The trade market could heat up soon, and these 10 might be on the move

December 22nd, 2022

During the past few weeks, we’ve seen most of the marquee free agents come off the board, with more than $3 billion in contracts handed out to five dozen players. 
Carlos Correa’s stunning move to the Mets capped a wild few weeks, while substantial deals for Carlos Rodón (Yankees), Dansby Swanson (Cubs) and Andrew Benintendi (White Sox) took some of the most notable remaining free agents off the board.

So what now? While a handful of free agents are still unsigned, many teams around the league will turn to the trade market in an effort to shore up their rosters for 2023 and beyond. takes a look at 10 potential trade candidates who could be on the move between now and Opening Day (players listed alphabetically):

Bobby Dalbec, 1B, Red Sox

With Eric Hosmer and No. 2 prospect Triston Casas ahead of him on the depth chart at first base, Dalbec is a man without a role on the Red Sox roster. The 27-year-old had a solid 2021 season (25 home runs, .792 OPS), but he managed just 12 homers and a .652 OPS in 117 games in 2022, struggling to recapture his performance from the prior two seasons. Boston has let teams know that Dalbec is available, with Tampa Bay reportedly expressing interest.

Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox

Having already lost Xander Bogaerts to free agency, the Red Sox will surely feel pressure to sign Devers to a multi-year extension. Devers is said to be seeking more than $300 million, and according to a source, Boston’s early offers are well short of that total. Will Boston learn a lesson from the Bogaerts situation? If the club and Devers are far apart in extension talks, the Red Sox could look to move Devers with one year remaining until he becomes a free agent rather than risking him signing elsewhere with nothing to show for it other than Draft-pick compensation.

Chris Flexen, RHP, Mariners

The Mariners have plenty of starting pitching depth, with Robbie Ray, Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, Marco Gonzales and George Kirby joining Flexen and top pitching prospect Emerson Hancock. Seattle seems unlikely to sign a big-money free agent, so its best avenue to filling its remaining holes is the trade market – which happens to be president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto’s specialty. Flexen was moved to the bullpen last season when the Mariners traded for Castillo, so moving him to a club seeking rotation help would seem to make sense.

Liam Hendriks, RHP, White Sox

The White Sox have fielded numerous calls on their All-Star closer, and although Chicago isn’t actively shopping Hendriks, there is a realistic possibility he could be moved. The White Sox could use upgrades at second base, in the corner outfield spots and in the starting rotation, so a Hendriks deal could help cover one or more of those positions. Hendriks has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block a deal to five unspecified teams, giving the White Sox a wide array of clubs to talk to about the closer.

Danny Jansen, C, Blue Jays

Now that Willson Contreras, Christian Vázquez and Mike Zunino have all landed free-agent deals and the Braves traded for Sean Murphy, the focus of the catching market turns to Toronto, where the Blue Jays have three solid backstops on their roster. Jansen appears to be the most likely to be traded, though Toronto could deal Gabriel Moreno or Alejandro Kirk if the price is right. The Rays, D-backs, Astros, Red Sox and Cubs are among the teams looking to upgrade behind the plate, putting the Blue Jays in a strong position.

Pablo López, RHP, Marlins

López was a popular trade target prior to last summer’s deadline, and that was before he threw a career-high 180 innings. After going to an arbitration hearing with the Marlins last year -- the club won -- it seems unlikely that Miami will sign him to a long-term extension, even after Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara signed a five-year, $56 million extension a year ago. If the Marlins can deal López for a controllable bat -- think Minnesota’s Luis Arráez -- a deal could come to fruition, especially with top prospects Eury Pérez, Jake Eder and Dax Fulton knocking at the big league door. López is under club control through the 2024 season.

Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates

Shortly before the Winter Meetings, Reynolds requested a trade out of Pittsburgh, officially putting him on the trade block. That’s not to say the All-Star outfielder will be moved between now and Opening Day; sources say the Pirates’ asking price is understandably high, as Reynolds -- who has 51 home runs, 152 RBIs, 54 doubles and an .861 OPS in 304 games since the start of 2021 -- is under club control through the 2025 season.

Gregory Soto, LHP, Tigers

An All-Star in each of the past two years, Soto is under club control through 2025, making him an affordable, attractive trade candidate for a number of clubs. Given the prices that relievers have commanded thus far in the offseason, Soto could bring back a nice package of players and/or prospects if the Tigers decided to deal him.

Gleyber Torres, 2B, Yankees

Assuming that Oswald Peraza and/or Anthony Volpe get a chance to break camp with the Yankees this spring, New York will have a glut of infielders on its roster. Torres is two years away from free agency, set to earn at least $9 million in his third of four arbitration-eligible seasons; given the Yankees’ desire to add another starting pitcher as well as a bullpen piece or two, the 26-year-old could be moved in an effort to trim some payroll. D.J. LeMahieu could assume second-base duties, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Volpe, Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera could also be in the mix if Torres gets traded.

Daulton Varsho, OF, D-backs

Arizona acquired Kyle Lewis last month, adding a much-needed right-handed bat to its left-leaning outfield mix. With four young lefty-hitting outfielders -- Varsho, Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll – on the roster, the D-backs will likely look to move one of them to add another right-handed bat somewhere in the infield. Varsho has already drawn interest from a number of clubs, including the Astros.