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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

10 MLB Winter Meetings trade candidates

Yasiel Puig

The MLB Winter Meetings are just around the corner, and the expectation is that they’ll be busy. In addition to the obvious — both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are free agents who could sign during the meetings — there are also likely to be a whole host of names potentially available via trade. In the past, the Winter Meetings have been the site of some real blockbuster deals, and 2018 may be no different.

But who may move? Here are ten names who could change teams during the Winter Meetings.

10) Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

Puig remains a good player, flaws and all, but a rather expensive one. He’s also not exactly a vital piece to the Dodgers at this point — he has a lot of use, but the team has a lot of outfielders hanging around. Ultimately, there are a lot of reasons Puig makes sense as a trade chip, potentially for a bigger piece. While it’s pure speculation, there has been a lot of conjecture over how much sense a potential swap of Puig for Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer would make.

9) Justin Smoak, Blue Jays

In an increasingly tough division with an increasingly irrelevant team, Smoak makes sense as a trade chip. He was a Gold Glove candidate at first base last season and hit 25 home runs, though his average predictably dropped following a career season. There are a couple problems for Smoak, however. There is no shortage of power-hitting corner bats around, and the fact that the Rays simply dumped C.J. Cron for nothing, a player with a similar profile to Smoak, likely doesn’t bode well for his trade value.

8) Sonny Gray, Yankees

Gray is definitely going to be traded. He hasn’t been a success for the Yankees, but he’s not far removed from a season where he was posting a sub-4 ERA with Oakland and New York. In 2015, his ERA was 2.73. In other words, someone will take a chance on the talent, especially when they’ll be able to buy low on him. He’s a name to watch, as an acquiring team could probably get him relatively cheaply. They may be able to resuscitate his career, turning him into a real value. One NL team has recently been viewed as a taker for him.

7) Jose Abreu, White Sox

Abreu comes up in trade rumors a lot, though the White Sox always sound fairly resistant to moving him. The reasons are simple: he turns 32 in January, is entering the final season of team control, and is somewhat less important as a first base/DH type. That last reason is also what limits his trade value. The White Sox have talked about making big moves this offseason, and in that sense, trading Abreu does not make sense. It does, however, if they think they can’t or won’t retain him beyond 2019.

6) Madison Bumgarner, Giants

Bumgarner also looks increasingly unlikely to be traded, but it can’t be ruled out entirely. He’s entering the final season of his contract and profiles as San Francisco’s most valuable trade chip. Those two factors make him likely to go out the door if the Giants decide to embrace a full-scale rebuild. There simply isn’t any indication at this point, however, that that’s about to happen. Bumgarner’s status still bears watching, especially as pitching comes off the board in free agency and teams turn increasingly desperate. A couple of NL teams would love to get him.

5) Kyle Seager, Mariners

The Mariners probably aren’t done tearing everything down, with Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, and Jean Segura already out the door. Seager makes sense as the next to go, though a very bad 2018 season at the plate didn’t do anything for his trade value. He’s solid defensively and does have a lengthy track record of decent production, and is still a reasonable 31 years old. As a buy-low option, he’d make sense for a lot of teams.

4) Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks

It’s no secret that the Diamondbacks would very badly like to move Greinke. There are two problems: they’re going to have to eat a lot of money, and they’re going to have to work around Greinke’s extensive no-trade list. It gives the pitcher a lot of control over his potential destination if Arizona can find one. Greinke’s production remained at ace levels last season and he’s rebounded well after a hiccup a few years back, even as he enters his mid-30s. He could absolutely help a team.

3) Corey Kluber, Indians

Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer have also come up in trade rumors, but if the Indians are trying to cut payroll, dealing Kluber is the most logical trade of the three. That’s not to say it would be an easy thing to do. Kluber is a legitimate Cy Young contender under team control at a fairly reasonable price through 2021, and would net a huge return if Cleveland is, in fact, serious about the move. All indications are that they are listening. Don’t be surprised if something comes of it during the Winter Meetings.

2) JT Realmuto, Marlins

It feels like a matter of time until Realmuto is dealt. He’s made it quite clear that he doesn’t want to remain with the Miami Marlins, and they won’t want to pay him as he gets expensive anyway. Quality-hitting young catchers are a rare commodity, though, so Miami can hold out for a very big return. The New York Mets are rumored to be involved in trade talks, and though the Marlins have been resistant to moving him so far, something has to give eventually.

1) Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Goldschmidt looks to be the most likely victim of Arizona’s cost-cutting measures. He’s the easiest to move, as he lacks the financial and contractual considerations that Zack Greinke has. He’s entering the final season of arbitration before becoming a free agent. He’s a quality defensive first baseman who also hits .290 with 30 home runs basically every season. Goldschmidt is a hugely valuable player, and a lot of teams will and should be interested. Given the amount of rumors, it is entirely plausible that he moves during the Winter Meetings.



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