We're about five weeks from Opening Day, and although the Hot Stove season has collided with Spring Training, it's never too early to start looking ahead.
And we're talking months ahead.
For teams that either didn't address all of their needs this winter (the Red Sox and their bullpen, for instance) or find themselves in contention despite a sizeable hole on their roster, don't fret. The summer will be here soon enough, and with the warm weather comes the promise of an active trade season.
Which players are most likely to be wearing different uniforms by the Trade Deadline? Let's take a way-too-early look:
Jose Abreu, first baseman (White Sox)
The White Sox desperately tried to sign Manny Machado before he inked a deal with the Padres, putting a dent in Chicago's hope of contending in the AL Central this season. Abreu, 32, will be a free agent at the end of the season, making him and his $16 million salary a top potential trade target for teams in search of power this summer.
Nicholas Castellanos, right fielder (Tigers)
Following back-to-back seasons in which he averaged 24 home runs and an .832 OPS, Castellanos could be one of the most sought-after players on the trade market this summer. He turns 27 on March 4, is making a reasonable $9.95 million salary this season and can play a corner outfield spot or third base.
Francisco Cervelli, catcher (Pirates)
The catching trade market looks to be thin this summer, and given that Cervelli's $11.5 million contract is the biggest on the Pirates, the soon-to-be 33-year-old could find himself on the move if Pittsburgh finds itself in sell mode.
Justin Smoak, first baseman (Blue Jays)
For teams in search of some extra pop at first base, Smoak might prove to be a better bargain than Abreu thanks to his $6 million salary. The 32-year-old has 63 home runs and an .847 OPS over the past two seasons, and while the Blue Jays have hopes of contending, the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays might make that difficult in a loaded AL East.
Starlin Castro/Martin Prado, infielders (Marlins)
With the J.T. Realmuto saga finally behind them, the Marlins don't have much left to trade. But while this will be Castro's 10th season in the Majors, he's only turning 29 next month and should be a valued veteran midseason pickup. The 35-year-old Prado has long been a solid, versatile player capable of playing multiple positions, though the Marlins would likely need to eat some of his remaining salary (he'll earn $15 million this season) in order to move him. Castro is making $11 million in 2019, with a $16 million club option ($1 million buyout) for 2020.
Josh Harrison, infielder/outfielder (Tigers)
Just as Smoak could be a low-cost alternative to Abreu, Harrison could be the same to Prado, capable of playing a number of positions. Unlike Prado and his exorbitant salary, Harrison signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Detroit, a club still in the midst of a rebuilding process.
Matt Kemp/Yasiel Puig, outfielders (Reds)
Cincinnati has designs on contending in 2019, but much like the Blue Jays in the AL East, the Reds find themselves in a stacked division with the Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs. Kemp, 34, will make $21.5 million this season, while the 28-year-old Puig is due a more reasonable $9.7 million. Kemp seems like the more likely to be dealt, though it would probably require Cincinnati picking up a chunk of his remaining salary to do so.
Scooter Gennett, second baseman (Reds)
Even if Cincinnati chooses to trade Kemp and/or Puig, Gennett's future would be no certainty. There have been plenty of signs that Cincinnati would like to sign the second baseman to an extension, though if the Reds don't believe they can get that done, perhaps dealing him will be the best option. Gennett, who turns 29 in May, will make $9.775 million this season.
Madison Bumgarner, starter (Giants)
Bumgarner is in the final year of the extension he signed seven years ago, one that took him through all three of his arbitration years as well as two years of free agency. The 29-year-old will earn $12 million this season, a relative bargain for a top-of-the-rotation starter. If the Giants are out of contention, San Francisco could move the lefty for a nice package of prospects in July, though the club could also try to work out a new deal to keep the popular pitcher in the Bay Area. One way or another, we're going to hear Bumgarner's name on the rumor mill all season.
Zack Wheeler, starter (Mets)
New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has his eyes on an NL East title in his first season running the Mets, so if all goes according to plan, he'll be a buyer this summer, not a seller. That said, if things go awry as they have the past two years, Wheeler could prove to be a hot commodity. He'll be 29 in May and is earning $5.975 million this season, his last before free agency. The Mets could also find themselves shopping Todd Frazier and/or Travis d'Arnaud, who are also in their final years of club control.
Nolan Arenado, third baseman (Rockies)
Welcome to the "They're obviously going to sign extensions ... right???" portion of our program. All signs point to the Rockies and Arenado agreeing to a new deal, but what if they don't? Might Colorado consider dealing its franchise player if the season takes a downward turn and there's no extension in place? It's under the "longshot" category for a reason, but you can never say never.
Khris Davis, DH/left fielder (Athletics)
Davis is another extension candidate, though his value on the free-agent market could hinge upon MLB's decision to install a universal DH into the NL. Davis has slugged at least 42 home runs in each of the past three seasons, though he would be entering his age-32 campaign if he reaches free agency next winter. Davis will earn $16.5 million this season, though his lack of defensive skills would likely limit his trade market to AL teams only this summer.
Jacob deGrom, starter (Mets)
Whether the Mets emerge as buyers or sellers this summer, it's difficult to imagine Van Wagenen trading his former client before next offseason. The Mets still want to sign deGrom to an extension, and until the club has exhausted those talks next winter, it feels like trading him would be a last-resort option.