, they'll surely have to eat some of the $37 million he's owed over the next two years.
Potential trade partners: Braves, Blue Jays, Dodgers
Like the aforementioned Joe Jimenez, here is a perfect example of a guy that needs a fresh start somewhere else. Not long ago Brinson was the centerpiece of the Marlins' massive trade with the Brewers that sent superstar Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. To say that hasn't worked out for the Fish is an understatement. In 761 career big league at-bats the young outfielder owns a putrid .189 lifetime batting average with only 48 extra-base hits. Miami has other young center field options--namely Monte Harrison--and both sides could probably benefit from an offseason divorce.
Potential trade partners: Giants, Red Sox, Rangers
Another defense first center fielder who could be on the move currently resides in St. Louis, where the Cardinals may decide they could upgrade over Harrison Bader. The former Florida Gator can hang with most everyone else at position number eight on your scorecard, but with a bat in his hands he's left a lot to be desired. In 50 games a year ago Bader slashed just .226/.336/.443. Despite those pedestrian numbers, he'll surely have a market as a 4th outfielder at the least.
Potential trade partners: Red Sox, Mets, Astros
Here's an idea that may have sounded preposterous just a few short years ago, but the idea of Pittsburgh moving on from Polanco is currently more likely than ever. The veteran right fielder hit just .153 while reaching base at an awful .214 clip in 2020, a far cry from the form that saw him blast 20+ homers and drive in 80+ runs two separate times during his Bucs tenure. The Pirates were the worst team in baseball in the recently completed coronavirus shortened season, and it's time for them to think outside the box.
Potential trade partners: Red Sox, Giants, Marlins, Rangers, Rays
For the Yankees to trade Sanchez they'd have to come to grips with the idea of selling a stock when its value is at an all-time low. After bursting on the scene in 2016 and emerging into an instant superstar, New York's catcher has regressed considerably since then. In 875 at-bats over the past three years he's hit just .200, and while he still has immense power, that's not enough on its own. Perhaps more upsetting is Sanchez' performance behind the plate, where he has consistently struggled with passed balls. The likelihood of a trade here is not overly high, but it's also not completely off the table.
Potential trade partners: Phillies, Reds, Mets, Brewers
Guzman was an under the radar rookie of the year candidate in the AL back in 2018, but his career arc has swung dramatically downwards since then. Last season Texas's young first baseman slashed just .244/.314/.436 with only six extra-base hits in 78 at-bats. The Rangers actually optioned him to their alternate site for over a month during the summer, perhaps a direct sign the organization doesn't view him quite as favorably as they once did. It's possible an offseason move could be brewing.
Potential trade partners: Tigers, Angels, Nationals
Means was an all-star as a rookie in '19, but that had more to do with the Orioles requiring a representative than anything else. The lefty did not pitch quite as well a year ago, turning in a 4.53 ERA in 10 starts. In 43.2 innings he served up an eye opening 12 long balls, and while his peripheral statistics were actually respectable, Baltimore is well aware Means is not an ace. The Orioles are unlikely to contend seriously any time soon, and perhaps they could find a team interested in parting with a useful young piece to bring back a middle of the rotation southpaw.
Potential trade partners: Phillies, Rockies, Pirates
The Diamondbacks' shortstop does not get enough publicity nationally, but he really is one of the best two way players at his position in the National League. A year ago he slashed .266/.327/.402 while playing his patented Gold Glove caliber defense at a premium position. So why would Arizona trade him? The Diamondbacks have several holes that need addressing and there are shaping up to be more teams in need of a shortstop than usual. The Snakes would be silly not to hear other clubs out.
Potential trade partners: Phillies, Indians, Yankees, Tigers
Justin Mears is a freelance sports writer from Long Beach Island, NJ. Enjoys being frustrated by the Mets and Cowboys, reading Linwood Barclay novels, and being yelled at by his toddler son. Follow him on twitter @justinwmears.